Acting in Plays, Singing/auditions


i have a few short-notice auditions coming up and i really want to make them good. i'm not sure which vocal category i fall under, but my range is d3-a5. at the auditions there will be lots of competition and i'm hoping to get a good part. can you please help me find some audition songs that wont be too hard and are quick to learn? my auditions are within the next two weeks. and can you tell me how to really make my audition stand out, and get the casting directors to notice me? would it be best if i stick to an easy song, or try a harder one?
thank you so much,

Hello, Heather –

Thank you for the question. I appreciate all the surrounding information. Let's assume you're probably a mezzo of some variety.

My job as a professional vocal coach is to correctly identify a client's vocal category, i.e., soprano, mezzo-soprano, etc., and to develop and expand their range. Then it's about working them through their chosen material – which not only demonstrates their range in that category but fits with the audition at hand. For example, a mezzo auditioning for GUYS AND DOLLS would be well-advised to sing another song by the same composer – in this case, Frank Loesser.

Many theatre companies hold annual or "general" auditions even before they officially announce their complete season. It's a great way to see who is available – especially if they're willing to work for no pay – and to identify what conflicts or previous commitments they may have in case the company may want to invite them to the callbacks at some date to be determined. In that scenario, go prepared to sing any of your best ballads and up-tempos – just in case the Musical Director or Producer says, "What else have you got?" They may have already heard 20 girls sing the same thing you wanted to do first.

What songs are in your Audition Portfolio, right now, that would show you off to your best advantage – no matter the musicals this company may be producing? Get those songs ready as though your were being filmed live for "American Idol". Because? Your "competition" is doing exactly that. Especially those who have been working with a vocal coach such as myself. Some of them may have a performance résumé as long as your arm.

Prior to your next audition opportunity, explore the five volumes of the "Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology – Alto, Alto Belter, Mezzo Soprano":

Volume 1, Revised

Volume 2, Revised

Volume 3

Volume 4

Volume 5

These anthologies contain titles you may already be familiar with or which you will be required to learn. They are all published in the same keys as the original score. For example, the following five songs – one from each of those volumes:

A Cockeyed Optimist – SOUTH PACIFIC (Volume 1)
Everybody Loves Louis – SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (Volume 2)
Don't Rain On My Parade – FUNNY GIRL (Volume 3)
I Know The Truth – AIDA (Volume 4)
Not For The Life Of Me – THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (Volume 5)

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm also an entertainment critic for – and Classical music reviewer for – When you're ready to come to San Francisco for vocal coaching, contact me at:

Check out my recent interview with popular TV host, David Perry, on "Ten Percent":

Below are links to my articles and youtubes on San Francisco's entertainment and cultural scene:

In Conversation with Peter Gallagher – Coming to the Venetian Room

Melody Moore steps into Tosca — Opening Night at San Francisco Opera

Patricia Racette – A Definitive 'Tosca' at San Francisco Opera

Film director Luis Valdez on Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie

Pianist András Schiff on the 'Bach Project in North America'

Vasily Petrenko, BRIT Male Artist of the Year, Conducts SF Symphony, 10/5–6

Marco Vratogna Is Sensational as Rigoletto at San Francisco Opera

A conversation with Joshua Bell, featured guest artist at opening of SF Symphony, 9/19

San Francisco Opera Opens 90th Season With Verdi's 'Rigoletto'

Jazz vocalist Nicole Henry makes San Francisco debut

Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford duke it out at The Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary

San Francisco, starring Jeanette MacDonald, to be featured at the Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary

The Wizard of Oz Meets the San Francisco Symphony

Diane Kruger Shines as Marie Antoinette in Benoit Jacquot's 'Farewell, My Queen'

The "It" Girl, Clara Bow, A Featured Star at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, July 12–15

'The Scottsboro Boys' – Placing the Minstrel Show on Trial

Jun Kaneko's 'Magic Flute' Is Stunningly Visual

Samuel Ramey is Leo the Great in San Francisco Opera's 'Attila'

'Victor Herbert, Collected Songs' – A Great CD

Tom Judson Is Making It Big In San Francisco

A Chat with Dominique Labelle, featured this week in PBO's 'Alexander's Feast'

A Look at Gennadi Nedvigin, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet

Organist Christopher Houlihan Makes A Powerful Debut at Davies Symphony Hall

Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet' – A Sumptuous Revival at San Francisco Ballet

RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'

An Interview with Grammy Award winning organist Paul Jacobs

'Unfaithfully Yours' – Classic Overtures at Noir City X

EDDIE MULLER – On the Slow Death of 35mm – An Interview with the "Czar of Noir"

DEANNA DURBIN – The Leading Lady of NOIR CITY, Wednesday at The Castro Theatre

THOMAS JANE – An interview with the star of HBO's "Hung" and 3D Thriller "Dark Country"

KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with "The Diva" of Teatro ZinZanni

DIANE BAKER – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

CAMERON CARPENTER – An Interview with Seán Martinfield

AT LAST! – ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY – An Interview with Seán Martinfield

MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE – An Interview with “La Princesse” of Philip Glass’ Orphée

A Conversation with Elza van den Heever

CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca

A Look At "Giselle" with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo


ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

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Sean Martinfield


I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: I am also a music and cultural critic for and I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.


As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at:


San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

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