Audition Fails

*Photo by Justin Patterson

Audition Fails

(Or Bette’s list of what not to do!)


Auditions can be an amazing microscope. You really do see everything under the sun there, from bad outfits and shoes, to really great ones, to really amazing work, and some that falls way short. Sometimes it’s what is said or done, or how a person shows up, but here’s my list of audition fails, compiled with the help of Bette’s friends who are equally opinionated.

1.     Not dressing for the show in any way. Time period and style matter. Oklahoma is not Rent.

2.     Wearing a full on costume. The line can be very thin.

3.     Wearing a Capezio Jr. Footlight character shoe when you are over the age of 13 and honestly, at any age if you don’t look like a child anymore. They are a training shoe, like a training bra, or training wheels on a bike.

4.     Being smelly in any way. Perfume or B.O. are both BAD, take a shower and don’t put on the Flower Bomb perfume, just deodorant please!

5.     Having anything on your resume that isn’t true and/or accurate. Be it a skill or a credit, they will absolutely find out if you are lying. This has never happened to me because I’m constantly editing my resume to reflect my true skills. People do this with acro a lot. If you don’t do it on the regular, don’t claim it. That’s just asking to be exposed.

6.     Wearing La Ducas or obviously dance shoes to a purely singers call that occurs on a separate day from the dance call, unless it’s an audition for A Chorus Line.

7.     Being anything less than completely polite to EVERYONE including the monitor, the casting intern, the pianist, the guy at the front desk, and the elevator operator. Former interns from the casting houses become agent’s assistants. This world is small and you WILL see all these people again. Be someone they WANT to see again.

8.     Not following the rules. We have a union for a reason and if you want workplace protections and an equal playing field for auditions, you have to respect the rules like all the rest of us. If the monitor said you couldn’t do something, you can’t do it. End of story.

9.     Not being prepared. Nothing screams, “don’t hire me” more than this.

10.  Not having a second (amazing) song prepared to show you off. If they don’t give you any guidelines, just sing the song that you love the most in your book. But do ask them if there is anything particular they need to hear from that second song.

11.  Bringing your anxiety and nerves into the room: they’re simply not appropriate to bring to a job interview. (Thanks Michael Kostroff!)

12.  Second-guessing yourself in the room. Be confident in your work and stand behind it. If you believe it, most likely they will.

13.  Two words: Verbal Diarrhea. Just don’t.

14.  Taking any of it personally. It’s called “Show Business” for a reason.

15.  Chewing gum in your audition. Saw a girl lose a job and the respect of a major choreographer for this. 

16.  Being late. If you are late, apologize, put yourself together, and if they ask why you were late, the answer is: your last audition ran a bit late. Makes you seem more in demand than your train was stalled in the tunnel between 125th and 59th street.

These are just a few of my favorites. Feel free to add your favorite audition fail stories in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!


Bulletproof Bette shares her wisdom in the first ever Showgirl’s Guide to surviving and thriving in a city and industry that wants to eat you for lunch. Get exclusive content when you sign up below!