Acting in Plays, Singing/Broadway Medley Advice
I'm a senior in high school and have been taking vocal and piano lessons for the past eight years. My range extends from A3 - G5. My choral/drama director is putting on a Broadway Medley of sorts in a few months, and she has given me a folder of music to pick songs from to sing at this event. I'll just lay them out for you:
Stars - Les Miserables
Soliloquy - Carousel
If I Loved You (Duet) - Carousel
Music of the Night - The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera (Duet) - The Phantom of the Opera
The Highest Judge of All - Carousel
Luck Be A Lady - Guys and Dolls
Seventy-Six Trombones - The Music Man
Now, I think that I've narrowed my two choices down to Music of the Night and Stars. I was just wondering if you could provide some advice on how best to approach these songs (breathing techniques, vibrato, character description, any advice), or if you believe that I should choose any of the others listed. I've been singing for her for a number of years at many different events, and she wants me to sort of "go out with a bang."
Thank you for your time.
Hi, Alex –
Thank you for a great question.
I know I could match stories with you about high school productions – as both a performer and as a member of the student body. Sometimes it gets really challenging, right?
I would not want to sit through any variety of medley from that song list. I would not want to sing any variety of medley from that song list.
Considering the selections, if I were out in the audience I would feel as though I were being lectured-to, preached at right and left, and obligated to feel a lot of super-inspirational rah-rah from a bunch of over-played Broadway musicals that I am like so over.
However, assuming the list is etched in stone and might have something to do with the completion of a grade and/or you winning some variety of trophy – then I think the two songs you have chosen, "Music of the Night" and "Stars", are your best choices. After all, everybody knows the shows. Maybe you've performed the roles. If you sing this material just like we've all heard it before, then many may say that Broadway is on your horizon.
A range of A3 - G5 puts you in the baritone category. But, assuming you would be singing in the original keys, the complete song list is all over the map. The characters who sing these numbers in each of the listed shows range from bass-baritone to tenor.
I know that you know that the variety of voice most associated with "The Phantom" is a tenor. A high-baritone who can practice to High B-flat will also work. Given that the songs are in concert medley form and not intended to be actual scenes from the show, then changing the keys to suit the singer is not an issue. The totality of "Music of the Night" is highly stylized in that there is leeway to use a straight legit sound along with whatever Pop-sound works best for you including falsetto.
"Stars", sung by the character Javert, needs an aggressive and commanding voice. Whoever sings this role could also do "Che" in EVITA or "Valentin" in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN or "Stine" in CITY OF ANGELS. A totally different voice is needed for the romantic and lusty appeal of both Billy Bigelow in CAROUSEL and Harold Hill in THE MUSIC MAN.
Just to drive the point home – before signing on the Bottom Line for this one, I would want a lot more information. You want to be damn sure you don't go out with a fizzle.
I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm also an entertainment critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield
and Classical music reviewer for Examiner.com – http://www.examiner.com/user/4557381/articles
. When you're ready to come to San Francisco for vocal coaching, contact me at: Broadwaybelters@yahoo.com
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"Christmas Holiday" – at the Deanna Durbin Festival, Stanford Theatre, 12/21-23
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
'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie
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
The "It" Girl, Clara Bow, A Featured Star at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, July 12–15
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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
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RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'
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
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ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation