5 Ways to Prepare Your Child Actor for Broadway

Have you seen any Broadway shows or Broadway tours lately? Or commercials for Broadway/Broadway tour shows? If you have, you would have noticed how many of them have great kid roles! This is a particularly kid-heavy season on Broadway! To name a few, there’s “Matilda,” “School of Rock,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Sound of Music,” “Fun Home,” “Kinky Boots,” “The King and I,” “Finding Neverland,” and others.

Follow these steps for the best possible results of auditioning for these shows! These steps are meant for both the parent and the talent.

1. See the shows! You have absolutely no idea what the show is about, whether your child is a right fit, or even if your child can handle the material if you and your child don’t see the show. I have had people refuse to audition for “Fun Home” and for “Kinky Boots” because of the subject matter. If you haven’t seen the show, then you don’t know what is appropriate and comfortable for your child. I realize that this is an expensive proposition, but Broadway is expensive! One way around that is to go early to the theater and try for the ticket lottery. Each show has its own process for the ticket lottery, so check the website. For example, if you go to “School of Rock” two hours early, you can put your name in a hat for discount tickets. Ninety minutes before showtime, they pick a limited amount of winners who win two front row tickets to the show for only $25! Even shows that are sold out for the next two years like “Hamilton” have the ticket lottery. Out of the three times that I did the ticket lottery, I won twice.

2. Watch the child in the role closely. Are they doing the dance moves sharply? Are they doing the song sadly? How well is the boy playing the guitar on stage? For example, I have had parents ask me to have their child audition for the tap show “Tappin’ Thru Life,” in which the child in the show is an amazing tap prodigy. The child in question had taken three tap lessons. That is completely unrealistic to think that the child had a shot at the role. Someone who sees the show beforehand knows the level expected for the particular skill in the role.

3. Research the music online. You can get the music and lyrics to any show online. Get the material for the role your child is right for and get coaching! There are so many great Broadway vocal and audition coaches who work with kids who are or have been in the show. I have had some of our clients who outgrew a role coach a client who was auditioning for that same role. They know exactly what notes to hit and how the director wants the song/dance done. Reach out to your reps and see if they have a hookup for you in that area.

4. Attend every open call for Broadway and Broadway tours if you don’t have representation. Reps will normally get you in front of the creative team with a scheduled appointment, but if you have don’t have an agent or manager, go anyway! I can’t tell you how many unknown kids without reps book those coveted roles!

5. Don’t wait too long to jump into the mix. Broadway has an expiration date for children, and that’s their height. Every show has a minimum and maximum height for each role. Get the training and do it before height makes Broadway a moot point. The good and bad news is that no child lasts too long in any role. They outgrow the height and the slot opens up for the next child to shine.

Break a leg, and I’ll see you on Broadway!

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Jackie Reid
Jackie Reid owns and operates L’il Angels Unlimited, a talent management company, which specializes in placing young actors in films, theater productions, commercials, print media, on television, and with voiceover work. Reid works extensively with agents in New York and L.A.