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Summer Reading

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

My understanding of the audition side of this process has evolved over the years. My own journey 30 years ago had its share of learning, and when I began teaching in the 90's until now, each season highlighted a different aspect of the audition and college process that has since been enlightened or reinforced. Books are always an outstanding resource, and I thought your summer reading list might be further enhanced with a few titles that will help in the upcoming journey. Because reading hasn't always been easy for me, you can count on these recommended titles being readable, engaging and concise enough that the non-reader will enjoy them as much as the avid reader.

Audition by Michael Shurtleff

Required reading for my generation of actors, this book was the first audition book I ever read. I believe it was assigned in a career-focused college course like "Musical Theatre as a Profession" and probably still is. It may read a little dated, but nonetheless, the anecdotes, stories and processes Mr. Shurtleff outlines will enlighten parents and actors alike. Plus, Bob Fosse wrote the forward. Nothing wrong with that.

A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth

I received a copy of this book as an end-of-year teacher gift and after enjoying it over that summer break, found myself lending it out to students or purchasing copies to share with those serious about pursuing musical theater. I love how she highlights the unknown aspects of her journey as the generation of students who watched Ms. Chenoweth's career evolve probably missed her "beating the streets" and only started paying attention with her Tony win and career from Wicked until now. I highly recommend her glimpse into the years you'll need to put in before things start happening.

I happened upon this book while purchasing choral music for an upcoming school year on the J.W. Pepper website. Mr. Gerle's wit and wisdom from the guy who's "in the room where it happens" is humorous, truthful and enlightening. A great reminder that there is someone in the room collaborating with you and on your side, this is a must read before beginning college or professional auditions. I've shared his advice in my classroom, in coaching sessions and have applied his insights to my own auditions from both sides of the table.

I Got In! by Mary Anna Dennard

Parents have brought me a copy of this timely and highly useful text as part of their high school clean-out, so it ranks as the number one used book title I have gratefully been re-gifted. An extremely practical book for parent and student alike and required reading before beginning the acting or musical theatre audition process. Best time to read it? During your junior year. Second best time? The summer before your senior year. Third best time? During the first semester of your senior year. If you wait any longer than that, you'll regret it. This is absolute required reading for parent and student alike and her website and Backstage advice are equally helpful.

Happy reading! (Please note, using these links to purchase these books may mean I make a few pennies. Thanks!)

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