Joy Dewing offered audition tips during our February, 2005 interview with her in New York City, when she was an actress/singer/dancer. She is now a New York casting director.
Carol de Giere: Many readers wonder how to find audition songs suited to their voice. What do you do? Do you choose by voice type?
Joy Dewing: Voice type is only part of what I look for. The casting people can tell within seconds if you can sing or not, and if your voice is right for the part they’re casting. I look for songs that showcase not only my voice, but also my personality and my acting skills. Good singers are a dime a dozen. You have to be able to communicate a story and a character in order to stand out.
There is so much conflicting information out there about what songs you should and should not do for auditions. But there’s one requirement that I have for a song that is non-negotiable: it must be a song that I enjoy performing.
I think one of the best thing you can do to find songs that work for you is to listen to and learn as many shows as you can and find characters that are your type. I’m a character actress, not an ingénue, so I’d do research and find out which actresses are similar to me in physicality and voice type, then look up the roles they’ve played and familiarize myself with them.
I think one of the best thing you can do to find songs that work for you is to listen to and learn as many shows as you can and find characters that are your type.
Interview by Carol de Giere for MusicalSingers.com.
Question: As a director, what would you advise kids who are auditioning, or what are some of the biggest mistakes?
Meridee Stein: One of the biggest mistakes I see a lot is singing out of your range. You need to present yourself in the best possible light. If you have a more limited range, find a song that highlights that range.
Also I would say, 12 year olds should not be singing sultry, very mature adult songs and lyrics, which sometimes they do. It’s very off-putting in a way, because it really doesn’t come from them.
Question: So would they pick songs from musicals where there was a child part?
MS: They could. For example, we had some little boys come in and sing from Oliver, “Where is Love” that shows off their beautiful boy’s soprano. We had a girl come in and sing “Popular” from Wicked. That was fine. She was great. She even had the little Kristin Chenoweth sound. Anything that they can really understand themselves and stays within their vocal range would be fine. Otherwise it’s a little off-putting and they don’t sound as good as they could.
Question: Do children come in with an up tempo and a ballad like adults would?
MS: Yes. In our case [for Captain Louie for the York Theatre production in the spring of 2005] we told them to bring a legitimate theatre tune and a pop tune. So some were ballads and some weren’t but they were two different modes. They get 16 bars but they should prepare the whole song because we will sometimes let kids sing all the way through. (more…)