Musical Theatre Audition Songs – Composers Choice – Will Van Dyke

Musical Theatre Audition Songs - Composers Choice - Will Van Dyke_550
Photo Credit: adapted from Elliott Billings via cc
We were lucky enough to speak to New York composer, lyricist and musical director Will Van Dyke to find out what his top five audition numbers for anyone having to show off their talent at an audition or showcase.
Will is the composer of Pages, Winnie The Pooh! Kids! and The Girls I’ve Liked. His songs have been performed at venues all over the US including Joe’s Pub and Lincoln Center.
Will’s debut album Chasing The Day is available and is soon to be available theatrically as a Song Cycle. With Matt Doyle, Will co-wrote and produced the albums Daylight and Constant.
Will’s latest work is the concept recording of the three hander Writing Kevin Taylor featuring Ben Crawford, Lisa Howard and Preston Sadleir.
He currently works on Kinky Boots as the Associate Music Director, and let me tell you this anyone who has partied with my hero Cyndi Lauper is automatically a friend of mine!
His other credits include the Music Director for the Off-Broadway Revival of Rent, Keyboards for Broadway’s The Addams Family and also on and the 1st National Touring Company of Wicked.
Here’s what Will had to say about auditioning:
When it comes to a great audition song, I always think it is best to present something that not only shows you off, but also will leave your audience remembering the song.

I’m not saying pick a song that upstages you, but if you perform a catchy song really well, I say go for it.

Below are 5 audition songs that I think are really great.
Will Van Dyke
Audition Songs Picked by Composer Will Van Dyke
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  • “Another category of songs that people are looking for these days is contemporary musical theatre.
    I’m shameless plugging my own music here, but this is a fun uptempo with a little edge. It’s from an album that is being turned into a song cycle for theatrical licensing called CHASING THE DAY. You can check it out on iTunes.” Will Van Dyke
    Originally released as an album on in October 2010, Chasing the Day has been reimagined as a song cycle. Written on the road, aboard planes, across time zones, between sets, in hotel lobbies, at 24-hour coffee shops, miles apart, when the thought of home is your only companion–Chasing the Day is about the places life takes us and the people who bring us back.
    Marie and Me is a song sung by a boy who can’t let go of the love of his life, it has a driving purpose to it.
    “Marie and Me wanna get together
    Just like before this world tore us apart
    Marie and Me, can we make it happen?
    Lets take a ride make a start”
  • “Another category of songs that people are looking for these days is contemporary musical theatre.
    This is another one of my songs. It’s a longing ballad from WRITING KEVIN TAYLOR. The character is at her wits end and is working out what that means.
    A concept recording of WRITING KEVING TAYLOR Is also available on iTunes.” Will Van Dyke
    Wife leaves Writer. Writer hires Boy. Boy pretends to be Writer’s estranged son to help win back Wife. Things get interesting.
    To listen to ‘I Need More’ you will have to head to Amazon or iTunes via the above links as I couldn’t find it on YouTube yet. When it does appear I will update it here. For now, the above video link is for another fantastic number ‘Storybook Life’ from this beautiful show.
    “I need more
    I need more than this apartment
    More than a room with a view
    I need more
    More than dirty laundry
    More than dinner for two
    I need more”
  • “Since so many musicals these days require great pop and rock sounds, actors are being asked to perform true pop or rock selections more and more.
    If you’ve got the vocal and acting chops and need a good cut of something, this song is great. Simple and beautiful.” Will Van Dyke
    “Say Something” is a song from the album, Is There Anybody Out There by American pop duo A Great Big World.
    The song was used on the American dancing relaity show So You Think You Can Dance and soon after Christina Aguilera got in touch saying she wanted to work on the song, her re-recorded version was released in November 2013.
    The song is a piano ballad which talks about a breakup, where the lover is begged to ‘say something’ which could bring them back together, the song journeys through humility, sadness and regret.
    ActorHub tip: When choosing a rock/pop song it is vital you find or create the story behind the song and create the character who fits that story so you ‘act’ the song as well as you sing it.
    “And I will swallow my pride
    You’re the one that I love
    And I’m saying goodbye
    Say something, I’m giving up on you ”
  • “This is a classic. I think anyone could sing it for almost anything classic. It doesn’t get much better than this.” Will Van Dyke
    This perfectly beautiful Rodgers and Hammerstein love song is a Broadway standard and has been recorded by all manner of artists, from Sammy Davis Jnr to Cybill Shepherd!!
    Early on in the show The King of Siam receives a gift from the king of Burma, a slave girl named Tuptim, to be one of his many wives. She is escorted by Lun Tha, a scholar who has come to design a temple, and the two are secretly in love.
    In the second half the characters of Lun Tha and Tuptim sing of how they have dreamt of their true love blossoming, as they prepare to escape from the King’s palace.
    “I have dreamed that your arms are lovely,
    I have dreamed what a joy you’ll be.
    I have dreamed every word you whisper.
    When you’re close,
    Close to me.”
  • “Since so many musicals these days require great pop and rock sounds, actors are being asked to perform true pop or rock selections more and more.
    This is one of my absolutely favorites and will certainly leave the room humming after you leave.” Will Van Dyke
    “What’s Up?” is a rock song written by Linda Perry for 4 Non Blondes’ album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More! It was the album’s second single released in 1993.
    The song doesn’t actually contain the lyric ‘Whats Up’ it actually has the lyric ‘Whats Going On’ but the title of the song had to be changed to avoid any confusion with the 1971 Marvin Gaye song ‘What’s Going On’
    ActorHub tip: When choosing a rock/pop song it is vital you find or create the story behind the song and create the character who fits that story so you ‘act’ the song as well as you sing it.
    “And so I cry sometimes
    When I’m lying in bed
    Just to get it all out
    What’s in my head
    And I am feeling a little peculiar ”
We would love to know what your favourite audition song from a new musical is, let us know via Twitter @actorhub.