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.
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
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.The Streets of Dublin is sung by Aflie’s colleague Robbie who is is trying to get into the cast of his play, and who he is also secretly in love with. Robbie is having none of Alfie’s theatrical wishes and urges Alfie to come out with him and see the real world and how vivid and vibrant real life can be.The song is a celebration of the characters and gritty life of Dublin and when done well is a joy to listen to. When singing it really imagine the sights you are singing about and how alive it is making you feel to be in the hear and now.
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.
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.
Joseph:King Of Dreams is a 2000 Dreamworks animated feature which tells the story of Joseph and his dreamcoat. The songs are written by John Bucchino who has written off-broadway shows ‘Urban Myths’ Lavender Girl’ and ‘Its Only Life’This beautiful song comes when Joseph has spent two years in a jail, imprisoned wrongly for a crime he did not commit. During the song Joseph nurses and grows a fruit tree in his cell and sings this song to God as he realises that he should just have faith in God and stop celebrating himself and have faith in God, the world and nature.It is a wonderful song, full of raw emotion and when sung softly with a gentle realisation expressed through the song it can break hearts.“I saw one cloud and thought it was a sky
I saw a bird and thought that I could follow
But it was You who taught that bird to fly
If I let You reach me will You teach me
For You know better than I”
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.
‘Luck Be a Lady’ is a song which is now better known as a stand alone song rather than being a song from a show. The song is from the point of view of Sky Masterson, a gambler, who hopes that he will win a bet – the outcome of which decides whether or not he will save his relationship with the girl of his dreams.It has become a signature song of Frank Sinatra’s and a ‘Rat Pack’ classic.The song was sung by Marlon Brando in the 1955 film version of Guys and Dolls and has been recorded by all manner of artists from Dee Snyder to Chrissie Hynde to Barbra Streisand!The song was named #42 in the American Film Institutes top 100 movie songs.
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.
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.
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.
King of the World is sung by a man in prison, as Songs for a New World doesn’t have a story as such, we have to create the back story from the song itself.For me the song is about a political activist who has been imprisoned for his beliefs but knows that the fight and the cause are bigger than him. Even in jail, even facing death, this is a man who survives.You could play this in a number of ways, might be interesting to play it as a serial killer who believes in himself and believes what he has done was for the greater good this might give it a darker interesting edge, or play it as a Martin Luther King Jr type of persecuted activist. Either way works and each gives it a unique slant.
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.”
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 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.
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 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!
Be bold, daring and creative and you can’t go wrong.
Musical Theatre Actor Hub Advice