Archives for posts with tag: The Rep

fb-repRegistration is open f

or fall classes at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater! We still have a few spots available, and some start as soon as September 10th!
Our classes include
• a two part Acting for the Camera series, focusing on acting technique, auditioning, networking in today’s industry (register for part 1 here, and part 2 here!)
Stage Combat, which focuses on unarmed combat with an opportunity to test for Level 1 certification with Duel Arts International (register here)
• a three part Basic Acting series, which explores fundamentals of acting including monologues, character development and scenework (Register for part 1 here, part 2 here, and part three is coming in the spring!)

Additional information can be found at–Learn/Business–Adult-Training/Adult-Classes/

Questions can be directed to Auburn Matson, Education Administrator at


Come join Acting for the Camera II! Class starts Monday, September 10th, but we still do have spots available! If have previously taken Acting for the Camera I or have previous on-camera acting experience and are ready to learn more, this class is perfect for you!


Acting for the Camera II focuses on developing more deeply the key technical skills introduced in Acting for the Camera I. Through individually tailored, real-world material, the instructor will lead you through commercial, theatrical, slate, interview, and monologue work. The class will devote time each week to honing on-camera practice and critique in the five major areas listed above. The goal of this class is to give each student a stronger sense of developed skill, confidence, industry preparedness, and a slew of marketable reel material. Please contact Auburn Matson with a brief summary of your qualifications if you have any questions about your eligibility for this course.


Instructor: Thomas Adisi
Class Fee: $200
Prerequisite: Acting for the Camera I
Next session: September 10, 17, 24, October 1, 8, 15 from 5:30–7:30pm.


Follow this link to register online:



Stage Combat: Dueling Arts International

Some of the greatest climactic moments in theater are centered on violence.  In order to safely perform these moments, actors must train under a fight director.  These series of classes focus on teaching techniques for creating the illusion of violence in a theatrical setting.  They emphasize physical awareness, dynamic acting choices, fitness, and partnering.  There will be the opportunity to test for Level 1 Certification for the class weapon through Dueling Arts International.

Rapier and Dagger – In the early 16th century as the popularity of dueling increased and the efficiency of large heavy armors decreased, an off handed weapon began to be employed for defense; the dagger being the most popular for its ease of carry and offensive capabilities.  Combatants will be challenged to integrate both sides of their bodies in dynamic choreography where they will be able to attack and defend at the same time. Weapons will be provided.

If interested in registering for this course, please click here.
Instructor: JJ Gatesman
Fee: $250

No Prerequisite               

Monday, July 23rd             5:30 – 7:30 PM
Wednesday, July 25th      5:30 – 7:30 PM
Monday, July 30th             5:30 – 7:30 PM
Wednesday, Aug. 1st       5:30 – 7:30 PM
Tuesday, Aug. 7th             5:30 – 7:30 PM*
Wednesday, Aug. 8th       5:30 – 7:30 PM
Monday, Aug. 13th            5:30 – 7:30 PM
Wednesday, Aug. 15th    5:30 – 7:30 PM
*Please note class will be held on Tuesday, August 7th due to instructor availability.


We are thrilled to offer upcoming Adult Acting classes this summer at The Milwaukee Rep! Please visit our website to register:–Learn/Business–Adult-Training/Adult-Classes/


This intro class is designed for non-professionals from all occupations interested in developing essential skills (such as confidence, focus, creative and critical thinking, etc.) while sharpening their basic acting skills. Classes will encourage students to use their imagination, body, and voice to explore specific techniques used to enhance any stage performance. Special attention is given to preparing a contemporary monologue. Participants of the entire Basic Acting series (I, II and III) will receive a signed Certificate of Participation at the end of Basic Acting III.

Instructor: Joshua Krause
Class fee: $150
Prerequisite: None
Next session: July 16, 23, 30, August 6, 13, 20 from 5:30-7:00pm


This fast-paced class will not only introduce students to the fundamentals of acting onscreen, but also help students get started in a time when everyone has the power to create and share their film work. Topics explored and developed may include script and character analysis, basic acting techniques, networking, auditioning, and talent expectations for social media, micro-budget, and professional film projects. Whether you are a filmmaker as a hobby or an eager amateur that wishes to turn professional, this course will help direct your passion to the best starting point.

Instructor: Thomas Adisi
Class fee: $175
Prerequisite: None
Next session: Wednesdays: July 18, 25, August 8, 15, 22 from 5:30–7:30pm


Some of the greatest climactic moments in theater are centered on violence.  In order to safely perform these moments, actors must train under a fight director.  These series of classes focus on teaching techniques for creating the illusion of violence in a theatrical setting.  They emphasize physical awareness, dynamic acting choices, fitness, and partnering.  There will be the opportunity to test for Level 1 Certification for the class weapon through Dueling Arts International.

Rapier and Dagger – In the early 16th century as the popularity of dueling increased and the efficiency of large heavy armors decreased, an off handed weapon began to be employed for defense; the dagger being the most popular for its ease of carry and offensive capabilities.  Combatants will be challenged to integrate both sides of their bodies in dynamic choreography where they will be able to attack and defend at the same time. Weapons will be provided.


Instructor: JJ Gatesman
Class Fee: $250
Prerequisite: None
Next session: Mondays & Wednesdays: July 23, 25, 30, August 1, *Tuesday, August 7*, 8, 13, and 15 from 5:30-7:30 pm.
Note: Please note class will be held on Tuesday, August 7th due to instructor availability.



Acting for the Camera II focuses on developing more deeply the key technical skills introduced in Acting for the Camera I. Through individually tailored, real-world material, the instructor will lead you through commercial, theatrical, slate, interview, and monologue work. The class will devote time each week to honing on-camera practice and critique in the five major areas listed above. The goal of this class is to give each student a stronger sense of developed skill, confidence, industry preparedness, and a slew of marketable reel material. Please contact Auburn Matson with a brief summary of your qualifications if you have any questions about your eligibility for this course.


Instructor: Thomas Adisi
Class Fee: $200
Prerequisite: Acting for the Camera I
Next session: Mondays: September 10, 17, 24, October 1, 8, 15 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.



AUBURN MATSON | Education Administrator | Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex | 108 East Wells Street | Milwaukee, WI 53202
414-290-5393 tel | 414-224-9097 fax |

Website: | Facebook: | Twitter:




Dance with the Stars

Saturday October 3rd 2pm-3pm

Milwaukee Rep – Rehearsal Hall 3


Come visit Milwaukee Rep’s rehearsal halls and learn some of the dance moves from Dreamgirls from Leonard Sullivan, our very own dance captain! All skills levels welcome, ages 10 to 100. Come dressed to move. RSVP to by September 28th at the latest. Space is limited. First come, first serve.


Sing the Dreamgirls Songs

Saturday October 10th 2pm-3pm

Milwaukee Rep – Rehearsal Hall 3


Work with musicians and actors from Dreamgirls to learn a song from Dreamgirls, meet fellow singers, and hear what Dreamgirls music can sound like with a full choral sound! All skill levels welcome, ages 10 to 100. RSVP to by October 5th at the latest. Space is limited. First come, first serve.


Singing Contest

Post a video of you singing a song in the style of Dreamgirls to Facebook or Twitter by October 14th using #dreamgirlsmke and tagging @MilwRep. We will pick the best singers to win tickets to the Thursday October 29th performance and to perform on the set of Dreamgirls after the show.



LEDA HOFFMANN | Director of Community Engagement | Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex | 108 East Wells Street | Milwaukee, WI 53202
414.224.1761 x338 tel | 414.224.9097 fax |

Website: | Facebook: | Twitter:

Milwaukee Rep Education - Adult Training Program
Fall classes now open for enrollment!

Acting for the Camera with Sam Kozel 
Mondays, September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19

Basic Acting I
Tuesdays, September 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 20

Directing with Leda Hoffmann
Thursdays, October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5

For more information or to register, visit:


Space is limited. Registration deadline fast approaching!

The Rep’s THE AMISH PROJECT has captivated Milwaukee audiences…

Now come learn from the artists! 


DIRECTING with Leda Hoffmann                                             

Wednesdays, March 4 – April 8, 6:00 – 8:00 PM


From page to stage, learn the fundamentals of directing through

workshopping scenes from a contemporary play.


 DIALECTS with Jill Zager                                                            Mondays, March 2 & 9, 6:00 – 8:00 PM


Journey across the world and explore four dialects essential for any actor’s toolbox: RP, Cockney, German, & French.

To register, please visit: or call 414.290.5398

3 Great Saturday Intensives @ The Rep for Local Actors
Nationally recognized Fight Director Jamie Cheatham on Unarmed Stage Combat, Rep Dialect Coach Jill Walmsley Zager on 3 British Isle dialects, and 3 leading professionals – JC Clementz, Laura Gordon, and Jim McCaffrey of Stewart Talent in Chicago – help you with “Getting the Next Gig.”  Register @ .

Dialect Intensive

Saturday Intensive

Instructor: Jill Walmsley Zager

April 12, 2014

Noon – 3 PM

Cost: $60


Received Pronunciation, also known as Standard British or BBC English, is one of themost needed dialects for an American actor to master, and yet it proves oftentimes to be one of the most difficult. There is a wealth of great dramatic literature requiring the Irish dialects, and recently there has been more of a need for actors to become adept at the Scottish dialects. Come explore the range of similarities and differences in these dialects of the British Isles withMilwaukee Rep’s Dialect Coach Jill Walmsley Zager .  


Jill Walmsley Zager’s  Milwaukee Rep credits include: ARaisin in the Sun, Clybourne Park, Sense and Sensibility, A Christmas Carol, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Mountaintop, Assassins, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lombardi, Yellowman, Ten Chimneys, The 39 Steps, My Name Is Asher Lev, Laurel and Hardy and Cabaret. Jill has recently returned to Milwaukee from three years as the Co-Head of Voice and Dialects and the Company Coach at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Regionally, she has worked at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Water Tower, Apple Tree Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre & Conference Center, Utah Shakespeare Festival and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Jill earned her Master’s Degrees at Central School of Speech & Drama (London) and Northwestern. She is married to James Zager, the Head of the Theatre Program at Carroll University.



Unarmed Stage Combat Intensive

Saturday Intensive

Instructor: Jamie Cheatham

March 22, 2014

Noon – 3 PM

Cost: $60


This workshop, led by nationally recognized Fight Director and SAFD Certified Teacher Jamie Cheatham, will be an introduction to the craft of unarmed stage combat. Focus will be on safety as well as techniques necessary to create the illusion of violence. Movement and acting skills are also a part of this physical storytelling.


Jamie Cheatham was based in New York City as a fight director, teacher and actor before moving to Wisconsin in 2003. He has over twenty years experience as a professional, classically trained actor (AEA, SAG-AFTRA) and fight director. His fight work includes such theaters as the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Alley Theatre (TX), Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (KY), many regional Shakespeare festivals, and recently the Milwaukee Ballet. He has taught in several MFA acting programs, privately in New York City, and is currently the head of acting at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. 



Getting the Next Gig – Audition Panel Intensive

Saturday Audition

Instructors: JC Clementz, Laura Gordon, and Jim McCaffery

April 5, 2014

Noon – 4PM

Cost: $60


Have you ever wondered what the people on the other side of the table actually thought about your audition?  Ever wish you knew what to do in order to improve your chances of being cast for the next one?  Here’s your opportunity to learn that and more.  JC Clementz (Casting Director for Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Laura Gordon (Freelance Director, Actor, and Rep Associate Artist), and Jim McCaffrey (Casting Agent for Stewart Talent in Chicago) give each participant direct feedback on 2 contrasting audition pieces.  Please no songs for this one.   Space is limited.


How It Works:

You have 5 minutes to introduce yourself, slate and perform your two audition pieces.  The panelists then have the next 5 minutes to fill out a response form, rating your audition on technical aspects, choice of material, and offering suggestions for improvement.  You will receive all three forms following your audition to help prepare you to get the next gig.  On Friday, April 4th you will receive your exact audition time. 



JC Clementz is the Artistic Associate: Casting & Artistic Intern Company Director at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. He most recently directed Forever Plaid in their Stackner Cabaret, where he will be directing The Doyle and Debbie Show next season. Also at The Rep, he has assistant directed Othello, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, and Yellowman. As a stage manager, JC has traveled throughout Europe as the Assistant Stage Manager for New York Harlem Productions’ international tour of Porgy and Bess (dir. Baayork Lee). Prior to his arrival in Milwaukee, he spent a season at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre working in the casting and literary office. JC holds an MFA in Directing from Western Illinois University.


Laura Gordon is a Milwaukee based actor and director, whose directing credits include Venus in Fur, Speaking in Tongues, Almost Maine, Seascape, Laurel and Hardy, Gutenberg! the Musical! (Milwaukee Rep); Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Winter’s Tale (Utah Shakespeare Festival); In the Next Room or the vibrator play (Actors Theater of Louisville); Skin Tight, Memory House (Renaissance Theaterworks); Red, Going to St. Ives (Forward Theater); Richard III (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival).   Her acting credits include Margie in Good People,  Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Sister Aloysius in Doubt, Lane in The Clean House, Charlotta in The Cherry Orchard, Elizabeth in Richard III, Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Queen Elizabeth I in Mary Stuart, Stevie in The Goat.  Laura is a Lunt-Fontanne Fellow and an Associate Artist with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  She is a member of SDC and Actors Equity Association.


Jim McCaffrey has been an agent for the past three years at Stewart Talent, the largest agency in the Midwest, representing actors for film, TV, theatre, and commercials.  His clients can be seen on TV in NBC’s Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Crisis, and Betrayal, Showtime’s Fargo, ABC’s Mind Games, USA’s Sirens, and much more, in addition to countless national commercials, Broadway plays and musicals, feature films, and major regional stages across the country.  Prior to working as an agent, he worked in the casting department of the Goodman Theatre, and as a professional stage manager and actor in New York and internationally.  Jim is a graduate from Temple University in Philadelphia, and holds a BA in Theatre with a minor in Business Administration.

The Professional Audition

Saturday Intensive

Feb. 8th, 12:00 – 3:00 PM

Fee: $60                Instructor: JC Clementz


How do you prepare for a professional audition?  Find out with this very popular class lead by JC Clementz, Casting Director and Artistic Associate for The Rep.  JC will tell you the do’s and don’ts of auditioning and will have an opportunity to demonstrate some of these techniques with participants.  Please prepare a monologue of 90 seconds or less.   All participants should be prepared to audition but will not be required nor guaranteed a performance slot.  JC will work with as many participants as time allows.


About Saturday Intensives

In these intensive workshops, you’ll learn about various aspects of theater through participation and discussion. Industry professionals lead the intensives. Classes are open to teenagers through adults!




Instructor: Leda Hoffmann

Wednesdays, 6 – 8 PM

February 12, 19, 26, March 5, 12, 19

Fee: $150


Why are we directors? What kinds of stories do we want to tell? What skills can we add to our toolbox for working with actors and designers? Working with Rep Literary Coordinator and local freelance director Leda Hoffmann, this class will be an opportunity to develop and strengthen your directing skills from big picture design ideas to the ins and outs of working with actors.


This six-week class will focus on a contemporary play and allow each member of the class to take that play on a journey frominitial design ideas to a staged scene. In the first two weeks the class will focus on defining the world of play and design choices. The final four weeks will focus on staging and scenework. Every member of the class will have anopportunity to direct fellow classmates in a workshop scene and discuss his or her rehearsal techniques and directing choices with the instructor and the class.

This article contains my thoughts on auditioning.  While many of the thoughts I have here pertain to auditioning in general, (and by that, I mean auditioning for theatre, not film) they are particularly skewed toward the beast that is the Milwaukee Generals.  My goal is to help those auditioning avoid the many pitfalls that await them once they set foot into that intimidating room.


My first piece of advice is that you must already be working on your audition pieces.  As I write this it is January 13th, 2014.  The Milwaukee Generals are on February 24th.  That gives you just over a month to whip your pieces into shape.  I hope it goes without saying that an actor should constantly be working on audition pieces and looking for new ones; you can’t have too many in your back pocket and you never know when you’ll have an audition pop up on short notice.  Too many actors attempt to learn a piece on short notice and it never goes well.  There are just too many things that can catch you off guard during the audition itself, and unless you know your pieces stone-cold, you are likely to go up during the actual audition.


Having a good audition piece isn’t enough though; you must have a great audition piece.  Each year I sit through this very long day of auditions and each year there are only about three people that knock my socks off.  I see a lot of really competent auditions that I can’t recall the next day.  Find a piece that you can absolutely kill and work it until it’s in your bones.


Now on to specifics.  I’m dividing this article into three parts: the Introduction, the Headshot and Resume, and the Audition.


The Introduction


If you have the chance (and that’s a big if) take a peek at the room you are going to walk into ahead of time.  Auditioning is an intimidating thing and walking into a room blind is hateful.  Find out where the auditors are going to be sitting and figure out where you are going to sit or stand.  Find out if there is a chair available and what kind it is.  Nothing worse than preparing a piece that requires you to spin a chair around and sit on it backwards only to find that the only chair available has arms.  And for those of you who are new to the Milwaukee Generals, you are walking into a room to face a group of auditors in a horseshoe configuration.


If you are going to sing go right to the pianist and work out what small things you need to before your introduction.  At this point we are probably still passing around your headshots.


If you walk into the room and you find that there are auditors behind you, you’ve come in too far.  Back up so that we can see your face.


Take your time introducing yourself and your pieces.  There are as many as twenty different companies in the room and seconds before you enter we are handed a stack of your headshots and resumes.  We are furiously passing those around as quickly as we can, flipping them over and pouring over your resume, and then trying to catch what pieces you are going to do and in many cases trying to jot that info down.  We see dozens of auditions during the course of the day and it’s extremely difficult to keep them straight.  Give us a chance to remember you.  I’ll never fault an auditionee for taking his time introducing his pieces.  When in doubt, introduce yourself and your pieces and wait until the majority of us have finished and are looking back up at you before you begin your first piece.


Don’t undress in the room.  This is a rather new phenomenon that has started happening lately.  When you walk into the room, be prepared to go.  I’ve seen people enter, and then slowly take off a coat, scarf, shirt and any number of other things as they are introducing themselves.  That’s weird and distracting.  Leave that stuff outside.


This pertains to both your intro and exit; don’t apologize for your audition.  Look, you only get one shot at this, so no matter how poorly you’ve prepared or think you’ve done during the audition, do it boldly and with a smile on your face.  I can’t tell you how many people come into the room with the air of, “Uh, hi.  I don’t really know why I’m here and I’m sorry to waste your time.”  Conversely I’ve seen a lot of people who have finished a perfectly fine audition and then ruin it by sheepishly excusing themselves on the way out.  Don’t do it!  It sucks all of the energy out of your audition.


Generally speaking, goofy introductions and/or exits will fall flat and have a good chance of being irritating.  I know it’s a defensive thing, but just don’t do it.  Come in, smile and introduce yourself.  When you are finished, say thank you.  Resist the urge to ask us if we have any questions or if there’s anything else we’d like to see.  Trust me; if we have those questions we won’t let you leave the room until we know the answers.


Give us the info we need.  It has become fashionable of late to name the play your audition is from, but not the part; or worse yet, not tell us anything at all.  This seems particularly true of Shakespeare.  Don’t make it a guessing game.  Conversely, don’t give us too much information.   I don’t need to know the author, I don’t need to know the scene and I certainly don’t need a synopsis of what has come before.  While we are on the subject of introducing your pieces, proceed to do your pieces in the order in which they were introduced.  Different auditors are there for different reasons.  Shakespeare companies may have less interest in your modern/comic piece and are waiting for the Macbeth you have promised.  If you say you are going to do your classical piece second, do so.  Those auditors may use that brief period of time to scan your resume and see what other classical pieces you have done and where.


The one thing most people come up short on is the intro.  I spend a whole day with my students having them do nothing but walking into a room and introducing themselves.  This is surprisingly difficult, and few people spend any time at all on that part of their audition.  People actually stumble over their names, forget what pieces they are doing, mispronounce the playwright’s name (which is just one more reason that info is unnecessary), mumble their info in such a way as to render it unintelligible, or turn their back and drag a chair across the room while making their intro.  Enter the room.  If you are going to use a chair make a decision; either get the chair, pick it up and set it where you want and then introduce yourself, or introduce yourself and then get set.  Trust me; we will welcome the extra time to look at your resume.  Those little stumbles can send you reeling.  Suddenly a voice in your head is saying, “I can’t believe I messed up my name” and now you’re not focused on your audition and things can go south in a hurry.


Unless we stand up and stick our hands out, no need to come over and shake our hands.  We’re going to see about a hundred people during the course of the day.  There are also upwards of twenty people in that room and you won’t want to shake all of our hands.


The Headshot and Resume


Look like your headshot.  It’s bothersome when you don’t.  You’re a little heavier than you’d like to be?  Not a problem.  Maybe we’re looking for just that person.  It’s going to be very difficult to remember you later if you don’t look like your headshot.


Staple or glue your resume to your headshot or print it on the other side.  It’s incredibly irritating to get a loose resume, or one that is paper-clipped to the headshot actually covering the headshot.  Don’t let something like that get in the way.  Also take the time to trim the resume to fit.  Most of us keep these resumes on file so help us out.


While we’re on the subject of attaching your resume, don’t attach anything else.  I’m really happy you’re currently employed with your one-man show, but I don’t want a flyer or postcard attached advertising said show.  Those extra attachments only serve to get in the way of the info I’m looking for.


Leave whitespace on your resume.  We’re doing everything we can to remember the interesting things about you in case we should want to cast you.  If you jamb-pack your resume from margin to margin we have no room for such notes.  It also makes them hard to read and smacks of desperation.  “Look how much I’ve done!”  We don’t need to know everything you’ve done and if you have productions on your resume from twenty years ago you might think about some judicial editing.


Use a decent sized font.  We’re at this all day and our eyes get tired.  If you give us an 8 point font we’ll want to throw your resume in the discard pile then and there.  That also goes for weird or funny fonts.  They’re just hard on the eyes.  Be funny in your audition, but let your resume be professional.  Jarring print just adds an extra hurdle where the auditors don’t need one.


There is a somewhat uniform way of setting up your resume.  Feel free to diverge, but just know that doing so will increase the likelihood that we won’t be able to find the info we’re looking for.  At the top should be your name and under that your vitals.  Height, weight, eye color, hair color, telephone and email address.  If you are a singer you may want to put your vocal range.  Do not give us your address.  In this day and age that simply isn’t safe and every now and then you send your resume to an unscrupulous person who turns around and sells your resume to other unscrupulous folk.  Don’t include your age or tell us what your age range is.  That’s our job and why would you want to limit yourself that way?  Likewise, don’t include the dates of your productions.


Below your name and vitals should come the body of your resume which consists of your stage experience.  There are four things I want to know here: the theatre you worked at, the show produced, the part you played and who directed you.  Set them up in neat columns so that I can easily scan through them.  Don’t be afraid to list multiple shows with one theatre, that’s a good thing.  That says that you worked at that theatre and they liked you enough to ask you back.  I am very leery of the auditionee that has 30 theatres listed and has only one show at each of them.  There are folks who are really great at auditioning and not so much at the acting part.  They tend to work at a lot of theatres once.


Below the stage experience section should be your education and special skills.  Still in high school?  It’s okay, we won’t hold it against you so don’t be ashamed of it.  Tell us where you went to school and who some of your teachers were, but leave your GPA off as that won’t help you get cast.  The names of your teachers may open up a conversation.  I’m not really interested if you took a weekend class here or there.  Special skills should be special.  I don’t know how special having a driver’s license is.  Fire eating is more impressive (although at this last audition every other person had that listed) and I certainly want to know if you can speak a foreign language fluently.  I assume a good actor can learn dialects, so for me I don’t really care.


You may have a lot of film and/or TV credits or you may have a lot of directing credits.  I’m not interested.  In this day and age you should be able to have several different resumes at your disposal.  If you are coming to the Milwaukee Generals cater your resume to your clients, which are almost exclusively theatres.


Have enough resumes.  We don’t have the ability to make copies, so if a theatre doesn’t get a copy the day of, you’ve lost that opportunity.


Don’t lie on your resume.  You will be busted and then you’ve lost all credibility.  If you took a weekend class don’t make it sound like you received a degree.  If you took a beginning improv class don’t say you are part of the troupe.  We know, we always know.


The Audition


So now we come to the heart of the matter.  First know that within the first ten or fifteen seconds we know if we like you or not.  Sometimes we’ve already made up our minds during the intro.  That’s just the way it goes.  Knowing that, limit the length of your pieces.  They really should be no longer than a minute a piece.  I spent one whole afternoon timing auditions.  I would look down at my watch when I started to lose interest and it was always between 55 and 65 seconds on the long end.  Even if you’re great, going beyond that is too much.  In the past many people were going over three minutes and that was just for one of their pieces.  Leave us wanting more.


In picking your pieces be very selective.  If you choose something offensive it is likely to offend and turn off at least a few people in the room.  Have a really good reason for picking a piece.


Don’t do stand up.  I’ve never seen it work and theatre is not stand up.  I’ve also never seen a piece that someone has written for himself work.


Contrast your pieces.  That doesn’t mean that one has to be modern comic and the other classical dramatic.  You can contrast two modern funny pieces and I will be quite delighted.  But standing during one and sitting during the other is not contrast.  Show us two different sides of yourself and hopefully those are different than your introduction.  Remember that your intro is a chance to show us a different side of yourself that will be contrasted by your two pieces.  Prove that you can act.


Close with your best piece.  I know that I said we’ve generally made up our minds in the first ten to fifteen seconds, but our minds can be changed.  That second piece that kicks ass will make us forget the first piece.  Of course if you want to be one of those three people we remember, make sure both pieces kick ass.


Don’t do serial killer monologues.  They are overdone and not usually all that interesting.


In the same vein, I suggest avoiding the monologue that goes into great detail about a recent sexual exploit.  Taken out of context of the rest of the play they tend not to work.  Teenagers doing such a monologue is doubly troubling.  They don’t shock us, they just make us tune out.


Avoid monologues from monologue books.  They generally aren’t very good and they are overused.  Nothing like seeing the same bad monologue four times in the same day.  Read plays, lots of them, and find something that speaks to you.  If you do find a monologue in a book and it’s actually from a play, go find that play and read it.  Know where it comes from and in what context.


People bend over backwards trying to find the obscure Shakespeare piece that no one has ever seen.  In doing so they generally pick something from one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays.  You know why they are lesser known?  Because they’re not as good.  You know what I’ve never seen?  Someone audition with “To be or not to be.”


Don’t wear anything that is more disturbing or more interesting than you.  I’ll spend the whole audition wondering, “Why did he wear that?” instead of watching your audition.  Look nice, but make sure you are comfortable and can move around.  Skirts that are too short, blouses that are buttoned too low and clothing that is too revealing are all traps.  Let me concentrate on your piece, not worry about a piece of you falling out.  And men, avoid the suit and tie affair unless you live in it daily.  There’s looking nice and there’s looking awkward.


Your pieces should actually be scenes in which you are engaged in some kind of action as opposed to telling us a funny story.  I want to see your struggle, not your charming me with a funny anecdote.


Feel free to use me as your point of focus.  Not everyone is okay with that, but I generally am.  However, if you stand two feet in front of me and confront me, you’re going to lose me.  I’ll still stare straight at you and be the best audience member I can be, but I’m no longer really watching you.  I’m beginning to wonder if you’re crazy enough to jump the table, and others in the room are concentrating on the same thing.


After you are done with a piece do not say scene.  Worse yet, do not wave your hand in front of your face and say scene.


Do make your transitions clear and clean.  Do something, usually a physical move, to let us know one piece has ended and the next has begun.  Of course if they are highly contrastable pieces, that shouldn’t be a problem.


If you have an emotional piece and are able to go to that place, good for you.  If you end that piece and take a long time coming out of it and composing yourself, showing us just how hard that you worked at that piece, I will no longer love you.


If you get off to a bad start ask if you can start over.  We will always say yes.


No props.  We’ll see the letter in your hand if you are invested in your scene.  And never, ever, ever…NEVER! bring a gun into the room.  Especially not one loaded with a half-charge blank which you then hold to your head and fire.  Sigh.  It now needs to be said.


If you are a singer, sing, or if you can sell a song, sing, but pick the right piece.  I’ve seen all too many folks with perfectly lovely voices choose a song in which they can’t hit that one note and I’m stumped as to why they would make such a choice.  Surely they knew they couldn’t hit that note before they began, so why go there?  It’s better to sing something you can really nail that might require less of a range.  Leave the auditors wondering.  And songs do need to be acted as well.  Invest in the song as much as you would any monologue.


Some Final Thoughts


Milwaukee is a special place.  I’ve lived in a few different cities, Los Angeles being the worst offender, where auditors were unforgiving if not outright rude.  In such situations hostility pervaded the rooms and there was an attitude of, “I dare you to be good.”  I have never understood that philosophy.  Know that you are walking into a room of very kind people.  We want you to succeed, we want you to be great and we will do everything in our very limited power to make sure your experience is a positive one.  We have a selfish reason for doing so; we want to get your best audition.  I hope that will empower you to take risks and to not beat yourself up if you trip up a bit.  We really are pulling for you.


Be kind to everyone you meet there.  As I try to teach my students, everything is an audition.  Folks in Milwaukee work in all different aspects of theatre, and the other actor you meet in the commons that you are rude to may be the director of the next play you audition for.  Many of the people who are helping run the auditions are current interns at the Rep earning next to nothing, and the person actually putting the whole thing together is on the Artistic staff at the Rep.  It’s a really trying day in which just about everyone is on edge.  Put on your best face and be kind.


It always breaks my heart when I see a talented person from another city show up to the Milwaukee Generals, and by that I’m talking further than Chicago or Madison.  I’ve seen people travelling from as far away as Florida.  It breaks my heart because unless there is a very specific need for a type we can’t find here, you are not going to get hired.  Such is the economy and the state of affairs in the world of theatre.  The experience of auditioning is always useful, but to go to the expense and time of travelling such a long distance with no chance of getting hired seems a fool’s quest.  If you are interested in auditioning for a specific theatre, I would suggest you contact that theatre, find out what their season is, and if there’s a role you might fit, schedule a separate audition with that theatre.


The caveat to that is if you have housing in Milwaukee you should let that be known in no uncertain terms during your introduction.  And on that note, if you live here and are still hanging on to an area code from your last home, make sure we know that you are local, otherwise we’ll assume you live in another city and put you in the discard pile.


When you are done with your audition, find some time and space alone and play the whole experience over in your head.  What went right?  What went wrong?  What could you have changed?  And perhaps most important of all, did I do everything in my power to make this a kick-ass audition?  If the answer to that question is yes, congratulations.  That’s all you can ask and if you don’t get cast it may have absolutely nothing to do with your audition and you can be assured that you left an impression.  If the answer to that question is no, you should perhaps rethink how you’ve prepared.  Did you allow enough time to rehearse?  Did you commit to the piece 100%?  Is the piece right for you?  Be constantly willing to honestly critique yourself.


And in rehearsing, it’s important to perform these monologues in front of another.  Don’t perform them in front of a bunch of different people looking for criticism, that will just lead to confusion as we’re all looking for different things.  Find one person you can trust (teacher, fellow actor, director, lover) and get up and do it.  Even if they love everything you are doing and have nothing new to offer, the experience of doing it live will help you to no end in the actual audition.


And that’s my spiel.  I’m sure other things will come to mind and I’ll update this from time to time.  I also welcome observations from other auditors whether they agree with me or not.  Know that during the course of my stumbling career I have made many of these mistakes myself, and it was only because some kind person took me in hand that I got past them.  Be bold and good luck.




P.S.  I’m pasting the guidelines for signing up for these auditions below.  Please note that this is a separate date from the auditions themselves.  Please also note that people were lined up as early as 6:00 am to procure a slot and these were all filled by about 9:00 am.  You have been warned!


The 2014 Non-Union Milwaukee General Auditions will take place on Monday, February 24th, 2014, from 9:30am to 6:30pm, at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  This is a Locals Only audition – only Non-Union actors that do not require assistance with travel and housing should attend.  These auditions are intended for adult-aged, non-union, locally-based professional actors.

We will again implement an in-person sign-up process for this year’s auditions.  On Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 9:00am to 12:00 Noon, interested actors will be able to sign up in person for the 2014 Non-Union Milwaukee General Auditions outside of Milwaukee Rep’s Stackner Cabaret – – on the 2nd floor Arboretum of the Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex, accessible via elevator or via the escalator near building security.  Please note that the doors to the Milwaukee Center are scheduled to be unlocked at 6:00am, and are not under the control of Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  A line formed very early last year, and there is no reason to expect otherwise in 2014.

Slots will be available on a first-come-first-served basis – all slots will very likely be filled well before 12:00 Noon.  This span of time is provided only as an estimate of the time commitment necessary for this sign-up process.  Attendance on January 18 will not guarantee an audition slot.  Interested actors must present a valid form of photo identification (driver’s license or state-issued identification is recommended) in order to obtain a slot.  In addition, please note that an individual is eligible to request one slot only – requests made for other individuals will not be honored.

There will also be 25 Waiting List slots available.  Sign-up for these slots will occur in the same manner as outlined above, once all auditions slot have been filled.  Obtaining a Waiting List slot does not guarantee an audition, but preference for any slots that open at a later date will be given to those actors on the Waiting List.

Should there be audition or waiting lists slots available after this sign-up period, they will be made available via an additional in-person sign-up at The Rep’s administrative offices.  Additional details will be announced on this page should any slots remain.  This situation is highly unlikely to occur.

Slots for this Non-Equity day will fill quickly. Please plan accordingly.


Audition slots will be 4 minutes long, and will consist of any two of the following:

  1. One contemporary monologue
  2. One classical monologue (preferably Shakespeare)
  3. One musical theater selection – 60 to 90 seconds in duration.  An accompanist will be in attendance.

Please note that the actor’s introduction and any time necessary to communicate with the accompanist will count as part of the 4 minutes.  Please prepare and time your selections carefully, as actors who exceed the audition time of 4 minutes will be stopped.

Actors should plan to bring 30 headshots/resumes – please check the website listed below often for updates on the number of producers attending.  This list is subject to change at any time.

Actors who choose to audition with a musical theater selection and desire accompaniment should come prepared with sheet music.

Questions?  Please visit this website frequently for additional information.  For additional information, please email Michael Kroeker, Artistic Associate, at  Due to the volume of questions, please allow two business days for a response.

All interested actors should visit this page regularly for information and updates.


Actor’s Craft

The Alchemist Theatre

American Players Theater

The Bunny Gumbo Theater Company

Cooperative Performance Milwaukee

Door Shakespeare

First Stage Children’s Theatre

Forward Theater Company

Great River Shakespeare Festival

In Tandem Theatre

Lori Lins Talent Management

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Next Act Theatre

Optimist Theatre

Peninsula Players

Pink Banana Theatre Company

Renaissance Theaterworks

Rhode Center for the Arts

Skylight Music Theatre

Soulstice Theatre

Splinter Group

Theater RED

UPROOTED Theatre Company

The World’s Stage Theatre Company

Youngblood Theatre Company

Zoological Society of Milwaukee/Kohl’s Wild Theater


We have a few classes we think are rather cool coming up next month and in April that we hope you will share the Bunny Gumbo group.

Lee Ernst is teaching Stage Combat, Brent Hazelton is teaching an intensive on Directing, and Sandy Ernst is teaching a class on Audition Technique.  I have listed the class descriptions below, and here is the link for to register for the class – .

Thank you for any attention you can give to this on your blog.  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Thanks so much for your time, Jim.


Neal Easterling

Saturday Intensives

Join us for an exciting series of Saturday Intensives where you’ll learn about various aspects of theater through participation and discussion. Industry professionals lead the intensives. Classes are open to teenagers through adults!

Stage Combat

Learn basic stage combat techniques from Lee E. Ernst, the Fight Choreographer of numerous Rep productions.  There is room for approximately 20 active participants, but you may also sign up to observe the class.

March 9th, 12:00 – 3:00 PM

Fee: $60               Instructor: Lee E. Ernst

About the instructor

Lee E. Ernst (Associate Artist) Lee celebrates his 20th season with The Rep, where he has designed makeup, choreographed violence and played over 100 roles, including title characters in Lombardi, Richard III, Cyrano De Bergerac, The Foreigner, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure,, Tartuffe, Barrymore and Norman in the 1993/94 production of The Norman Conquests. He may also be remembered as Truffaldino in Servant of Two Masters, the Emcee in Cabaret, Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, John Proctor in The Crucible, Sharky in The Seafarer, George in Of Mice and Men, Rodrigues in Silence, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Levin in Anna Karenina, Frank Lloyd Wright in Work Song, and, most recently, Mr. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank and Sam Byck in Assassins. He has also played leading roles with American Players Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, Peninsula Players, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, New American Theater, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theatre and D.A.R.T.S. in Tokyo, Japan. Lee is a recipient of The AriZoni-Best Actor, Minerva Laureate and Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee awards and is an inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellow. He received his MFA from The University of Delaware-PTTP. Stay tuned to PBS for The Reagan Presidency, produced by the Duncan Entertainment Group and narrated by Mr. Ernst. 


Brent Hazelton, an Associate Artistic Director at The Rep, will discuss the role of the director in rehearsal, answer questions about the profession as a whole, and demonstrate some  techniques with the class .  Brent will use his most recent production of How the World Began as an example.  Requirements:  Reading the script of How the World Began, which we will provide prior to your class.  Make sure to include a valid email in your registration.

March 16th, 12:00 – 3:00 PM

Fee: $60               Instructor: Brent Hazelton 

About the Instructor

Brent Hazelton (Associate Artistic Director) A Wisconsin native and former Rep Acting Intern, Brent is in his 14th season with The Rep and second as an Associate Artistic Director, after serving for eight seasons as The Rep’s Artistic Associate and Artistic Intern Company Director.  Administratively, Brent oversees The Rep’s new play development initiatives, spearheads the season planning process, participates in internal strategic planning, and collaborates with the rest of the Artistic Staff to program and support Rep productions.  Artistically at The Rep, Brent wrote and directed Liberace!, conceived the premiere installment of Rep Lab, directed last season’s Song Man Dance Man, and directed this season’s How the World Began.  He has also directed staged readings for The Rep/Ten Chimneys Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, created full productions locally for Chamber Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Festival, Spiral Theatre, and Windfall Ensemble, and directed the Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s production of Ellis Island: The Dream of America.  Brent has also served as a member of the adjunct faculties of Carthage College and UW-Parkside, and has taught developmental workshops at colleges, conservatories and universities across the country.

The Professional Audition

How do you prepare for a professional audition?  Find out with this very popular class lead by Sandy Ernst, an Associate Artistic Director and Casting Director for The Rep.  Sandy will tell you the do’s and don’ts of auditioning and will have an opportunity to demonstrate some of these techniques with participants.  Be prepared to work on a monologue for auditions, but participants will not be required to perform.

April 6th, 12:00 – 3:00 PM

Fee: $60               Instructor: Sandy Ernst

About the instructor:

Sandy Ernst (Associate Artistic Director) Sandy began her career as a Directing Apprentice with American Players Theatre in 1981, and over the next 18 seasons, staged 20 productions, appeared as an actress and gained extensive experience as a stage manager, ultimately serving as APT’s Production Stage Manager, before relocating to Milwaukee. In 1995 Sandy joined The Rep’s Artistic Team, and in 2002 became Associate Artistic Director. In her 19 seasons with The Rep, Sandy has continued to wear many hats: Director of the Intern Program, Cabaret Director, Casting Director, Stage Manager and Director. Outside of The Rep and APT, Sandy has directed for Next Act Theatre and Renaissance Theaterworks, conducted Master Classes on Shakespeare and Audition Technique at universities throughout the country, and has been an Adjunct Faculty Member with Carthage College for the past five years. Sandy has been married to actor Lee Ernst for over 30 years, and together their productions include four children and four grandchildren.