Scott Wise and Elizabeth Parkinson, owners of the FineLine Theatre Arts school in New Milford, CT, are Tony and Astaire Award–winning performers with stellar stage careers. They also happen to be father and stepmother to this month’s cover girl, Savannah Wise! Here, they share their advice for making it on the Great White Way.
1. Scott: Know your craft. There is much truth to the saying, “Those who are prepared are lucky.” Whether you’re graduating from college, high school, your local dance studio or an arts conservatory, it’s important to continue studying. Performing artists are constantly learning and refining their craft. Everyone should be in acting and dance classes and taking voice lessons. Many teachers are directly involved with the business and many casting directors teach workshops on audition preparation. What a great way to be seen and learn!
2. Elizabeth: Work hard. Directors and choreographers are drawn to hard workers. Stay focused in your audition and simply do your best. Listen to every word the director or casting agent says and apply all directions. If they offer a specific direction make sure you implement it. It shows that you are listening and willing to go with them on their creative journey! Don’t be afraid to audition repeatedly for a show you think you’re right for. Determination can often catch a director’s eye.
3. Scott: Learn from your audition. Not every dancer is right for every role. Try to understand why you didn’t get cast. Are you the wrong type? How are you different from the person who was hired? Know who you are and what you do well and pay attention to what you need to work on.
4. Elizabeth: Look your best. Wear the outfit that you feel and look best in. Find out what your audition calls for in terms of dress and what a particular choreographer likes to see dancers in. For instance, Twyla Tharp often asks girls to wear shorts. She wants to see musculature and leg lines. If you are auditioning for the Rockettes, beige tights and shoes and a leotard are best. If you get a callback, try to wear the same outfit. It’s easier for the director and casting agents to remember you visually. 5. Scott and Elizabeth: Have fun! The ultimate performer is the one who has the talent and work ethic and is fun to work with! Enjoy your audition. You may not get hired for the project you’re auditioning for, but the casting director will remember you in the future.