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
Click on title to view the video
Click on image to buy from Amazon
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!
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.
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”
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.
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”
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.
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.
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”
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!”
Stars and The Moon is a popular one, so make it your own.A twist on the saying “Be careful what you wish for, because it might just come true”. The woman singing tells of the three men in her life and how she rejects the two dreamers and chooses the rich man. The song is about the misapprehension that being financially rich makes you rich in life. The women finds out only too late in life what she has missed out on.A gem of a song to show off storytelling, acting and singing ability.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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”
Be bold, daring and creative and you can’t go wrong.
Musical Theatre Actor Hub Advice