We were lucky enough to speak to award winning composer, lyricist and playwright Zoe Sarnak to find out which songs she would recommend for an audition or showcase and why.
Zoe wrote the book, music and lyrics for Mixtape, featured in Silent Street Productions 2012 season, A Lasting Impression, winner of Pace New Musicals 2012, Off-Broadway at the 4th Street Theatre at NYTW in August 2012, winner of the 2013 NJ Playwright’s contest, and produced in concert by Cutting Edge Composers at Joe’s Pub in 2013, and The Years Between workshopped in Musical Theatre Factory’s 2014 summer season.
Check out www.zoesarnak.com to find out what’s new and where you can catch one of her productions.
Here are five songs which Zoe thinks would make great audition songs and why
Audition Songs Picked by Composer Zoe Sarnak
Click on title to view the video
“I’m a big big fan of songs that are authentic pop/soul/rock etc. I think a lot of people hear “rock” and go straight to 80s rock. Now I love some big 80s vocals but there are so many other options. SO I figured I’d pick one older and one newerValerie (’68 version): I love Amy Winehouse’s version of this song.It’s got an awesome feel for an audition because it’s new with old influences so you can shape it to fit the context of the audition.It’s also a subtle vocal showcase which I really appreciate.You can add small riffs and flips on “valerie” without having the tell-tale, here’s the big note type of moment that many auditions have.Also, the storytelling of the first verse is pretty fun.Zoe Sarnak
(Tenor) ” This song is from The Years Between.It comes from a scene where Damon is processing a break-up.It takes him through several stages of that pain: a soft/can’t speak hurt, building anger and then acceptance so you can do a lot with different cuts.”Zoe Sarnak
“I’m a big big fan of songs that are authentic pop/soul/rock etc. I think a lot of people hear “rock” and go straight to 80s rock. Now I love some big 80s vocals but there are so many other options. SO I figured I’d pick one older and one newerFire and Rain is a male barri-tenor option but I actually also love it on a female voice. You can play with the key.The cool thing is that different sections have really powerful lyrics to think through. I would encourage anyone who’s thinking of singing it to do a little research on James Taylor.I would be thrilled if someone sang this is an audition for me- just an all time favorite with so much depth.”Zoe Sarnak
(Mezzo with strong mix/belt) ” This song is from The Years Between.It’s the first time we hear Pipes sing (late in Act II) and it’s a cool shape of opening up over the course of the song.The song itself if about finding the strength to “stand out” rather than shy away from the fear of failure. It’s a vocal showcase especially the second half.”Zoe Sarnak
(Mezzo Soprano) “This is a song from the first act of A Lasting Impression. It’s sung by Simone, a painter, joyful and flighty, who never fully concentrates or commits to her art.In this moment we meet her and she meets her love interest Josh.What’s fun to play with is the top layer of flirtation but an underlying layer that is almost a warning that she can’t commit.Vocally the bridge is a great section to include in an audition cut.”Zoe SarnakAs well as the version you get by clicking the above title, also check out this version performed by Emma Hunton & Aaron Albert
We would love to know what your favourite audition song is, let us know via Twitter @actorhub.
Musical Theatre Actor Hub Advice