Acting in Plays, Singing/Help finding an audition song?
I'm currently 16 (17 in December), and am auditioning for a community theatre production of the musical Winesburg, Ohio. Hardly anyone has heard of it! The description of the show is: "Winesburg, Ohio is a coming-of-age musical set in a small mid-western town in the early 1900s. The apparently ordinary citizens of Winesburg unveil the tragedies and joys of their secret lives through a beautiful folk-inspired score. At their center is 18-year-old George Willard, who must choose between remaining comfortably in Winesburg or pursuing his artistic dreams in the big city."
I've been having a lot of trouble finding a 16 bar cut for this audition. Every song I picked couldn't have 16 bars cut, because they ended mid-verse or at an awkward moment. I.m looking for a song that shows off my talent and is memorable. I've made the mistake of choosing boring audition songs before and it didn't end very well. I don't know what my exact range is yet, but I do know I'm more comfortable singing mezzo, but I can hit a few notes that are higher up. I'm not really a belter either. I was thinking about I Dreamed A Dance from Next To Normal, but I'm afraid it might be a little too boring. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi, Meghan --
Thank you for the question.
The range of a standard mezzo-soprano is a two octave stretch between A3 and A5. The vast majority of Broadway repertoire written for standard mezzos sits between A3 and C5. The lower voiced mezzos (or contraltos) sing to F3. There are other examples, of course, which go higher and lower.
I would not suggest a song from NEXT TO NORMAL for this audition.
The vocal selections from WINESBURG, OHIO are not available. But the lyricist says that the songs reflected folk music from the 1920s and ‘30s.
If the audition notice does not specifically indicate a “Broadway song” -- but does state that you bring your sheet music in the key of your choice -- then you have a bit wider choice of material. Consider some popular ballads from that period or songs from films about that period. Below are some titles listed in the “Great American Songbook”:
I’m Always Chasing Rainbows -- by Joseph McCarthy and Harry Carroll
Consider transposing to E-flat
Alice Blue Gown -- by Joseph McCarthy and Harry Tierney
Consider transposing to B-flat
You Were Meant For Me -- by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
Consider transposing to E-flat or D Major
Somebody Loves Me -- by George Gershwin
Consider transposing to F Major
One way to choose your 16-measures is to count backwards from the last measure. Don’t worry about how long the final note may last, i.e., an extra measure or two. Most standard songs (not including the Introduction) are 32 measures long. If you sing an extra couple of measures, no one is going to stop you.
If there is an ingenue role, then you are the perfect age. Your job at this audition (for a show without any recording or published material) is to prove that you can carry a tune in your range, and be heard and understood by the audition panel. If you are what the producers are looking for, they will know it before you open your mouth.
I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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