Acting in Plays, Singing/Elle, Legally Blonde

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Question
Hello Mr Martinfield,

This year my school will be doing Legally Blonde the musical as our major production and I have my heart set on scoring the main role of Elle Woods. There are quite a few rounds of the auditions and I know for certain that I will have to sing most of the songs from the musical if i get through.

I am an alto but my range is a bottom E to about a G5 so it is quite wide but my middle range is reasonably weak and I am not quite getting out some of the belted notes in 'So Much Better'. Do you have any tips on how to nail this song and the voice of Elle? Or just tips on belting in general?

I do quite a lot of musical theatre training but also jazz/contemporary so do you think that I would be more suited to another role?

Thank you!

Answer
Hi, Sophia –

Thank you for the question.

The original key of “So Much Better” is Gb. The overall range extends from Gb3 to Eb5.  In the last part of the song, the belted area extends mostly between Gb4 and Eb5. The role of Elle is written for a mezzo-soprano with a strong belt in exactly this 6-note range.

Laura Bell Bundy sings the song one half-step up in G-Major. She and others who appeared on Broadway in the role share at least two other Broadway roles in common:  Glinda (Wicked) and Amber Von Tussle (Hairspray). Look at the material from these shows.

The range of a standard mezzo-soprano is A3 to A5. Some sing both higher and lower. That fact alone influences how the singer handles roles that require a lot of belting (or forte) in the B4 – E5/F5 range. Strengthening the belt happens through working a variety of scales – every day. Perhaps you are not practicing enough. Between now and the day of your audition, spend no less than a half-hour each day working short and long scales throughout your entire range. Identify the belted notes and measures in “So Much Better”. Isolate the specific vowel sounds on the longest notes and the belted notes. Do three-tone scales around those notes and on those vowels. In other words, get those notes – those points of arrival – warmed up before you start practicing the song.

At your audition, you must convince your producer and musical director that these money notes in “So Much Better” are going to be available throughout six weeks of rehearsal and for every performance during the run of the show.

Consider “Gimme, Gimme” (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0076600_U1

and “You’ve Got Possibilities” (It’s a bird – It’s a plane – It’s Superman).
http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0025998

I am a vocal coach to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. When you want to make an appointment, contact me at:  BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com.

I am also published on:
HuffingtonPost.com -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield
FabulousFilmSongs.com -- http://www.fabulousfilmsongs.com/category/by-sean/

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

Acting in Plays, Singing

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Sean Martinfield

Expertise

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: BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com I am also a music and cultural critic for HuffingtonPost.com and Examiner.com. I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.

Experience

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: Broadwaybelters@yahoo.com

Publications
HuffingtonPost.com Examiner.com FabulousFilmSongs.com SanFranciscoSentinel.com

Education/Credentials
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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