Auditioning is an art unto itself, and worth separating from the art of acting for a play or musical. People who love auditioning have the qualities of athletes who love to practice, of people who see their work as something to be applied in any circumstance, and of people who value bravery and fearlessness in their approach to life.
A good auditionee does not measure the success of an audition by the validation of their work through employment or through praise. One must demonstrate enormous psychological health to enjoy auditioning and not place this activity in the realm of approval.
Take a scene or song, analyze it, enjoy it, and bend your craft towards it. Go into the room to explore the words and the part, ask yourself hard questions about the action of the scene or the song, put that action into the character and particularly the person the scene is aimed at, keep the focus off yourself, and on the work, and be brave and agile. Make clear choices and look at the work like a separate application of acting, compressed into fragments of a part, and distill the work to an essence. Make bold choices, and clear choices, with an ability to repeat. Value language, speech, the sound and potential of the human voice, and be aware of the subtle information the human body can impart through shape and gesture.
When the audition is over, let it go and move on. Try not to live in the matrix of hope and guessing and a demeaning sense of longing. A great auditionee once told me, “I always imagine that when I’m done, I spit on the floor and leave.” Nobody is interested in somebody who wants something too desperately. They are interested in someone who is good.
Always expect the person holding the audition to treat you with respect and care. Think the best of the person putting you through this, whether a casting director or director. Always remember, no matter how something goes, that the people holding the audition actually want you to be right, and to be great.
(Forward to Neil Rutherford's book MUSICAL THEATRE AUDITIONS AND CASTING published by Bloomsbury)