@Miss Sorbet: Meeting new friends as an adult is hard. But the cool thing about doing a show is that, once you do a show, you can count every person in the cast as your new friends. At least that is how it is at my theater and I can’t imagine it’s any different elsewhere.
You mentioned that you are interested in musicals so I will tailor my advice to auditioning for musicals. The basic things to know about auditioning for a musical is that you should come prepared to do a vocal audition, an acting audtion and, possibly, a dance audition. The music you sing should not be from the same musical you are auditioning for. Bring sheet music and they should have a pianist to play it for you. When I’m auditioning for a musical, I try to think of the character I want to play and listen to the songs they sing. Then I pick a song from a different musical that sort of has the same feel or vibe and vocal range to it that the character has. For instance, if I were auditioning for the part of Maria in The Sound of Music, I might sing “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady as my audition piece. Your audition song should also show off your vocal range so don’t pick a song that’s too high or too low. You don’t have to anything super big or special while you’re singing. Just make sure to smile big (if it’s appropriate to the character, of course!) and have lots of energy in your face. Depending on the “caliber” of the theater, they may want you to bring two sets of music – one low-tempo and legato (which means that most of the notes you sing are sustained) and one up-tempo and which shows off your special vocal skills (such as your ability to belt). I have only experienced this requirement rarely and I would suggest you read the theater’s website to find out about their auditioning requirements. My biggest tip I could give you on this part is this: do not apologize for your performance! Do not say “I’m sorry I didn’t hit that note right, I have a cold” or “I’m sorry, I’m really nervous” or anything like that. In my experience, that is an immediate cut! It’s really unattractive for a director to hear a performer apologize for something that doesn’t need to be apologized for. Confidence is best!
For the acting audtion, you may be expected to bring a memorized monologue or two (maybe one dramatic and one comedic). The tips for selecting are similar to selecting an audition song. Keep the tone of the musical and the character you want in mind when selecting your piece. During some part of the audition, the directors may ask you to cold read for a part. Basically, the director is doing this to see where you would fit in with the other people there auditioning. How you would match up to this guy playing this part with your look and your style of acting and singing. Cold reading sucks for actors. The thing to keep in mind when cold reading is that it is OK to stumble over the lines but again, do not apologize! Everyone knows you just got the script and that you are probably going to stumble. Just go back and keep going! You don’t have to show off exemplary acting skills, but give it some effort and do what you can. Remember that the goal is to see how you fit with other people so make sure you give off some energy give the other actors something to work with.
The dance audition is hard for me to give advice on because I have only done it once. I am just going to copy and paste from another site for this part.
“THE DANCE CALL is the most direct part of the audition. It takes no immediate preparation, though several years at the barre are certainly beneficial. It consists of a warm-up (stretching exercises, floor-work, etc.) and a combination from a Broadway musical. The combination is taught to applicants as a group by students in the musical theatre program and is then performed in groups of five.
Applicants should learn the combination quickly and accurately and dance it with verve. Enthusiasm occasionally substitutes for lack of specific training.
Candidates should dress in basic dance wear or rehearsal attire — clothes which allow for ease of movement. Women should wear character shoes, jazz shoes or ballet slippers, leotards, tights, dance skirts or non-bulky warm-up wear. Men should wear jazz or ballet shoes, tights, jazz pants, t-shirts or shorts. No bulky or oversized sweat-pants or sweatshirts are permitted and sneakers are not recommended. ” (http://ccm.uc.edu/theatre/musical_theatre/auditions1.html)
So basically, that’s it! Just remember above all that you are there to have fun so smile and make some friends! If you don’t get the part, don’t be discouraged. Keep coming out for auditions and you will grow as an actor and continue to make yourself known among the theater community.
I’m sorry my post is so long. I’m not very good at being succinct. Haha!