January 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Aspiring Actress Shares Insider’s Tips with Holy Angels Thespians

Demarest, NJ: Aspiring actress/director Ariela Pizza knows a few things about auditioning for musical theater roles. This month, the 2017 Academy of the Holy Angels graduate generously shared her insider’s tips with current AHA thespians.

“Understand that it’s a business,” Pizza counseled. She explained that people who are making casting decisions might have already hired someone who has a similar look.

“Be as you as you possibly can. Don’t copy someone on YouTube. That’s already been done,” she added.

How does Pizza distinguish herself at an audition? She likes to bring a fresh take to standard songs or monologues.

She told the AHA students she aced an audition by using her phone as a prop. She swiped through postings on a dating website while singing romantic lyrics.

“Take risks,” she said, adding that each effort should be undertaken with confidence. She said she asks a trusted friend to critique her audition to let her know if she is making a good choice.

What type of risks work? Pizza recommends “gender-bending” a song; that is, presenting a piece usually sung by a man. She also suggested taking a monologue out of context.

“Don’t be afraid to move,” she said, adding that movement enhances a performance.

One student asked if it was a good idea to wear the same outfit to an audition and a callback.

“Wear the same outfit when you’re called back,” Pizza advised. “They saw something that first time, and it could be the look you presented.”

She also addressed the importance of making appropriate wardrobe choices. Sometimes, that means wearing a pair of shorts under a dress, saying no to a too-short skirt, or making sure your shoes don’t make too much noise as you move around the stage.

Pizza said a headshot should be an accurate representation of you. For her own photo, she wore very little makeup.

One of her best tips applies in every profession: “Be polite to everyone. Your reputation means a lot.”

She pointed out that it’s best to talk about your audition in private.

“You never know who’s listening.”

Pizza is currently a junior at Manhattan School of Music for Musical Theater. She was recently invited to participate in several pageants, and is the reigning Miss Ramapo Valley. This summer, she plans to compete for the Miss New Jersey title, a step on the path to Miss America.

Pizza noted that the Miss America event has been reimagined. The swimsuit competition has been eliminated, and the talent portion of the competition is more about women’s minds. A recent winner, she added, is a scientist.

During her years at Holy Angels, Pizza won a 2016 Metropolitan High School Theater Award for her portrayal of Yonah in the Academy’s production of “Children of Eden.” She was president of Thespian Honor Society and the AHA Drama Club. She participated in all four musicals at AHA and Saint Joseph Regional.

Pizza attended the Vineyard Arts Project and was selected to be represented by the Carson Adler Talent Agency. Since that time, she has auditioned for many Broadway musicals and TV shows.

She is currently working on an album that she will self-produce. She will be advocating for her social impact initiative: Music Therapy for the Sick and Elderly.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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