No one likes auditions. You’re performing by yourself, without the support of other actors or a larger story to connect to. You have to drop cold into a character and scene, without having much of an opportunity to warm up. And (of course) the stakes seem even higher than they do on stage because you’re being evaluated.

Auditions are nerve-racking. But you can put yourself in the best position to get cast by prepping the right way for your audition. Here are 7 tips for finding the right monologue.

Audition Monologues_man_1400x800Finding the right audition monologues that let your passion and abilities shine is key. Follow these suggestions and you’ll be well on your way to picking the right monologue for your next audition.

Audition monologues show your acting range, skills, and passion for theatre. 

1. Find the right tone
The most important factor is selecting audition monologues with the same general tone as the shows you’re auditioning for. Try to match comedic monologues to comedies and dramatic monologues to dramas. An Odd Couple skit isn’t the right fit if you’re auditioning for something as somber as The Crucible, but it might be for a comedy like Clue.

Also think about character. If you’re auditioning for a specific part, research the character and try to select a monologue delivered by a similar character in a different show. If you’re auditioning for Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, you might lift a monologue from fellow lawyer Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men.

Consider time period as well. Don’t pick a monologue with modern slang if the show you’re auditioning for is set in 1800s London. Likewise, don’t lift something in Victorian English for an audition for Louisiana-based Steel Magnolias.

2. Consider what the director’s looking for
Listen carefully to the directions given for the audition and be sure to do what’s asked of you. Does the director want a monologue of a certain length? Or of a particular genre? They might want you to avoid monologues from other media, such as films. Your audition is as much a test of whether you can follow directions as anything else.

Also keep in mind how the director will be evaluating your performance. Directors don’t require monologues for their own amusement—they want to see if you can do a few things:
● Memorize lines in a relatively short period of time
● Perform in front of an audience
● Deliver convincing dialogue in character
● Take direction
And, frankly, they want to make sure that you care enough about being cast in the show to put in the time and effort to prepare.

3. Show some range
Don’t pick a monologue that sounds too much like yourself. You want to demonstrate that you’re capable of acting through a wide variety of emotions. Pick something that shows how you can be funny, or mortified, or angry (or, better yet, a monologue that takes you through all three emotions).

4. Get comfortable with the language
Just like in a show, you should know your monologue like the back of your hand. Set yourself up for success by picking a monologue that has a cadence and level of vocabulary that you’re comfortable with. So, unless you’re auditioning for a Shakespearean play, you might want to leave those wordy, early Modern English soliloquies at home.

5. Save the accent
If you’re going for a role that has a speaking accent different from your own, don’t give it a shot in your audition unless otherwise directed. With that in mind, avoid monologues that require an accent. (If the director wants to test your accent skills, she’ll ask you to do so during the audition.) The only exception would be if you’ve been professionally trained in an accent, in which case you might want to flex that line of your acting résumé.

6. Pair it with a song
Auditions for musicals generally request both a spoken monologue and a song excerpt. Select those two pieces together, considering what the two say about your abilities. Consider your acting “type” and pick a monologue and a song that both lean into it—or show that you’re capable of more!

7. Avoid something from the same show
Even if you’re auditioning for a specific role or already know a part forward and back, you’ll want to skip over monologues from the show. Your director likely has her own ideas about how the show’s lines should be delivered, so you’re taking an unnecessary chance by applying your own interpretation. Auditions often include cold reads administered by the casting director. That would be the more appropriate time to perform as the character you’re auditioning for.

And finally, here are some quick reminders for nailing your monologue during the audition itself:

● Don’t stress about hitting every word. Unless you’ve picked a famous snippet (“To be or not to be” from Hamlet; “You can’t handle the truth” from A Few Good Men), the director won’t know if you change a word or drop a line. (Also: Don’t pick something famous! You’ll have big shoes to fill.) 

● Breathe. Unlike on stage or when performing a song, you’ll be able to take your monologue at your own pace. And if you need to restart, just say so.

● Be prepared to improvise. The director might have you perform your monologue additional times, perhaps with different inflections. This is a test—she wants to see if you’re coachable and how well you can adapt. 

Editor’s note: Here’s another post with links to help you find audition monologues.

Andrew Koch is a writer and editor from Cincinnati, Ohio. He’s auditioned with monologues from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Man of La Mancha.

  • Like What You Just Read? Share It!

  • Other Related Articles You May Enjoy

    Mastering Virtual Auditions

    Mastering Virtual Auditions

    Pro tips for self-recording your virtual auditions.

    Jun 29, 2021

    The Making of an Imagineer

    The Making of an Imagineer

    Discover how the magic happens!

    Aug 09, 2021

    Tory Vagasy: From Thespian to America's Got Talent

    Tory Vagasy: From Thespian to America's Got Talent

    This Thespian brought the house to its feet on AGT!

    Aug 11, 2021