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.

Click on title to view the video

Click on image to buy from Amazon
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Often songs from popular culture leak into the musical theatre casting room and this has certainly been true with Adele.
    Her soul searching beautiful Some Like You inspired by broken relationship and coming to terms with it “even though I’m very bitter and regret some parts of it, he’s still the most important person that’s ever been in my life, and with ‘Someone Like You,’ I had to write it to feel OK with myself and OK with the two years I spent with him. And when I did it, I felt so freed”.
    This song is great for you to show off tender emotion and vocal talent and really needs constraint and reserve but if nailed it really can be the perfect audition number, Also popular from 21 is Adele’s cover of the Bob Dylan song “Make You Feel My Love”
  • 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”
  • 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
  • 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”
  • 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”
  • Hairpsray is a musical based on the John Waters film, and is in fact now a movie musical in it’s own right.
    The show tells the story of Tracey Turnblad a plump teenager who lands a part as a dancer on a local TV show and manages to use that show as a platform to bring racial equality to her little corner of America.
    Good Morning Baltimore is the opening number and is sung by Tracey. It is a celebration of her life and her love for her hometown, dancing and her desire for fame.
    The song is intentionally funny and has great lyrics such as ” Good morning Baltimore, There’s the flasher who lives next door, There’s the bum on his bar room stool, They wish me luck on my way to school”. The best way with any comedy song is to play it straight, really play it for the truth of the song the fact that Tracey is full of zest for life and sees the world in a ‘glass half full’ way. Play it for the truth and the humour will be natural and not forced.
  • 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.
  • Nine is a musical based on the Federico Fellini film 8 1/2. It tells the story of film director Guido Contini who is having a midlife crisis as his 40th birthday approaches. The musical has found recent fame as a movie starring Daniel Day Lewis.
    This song is a phone call from Guido’s mistress Carla who has arrived in Venice to see Guido and is lonely in her hotel room.
    The song is very naughty and pretty filthy and takes some bravery to really give it all in performance at an audition, but if you are able to really go for it and show you are a brave actor who doesn’t mind taking some risks then it could be a great audition piece.
    I would choose this one only if it really suits the character you are auditioning for, no point in singing this if you are auditioning to play a goody two shoes!
  • This is a wonderfully funny character song about how an Alto never gets the chance to sing the melody!
    It is full of strong comedy moments for any character actress. The end of the song is pure genius where the Alto gets to demonstrate her fabourite tunes – but her alto parts …. the harmonies!
    If you want to showcase not only your comedy skills but your singing skills then you will have a blast with this truly fun number!
  • Caroline or Change is a musical by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori which combines blues, motown, folk, classical and Jewish klezmer music. It has run on Broadway and in London.
    The musical deals with the American civil rights movement in 1963 in Louisana, the time of the assasintaion of JFK. Caroline is a black maid for a Jewish family and the musical follows her life and relationship with the family’s young son Noah, with whom she has a strong connection.
    ‘Lot’s Wife’ is sung by Caroline towards the end of the show as she beg’s God’s forgiveness for keeping some money she had found in Noah’s trousers when doing the laundry and all the bad it has caused, it caused her hatefulness to come out and it made her into a person she didn’t want to become. She asks God to make her not want anything anymore, so that she can never be evil again.
    “Murder me God down in that basement,
    murder my dreams so I stop wantin,
    murder my hope of him returnin,
    strangle the pride that make me crazy!”
  • Bye Bye Birdie is a 1960 musical inspired by Elvis Presley and his draft notice into the US Army.
    Rock and roll star Conrad Birdie has been drafted into the army, his songwriter Albert and his secretary Rosie come up with a publicity stunt whereby Conrad will sing his song One Last Kiss and give a member of his fan club a kiss, his last kiss, before he heads off to the army.
    An English Teacher is sung by Rosie to her sweetheart, and boss, Albert as she makes him promise to quit the music business and become an English teacher.
    Its a lovely song full of character as Rosie persuades Albert to become An English Teacher, the comedy comes from how sexy she finds that profession compared to the glamour of the showbiz. It is a longing, dreamer song, and perfect for ‘playing the girl next door’ type.
  • 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!
  • 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.
Be bold, daring and creative and you can’t go wrong.