BWW Blog: Theatre on Tik Tok
Some of the most consistent advice that professional theatre artists are giving during this time of no live theatre, is to stay on top of your craft. Many theatre students have been, through the app TikTok, which has allowed itself to be a strong platform for digital theatre. The theatre community is vast throughout TikTok and people find creative outlets in different forms, but one of the most common, interesting, and beneficial things I have seen is auditioning for TikTok musicals. While these are not actual musicals that have rehearsals and get performed, there are still so many positive learning experiences that go along with auditioning for them.
Doing musicals on TikTok allows performers to explore a number of things they may not be able to when doing live theatre under normal circumstances. Frequently the shows done on the app are ones that younger performers love, but local theatres and schools would not be able to get the rights for, like Mean Girls, Dear Evan Hansen, and Beetlejuice, to name a few. Doing shows like this also allows performers to sing pieces that are considered overdone or are frowned upon by directors. While you may not want to sing "Dead Mom" for a college audition, if you are auditioning for Lydia in Beetlejuice on TikTok, you would be encouraged to belt that song to your heart's content. Many TikTok musicals also do not have any restrictions on age or gender. For all my ladies who want to play JD or my dudes who want to be one of the Heathers, TikTok is the perfect place to show how well you can sing "Freeze Your Brain" or "Candy Store". Along with this, since everything is virtual, performers can audition for roles they may not physically be able to play live. For example, I posted an audition for Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, she is typically cast as someone who is a skilled tap dancer. As someone who is identified as a "strong mover" I am thankful for the opportunity to audition for dance-heavy roles, as I would not be considered for those normally.
A couple of other positives of theatre on TikTok are that many of the users who are directing these musicals are actually performers themselves. This introduces people who may predominantly be actors, to the world of casting and directing. Who knows, maybe someone will find they enjoy it so much, they go on to do it after quarantine. I have also found that the TikTok theatre community is for the most part supportive. People don't care if your lighting isn't perfect or you have a few flyaway hairs, they just want to see people as passionate about theatre as them. It seems that everyone wants others else to succeed and they encourage each other to do so even if they are complete strangers. Of course, there are some negative people, but that's true of non-virtual theatre too, and just like in person, we can take that criticism or negativity and learn from it. Everything in theatre, including theatre on TikTok, can be a learning experience.
I could not write this article without throwing in a shameless plug for my own TikTok account, so please follow me for some mediocre theatre/random content @chasingdownadaydream. I plan on directing my first TikTok musical in the near future, so stay tuned for that! I hope some of you reading this will consider auditioning. See you on the app!