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Choosing a song for a Musical Theatre audition

When selecting a song for an audition you want to choose something that really showcases you as a performer.

If you are receiving vocal coaching or singing lessons, then your teacher will also be able to offer advice on songs that would suit your voice type.

For example, for male singers:

If you are a bass or baritone singer then it would not be advisable to choose a song like Pity The Child from Chess as the vocal range is more suitable for a high tenor. But songs like Stars from Les Miserables or Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote) from Man of La Mancha, would be more vocally appropriate choices.

For female singers:

If you are an alto then a song like I Feel Pretty from West Side Story would not be a good choice as the vocal range is more suitable for a soprano but songs like I’d give my life for you from Miss Saigon or As Long As He Needs Me from Oliver would be much more suitable choices.

Having said this, songs can be transposed and as long as you have the sheet music in your key, then you shouldn’t feel limited by which songs are not traditionally in your key.

There are however songs that we don’t recommend you sing at auditions.

Different musicals will fall in and out of favor depending on their popularity. If there has been a successful revival, or if they are new on the theatre scene; this can influence the trend in what people are performing.

For example after Cats opened, producers complained about how many times they had to sit through versions of Memory at auditions. The same when Chicago won the Academy Award for Best Picture and every second performer was doing All That Jazz for their audition piece.

Producers and directors will be happy to hear something fresh and something new. A song from a more obscure musical will always be welcome and it will help you to stand out. Think of it this way, if you are the only person who performs a number from The Toxic Avenger (a little known musical that premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then had a short season on the West End), then you have more of a chance that the audition panel may remember you.

This should not always be your reasoning behind why you have selected a certain song but it’s good to discover more obscure musicals for you will certainly find some wonderful gems out there that don’t get performed enough.

Ultimately, it’s good to listen to as many musical soundtracks as possible so that you can make smart choices about what you like and also what suits your voice. But never choose a song that you don’t like, as this will show in your performance, plus you will be singing it frequently as we hope that you will be attending lots of auditions.

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