From Guest Bloggers Laura Josepher & David Sisco of ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com
Is your audition book holding you back? It’s one thing to know you need some new audition material but it’s another to know how and where to find it.
Picking the right audition material is tricky. You need to match your voice type with the song but also make sure it’s appropriate for the breakdown requirements. Contemporary musical theatre is so diverse right now. In one week of auditions you could be asked to sing everything from bluegrass to pop rock, from golden age to folk. And, of course, you want to stand out which means you don’t want to sing the same song as the person before. Here are some of our favorite new songs you probably haven’t heard of.
Music by: Curtis Rhodes
Lyrics by: Leslie Becker
Performed by: Jessica Keenan Wynn
Music & Lyrics by: Will Reynolds
Performed by: Katie Mariko Murray
It seems rare these days that sopranos get to be this funny (unless your name is Kirstin Chenoweth). Will Reynolds changes that in a deliciously blue song that showcases both the upper and lower registers with saucy turns of phrase.
For High Belt/Mix:
Darryl is a Boy (And He Lives In My Closet)
Music & Lyrics by: Michael Mitnick
Performed by: Felicia Ricci
Looking for a song to show off your wacky side? Then this quirky comic up-tempo by composer/lyricist Michael Mitnick might just be it! It’s about a young woman who – you guessed it – has locked up the man of her dreams in her closet. It’s a funny patter that’s perfect if you’re going in for a younger character or want to show your chops as a comedic actress.
Music by: Brad Ross
Lyrics by: Ellen Greenfield
Performed by: Kimberly Doreen Burns
From their musical LITTLE BY LITTLE, this up-tempo charm song is a great showcase for a high belt/mixer. It is sung by a young woman who feels slighted after her two best friends start dating. This song has fantastic lyrics that take a real journey with a strong turn on the hook at the end – exactly what you want in an audition song. The accompaniment is brisk but totally reasonable for a good audition pianist.
For Legit Mezzo:
Music & Lyrics by: Danny Abosch
Performed by: Elise Amato
This sweet goodbye song is from Danny Abosch’s musical, PLACEBO. It is a perfect showcase for a young legit mezzo. You can showcase your gorgeous legato sound, and show off your acting chops with the bittersweet lyric.
Good News, Mrs. Davenport
Music by: Joe Kinosian
Lyrics by: Kellen Blair
Performed by: Joe Kinosian
Each verse of this song does exactly what it should do: tops itself. Need a song for a darkly humorous Nurse Ratched? Here you go! And trust us, having been behind the audition table for hours at a time, we love a good laugh. This’ll do the trick.
For Belt Mezzo:
All There Is to Say
Music by: Brad Alexander
Lyrics by: Adam Matthias
Performed by: Sally Wilfert
A perfect dramatic up-tempo from the Drama Desk-winning SEE ROCK CITY & OTHER DESTINATIONS. Show both an iron will and vulnerability in this song that allows you to play a character who’s trying to convince someone else (and herself) she’s happy.
In this haunting song from their musical, RUN AWAY HOME, a young woman sings about her brother, reflecting on all that he meant to her. It’s up-tempo but the depth of the lyric offers a performer lots of room to explore. Plus, you can have the best of both worlds with this song: patter in the verse and nice lyrical melody in the chorus.
For Belt Tenor:
Music & Lyrics by: Gregory Jacobs-Roseman
Performed by: Jason “SweetTooth” Williams
A new writer to our site, we love the up-tempo pop/rock groove of this song. It tells one man’s attempt to reflect as best as he can on the fun summer he had before he got into his last relationship which ended in heartbreak.
Without Your Love
Music & Lyrics by: Michael Wartofsky
Performed by: Darius de Haas
So many musical theatre auditions are calling for pop/rock songs, so why not do a great pop/rock song written by a wonderful musical theatre writer instead? This song has a lot of soul, so move over Seal! We were lucky enough to have the wonderful Darius de Haas perform it at our Launch Concert back in 2013.
For Legit Tenor:
Lady of the Sea
Music by: Chris Miller
Lyrics by: Nathan Tysen
Performed by: Michael McElroy
Story songs can be hard to cut in an audition, but we think this one is an exception. This contemporary song never falls into cliché, which is often the fate of similar repertoire. The other thing that’s so refreshing about this song is it trusts its simplicity. Sing this after someone has belted their face off and, believe us, people are going to pay attention.
Sing to Me
Music & Lyrics by: Adam Overett
Performed by: A.J. Shively
Sing this song. Because it’s stunning. Because it’s earnest. And because you should get to know more of Adam’s work. Being an active performer himself, he really knows how to write for a singing actor.
For Broadway Baritone:
This goofy up-tempo would be a great showcase for a teen/young adult performer. It shows an innocence about young love that’s both endearing and amusing. The accompaniment is a bit tricky, but worth the ride.
Music and Lyrics by: Daniel Lincoln
Performed by: Daniel Lincoln
From Daniel Lincoln’s musical, RISE OF THE KING, this is a great song for a Broadway baritone that wants a dramatic up-tempo that’s completely sight-readable by an audition pianist. A young man, stifled and smothered by his plebeian upbringing, begs the gods to give him the chance to be a hero. Who doesn’t want that in an audition song?!
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For more songs like these, please visit ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com. ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com is a subscription website that connects voice teachers, students and musical theatre professionals with today’s best contemporary writers and songs. We represent over 150 writers and 450 largely unpublished songs, curated by industry professionals, searchable by voice and song type and available for purchase directly on our site. We are the only site that does not take a cent of the writers’ sales.