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What we are looking for

We are looking for students with a passion for being on the stage and who want to study all aspects of the theatre. Successful candidates listen and adapt, and are able to accept criticism and incorporate suggestions into their work.  We are looking for students who are focused, on-task, imaginative, emotionally available, and able to express themselves physically as well as vocally.  Students should be interested in pursuing a career in the theatre.

How to prepare/what to bring

  • Prepare and memorize a 2-minute monologue from one of the plays listed below.  Note that this is a list of play titles – it is the auditioner’s responsibility to get the plays from the library, bookstore, etc. We will only see monologues from one of the plays on this list (below).  (A monologue is a speech from a play where one character is talking to themselves or other characters for a period of time. If a character interrupts the speech you can usually skip their interjection and continue the monologue).
  • In addition to a monologue, prepare and memorize a published poem or spoken word that is 25 lines or less. A good source for poetry is the Poetry Out Loud websitePlease note that the auditioner must prepare a monologue and a poem.
  • Be prepared to tell us why you want to attend Duke Ellington and what you hope to accomplish while you are here.
  • Come to the audition on time, dressed in loose fitting clothes and tennis shoes, and be prepared for movement or warm-up exercises.

The audition process itself

Students auditioning for the Theatre Department will participate in group warm-up exercises and then will have individual audition time where they will present their monologues.

Students who have a successful preliminary audition will be asked to one or more callbacks, so students should be aware that their audition process could require several visits to Ellington. At callbacks, students will take acting, speech, improvisation, and/or movement classes taught by our faculty. Students will be asked to present their monologue and poem/spoken word again, so that we may see how well they listened and incorporated the information they learned in the classes. Finally, students will work on a group exercise and participate in an interview.

Have a successful audition

  • We strongly suggest students attend one of the audition workshops provided by the Theatre Department. During this workshop, prospective students will learn more about the theatre department, learn more about the audition process, and receive coaching from current students and faculty on their audition monologue and poem.
  • MAKE SURE THAT YOU CAN BE HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD AT ALL TIMES. There is nothing more frustrating than watching what appears to be a brilliant performance, and not being able to hear or understand it. Keep the voice supported and be sure to enunciate.

When preparing your monologue…

  • Choose a monologue from one of the plays on the list provided below. These pieces were chosen by the faculty because they are strong audition material and will help you have a better audition.  We will only hear monologues from one of these plays. Make sure you enjoy performing your selections and that the pieces are in the right age range for you.
  • Make sure that you read the play. The faculty may ask you questions about the play.
  • Students are expected to audition with a prepared monologue. That means it should be memorized and rehearsed.  Also, you must understand your character – what do they want and what are they doing to get what they want.
  • Make active choices based on the given circumstances of the play. Try to define your character’s objective – what does he or she want in the course of the monologue? Then actively pursue that goal.

When preparing your poem/spoken word…

  • Choose a published poem or spoken word that is 25 lines or less. We will not listen to anything written by the auditioner. We will hear pieces from any source as long as they are published, but a good source for poetry is the Poetry Out Loud website.
  • Choose a poem or spoken word that you can relate to and enjoy performing.
  • Apply the advice above given for the monologue.

Audition Play/Monologue List

Play Playwright Girl Boy
The Amen Corner James Baldwin X
Dark at the Top of the Stairs William Inge X
The Diary of Anne Frank Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett X
Fences August Wilson X
The Four of Us Itamar Moese X
The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams X
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone August Wilson X
The Laramie Project Moises Kaufman X
Lives of Great Waitresses Nina Shengold X
My Children! My Africa! Athol Fugard X X
Our Town Thornton Wilder X X
A Raisin in the Sun Lorraine Hansberry X
Reasons to be Pretty Neil Labute X X
Real Women Have Curves Josefina Lopez X
Stick Fly Lydia R. Diamond X X
Sunset Baby Dominique Morrisseau X
Topdog/Underdog Suzan Lorie-Parks X
Wine in the Wilderness Alice Childress X
Yellowman Dael Orlandersmith X X
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown Clark Gesner X X


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