Ready for your big break on stage? With these ideas for good audition songs for musicals, compiled by teacher Molly R., you have some fantastic options to choose from:
Musical theatre auditions! They can be daunting, can’t they? Especially when they’re only asking for 16-32 bars of a song. What can you possibly show off in THAT short amount of time? No matter if you’re asked to prepare a cut or if you’re lucky enough to sing your whole song, it’s super important that you find the song that really sells not only your voice… but YOU!
Musical theatre is different. Unlike opera, it goes beyond voice type- it’s equally important to have tons of personality and serious acting and comedic chops. With this in mind, selecting your audition repertoire can be a lot more fun. I’ve suggested 5 good audition songs for musicals, for each voice type, representing an equal mix of classic and modern shows.
- “This Place is Mine” from “Phantom” by Maury Yeston. Everyone sings from the OTHER “Phantom” – don’t make that mistake! Funny divas can really sell this song. It’s as big as anything you’d find in the major hits from that era (and you know what they are!) but this song is hardly overdone.
- “To Keep My Love Alive” from “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Rodgers and Hart. So outrageously funny! This is for the soprano who’s also a comedienne. Plus, it’s always good to have some Rodgers and Hart in your repertoire!
- “Unexpected Song” from “Song and Dance”. This is an absolutely beautiful ballad from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lesser-known works. You can’t go wrong with a single song in the show, in fact; it’s a one-woman show and you have a lot of great audition songs to choose from!
- “One More Kiss” from “Follies”. It’s not always a good idea to bring in Sondheim unless they specifically ask for it (too complicated for many accompanists), but this is a simpler tune in the style of song from an old operetta.
- “How ‘Bout a Dance?” from “ Bonnie and Clyde” by Frank Wildhorn. This is a sassy and fun song perfect for a younger actress that belts. This musical is fairly recent, but due to the fact it was not a hit… well, chances are not too many other people will be walking in with this one!
- “Wherever He Ain’t “ from “Mack and Mabel”. What a score! This is an up-tempo, rag-timey song that is just plain fun to sing by a spunky leading lady. While “Mack and Mabel” is respected for its glorious score by Jerry Herman, this show never took off!
- “Home “ from “The Wiz”. This a pop-like song that builds. Memorable melody and you can really put some emotion behind it. Perfect if you’re auditioning for something like “Dreamgirls” (but again, it’s best to avoid those songs unless they specifically ask for them).
- “All Falls Down” from “Chaplin”.This song is sung by the character of Hedda Hopper in the show. It’s a real scene stealer! Another modern (2006) musical that was not a hit, but has a marvelous score (see a theme here?).
- “The Music That Makes Me Dance” from “Funny Girl”. We all know that Barbra owns “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, but this lesser-known ballad from the show is gorgeous and a solid choice.
- “A Bit of Earth” from “Secret Garden”. If you need something a little more modern that’s a moving yet simple ballad, this is a great choice.
- “When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love” from “Finian’s Rainbow”. This is a mid-tempo song for a tenor with charm and personality, from a more “classic” show.
- “Seeing is Believing” from “Aspects of Love”. Another one of Sir Andrew’s flops – but what a score! This may be a better choice than “Love Changes Everything” from the same show, which many performers tend to oversing.
- “Shiksa Goddess” from “The Last Five Years”. This is for a comedian! A mid-tempo number from another more modern show with very clever lyrics that will leave the audition panel rolling.
- “You are Beautiful” from “Flower Drum Song”. Ballad for a young lyric tenor from one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s lesser known shows.
- “C’est Moi”- from “Camelot”. Need something classic? Are you a solid actor? This one’s for you.
- “Gonna Be Another Hot Day” from “110 in the Shade”. Mid-tempo as well as lyrical, and could suit a variety of types.
- “I’ll Be Here”- from “The Wild Party”. Wonderful song from another more modern show for a baritone who is a bit more pop/jazz-like and comfortable with some vocal improvisation.
- “Love Sneaks In” from “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. Need something current that’s also a ballad? Perfect choice!
- “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway”- from “Spamalot”. Perfect for the man who is an “actor first, baritone second”! Very patter-like and needs a comedian to sell it – but that goes without saying, doesn’t it?
Repertoire selection becomes a piece of cake once you establish who YOU are (comedian, ingenue, baritone, belter, etc.). After knowing your “type, ” it’s all simply a matter of two really big things: what shows are being cast (all modern? All classic? A mix of the two?), and what YOU truly enjoy performing. There is so much out there that there’s no excuse for using a song you think is just “okay” as an audition piece. The audition panel will always be able to tell!
Have fun – discovering new shows and songs are one of the best parts of being a “musical theatre geek”!