Within the Broadway spectrum, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop historical musical has less in common with recent smashes than with shows that radically expanded audiences’ perceptions of the kind of stories musicals could tell, and the language and form they could use to tell them.
That puts it on the evolutionary chain that began with groundbreaking works such as Show Boat and Oklahoma!, which first threw off the constraints of revues and operettas to tell sophisticated stories with more complex characters, darker themes, and narratives driven — rather than interrupted — by songs. West Side Story broadened that concept by integrating dance as an expressive dramatic tool to a degree that had mostly been confined to ballet. Hair heralded the emergence of the rock musical, a genre destined to gather erratic momentum ever since. And A Chorus Line brought 1970s psychological introspection to a work that peeled away the glitz to tell intimate stories, not of protagonists but of the dance ensemble of a Broadway show — and by extension, of the faceless human cogs in any enterprise.
That’s of course a simplified list that skips over countless landmark musicals, not to mention the entire output of Stephen Sondheim as composer and lyricist; his 1970 show, Company, was no less daring or unconventional than A Chorus Line, and his 1979 masterwork, Sweeney Todd, remains the gold-standard marriage of musical and opera. But it’s arguably been more than 35 years since a new American musical came along that could legitimately be called revolutionary, and Hamilton waves that flag with the same fervor and intelligence as its fiery protagonist.
Losing auditions is a fact of life for every performer. Here’s a few words of advice and encouragement for the times when you don’t get “the call.”
1. You’re not alone.
Every performer deals with rejection. It’s an unfortunate reality. But remember that literally every single performer has been rejected at some point, even the amazing performers that you look up to.
2. 9 times out of 10, it has nothing to do with your skill as a performer.
Most of the time, you’re just not the right “fit” for the role. Now, there are a lot of issues (and frankly a lot of bullshit) surrounding the whole phenomenon that is being a “good fit” that I’m not going to get into in this post. Anyway, the point is, don’t take it personally. You might not fit this role, but there is a role out there that you are perfect for.
3. Losing an audition is not indicative of your skill as a performer.
You are not defined by your worst days. You are so much more than your bad auditions, worst practice sessions, and rough days in rehearsal.
4. You could have just had a bad day, and that’s okay.
Not every audition you do will be perfect. You do your preparation and you put in the hard work, and sometimes you walk into the audition room and shit happens. When you have a slip up in an audition, take a step back and try to figure out what went wrong, but try not to over-analyze. If it’s something that you can work on, then work on it. If it was a fluke accident or random mistake, don’t sweat it too much. Learn from your bad days. You learn so much about auditioning and performing by doing it, so even your worst days will help you grow.
5. There will be other auditions, and there will be other opportunities.
You lost an audition? Keep going. Keep auditioning, keep seizing opportunities. Don’t let one rejection slow you down. Also, in my experience, when one door closes, another opens. I once lost an audition, but losing that audition allowed me to be in Nunsense, where I got to work on my improv, comedic acting, and I got to choreograph for the first time. That show also spawned Tales of Hell Week. Sometimes great opportunities come your way right after you get rejected.
I’ve been checking out a handful of Something Rotten! tumblr pages and I’m really disappointed in what I see.
Instead of taking this intellectual comedy and analyzing it, they break it down into who sings the songs better and what happened at the stage door.
How about we have a conversation about how so many of Shakespeare’s works were intertwined into the story? Or how the main character’s name is both a conversation and foreshadowing? Or what about the fact that there is only one character in the entire show who has an English accent despite the play taking place in England!
I just wish people cared more about the content of the show than the people on stage.