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Top Ten Lists of 2016

Happy New Year from StageAgent!

As wittop-95717_1280h so many other blogs and websites these first weeks of 2017, we thought we’d take just a few minutes to share our Top Tens of 2016. We’ve seen a lot of changes to the StageAgent site, increased the number of new and updated guides featured on the site, and had some record-breaking traffic this year. And we are looking forward to many new and exciting things in the New Year! So without further ado, here are some 2016 Top Ten Lists, based on the highest number of unique pageviews in each category for the year. Some of the results may surprise you. Read on!

 Top Ten Musicals

  1. Into the Woods
  2. Hamilton
  3. Guys and Dolls
  4. The Addams Family
  5. Beauty and the Beast
  6. Little Shop of Horrors
  7. West Side Story
  8. Anything Goes
  9. Hairspray
  10. Legally Blonde

 Top Ten Plays

  1. Almost, Maine
  2. Rumors
  3. Steel Magnolias
  4. The Diary of Anne Frank
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird
  6. The Laramie Project
  7. Buried Child
  8. Proof
  9. Clybourne Park
  10. The Foreigner

 Top Ten Characters

  1. Miss Adelaide from Guys and Dolls
  2. Anybodys from West Side Story
  3. Sarah Brown from Guys and Dolls
  4. Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family
  5. Alice Beineke from The Addams Family
  6. Reno Sweeney from Anything Goes
  7. Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors
  8. Hope Harcourt from Anything Goes
  9. Olive Ostrovsky from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  10. Vivienne Kensington from Legally Blonde

Top Ten Blogs

  1. The Do’s and Don’ts of Audition Style
  2. Five Great Musicals with Small Casts
  3. Great Musicals with Large Casts
  4. How to Prepare for an Audition
  5. How to Warm Up and Prepare Before Singing
  6. How to Find the Perfect Monologue
  7. New Monologue & Song Recommendation Tool
  8. Hamilton Hype: Why We Are Obsessed
  9. Top 10 Musical Theater Composers
  10. Understudy, Standby, Swing
Helen Benedict / CC BY

New Monologue and Song Recommendation Tool

The importance of choosing strong material

When it comes to casting, much is uncertain.  One thing, however, is guaranteed:  if you want to land your dream role, you need to come to an audition prepared. As the saying goes, you truly never get a second chance to make a first impression. This rule is never more true than during the audition process.  Learning about the show in advance and choosing an appropriate audition outfit help, but it’s in the selection and preparation of your song and monologue that you can truly shine.

Helen Benedict / CC BY
Helen Benedict / YouTube

What kind of monologue and song to prepare

In our earlier post on how to prepare for an audition, actor Danielle Frimer notes that it’s worthwhile to have at your disposal both dramatic and comedic contemporary monologues, dramatic and comedic classical monologues that show off different colors, and a few audition songs (uptempos and ballads) in various musical styles that show off your vocal range. In NY-based actor Becca Ballenger’s post on how to choose the perfect monologue, she points out that actors should constantly read new plays to discover monologues, because the most unique pieces are discovered by you, not a coach or a book.

Your monologue and song should be in a similar style and genre for the show you’re auditioning for — but not from the actual show for which you are auditioning.  The risk in doing material from the show itself is that your notion of the role will be at odds with the preconceived notion of the director.  Instead, you can help coax the director’s imagination in the right direction by finding material that showcases similar skills and traits to those demanded by your dream role.  Researching the characters for which you are auditioning ahead of time allows you to select appropriate audition pieces that make it easy for the casting director to envision you in your target role(s).

Actors are busy

Photo by Brittney Bush Bollay / CC BY
Photo by Brittney Bush Bollay / CC BY

We get it — actors are very busy people! You have voice lessons, dance classes, acting classes, rehearsals, and the number of auditions can pile up at a moment’s notice.  It’s not always possible to read every play in its entirety before a last-minute audition, — not to mention read hundreds of new plays to select and then learn a brand-new monologue perfectly suited to the role, and pour over thousands of scores to pick the perfect new 32-bar excerpt.  You should certainly build a repertoire of diverse material, but when it comes down to the wire and you need something perfectly suited to the character for which you’re auditioning, it’s easy to come up short.

Our new monologue & song recommendation tool

At StageAgent, we are on a quest to make actors’ lives easier. You already know that StageAgent is best place online to find quality theatre character breakdowns. Now, when you look at a breakdown, we take it a step further and display specific recommendations for audition monologues and songs based off of that character’s attributes.

For example, if you are auditioning for Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors you can now see recommended audition monologues and songs when you scroll down through Seymour’s character breakdown.

Seymour audition song

If you’re auditioning for Seymour, you might want to look into singing “I’m Not That Smart” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for your audition!

Or similarly, if you have an audition for Amanda Wingfield from The Glass Menagerie, you now know by looking at StageAgent that you might want to consider Blanche’s monologue from A Streetcar Named Desire.

Conclusion

Of course, this recommendation tool is only a starting point.  Only you can know for certain whether an audition monologue or song is right for you — but this time-saving feature is a great place to start!  

Note that this recommendation feature is only accessible to StageAgent PRO members.

We hope you find our new recommendation tool useful. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please let us know!

Happy Days

Audition Material That’s Right for YOU

I have found, both in my life as a creative and in my career in casting that there are two kinds of people: those who love auditioning and those that would rather eat glass, but know they must audition in order to work. Either way, auditioning is a necessary evil, if you want to be a professional actor. There is just no way around it. If you are a person who loves auditioning, consider yourself blessed.

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So many plays!

How to Find the Perfect Monologue

So many plays!Whether you’re just starting out in the biz or a longtime pro, the search for the perfect monologue never ends. Monologues are frequently used in auditions, coaching sessions, and classes, so it’s important to know how to look and where to begin your search.

First of all, you’re starting in the right place—StageAgent has a huge directory of monologues, all linked to play or musical study guides.  There, you can read the monologues themselves, but also information about the context in which they are spoken, and links to a character analysis and a guide to the play as a whole. Continue reading

Becca Ballenger soliloquizing in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Soliloquy Compared to a Monologue

Young actors can often get confused about the differences between a soliloquy and monologue.  Soliloquies and monologues are widely used by one of my favorite playwrights, William Shakespeare.

Becca Ballenger soliloquizing in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Becca Ballenger soliloquizing in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

Approaching Shakespeare as an actor is both thrilling and intimidating. Most thrilling is that you can allow Shakespeare’s brilliant language to do a lot of the grunt work for you. Most intimidating is that before you can rely on the language, you have to identify and excavate the clues within it. I once had an acting teacher explain to me that a play by Shakespeare is like a bottle of premade marinara sauce– all the spices are already inside, so your job is to heat it all up and add your own spin (alphabet macaroni, anyone?). There are going to be future blogs here on Stage Agent about the many different “clues” Shakespeare provides in his plays (scansion, rhetoric, prose and verse, alliteration, etc.). With this post, I’m going to talk about just one: soliloquies.

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News, thoughts, opinions and advice for the performing arts community.