Acting in Plays, Singing/Les Mis Audition


I've got an audition for the role of Marius in Les Mis for my school musical. I'm in my last year and I think I'm a baritone or tenor. For the audition they want us to sing Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, which in an earlier answer you said was a walk in the park, which for the most part I can sing, but I am finding it hard to reach the note two G's above middle C, "became their last communion" and was wondering if you could give me any advice to be able to confidently hit and sing that note. (Also, do you know of any notes that the part of Marius would have to sing that go above this?).

Thank you very much,

Hi, Niall –

Thank you for the question.

You have to know whether you are a tenor or a baritone. You cannot be both. My job as a professional vocal coach is to determine your true vocal category and train you accordingly.

Marius' vocal range extends from Low A to High A-flat, i.e., one half-step higher than High G. Some audition notices describe him as a tenor, others as a tenor or baritone.

The range of a standard baritone stretches over the two octaves of Low A to High A. All my baritones exercise regularly to High A. Thus, if there is a High G in anything they sing, it can be a walk in the park. For my tenors, who exercise to at least the D above High C — the High G below that is a simple stroll.

As for Marius in LES MIZ, it all depends on the singer, their training, their manner, and the overall sound (the "timbre") of their voice. Professional productions, including the touring companies, have great sound engineers who can spruce-up the sound of anyone on stage. Chances are your school will equip the lead performers with body mikes. Using your best Pop voice — you may be exactly what they're looking for.

If I'm on your audition panel, then I want to hear your High G. If you don't access a High G in whatever you've chosen to sing, then I'm going to ask you to demonstrate that note – full out, just like you would if Mr. Webber was there and considering you for a call-back.

How close are you to doing that today?

If it's just a matter of you being out-of-practice, then get busy! Run your 8-tone scales everyday from at least Low A-flat to High A-flat. Exercise your voice no less than 15 minutes everyday, especially before you learn or rehearse the material you have chosen or which has been assigned to you. Never perform your material on a cold voice. Don't ever believe that singing songs is a sufficient way to warm-up your voice. It's not. If you are a competitive runner, then you know you have to do all kinds of stretching, etc., before stepping up to the starting line.

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 – Let me know when you're ready to come to San Francisco for some vocal coaching.

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:

The Silent Film Festival, Winter 2013 – Saturday at the Castro Theatre

Final Performance of SF Ballet's Program I – Sunday matinee at 2 PM, 2/3

Peggy Cummins Honored at San Francisco's Noir City Film Festival

"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

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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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