Alto Songs for musical theatre auditions

Alto Songs For Musical Theatre Auditions_550
Photo Credit: K Samuel-Adams via cc
Here at the Actor Hub we know how difficult it is to choose an audition song. Where to start in itself can be massively overwhelming.
Hopefully our lists can help you start on your journey to finding the perfect song, have a look at our choices and if you don’t like these maybe you can investigate the shows further and find something else which suits. We always choose songs which we truly believe will give you the best chance to show off your acting skills which I think is just as important, if not more important sometimes, than hitting every note.
You must know the story of the song and the journey of the character when you are auditioning, you need to demonstrate to the director that you are an actor who can sing, if they wanted just a singer they would be looking elsewhere.
Alto’s have deeper voices than soprano’s but they also have songs which I think deliver more of a punch and tend to be the meatier characters in the musicals.
Keep checking back we are always adding to these lists and the list will change regularly, so you might just find the perfect song which will help you get the role.
Alto Songs for Musical Auditions
These are songs to help you find a musical theatre audition song, have a watch of the video, listen to the song and if you like it then you must read the script or watch the show, a lot of them are on Youtube, and get an understanding of the character. If you empathise with the character and the song then go for it. If not keep looking and if you find something else let us know via Twitter @actorhub and we can add your choice to the list.

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  • Whistle Down the Wind is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on a 1960s Hayley Mills film.
    The show is based in Louisiana and tells the tale of a teenager called Swallow who discovers a man sleeping rough in her barn. She asks who he is and he moans “Jesus Christ” before collapsing. Believing him to be Jesus the children on the town rally round and try to protect this man who may be the escaped criminla the townsfolk are searching for.
    Whistle Down the Wind is a song which Swallow’s late mother would sing to her. It is a beautiful song full of innocence and hope and should be sung with emotion and memory a child would have of a mother who is gone.
  • A Man Of No Importance is a musical by Flaherty and Ahrens based on the 1994 Albert Finney film about an amateur Dublin theatre company putting on a production of Salome at their local church. Alfie Byrne the director of the theatre company is struggling with his own sexuality as well as with the church’s objections to his theatrical endeavours.
    Burden Of Life is sung by Alfie’s devoutly Cathloic sister Lily who has delayed her own marriage to Mr Carney, the butcher next door, until Alfie is wed. He has been her ‘burden’, she belives he has met a girl and is happy for him as now her life might begin.
    The character of Lily would suit an older actress, the song has humour as well as pathos and would make a great audition piece.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me On A Sunday is full of songs perfect for an alto to use at a musical theatre audition. In my opinion the song Take That Look Off Your Face gives the most scope for you to show off your acting skills along with your singing prowess.
    This one woman show tells the story of ‘The Girl’ (she is never named) who has moved to New York in search of love. Her romantic adventures take her from Muswell Hill to NYC to Hollywood and then back to Manhattan.
    Take That Look Off Your Face opens the show and is about ‘the girl’ being told of her boyfriend’s infidelity. The woman denies this fact and sends her newsbearer friend away.
    The song is full of emotion which is great for any audition and takes the singer on a real journey from incredulous disbelief through to realisation, hurt, and anger.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1996 animated Disney feature which has music by Alan Menken and lyrics written by Stephen Schwartz. The story is of the famous deformed bellringer Quasimodo and his struggles to gain acceptance into society.
    ‘Someday’ was originally intended to be sung by Esmeralda but was discarded and replaced with the song ‘God Help The Outcasts’.
    To understand the song you can look at the German stage version of the film. This song (translated as Einmal) occurs when Esmeralda is imprisoned and questioning her life and the world, she sings this song about how she hopes the world will learn after countless war and bloodshed to live with love and not hate.
    The song in the stage show ends with Esmeralda about to be put to death which makes the song more poignant and dramatic as it is possibly her dying wish for the world. Here is a link to the stage version Einmal
    “Someday
    Our fight will be won then
    We’ll stand in the sun then
    That bright afternoon”
  • Tarzan is a Walt Disney animated movie from 1999 with music by Phil Collins. The song won a Golden Globe and Oscar for best original song. A stage musical played in Broadway in 2006.
    The beautiful song ‘You’ll Be In My Heart’ is also known as ‘Lullaby’ and is sung by the gorilla Kala who is comforting the humna baby Tarzan whom she has ‘apodted’, she sings that he is safe and warm and will always be fine because “you will be in my heart always”
    The song speaks of that special bond between mother and child and how even though they are so different they can love each other. This version from the Broadway show is longer than the animated version and so is better for auditions as it has more variety and emotional range.
    “My arms will hold you
    Keep you safe and warm
    This bond between us
    Can’t be broken
    I will be here
    Don’t you cry”
  • Hairspray is a 2002 musical based on the 1988 film Hairspray from cult director John Waters.
    The musical tells the story of plump Tracy Turnblad who wins a role as a dancer on the Corny Collins TV dance show and uses her fame to integrate the show. The musical us a commentary on the injustice of American society in the early 1960s.
    I Know Where I’ve Been is sung by Motormouth Maybelle owner a local record store and host of the Corny Collins monthly Negro Night show. She sings of the struggle and long fight for equality.
    A real powerhouse number, full of emotion and belting. Don’t just play it for power and fall victim to ‘over belting’, connect with the struggle, the dream and the pride of the people who after justice. The belting will come naturally from the emotion when you find the truth of the song.
  • The Drowsy Chaperone is ‘a musical about a musical’. It revolves around a musical theatre fan’s obsession with a show from the 1920’s called “The Drowsy Chaperone”. He listens to his LP recording of the show and the characters come to life in his apartment.
    The show within the show is the story of Janet Van De Graff and her upcoming wedding to the debonair Robert Martin. This story gets mixed up with gangsters, a maniacal Broadway producer and a ‘drowsy chaperone’. The Brides Lament is sung by Janet when she dreams of her lost romance and her decision to return to the stage. It is a big, funny, show-offy number with a wonderful dream sequence and some hilarious dancing monkeys!
    Janet is attractive, vivacious, with an outgoing personality – she adores being the centre of attention and is a consummate 1920s starlet – a gem of a role for any leading lady.
    “I’m Janet, Janet Van De Graaff
    Ain’t no nail that I can’t hammer
    Why give up a life of glamour”
  • The Secret Garden is based on the classic children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
    The story tells of orphaned Mary Lennox who is sent to live with relatives she has never met in Yorkshire, and how she finds solace and blossoms in a neglected garden she discovers in the grounds of her uncles house.
    Mary sings The Girl I Mean To Be at the opening of Act Two. She dreams of the Secret Garden she has found and how perfect it will be, in reality the garden is rough, neglected and wild. Just like herself and her uncle.
    This is a sweet little song, and is perfect for young actors who might be playing children or auditioning to play a child. It needs a naivety and innocence in the characterisation to make it work.
  • Cats Don’t Dance is a Warner Brothers animated film from 1996. The film is set in a world where human beings and anthropomorphic animals live side-by-side.
    The film’s music is written by Randy Newman and interestingly the film is dedicated to Gene Kelly who choreographed the film’s musical sequences.
    This song is sung by Sawyer a female Cat. She is a cynical persian cat, cynical because her dreams of being a Hollywood star were broken and she winded up a secretary!
    The song is a lovely ballad sung by someone who has failed at her dreams again, and has a wonderful bluesy quality about it.
    “I never believed that there was a rainbow
    With a pot of gold at the end
    I’m much too smart for fairy tales like that
    Yet here I am again
    I thought this time, this time we’re gonna make it”
  • The 1966 Broadway show Sweet Charity is one of my favourites musicals and the character of Charity is such a beautiful and complex character I think it is a perfect choice for an audition as it gives you lots of scope to show off your acting.
    The show is all about the fortunes and misfortunes, the romantic ups and downs of an ever-hopeful prostitute called Charity Valentine.
    Charity has ended up back at the apartment of the film star Vittorio Vidal. Charity is starstruck she sings this song whilst he is out of the room fetching her some old movie props which she can have to prove to her friends that she was actually there!
    Charity is full of heart, wit, humour and honesty. The song is a reflection on her charmed life and is full of fun lyrics and Charity’s quirky character which makes it a joy to perform.
  • Another Hundred People is one of those songs which just resonates perfectly with young actors. The dream of moving to the big city, the excitement of being a part of a bustling metropolis!
    It has a fast paced rhythm and a pulsing beat which echos the hustle and bustle of New York. The character of Marta is singing about the veneer which she has built up by living in this ‘city of strangers’, She sings of how she loves this disconnected city, she knows that she is not what Bobby needs, throughout the song we see glimpses and shadows of Marta’s yearning for vulnerability.
    A wonderful song full of character and emotion.
  • Gypsy by Jule Styne with lyrics by Sondheim is loosely based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee the famous striptease artist.
    The stroy focuses on Gypsy’s mother Rose whose name is now synoymous with being the ultimate pushy showbiz mother, Toddlers, Tiaras and Tantrums has nothing no Rose! The story follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise her two daughters to perform on stage.
    By the end of the show the girls have grown up. Rose’s daughter June has run away and Louise her other daughter, all grown up, has been pushed in to perform as a striptease artist at a burlesque house. She has become a huge burlesque star and no longer needs her mother, she is now the sophisticated Gypsy Rose Lee.
    Rose relaises she is alone, she has lost her lover Herbie, her daughter June and now she has lost Louise too. She feels sad, useless and bitter and sings ‘Rose’s Turn’, she asks ‘Why Did I Do It, What Did it Get Me’. Her unrequited dreams of stardom and her personal demons surface. She fantasizes about her own lit-up runway and cheering audience, and finally admits “I did it for me.”
    “One quick look as each of ’em leaves you
    All your life and what does it get you?
    Thanks a lot and out with the garbage
    They take bows and you’re battin’ zero”
  • From the Styles and Drewe musical Just So, based on the Rudyard Kipling book.
    A really beautiful ballad sung by the Kolokolo bird, she is wondering why her courage fails her, she wants to fly but is afraid to fall.
    This is one of those songs which will give you the opportunity to show a range of emotions whilst offering up something a little bit different from the usual shows.
  • Grand Hotel is based on a 1932 film telling the story of a weekend in a hotel in Berlin and the intersecting stories of the eccentric hotel guests.
    I Want To Go To Hollywood is a fun song sung by Flaemmchen a secretary who is dreaming of fame and fortune.
    The song is full of fun lyrics and is a typical dreamer number, giving you plenty of room for character and storytelling as you sing of the life you have and you life you dream of, also some room for a bit of 1920s dance to sneak in!
  • Starlight Express is an Andrew Lloyd Webber rock musical about trains!
    The show is a child’s dream where his toy train’s come alive and take part in races. The show was really a dance show where the cast famously wore roller skates and skated around the theatre in and out of the auditorium on race tracks.
    All of the different coaches and engines have personalities and Belle is the sleeping car. She is an old coach who is asleep in a coal bunker and wakes and sings this song which is the story of her life and how she once was loved and glamorous but now is faded, peeling and old.
    A great song to play around with character, imagine a woman who has had a checkered past full of adventure and lovers but now is the kind of old faded beauty you find propping up the bar. Enjoy the challenge of really getting into character and delivering the song with some oomph!
    This song was cut from later versions of the show, so be sure to get the right sheet music
Be bold, daring and creative and you can’t go wrong.