5 Songs to Skip at Your Next Musical Theatre Audition

November 5, 2012  |  Posted by: Kathy Tyner

Choosing just the right song for your upcoming musical theatre audition can be stressful. What genre should you choose? What would the casting director want to hear? How do you even begin to narrow down the choices? While there are a number of great options available that would be perfect for your individual needs, there are some others that you should absolutely avoid. Here are five songs that you should cross off the list of choices for your next musical theatre audition.

 1.    The Overdone

There are some musical theatre audition songs that seem like obvious choices: they’re popular, time-tested, and iconic. The problem with songs like these, however, is that they’re such an obvious choice that they’re chosen again, and again…and again. The casting director has likely heard these songs so many times – possibly even many times at that audition – that they’d rather not ever hear them again. Plus, it can be to your advantage to be original instead of just another version of the same song.

Song to Skip: “Tomorrow”, Annie

 2.    The Obscure

On the other end of the spectrum from the overdone is the completely obscure. While it’s good to be original, it’s could also beneficial if the casting director is familiar with the song you’re performing. Keep in mind that it may also be that a song is obscure for a reason.

Song to Skip: The unmemorable song from an Off-Off-Broadway show that ran for just one weekend a few years ago.

 3.    The Signature

There are some instances in which it isn’t just a song that’s iconic: it’s a specific version of the song by a single artist. The song and the artist become nearly inseparable in people’s minds, and the familiar version becomes a standard that is incredibly difficult to reach. No matter how technically well you can perform the piece, these signature songs can be a very risky choice, as you’ll always – at least subconsciously – be compared to the original.

Song to Skip: “Over the Rainbow”, Judy Garland

 4.    The “Type” Mismatch

In performing, thinking outside the box is generally encouraged. Actors are encouraged to be innovative, to break down walls and succeed outside their comfort zone. However, there is a time and place to showcase who you truly are, and that is in the audition. Choosing songs that are associated with a gender, age, or general “type” that is starkly different from yours can come across as awkward and distracting rather than edgy. Instead, find a song that fits the “type” you portray, or at least a fairly neutral piece.

Song to Skip: “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music for a middle-aged man

 5.    The Out-of-Your-Vocal Range

No matter how much you may love a song, trying to force a tune that is simply out of your natural vocal range is a recipe for failure. You may have a stunning alto voice, but by choosing a song created for a soprano will often make the song sound “off” at best, and disastrous at worst. Don’t choose a song that fails to showcase your natural talent and abilities; find something that fits you, makes you feel confident, and helps you nail the audition.

Song to Skip: “On My Own” from Les Miserables for an alto

 

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