In my last post, Typing is Wonderful, I sang the praises of "typing," a practice in which the casting or creative team looks at you and decides whether or not you can audition based on the way you look. Sounds cold and heartless? Actually, it's a relief to get to go home with your ego intact, albeit with a healthy dose of resentment. But some people were asking how to increase their chances of getting typed in.
Unfortunately, there's no big secret. Some shows are very type-specific. Rent is a perfect example. It doesn't matter how well you sing, if you have a "classic" look, they won't cast you. Likewise, no one with a mohawk is getting cast in Oklahoma. It doesn't matter that they can wig you. There are simply too many people who fit the 'type.'
So how to get typed in? The first, most obvious answer is to audition for projects you're right for. For example, I rarely got cast as a teenager even when I was a teenager. So when I got to New York, I didn't bother with calls for Bye Bye Birdie or Grease. Know your type. Believe it or not, there are people in NYC who go to every single call. This is a waste of their time and everyone else's. Don't be that person.
Secondly, dress for the show. Idina Menzel famously painted herself green for her Wicked audition. That's a little extreme! But if you're going in for a classic musical from the '40s, wear something that's a little retro and cute. If you're going in for Hair, wear jeans or a boho skirt. You want to make picking you as simple a choice as possible for the people behind the desk.
Not every show is so obvious. What to wear for Matilda? For Les Miz? When in doubt, I usually wear red or black. I have found that classic black allows them to project their ideas of the show onto me. I can be whomever they want me to be! And a hot red dress or top always pops in the room.
But know that you cannot possibly be the right type for everything. And that's okay. If you're typed out, don't take it personally. Take a deep breath, gather your things, and move on to the next one.
Or go straight to the bar!