Acting in Plays, Singing/Legally Blonde Audition
Dear Mr. Martinfield,
I have been checking your site often for quite some time now for general advice, and it's helped me out so much so far, with tips on auditioning and new songs to learn.
I finally have an opportunity to audition for my dream role in my town -- Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. However, I've had trouble finding the perfect audition song, as I usually go into auditions for other shows with "So Much Better" from Legally Blonde! While I am confident that I can communicate Elle's personality through any song, it's difficult for me to find a song that reflects her voice-type, described as a "Soprano Belt."
I have found many songs that could showcase my range as a soprano, but they are all much more "legit"-sounding than Elle's material, and I'd like to be able to show off some of her belty side too. This would be no problem if I could use two songs for the audition, but it calls for only one!
Do you have any ideas for a song that could highlight a "Soprano Belt?" I know that's a bit of a contradiction, but I guess that's the character of Elle Woods!
Some additional information: I participate mostly in local fringe-festival-type musicals, so I have not played too many roles within the repertoire, but here are some of my favourite songs for auditions, to give you an idea of what I'm comfortable with: "It Might as Well be Spring" from State Fair, "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" from South Pacific, "Feelings" from the Apple Tree, "You've Got Possibilities" from Superman, and of course, "So Much Better." I'm comfortable belting to an E5, and singing up to A5, higher on a great day.
Thank you so much for everything!
Hello, Jordan --
Thank you for the question. I can appreciate your enthusiasm for the role of "Elle" in LEGALLY BLONDE.
The standard range of a Soprano—with or without a belt—is a two octave stretch between C4 and C6. To have a consistent High C in performance, most standard sopranos know they can exercise to D6.
If I'm on your audition panel and you look like what the Producer and Director are looking for, then I'm going to ask you to demonstrate your Low G-flat, i.e., as heard in "So Much Better". You know you will not be on a mike at this audition. If the audition is in the theater where the show will be produced and the panel is sitting out in Row M — will we hear it? In the first nine measures of that song, the range floats from Gb3 to the major 5th above, Db4. That is where Sopranos go to die.
Elle's full vocal range extends between Gb3 and Eb5. Not the range of a Soprano, even one with a belt. This is the territory of a young lyric Mezzo-Soprano with a belt. If you have enjoyed success using "So Much Better", then you are a Mezzo-Soprano with a belt. The same is true for the other songs you mention.
All my young mezzo-sopranos sing to at least Bb5 on an average day, most go higher on a great day. That does not mean they are sopranos in disguise. To sing an audible Gb3 without a microphone, in a standard theatre, you want to know before going out the door that you have exercised down to an audible whole step lower, i.e., E3. Again, not what Sopranos do, especially if they want to avoid really bad wear & tear.
Just to drive the point home, the role of "Nellie Bush" in SOUTH PACIFIC is written for a very spirited lyric Mezzo-Soprano. Mary Martin, the original Nellie, is the perfect example of that vocal category. In its original key, "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" is absolutely not written for a Soprano.
Audition notices that describe Elle as a "Soprano" are misleading. What they WANT is a voice with a bright young Pop sound that sits in the Mezzo-Soprano range. Such sound for such a character suggests freshness, vitality and, more importantly, Innocence. Unlike the mezzo-soprano role of "Aldonza" in MAN OF LA MANCHA, Elle is one of those sassy college-types who is hanging on the fringe of (maybe) being able to wear white at her wedding.
"You've Got Possibilities" is a good song. Also consider "Gimme Gimme" from THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. Go to this web site to purchase the song on-line. When you are at the site, notice that the range extends from Ab3 to D5. That sits right within Elle's range. Go prepared to sing an excerpt in the event they are pressed for time. Consider the last three pages, beginning with "I don't care if he's a nobody" or the last two pages, beginning with "Gimme that thing called love. I wannit."
Whatever you choose for your audition, be prepared to sing any of Elle's material—just in case.
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
. Let me know when you're ready to come to San Francisco for some vocal coaching.
Check out my web site: http://FabulousFilmSongs.com
See my 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:
Nonsemble 6 presents Schoenberg's 'Pierrot Lunaire' – in corsets
'Onegin' – A Must-See at San Francisco Ballet, Final Performances 3/26—28
David Klein and Nick Wooley of 'Billygoat' play at Switchboard Music Festival
Tenor Noah Stewart Debuts with Berkeley Symphony in World Premiere of New Work by Steven Stucky
Marnie Breckenridege, A Modern Soprano for Contemporary Opera
A Profile of Choreographer John Neumeier and his "Nijinsky"
Peggy Cummins Honored at San Francisco's Noir City Film Festival
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
'Drama Queens' – A Conversation with Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato
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
Jazz vocalist Nicole Henry makes San Francisco debut
Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford duke it out 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 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'
DEANNA DURBIN – The Leading Lady of NOIR CITY, Wednesday at The Castro Theatre
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