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 – and Classical music reviewer for – When you're ready to come to San Francisco for vocal coaching, contact me at:

Check out my web site:

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

Below are links to my articles and youtubes on the San Francisco Bay Area entertainment and cultural scene:

"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

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

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

A Look At "Giselle" with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo

ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

Acting in Plays, Singing

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.