By Jillian Bietz
The aspiration of being a Broadway star is a common goal among high school drama club members all over the world. And though many face doubt and concern over achieving this seemingly impossible dream, Kayla Foster is a prime example of how, with a little incentive and a lot of passion, dreams really can come true.
Taking voice and acting lessons, singing along to her favorite show tunes or ultimately performing in musicals on the school stage, Kayla has dedicated most of her life doing all she could to further her exhilaration and pure love for musical theater. At only eighteen-years-old, the southern Californian student was presented with the opportunity to audition for the hit Broadway smash "Spring Awakening" in New York City. Although she didn't ultimately get the part, the experience paved the way for her future success. Kayla shares what it was like to try-out for the Tony award winning musical and how this venture has changed her view on life forever.
How did the opportunity to try-out for "Spring Awakening" arise?
I did a lot of theatre in high school, and after being cast as Miss Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls" as a sophomore, a parent approached me about auditioning for professional productions in the future. So a couple of years, when I saw "Spring Awakening" and absolutely loved it, she was amazingly able to schedule an audition for me. To say the least, it was very unexpected.
How did you prepare for your audition?
I was only given about a week of notice before my first audition. I had to sing a song and memorize a scene. I chose an indie rock song that I felt suited my voice, was fun to prepare, and mirrored the stylistic quality of the show. One of my best friends, who is an incredible actress herself, helped me with my scene work and character choices. But after my first callback, the casting director gave me six songs and four scenes that I had to memorize in just one night for my next audition! Luckily, because I am huge fan of the "Spring Awakening", I was familiar with most of the material. I just listened to the CD on "repeat" and reread the scenes multiple times.
What did the audition process entail, and how long did it take?
The audition process was more waiting and rehearsing than anything. I only spent around 30 minutes with the production team, but it took many hours of hard work in somewhat of a pressure-cooker environment. I stayed in New York for six days, and had four auditions. Each audition got more and more intense.
What was your favorite part?
Towards the end of my callbacks, I was given an incredible opportunity when the casting director scheduled me a private lesson with Michael Mayer, the show director, and Kim Grigsby, the vocal director. Though I was shocked, because they are celebrities to me, I was really confident in my performances. Sharing my love of theater with them was incredible, regardless of if I were to be cast in the show or not. They asked me if I would mind delaying my plane back home so I could come back for a final audition! So, though it took a lot of work and was very emotionally taxing, I knew my experience auditioning for "Spring Awakening" was truly life changing experience.
Did you encounter anything unexpected during the audition
process? Was it how you pictured?
I went into my first audition just looking to have a fun learning experience, so it was unexpected that I was called back even once. I thought the process was going to be negatively stressful and intense, so I was surprised and very grateful at how kind and comfortable the production team and cast of "Spring Awakening" made me feel. Particularly Michael Mayer and Kim Grigsby; they were so supportive.
Do you have any suggestions to both those who someday hope to try out for a Broadway show and those who just want to nail their audition for the school play?
My main suggestions would be to work hard and show your personality. I know the myth behind auditioning is that you need to actively do something to stand out, but in my opinion, the best way to stand out is to be prepared with the material and do it with confidence. If you leave an audition knowing you adequately represented yourself, being cast is irrelevant. Knowing you truthfully gave it your all is what matters most. And because I felt that I did my best, I walked away from the process with no regrets.
Kayla, we look forward to seeing you on Broadway in the future. Break a leg!
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Jillian Bietz, Teen columnist, enjoys reading, creative writing, acting and cooking.
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