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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  • Dancing Through LIfe is from Act One of the hit show Wicked, it is sung by Fiyero but also Elphaba, Glinda, Nessarose and Boq! However, it can easily be sung at auditions as a solo.
    Fiyero, the famed Winkie prince, is new to Shiz University and sings about his beliefs about the problems with education and how he believes people should be allowed to live the “unexamined life.”
    The song hints at Fiyero’s later transformation to the Scarecrow as he sings about ‘the brainless’ and ‘when you’re thoughtless’
  • 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!)
  • This is one of those songs which is an audition standard, but rightly so. I think it is a perfect audition piece, a real journey of a song and a gift for any actor.
    Company is a Sondheim show dealing with relationships. The plot centres on Bobby, a single guy who is a commitment-phobe.
    Being Alive comes at the end of the show, Bobby has looked at his life and the lives of his married friends, he had thought that by marrying you would just find yourself with someone to smother you and make you feel things you don’t want to feel, but through the song he realises that only by being with someone else will he be able to find someone to help, hurt, hinder and love, someone else to help him face the challenges of Being Alive.
    My advice with this song is to work on it as a monologue first, find the drama, find the story find the moments of change and choice. The work on the musicality of it. Yes it has its huge vocal moments but in my mind the truth and depth is there to be played in the less showy moments. This is a song which they will have heard before, but if you can really truly act your way through it and find the truth, yours will be the performance they remember.
  • Finishing The Hat is a perfect song for us actors, artists and creatives to relate to. It is about our creativity at work – how we can put something out there which wasn’t there before and the sacrifices we have to make.
    For me personally this song is a tour-de-force of songwriting with music which seems to perfectly capture the spirit of the song.
    Handle with care if you choose to do it for an audition or casting but if you do then really handle it as an acting piece and act the socks off it!
  • Later comes from the musical A Little Night Music and is sung by Henrik a frustrated young man who is in love with his father’s new young wife. He is constantly teased for being a seminary student and no-one takes him seriously or let’s him talk.
    The video here is Sondheim himself helping a student to work on the song. It is tremendously useful to see how he works with the young man on the emotion of the song.
  • 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.
  • Meet The Robinsons was released in 2007 and is loosely based on the book ‘A Day With Wilbur Robinson’. The films has twists and turns as the characters travel back and forth through time.
    The central character, an orphan, Lewis is desperate to be able to find out why his mother abandoned him and perhaps even stop her doing it. This song is sung at the very end of the movie when Lewis has come to a realisation that he must appreciate what life has given him and the family and friends he already has – and keep moving forward.
    The song is more pop-rock than traditional broadway musical, but could really suit the right voice and the right audition. I love it, I think it tells a story about living for the here and now, living for today and appreciating the ‘little wonders’ of life.
    “Our lives are made,
    In these small hours,
    These little wonders,
    These twists and turns of fate,
    Time falls away,
    But these small hours,
    These small hours still remain.”
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Road Show is a Stephen Sondheim musical which was previously called Bounce, it was workshopped in 1999 and opened in 2003 and a revised version opened 2008.
    It tells the story of the Mizner brother’s , Addison and Wilson, and their adventures across America at the turn of the 20th century.
    Addison has left behind is gabling, swindling brother Wilson and is heading to Florida to take advantage of the property boom there in the early 1920s. On the train he meets Hollis Bessemer who he falls in love with.
    Hollis has been cut off from his family for persuing his love of art, he hasn’t the talent to become an artist but is heading to Florida to create an artist’s colony on Palm Beach with his aunt. This is the told via the song Talent.
    Any Sondheim song at an audition is always a brave choice, but this is from his most recent show which was not a success and is so probably not done as often as the other classics.
    It is a great song for auditioning as it is about love for art and is a lovely ‘story song’ which will show off your acting and singing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Be bold, daring and creative and you can’t go wrong.