Are You In Shape? Running On The Audition Treadmill

It’s 6AM on a weekday, the sun is just beginning to break through the gray morning sky and already my local gym is full of energetic participants. Each one willing to work hard to be the best they can be, and start their day ready to take on the world. Like you, they are ambitious, hopeful about their future and ready to “bring it”. However, there is one difference. The gym members can choose to get off the treadmill, drop the weights and head for the showers whenever they have had enough. But, as a Thespian, the audition treadmill never stops. The choice to get off the treadmill comes only if you decide to throw in the towel. For good.

A career in the performing arts means you will always be auditioning and having to prove yourself, yet again, to casting directors, directors, producers and agents in this highly competitive field. This also holds true for your college auditions. Pace University in New York City cited an increase of 61% in performing arts applicants just last year! Wow, that’s another steep incline on the audition treadmill. But with hard work and determination, the education interval will get you closer to reaching your dream.

So the question is, Are You In Shape? Here’s what it takes:

1. Take Ownership.

Exactly what kind of training do you want? Take a personal inventory of yourself as an artist. Know your strengths and weaknesses as a performer. What are your “must haves” in the university experience? Be specific and be truthful.

2. Be Disciplined.

Research college programs in depth and evaluate their philosophy and curriculum to see if they meet your needs. Don’t pass this job off to your parents! You and you alone are responsible for your training and study.

3. Be Realistic.

A life in the theatre is a very competitive arena. The college audition process is a brief a taste of what competing for jobs will be like if you choose a career in the performing arts. Know the odds. Get college acceptance stats, and prepare for rejections from highly selective programs.

4. Get Ready

Know the program audition requirements and follow them exactly. Get a coach or teacher to help you prepare your audition material. If a prescreen is required, check out the helpful tips here on Acceptd, or get my 45-minute video, Show Your Best Self: Creating Your Prescreen Audition. Rehearse your audition from beginning to end.

5. Bring It

Remember that no one put a gun to your head and said you have to be a performer. You are choosing this because it is your passion and your bliss. Bring that joy into the audition room and savor every moment. Be confident and play to win. Make a positive mental imprint of yourself as a champion competitor and a triumphant artist. Carry that imprint with you as you continue in your audition journey.

As you audition, above all else, BE YOURSELF.

Amy Rogers, the director of musical theatre at Pace University, says, “ I want to see you, I want to see your soul and your skill. I want to see a wonderful human being that I want to be with for four years”

If you want more helpful tips, go to

Capture Mary Anna Face (64x80)Since 2000, Mary Anna Dennard has been a nationally recognized college audition coach. She authored the book, I GOT IN! The Ultimate College Audition Guide For Acting And Musical Theatre. She has been a guest contributor for The New York Timestheatre section, and Theatermania. Mary Anna is a member of the National Association For College Admission Counseling and just launched the first-ever Online Prep for performing arts applicants called, College Audition Coach Online. For more information, visit In this post, she’s going to give you advice about what to expect in the world of musical theatre and performing arts.