Sing, Sing a Song – Part Two of Musical Theatre Repertoire

At first I was loathe to write this post.  Why would I want to reveal my sources for cool, obscure and powerful audition material?  But love and be loved in return, right?

If you are a purist, these suggestions may not be for you.  These are non-traditional sources.  Some have a bit of a well-duh factor, admittedly.  And a word of warning:  Some songs are obscure because they simply are not good.  Beware.

New Musical Workshops

The time commitment is usually low, meaning it’s easy to fit a project in between other shows.  You meet great people.  You get to sing.  And many many times, you come home with completely original tunes, smack dab in your range.  One of my new money-note 16 bars is from a series of original musicals I performed at the Theatre Building last year.  I’m not sure what the future is for that particular program, but there are others.  Seek them out.

Small Sidebar:  My experiences at the Theatre Building over the years have been joyous.  I have met wonderful and supportive people and I have learned so much.  I don’t know what’s next over there, but I am forever grateful for every project I was a part of.  The sheer amount of talent that passes through that establishment on a daily basis is astounding.  I have been floored by the abilities of my music directors, the composers, and most of all Earth Mother Allan Chambers.  He provides many important opportunities to new arrivals and up and comers, all while keeping a relaxed and supportive environment.  I wish them all the best in whatever the future holds.

Moving on…

Obscure Disney movies

An obscure Disney move, you say?  Surely ye jest!  Well, pick one that doesn’t have a pj and bedding line at Kmart.  Even the non-musical ones usually have a theme song.  Try Freaky Friday (“I’d Like to Be You For a Day”)

Solo Albums

Check out your favorite chanteuse’s lesser known albums.  Composers are crawling over themselves to write for these ladies (and gents), and we are all the beneficiaries.

Dream Role

Guinevere

I believe we tend to be attracted to roles that “feel right,” roles that we have some connection with.  Of course there are glaringly huge exceptions to this rule (I’m probably not going to play Asaka in Once on this Island) it’s a good place to start.  Pick your dream role, then take the song from Act 2 that people tend to ignore.

Your Shower Routine

Oh, come on.  We all have one.  Perhaps there is a song you love, but you’ve never been able to find the sheet music.  Consider hiring someone to notate it for you.  It isn’t that expensive.  Try hiring a music student at Columbia, for example.  Many many music directors do it on the side for extra cash.

Old Movie Musicals

I’m talking about the ones that never really made it to the stage in any significant way: Funny Face, American in Paris, Ziegfeld Follies

Non-Disney children and family movies

Both animated and not.  Think Willy Wonka, Don Bluth movies, etc.

Randy Newman

Randy Newman

He’s a jackpot.

Old Vaudeville Ballads and Uptempo numbers

Some are heartbreakingly beautiful.  Others are absolutely goofy, and would work well as a comedic piece.

Burlesque

Those ladies may not be singing their songs, but talk about content, right?

Divas…but not the stadium Divas/Golden Age of Hollywood Stars

Instead of Judy, Barbra, Kristin, and Edina try Marilyn, Jayne, Jane, Bridgette, Sophia, Eartha, Blossom Dearie, and Ella

Instead of Frank, try Dean

Movie theme songs

Particularly look at the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  Tootsie, for example has a very sweet theme song.

Country

Allison Krauss

Something to note about country:  As opposed to pop, rock, and r&b, country people sing legit, very near Broadway style songs.  Cut out the twang and steel guitar and you’ve got a number.

Singer Songwriters

Gordon Lightfoot - He looks like my Dad in the 70's here

Anne Murray, Carol King, Carly Simon, Bob Dylan, James Taylor

Older work from R&B -ers

Mariah Carey’s old albums have some great stuff.  Men might want to try Seal.

Elton John and Billy Joel

Both of these have forayed into the world of musical theatre.  But I’m not talking about their Broadway work. Particularly take a look at Billy Joel.  Elton John’s rep is a little more widely known.  Billy Joel has definitely had some gems pass under the radar over the years.  Now, I am an unabashed Billy Joel fan, BUT that is very much because much of his stuff is really theatrical.  If you’ve never listened to “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”, I encourage you to do so.  I’ll reveal here, one of my 32 bar selections is from this song.  I don’t use it a lot, but I have used it.

Your Fave Composer

Alan Menken

Many many musical composers have done work outside the stage.  Sometimes they compose for individual artists, sometimes movies.  You never know.  Dig around your favorite composer’s archives.  You never know what will pop up.

I hope these ideas help you find new and exciting songs for your book and for performance.  Sometimes, nothing is more invigorating and inspiring than singing a song you absolutely love, and that feels like a personal signature.

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2 thoughts on “Sing, Sing a Song – Part Two of Musical Theatre Repertoire

  1. Pingback: Auditions: Musicals – Part 1: Preparation « A Rhinestone World

  2. Pingback: Musical Auditions: Part 2: The Audition Day « A Rhinestone World

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