What to Expect at an OPA Audition

what to expect at an OPA audition
Many of the lead actors you see in Olmsted Performing Arts’ productions got their start in tiny roles in our Youth Theatre program. If you’ve never auditioned for a play before, you might be nervous, jittery, or excited. To prepare for an OPA audition, here’s what you need to know:

What to Bring

  • A theatrical resume. All main stage actors are required to supply a theatrical résumé on the day of auditions. For more assistance in creating one, visit our Theatrical Résumé page.
  • A parent. Audition forms will be available on the day of auditions. If you’re under eighteen, you’ll need to bring a parent or guardian who will sign this form for you.
  • A snapshot of yourself. Professional headshots aren’t necessary, but any photo that clearly shows your face will be fine.
  • Comfortable dance clothes. If you’re wearing jeans for your individual audition, you’ll need to bring comfortable clothes to change into for the dance portion. If you have long hair, bring a ponytail holder to pull it out of your face. If you have dance shoes, you can bring those along as well.
  • Water. Getting nervous can make your mouth dry, so bring along a water bottle to keep you hydrated while you wait.
  • Sheet music. If you are having the OPA accompanist play your song instead of singing it a cappella, make sure to bring clearly marked sheet music.

Before the Audition

Arrive at least fifteen minutes before your scheduled audition slot to allow sufficient time to fill out an audition form and to review the reading that you’ll perform in your individual audition. At the proper time, an OPA staff member will call your name and usher you into the audition room.


When you enter the audition room, you’ll see a panel of production staff members, which may include the director, assistant director, musical director, choreographer, and stage managers. Introduce yourself and hand one of the staff members your audition form.

The Individual Audition

Each audition begins with an individual portion. Actors (or their parents, in the case of our Youth Theatre) will sign up for a ten-minute time slot on the day of auditions. We allot ten minutes, but most auditions take fewer than five minutes. It is up to you to decide whether you’ll sing first or read first; let the audition panel know which you choose and begin when they indicate it is okay to do so.


Actors should prepare 8-16 bars of music to sing ahead of time. While any music is accepted, it’s best to choose a song that shows your range well and showcases your ability to sing. Pop songs, in general, aren’t great choices. You may want to ask a music teacher at your school for assistance choosing an appropriate piece.

You may perform the song a cappella or bring sheet music for our accompanist to play. CDs are not permitted.


You’ll pick up a reading before your audition. It is part of the script of the play you’re auditioning for.

  • If you just received your copy of the script moments before your audition, it’s okay to ask for a little time to study the role.
  • Don’t be afraid to read directly from the script while acting. The important part is to see how well you can interpret the part, not how well you can memorize a script on short notice.
  • Try to say the words of the script correctly, but don’t be too worried if you mispronounce a word or two. If you completely mess up your lines, it’s okay to ask if you can start from the beginning again.

At the end of the audition, thank the auditioners. You’ll be given a number. Remember this number, as you’ll need it for dance auditions.

The Dance Audition

Dance auditions begin immediately following individual auditions, usually around noon or 1:00 PM. Check the website for the appropriate call time. If you have an early audition slot, you may leave and return, but make sure to be back on time.When you enter the audition room with all of the other actors, pick up the dance number you were assigned at your individual audition and pin it where the auditioners can see it clearly.

The choreographer will teach everyone a small dance segment. Then, actors will be called up in groups of three or four to perform the dance. It’s okay if you don’t know every move. The auditioners are looking for enthusiasm, stage presence, and how quickly actors can pick up the steps.

Call Backs

Once all of the auditions are complete, some actors may be asked to stay for call-backs. This means that the auditioners would like to see more of this person, and may ask them to read portions of the script with others. If you do not get a call back, this does not mean that you have not received a part.


The cast list is normally posted on the OPA website on the same day as auditions, although in some cases it can take up to two days. Please do not call the director.