Let’s face it: you’ve chosen a tough business. The competition is fierce, and people can be ruthless at times.
Chances are you are doing musical theatre because you are passionate. You can’t imagine doing anything else. This is what you want more than anything, so it hurts that much more when things don’t work out.
So how do you deal with that?
Let’s say you’ve just graduated high school. You’re starting to audition for schools, and you’re waiting with bated breath for those letters to come in.
The letter comes from your dream school, and it’s a no.
It’s perfectly okay to give yourself a bit of time to grieve, but you can- and will- move on.
Know that sometimes you do have to audition a few times before you get in. Take any feedback that they have given you and use that next year. The best part? You’ll have the advantage of knowing what to expect, and another year of experience and preparation.
Or maybe one of the other schools did accept you — not your dream school, but still a musical theatre program. You can choose to see what they can offer you or wait.
Now let’s say it’s not school. You’re auditioning for your dream role, and you don’t get. Again, give yourself time to grieve, then build yourself back up. Put on your favourite song or movie, think of things you can say to keep encouraging yourself, whatever you need to do.
If you are offered a different role, decide whether or not you want to accept it. Carefully consider what you can learn from the other role. If you do decline, do so politely and graciously. The director will understand, and this does not make you a diva at all.
Remind yourself that you may very well get the chance to play this role in the future. Accepting that it wasn’t meant to be this time may be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.
It can also be difficult not to take it personally. As artists, we tend to put our entire hearts into what we do, so it can feel like it’s us that is being rejected.
There are many reasons that someone could not be chosen for a role. Most of these reasons are out of our control and are in no way a reflection of our talent. This simply isn’t the right role, the right show, or the right time.
You never know what doors that audition may open in the future when the director is putting on another production. They may remember your audition and have you in mind for a role in the future. This happens quite often.
All of the performers who inspire you have been through this as well. While what you see is their success, there are countless rejections under the surface.
As long as you are putting yourself out there and auditioning, you are a performer. This may sound cliche, but the only way to truly “fail” is to stop trying.