Pre-Audition Workshops

Directing Without the Drama, The Lion King Experience, Theatre

A quick recap of last week of our Lion King Experience.  We took a week off because our production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” apparently caused a pretty massive snow storm in the mid-west and we lost a few days of school, so while technically last week was week three of The Lion King Experience, we will call it Week 2.

We had several days of pre-audition workshops, one for 6th Grade, one for 7th & 8th Grade and a Dance pre-audition workshop.  We had pretty big numbers and it looks like around 25% of the school will be involved in the show which is really exciting, but now I have to figure out how to fit all the kids on our relatively small stage.  We talked through the characters and I taught all the audition songs to the two groups of kids.  Separating them was a good idea as they should be looking to audition for different kinds of characters, and the older kids didn’t have to listen to the how to audition for a show speech which they were very grateful for.

The kids will have singing auditions on Monday and Tuesday of this week and will have to do one or two cuts from the show from a selection they have been given.  The music cuts are between 30 seconds long (Hakuna Matata for the nervous singers) to around 1 minute and 10 seconds.  I have found this gives enough to get a sense of their voices, but not so much that it feels like it goes on forever.  It is also relatively easy for the kids to prepare.

At the dance audition we had over 50 kids in a room learning some choreography to a 45 second cut of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”.  My goal with dance auditions is always to include some basic steps to see if the kids have rhythm with a few more complicated things to see how they can handle quick changes.  I always use both hands and feet moving together and have some specific times where they need to be looking in a certain direction.  It was certainly achievable by all of the students in the hour or so we worked on it, but it was really clear who could do it vs who could actually perform it.  I have found adding a short freestyle section that the kids can show off their skills in is a great way to really see who the dancers in the group are.  I was really impressed with how far some of my 8th grade boys have come in the last year and a half and as kids with no formal dance training, other than being in productions, they have made MASSIVE progress and are able to not just do the choreography but really put their own spin on it which is amazing.

Auditions are this week so stay tuned to find out our final numbers and just how I fit all of the kids into the show (we are a no cut program).

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