Acting in Plays, Singing/Jean Valjean


Hi, Mr. Martinfield.

You probably don't remember me, but I asked you questions a while back for a couple of auditions I had coming up, and now I have a huge one for a local production of Les Miserables.

This is the video I sent to you before. Since then, my voice has come out of my throat and into my mask, and I am singing High B's consistently, and C's semi-consistently.

As a 25 year old Tenor, I have been polishing my technique for this audition and show since this summer, and I was wondering:

What is an audition song that would show my chops for Valjean, but not remove me from the running from other roles, such as Enjolras, or Thernardier?

The director is very openminded where age and race are concerned, and I want to give it my best shot for the lead role while also showing that I'm versatile enough to play any of the others as well. I want to audition without putting all my eggs in one basket, as it were.

when considering younger roles, I learned "why God Why?" from Miss Saigon by the same composers, but I didn't know if it would fit for Valjean as well. I know it doesn't show the entire range that Valjean requires, lacking the extremes. I have a very wide range for a Tenor, and my voice teacher often tells me that I could pass for either with minor changes in delivery, although I am definitively a Tenor.

I hope I'm not babbling or giving too much information, I just want to give you as much to go on as possible.

Hi, Aladdin --

I’m happy to hear from you again.

“Semi consistently”? Being able to do at least that is making you feel more confident about this High B you’re going to exhibit one of these days. Correct? So, a solid High A should be well within reach by the time of this audition.

Jean Valjean is a dramatic tenor with a night-after-night 2-octave range to a climactic High A.
Is this you?

If I’m on your audition panel and we all see you as a candidate for Valjean, then I’m going to ask to hear your High A and your High B-flat before sending you on to the callback.

By contrast, Enjolras’ range is Low A to High G -- one whole step short of two octaves. He is an idealized character -- maybe a poet in his spare time, i.e., when there isn’t a revolution going on. He is an Innocent. He becomes a martyr. Is this you?

Depending on who shows up at the audition, Enjolras could be sung by a high baritone or a second tenor, even a young dramatic tenor.

There is a stark difference between the two characters.

Leave Thenardier to the older character actor/singers.

Consider “Anthem” from CHESS for your audition. Use the last 14 measures of the song. The original key is D Major, the high note is G. You may want to consider singing it in E-flat -- the high note is now A-flat.

Go to this web site to order on-line and to transpose:


Enjolras and Valjean both sing in an “anthem” type style. Don’t worry about conveying versatility. Convey your best musicianship. Maybe it’s been a while since they last heard you. The rest is the rest.

My favorite tenor these days with a performance-ready High D is Lawrence Brownlee. Watch the YouTube of his performance in CARMINA BURANA:

It is an amazing aria called “The Roasted Swan”. I interviewed him in July when he sang in San Francisco Symphony’s production of it:

Lawrence Brownlee—On ‘Carmina Burana’, with the SFSymphony—Tuesday, July 30th

Strive to get your High C# up to at least “semi-consistently”. When that happens, your C will be more in place, right?

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield  

Acting in Plays, Singing

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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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