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Acting a Song

Page history last edited by amrodrig@jeffco.k12.co.us 13 years, 4 months ago

Acting a Song


How to Audition for the Musical Theatre

By Donald Oliver


“Singing is acting on pitch.”

-       Jeffery Dunn


It is not enough to merely learn the words and notes. You must completely understand what the song is saying and figure out how to communicate its meaning.


Look at the structure of the song:


Is there a verse? Verses are written to set up the song’s subject matter. The chorus is the main body of the song and usually written to make the song specific to the given circumstances of the musical. Verses are importantly lyrically for the story, but usually unimportant musically.


Who is singing the song and why?


What is the character trying to accomplish by singing the song? What is the subtext?

(The thoughts behind the words) The subtext of the song can be very different than the literal meaning of the words.


Turn the song into a monologue. Rephrase it in your own words.


Find moments to breathe where the phrase dictates it. Use punctuation to tell you where breathing is appropriate: commas and periods. A pause in thought is also a great place to breathe. Make sure the breathing makes sense.


Try to listen to as many recordings as possible to hear your song. DO NOT imitate what you hear, but use it as a suggestion or to get an idea of a different interpretation of your song.


Be careful not to indicate the words of the song in your acting.  Feel free to move as long as the movement is motivated. Remember that an acting/singing audition is much different than a dance audition.


Remember that singing is merely a form of communication. Think of a sung monologue. Acting and moving while singing is not as difficult as you may think it is if you aren’t tense and upright about it. If you understand what it is you want to communicate, you will find the meaning, the breathing and the movement will all fall in place naturally.






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