Your Best Audition Songs for Musical Theatre
You're probably looking for a long list of really good audition songs that no one else knows about, right? Well I'm sorry to disappoint, but you won't find that list here. And you'll be hard pressed to find it elsewhere on the internet.
Why? Because the truth is this: Any song you choose is a good audition song on two conditions:
1. You love it. You'll be singing it a lot, so choose something that speaks to you. Something that really fires you up.
2. You present it well. This is crucial. To have a good singing audition, you must present your best work. I'll discuss how to do this a little later.
So, to use a cliché, instead of giving you a list of songs and feeding you for a day, I'll give you the information you need and feed you for a lifetime. Let's get started.
What Should You Sing?
I'll give you the same advice I preach over on my free monologues page: Sing what you love. You'll go to see a musical, or be in a talent show, or attend a class and you'll hear a song. And you'll say, "I have to sing that. I love it."
At least that's the way it happens for me.
Another good way to get song ideas is to ask your friends who are in the business. Maybe they just heard this one beautiful ballad and thought of you.
And if all else fails, here's the absolute best way to find auditions songs:
1. Pick a Broadway star you see as a role model. It should be someone you can see yourself taking after. For me, that's Raúl Esparza or John Lithgow.
2. Go to the iTunes Store and type their name in the search box. iTunes will let you listen to 30 second clips of songs before you download them. Find something you love, and write down the title.
3. Find the vocal sheet music.
Other things to consider when choosing a song:
• Type: Remember, casting directors love to put you in a box based on your age, height, weight, look, etc. Don't fight that. Play into it. For example, if you're the girl next door type, don't sing I Enjoy Being a Girl from Flower Drum Song. A better song would be Notice Me, Horton from Seussical.
• Vocal Range: Not as important as it used to be with the advent of transposition software. But still, make sure you can physically sing the notes. For a long time, I tried to sing the higher notes I didn't have.
Diversify Your Songbook
God willing, you'll be auditioning for a lot of musicals. And no two musicals are alike. And sometimes, it's not even a musical. It's a concert, or an opera, or something else. So you've got to be prepared.
How? You diversify your songbook.
The most basic songbook has two ballads (slower songs), and two up-tempos (faster songs). But there are other considerations too: Something comedic and something dramatic. Something to show off your upper vocal range, and something that shows you can get down and dirty.
And don't stick to just musical theatre songs. Branch out into pop, rock, classical, country, and every other genre. Ideally, you want to have at least 15 to 20 songs ready to sing.
Singers often ask me about songs that are overdone. They figure that casting directors have heard Tomorrow from Annie way too much. And that may be true. But 9 times out of 10, they heard it done really badly.
What they really want is a singer who can march into that audition room and blow their socks off. And that's going to be you.
In short, there's no such thing as an overdone song. Just sing it well, and sing it with truth.
Audition songs are everywhere, you just have to pay attention. What's more important is that you choose the songs that fit you best so you can ace your audition.