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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  • 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!
  • 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.
  • A terrific story song about being in a relationship with a woman who you know is no good for you, but you just can’t escape from. Its one of those brilliant JRB songs which takes you as an actor on a real journey of emotions.
  • Chess is the musical written by Abba long before Mamma Mia was a twinkle in Bjorn’s eye! The story involves a love triangle between two rival chess players, one from the US and one from Russia, and a woman who manages one but falls in love with the other. Sounds riveting, huh! The drama comes from the piece being played out during the Cold War between Russia and the US and the propaganda which went on behind these world chess championships.
    Anthem is the big number which ends Act One and is sung by the Russian Chess Champion Anatoly who has won the world chess championship and has immediately defected from the Soviet Union to be with his new love Florence. The song is sung to reporters who ask him why he is defecting and he sings of his love for his country but also how his countries borders lie around his heart.
    A big belty song which can show off your power but also a song full of emotion and heart. Really play this for the truth, act it with all you have.
  • This is one of my favourite songs by Jason Robert Brown. It is a beautiful song about the relationship between brothers, it hits home for me being the acting-geek of a family of sporty brothers!
    Jason write this for his brothers wedding where he was asked to deliver a toast but decided to do it with a song. If it connects with you like it did with me then it will be a lovely number to deliver at audition, full of emotion and telling a real story about differences and how they come to mean nothing when a relationship is so strong.
  • 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.
  • Hallelujah is a beautiful song from Leonard Cohen which found fame through a cover by John Cale and has since been covered by Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and Alexandra Burke.
    The song pops up a lot in movies and tv shows and Cohen himself has said ” “I was just reading a review of a movie called Watchmen that uses it and the reviewer said – ‘Can we please have a moratorium on “Hallelujah” in movies and television shows?’ And I kind of feel the same way…I think it’s a good song, but I think too many people sing it.”
    The John Cale version of the song features in the 2001 film Shrek but Rufus Wainwright’s version appears on the soundtrack – Wainwright suggests this might be because of his open sexuality.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Carousel was the second musical by the team Rogers and Hammerstein. The story revolves around carousel barker Billy Bigelow, whose romance with millworker Julie Jordan comes at the price of both their jobs. He attempts a robbery to provide for Julie and their unborn child; after it goes wrong, he is given a chance to make things right.
    When Julie has announced her pregnancy to Billy, he is overwhelmed with happiness. He imagines all the fun he will have with his son, Bill Jr, then he realises the child could be a girl, and reflects soberly on the duties he will have being a father to a girl. All of this reflection is done alone on stage in the epic musical song ‘Soliloquy’
    The song is seven and a hlaf minutes long! And through it Billy daydreams happilly, then is horrified, then disappointed, then tender, and then motivated. It is a huge song for any singer and is done well can be a tour de force. It is the closest I think musical theatre gets to having an aria.
    Interestingly when Sinatra released ‘Soliloquy’ as a single the song was not complete on Side A it had to continue on side B.
    “I-i got to get ready before she comes!
    I got to make certain that she
    Won’t be dragged up in slums
    With a lot o’ bums like me”
  • 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 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.
  • 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.