1. Do Your Homework
This is essential. You will not have a successful audition unless you do your homework first. That means picking the right music and monologue. PRACTICE!! Do not choose the song you're planning to sing that afternoon. Memorizing in the corner before you go into the audition room is not chic. Is it a dance heavy show? Brush up on your tap. If you are auditioning for a specific show, KNOW WHAT THE SHOW IS ABOUT! Learn about the characters. Who wrote it? What time period does the show take place? Nothing speaks more to a director than an auditioner who didn't care enough to know what they were auditioning for.
2. Dress the Part
No, I don't mean go to your audition in costume. (Well, not unless drastic action is called for.) I do mean dressing like a professional. Please do not audition in jeans or sweat pants. I don't care if you have a dance portion to the audition. Bring dance clothes and shoes with you, but DO NOT sing or read in said attire. Wear nice clothes and shoes. Ladies, unless you are auditioning for a pants role, please wear a dress or skirt. I don't expect you to show up ready to go to the prom, but show up like you're going to work (you are). And don't forget to practice in your shoes. The last thing you need is a blister!
3. Practice Your Pageant Moves
And I do mean walking and talking. The very first impression the director receives from you is how you walk in the door. Look them in the eye. Smile. Walk briskly but not like you're going to the races. Appear confident but not a diva/o. Do they look friendly? Do not be afraid to shake their hands. Say hello, introduce yourself, make yourself a human being!
4. Have A Mock Interview....With Yourself
Most directors will have questions for you. Some will be about roles you have played, classes you have taken, etc. The two most used questions (and most terrifying answers) are: 'Tell me about yourself' and 'What role would you like to be considered for?' It is very important to practice how you will answer these questions. While you don't want to necessarily sound "rehearsed" you definitely don't want to say something weird, or worse, nothing at all. For the first question, I suggest telling them where you are from, a little about your acting/singing/dancing experience, and a few hobbies. No need to make it any longer than necessary. In some cases, the director simply wants to get a sense of your personality and if you can speak clearly.
The later question is slightly more difficult. If you have a role you wish to be considered for TELL THE DIRECTOR! If you don't, they may think you aren't interested in a leading role. With that said, do not lead the directors to assume, even if it's indirectly spoken, that you would not be in the ensemble if you were not cast in a role. This is especially important if you are auditioning for a stage company. I suggest something along these lines: "I am really interested in being considered for the role of ____, I think he/she is challenging and it's really something I would love to work on. But I would be really excited just to be part of the production." This gives the casting director a direct answer while remaining open and friendly.
5. Wear Something Memorable
This may sound silly, but I can't tell you the number of times I've spoken with other directors about actors and say, "what about the girl in the yellow sweater," "the guy with the green tie," "the lady with the chunky red necklace." Anything that can help the directors remember you!
*Disclaimer. This does not mean go into your audition in a red mini skirt and purple tube top. Good remembering is good. Bad remembering is bad......
6. Find a Focal Point
This is both for your benefit and the director's. With all of your nervous energy, you need something to focus on. Find a spot on the wall behind the director's head. (And a little above). Stare at it and send all of your energy to it. You'll find yourself less anxious and it will give focus to your song/monologue. This is also helpful to the director. If you're shifting your eyes all over the place, I can't focus my attention on what you're trying to do.
7. Be Flexible
If a director asks you to stand on your head, DO IT! If the music director asks you to sing scales at turbo speed, DO IT! Just as important as your preparation for your audition is your ability to prove how 'directable' you are. TRUST ME: there are many talented people who do not get cast simply because they cannot be directed.
8. Ask Questions
This is imperative. Have something to ask the directors. Preferably not about pay or how much is expected of you. But perhaps something regarding the directors vision of the set, will you be performing with an orchestra, etc. Anything to show how interested you are in the production.
It is important to reflect after leaving your audition. Not every audition is going to be perfect, and even if it is, take time to think about how it went. Was the song you chose appropriate for the role? Did you feel more confident than the last time? This reflection period will make you a stronger auditioner and will set your next audition up for even more success.
10. REPEAT AFTER ME: Auditioning is my job.
Let's face it. You are going to audition many more times than you will actually perform. Learn to enjoy it, or get out of the business.