Best Songs for Musical Theatre Auditions for Tenors

Tenor Songs For Musical Theatre Auditions
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There are so many shows, and only so much time! Choosing the perfect song for a musical theatre or drama school audition can sometimes be pretty overwhelming. We hope Actor Hub can help.
It is important that you choose a song which not only shows off your singing voice but demonstrates your acting ability, a musical director will need to know you can sing but what is possibly most important when auditioning for a role rather than as a company member is that you can act.
Choose a song which moves you, which connects with you. Look at the character who sings the song, could you play that role, does it speak to you? It is vital you research the character, where the song comes in the show, and what it is there for, why is the song sung?
If they just wanted singers, then they would hire a singer. You are an actor, you have trained in acting, in bringing alive a character, so make sure you choose a song which can demonstrate that.
Here is a list of Tenor songs which we feel would work well at any audition. Click on the title or image to watch a video of the song. Bookmark this page and keep coming back as we are always updating and adding to this list.
Tenor Songs for Musical Auditions
This list will hopefully guide you when looking for a musical theatre audition song, have a watch of the video, listen to the song and see if you like it. Do try and read the script or watch the show. If you find something else or have a recommendation let us know via Twitter @actorhub and we can add your choice to the list.

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  • One of Sondheim’s few flops ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ has recently been revived to great acclaim thanks to the wonderful Menier Chocolate Factory.
    The song appears in the show twice. Sung once by a man and once by a woman – this means it should be easy for you to find the song in both male and female keys.
    This also lets you choose which way you want to sing this song – once it is sung at the beginning of a romance, full of the initial glow and thrill of love, it is also sung full of hurt and pain as it is looking at a relationship which just won’t heal.
    The version in this video is the male version full of the excitement of new love. Sung by Frank as vows at his wedding to Beth.
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical telling the story of a fictional spelling bee (US spelling competition for school kids) set in Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally-quirky grown-ups.
    I’m Not That Smart is sung by one of the kids, Leaf Coneybear, when he has some trouble spelling one of the words he is faced with. He remembers how his family thinks he ‘is not that smart’.
    If you can really find the truth of playing a young kid then this song could be a winner, if you play it for laughs and put in all manner of ticks and thumb sucking ‘kid acting’ then I think you will stand out for all the wrong reasons.
    Look for the truth in the words, look at how you could relate to how the character is feeling. Work on how a kid would be able to express these feelings openly and not suppress them. Work on a few mannerisms which make you slightly kid-like but not over the top, and then go for it. If you take risks it will pay off in the long run.
    A comedy song which can show off your comic skills but also showcase your musicality.
  • Anyone Can Whistle is set in an imaginary town which has gone bankrupt. The only place which is doing well is the local sanitorium, known as ‘The Cookie Jar’.
    This song comes at the end of Act Two, the ‘Cookies’ have escaped and are hiding amongst the townspeople, but no one can tell who is mad and who is sane. Fay Apple a young nurse with the help of Hapgood, one of the Cookies, decide to tear up the inmates records and let them be free.
    The song is sung by Hapgood as the freed ‘Cookies’ dance. It is a delightful song full of careless optimism, Hapgood is an ‘idealist’ and this delight for life and opportunity shines through in this song.
  • Stephen Schwartz’s work became so popular after the success of his musical Wicked, but the song Corner of the Sky from the musical Pippin has always been a favourite for auditions.
    The musical Pippin tells the story of a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. Pippin, the young man, sings Corner of the Sky right at the top of the show and it tells of his dreams to find where he belongs and his quest for an extraordinary life.
    Although overdone, it really is a classic I Dream/I Wish song and is perfect for young actors. It has innocence and vulnerability in bucket loads and will show off your type, your acting and your singing all in one making it great for casting purposes. And lets not forget it has a fantastic falsetto ending to boot!
  • Warren Beatty’s 1990 movie Dick Tracy, probably became more famous because of the presence of Madonna in it than anything else. It is worth revisiting, it is a quirky beautiful movie and has some great Sondheim songs throughout.
    Live Alone and Like It is sung by the character of Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) and is used a background music during the film.
    The song is a celebration of the single life and works sung by both female and male voices. You can build in a backstory to this song and either sing it as a carefree ‘I’m happy with this single life’ attitude –
    Or you could sing it more uncertain style, like the singer is trying to persuade himself that he is happy with the single life (just like in this video!)
  • Do I Hear A Waltz was conceived as a small chamber musical and is one of Broadway’s lost gems.
    The story deals with the loves and lives of a group of visitors to and the inhabitants of Venice.
    Stay is sung by the character of Renato di Rossi who has fallen in love with New York secretary Leona Samish.
    It is a strange but beautiful ballad which needs to be delivered with total honesty and conviction. It is a proposal from a married man, who is totally laying his cards on the table:
    “I am not the dream come true – But stay – Not perfection, nor are you – But stay”
  • Sweet Smell of Success is a musical based on the 1957 movie of the same name telling the story of the powerful newspaper columnist J J Hunsecker and how he uses his connections to ruin the life of a man who he deems inappropriate for a relationship with his siter.
    Sidney Falcone a struggling press agent has met JJ’s sister Susan, Susan is hiding her real relationship from her brother JJ and introduces Sidney as her new “partner in her acting class”. JJ appears to take Sidney under his wing and befriend him. He buys him a new suit, get’s Sidney’s girlfriend a fancy job and introduces Sidney to the movers and shakers of NYC. JJ gets Sidney clients, and urges his new friend to “keep the ‘O’ and change his name to Falco.” Sidney can’t believe his luck, he has the life he has always dreamed of and he sings ‘At The Fountain’
    “Yes, go with your gut and your heart,
    It’s time to tear through that door,
    It’s time now to soar,
    So let my life story start.”
  • The 1980s Kevin Bacon film Footloose was turned into a musical in the late 1990s. Any musical set in a town where dance is banned is bound to be a winner with me!!
    Ren a Chicago teenager moves to a small town in the middle of nowhere and finds that rock and roll is considered the root of evil and a law has been passed forbidding dance!
    Mama Says is sung by Willard Hewitt, a slow witted cowboy teenager who has become Ren’s best friend and who Ren is trying to teach to dance. Willard sings Mama Says when he is trying to give Ren the confidence to face the town council and ask if he and his friends can throw a dance for the teenagers.
    Some Country and Western fun for a fella with tonnes of character and comic timing, and lots of dumb fun to be had with the lyrics!
  • Floyd Collins is a 1996 musical by Adam Guettel (rhymes with kettle!)
    William Floyd Collins was a celebrated pioneer cave explorer. in 1925 whilst exploring some new caves in Kentucky he slipped and became trapped in a narrow crawlway seventeen metres below the surface, the battle to save him became a media sensation. The gap in the cave where he was getting water and food collapsed after four days and although they could keep in voice contact with Collins after fourteen days he died of exposure, thirst and starvation.
    The song How Glory Goes is the final song in the show and is hugely moving. It tells of his faith, and how he is now ready for death and to be in heaven with his mother and his God.
    The song keeps hold of Floyd’s inquisitive character, of the explorer desiring something new. Floyd is a fascinating character for any actor and this song is a real tour de force of emotion, acting and singing.
  • A long time favourite for male rock and pop auditions, Elton Johns Your Song found new fame in Moulin Rouge.
    The song is a mix of folk and jazz and the lyrics express the romantic thoughts of an innocent.
    If you intend to try your hand at this, or any other ‘pop’ or ‘rock’ song really take the time to work out the story, who is singing, what are they singing about. Don’t settle for doing an impression of Elton singing it, or even Ewen MacGregor in Moulin Rouge, find out your own story and characters and tell it and sing it from the heart, only then can you truly own it at an audition.
  • I know a lot of casting directors advise against singing a Sondheim song for a casting, they can be so difficult to get right and so overdone. However if you are auditioning for a romantic lead then Johanna could be the perfect ballad for you.
    The story of Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 musical thriller tells the tale of Sweeney Todd a criminal with his sights firmly set on vengeance, who teams up with a pie maker and opens a barber shop on Fleet St. Here he slits his customers throats and their bodies are baked into pies.
    The song Johanna is sung by the young sailor Anthony. He has fallen in love with a girl he has seen singing in her window. In the song he sings of how he swears to rescue her from her vile captors.
  • The Goodbye Girl is a musical by Neil Simon and Marvin Hamlisch based on Simon’s 1977 film of the same name.
    Elliot Garfield, an egotistical actor, moves into his friend’s apartment and discovers it is occupied by Paula, a former dancer and her precocious daughter Lucy.
    Trying to cohabit as peacefully as possible this ‘odd couple’ fall in love.
    My Rules is sung by Elliot as he sets down the living arrangements when he first discovers he will be cohabiting with Paula and Lucy. It is an uptempo pop number for a tenor and makes a lovely audition song filled with patter and humour.
  • The wonderful Giants in the Sky is sung by Jack – of the Beanstalk fame! – in Act One of Into The Woods.
    Jack has been up his beanstalk and he sings this song to explain his exciting and thrilling adventures he has been on.
    The song for me has hidden meaning, as it is all about Jack turning from boy to man and his relationship with ‘the female giant’. Its about Jack growing up, experiencing the real world, seeing scary but wonderful things and missing his childhood innocence.
  • The eighties movie Footloose was terrific (I remember it at the cinema … yes, Im that old!) in 1998 a stage musical opened and has played both Broadway and the West End.
    It tells the story of Ren a Chicago teen who moves to a small town in which, as a result of the efforts of a local minister, dancing and rock music have been banned!
    This song opens the show (and the movie!) Ren is dancing off his stress of his long work day on his last visit to his local dance club before he moves to the small town of Bomont!
  • Kiss the Girl is a song from the movie and subsequent stage musical ‘The Little Mermaid’ by Disney.
    The song is sung by the crab Sebastian and is a calypso ballad encouraging a young man to kiss his female love interest before it is too late.
    The song was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Song but lost out to another Little Mermaid song, Under The Sea.
Be bold, daring and creative and you can’t go wrong.