The 32-Bar Cut Checklist

Jun 23, 2023 | Acting, Auditions, Voice

32-bar cuts are the most common audition requirement for singing actors. Whether you are auditioning for Broadway, college admissions, or your school show, You must prepare to deliver a complete performance in just 32 measures. Follow this checklist to nail your next 32-bar cut. 

Measure Time Not Bars

The common mistake most people make when creating cuts is taking the required measurements literally. Here is a modern way to think about cuts: measure your cut in seconds rather than bars. A 32-bar cut should last 1:15-1:30. A general rule of thumb you should live by is less is more. Try to get closer to 1:15 for a 32-bar cut. 

Promote Progression 

Pick a cut that has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Give yourself somewhere to go with the audition. You should map out where your character starts, heads, and finishes on their journey throughout the song. 

Avoid Musical Repetition

Select a cut that uses different parts of the musical form. No one wants to hear you sing three choruses of the same song during your audition. Aim to have the music evolve with the character arc – i.e., start with a verse, go to a chorus, head to a bridge, and finish with a big final chorus. 

Get to the Gold 

Find the part of the song that makes you sing and shine. There’s gold in them, there hills. Create a cut that gets to the gold quickly. Don’t waste time on sections that don’t bring out your voice. 

Pick a Piece You Love 

You will sing a song in your rep book hundreds of times. It benefits you and everyone you sing for when you pick a piece you love. Everyone can tell when someone is singing a song because their teacher told them to. Find something that speaks to you, you connect with, and you love. 

Highlight Who You Are

Auditions are not talent contests. Auditions are not talent contests. Oops! Did I say that twice? Good, maybe it will sink in. An audition is about showing who you are, what you bring into the room, and your distinctive skill set. Don’t show casting you’re talented; that’s a give-in. Show them you’re unique self; that’s a commodity. 

Keep this checklist handy when you create your next 32-bar cut for your rep book. May the odds be ever in your auditioning favor! 

Remember: you are enough. 

Contributed by Danny Greenberg, director of The Danny Greenberg Studio.

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