Acting in Plays, Singing/Urinetown Audition Song
Later this month, I am auditioning for my school's production of Urinetown, specifically the role of Penelope Pennywise. I'm considering "Show Me" from My Fair Lady because it has a higher belting part, but I'm hesitant to use that song because the character does not reflect Pennywise. Would "Show Me" be a good/decent song to use, and, if not, could you please suggest a song that would be better? Thank you!
Hi, Rachel --
Thank you for the question.
The role of Penelope Pennywise calls for a mezzo-soprano with a belt. Depending on the singer, Penelope could be sung by a soprano whose vocal fach (vocal category) is dramatic soprano. Penelope is described as being 40-60. That’s where the Makeup Department comes in. The range of “It’s A Privilege to Pee” extends from C4-G5. Her overall range includes High C.
The role will make hamburger out of your voice long before Opening Night if you are not this variety of singer.
“Show Me” is a great song. But it is not appropriate to Urinetown. Eliza’s frustration is that of an innocent. By contrast, Penelope lost her own innocence way-way back and has turned into a miserly shrew of a control freak. The role can be a dream come true for a singer with such vocal chops. And there are plenty of high school age singers capable of Penelope’s vocal demands. It’s also possible that the Director may have someone in mind.
As a vocal coach, I teach all my mezzo-sopranos who belt how to sing to High C (C6). Knowing how to do that makes their very loud High G a walk in the park -- especially at an audition and throughout the run of the show.
Consider any of the following material:
Surabaya Santa -- Songs for A New World
When you link to this site, notice that the song can be transposed. Select: +2 D minor
That raises the key one whole step. The range is now A3-F5. Find a phrase where you can throw in A5 or Bb5 as an optional note. The same is true with the next two songs.
Barbara Song -- Threepenny Opera [Range: C4-F5]
Solomon Song -- Threepenny Opera [Range: B3-F5]
Learn how to sing “It’s A Privilege to Pee” first. Once you know you can handle it, then apply the same attitudes and vocal power to whatever you decide to sing. If I’m on your audition panel and think you might be a likely candidate for Penelope Pennywise, I will ask you to sing a few of the measures that contain her high notes. Or I might ask you to just hit your High G and sustain it for several or more counts.
Go prepared to do the whole song. If requested to do just 32 measures or 16 measures, be ready to do that without hesitation. Choose the measures that contain the high notes. At professional auditions, it sometimes happens that all you get is 8 measures.
I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I'm also a music critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield
. When you want to make an appointment, contact me at: BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com. I am also available for sessions on Skype.
Below are links to my recent articles and interviews:
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