Musical Theatre and Drama School Audition Songs by Stephen Schwartz

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Photo Credit: The Western Sky via cc
Stephen Schwartz is the creatve genuis behind Wicked, Pippin, Godspell and so much more. Stephen Schwartz wrote Godspell when he was only 23 and he hasn’t stopped writing since, this gives you loads of material to choose from when you are searching for an audition song for musical theatre or drama school auditions.
Schwartz has written for Broadway, movies and for his own albums, and by looking a bit deeper than Defying Gravity and Day By Day you can unearth some rare gems which will make you stand out from any crowd and probably make the musical director’s ears prick up at a song they haven’t heard before.
Whatever you choose, do you homework, treat it like a monolgue and look at the character’s journey and story, or if you have to make one up. An audition song is not just to show off your voice, it is to demonstrate your acting skills, your character building and storytelling, so don’t just sing the notes – bring the song to life!
You will find the sheet music to most of these songs and many, many more in The Stephen Schwartz Songbook which is the ultimate Schwartz anthology for any musical theatre fan.
If you would like to know more about Stephen Schwartz and the creative process behind his work you should take a look at Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from “Godspell” to “Wicked which takes you into the mind of this musical theatre genius.
Stephen Schwartz Songs for Auditions and Showcases
This list will hopefully guide you when looking for a song for an audition or showcase, have a watch of the video, listen to the song and see if you like it. Its really important you 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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  • Mulan is a 1998 animated movie from Disney. The film’s title character is the only daughter of aged Chinese warrior. She impersonates a man to take her father’s place during general conscription to counter a Hun invasion. Along with her guardian dragon and a lucky cricket (only in Disney!) she battles the invading Hun army.
    Stephen Schwartz was given the job of writing songs for Mulan and wrote this beautiful number before Disney found out he was also writing for Dreamworks The Prince Of Egypt and gave him the choice to continue with them exclusively or leave. He left.
    Written In Stone is a song sung by Mulan when she changes into her soldier’s clothes for the first time and leaves to join the army.
  • The Baker’s Wife is a Stephen Schwartz musical which has never had a succesful West End or Broadway run, yet remains hugely popular amongst musical theatre afficianados.
    The story revolves around a small Parisian town which is enamoured by bread produced by the newly arrived middle aged baker and his beautiful young wife. The wife has an affair with a handsome gigolo and the baker loses his will to bake.
    Chanson opens the show and is sung by Denise, the Bakers Wife. She sings first in French then in English. She sings of how she sees the same faces every day, but sometimes, things can happen that change you, making life different and new.
    This is a terrific song and is overlooked for musical theatre auditions for the more popular, but overdone, Meadowlark. It is great for auditioning for drama school because it contains all the emotions you will be feeling about moving on and finding something new.
  • Unchartered Territory is Stephen Schwartz’s 2005 album, a follow up to his 1997 album Reluctant Pilgrim.
    The album features songs which are insightful observations on life which will have you laughing one minute and sobbing the next.
    Rewriting History looks at ‘the what could have been’ and ‘what might still happen’ aspect of a relationship. It is a beautiful love song and would fit really well as an audition song because you can truly put so much emotion into singing it.
  • The Prince of Eygpt is a 1998 animated epic from Dreamworks which tells the biblical story of Moses and the Book of Exodus. The story follows Moses from being a Prince of Eygpt through to his destiny leading the children of Isreal out of Eygpt. The songs are written by the Wicked and Godspell composer Stephen Schwartz.
    This wonderful uplifting song is sung by Jethro a high priest and father to Moses’ wife, Tzipporah. Moses has gone into hiding and journeyed many miles across desert ro reach the land of the Midiantes – who worship the Hebrew God.
    Jethro sings a song of thanks to God and welcomes Moses into the tribe. The song is a celebration of life and noticing and celebrating all that the world has to offer.
    Stephen Schwartz has this to say about the inspiration for this song:

    That was actually the third song written for its spot the other two had more to do with the tribe welcoming Moses into their midst. It was Jeffrey Katzenberg’s suggestion that the song be more about the philosophy of Jetthro, the spiritual leader of the tribe. One of the directors, Steve Hickner, found a well known poem called “The Measure of a Man” which helped to inspire some of the specific ideas in the song.
    “So how can you see what your life is worth
    Or where your value lies?
    You can never see through the eyes of man
    You must look at your life, look at your life through heaven’s eyes”
  • Reluctant Pilgrim is Stephen Schwartz’s first album of personal songs, released in 1997.
    The album offers a broad variety of styles – ballads, torch songs and blues. It is a very personal album and the songs are full of emotion. Schwartz says of the album: “It’s the first time that I was writing songs which were not from a show, not hiding behind other characters, being more revealing. I had no singers or producers or anybody to hide behind.”
    Dreamscape is a song dealing with someone who is re-evaluating the choices he has made in life and looking for the courage to make some huge changes. The lyrics are beautiful and there is some wonderful imagery to play with.
  • Working is a 1977 musical based on a book of interviews of people from different regions and occupations across the USA. Working explores the American workday from the Monday morning blues to an employed person’s pride in having “something to point to.”
    In the musical, twenty-six workers, including a parking lot attendant, corporate executive, schoolteacher, gas man, housewife, fireman, waitress, millworker, sailor, etc., sing and talk about their jobs, defining not only their daily round, but their hopes and aspirations as well.
    Mike Dillard a steel worker sings this song at the very end of the show, and it tells of the relationship between Father and Son, and of how much time he has missed with his family because of work. It is a very personal song for Schwartz and he sings a tender version of it himself on The Stephen Schwartz Album
  • Reluctant Pilgrim is Stephen Schwartz’s first album of personal songs, released in 1997.
    The album offers a broad variety of styles – ballads, torch songs and blues. It is a very personal album and the songs are full of emotion. Schwartz says of the album: “It’s the first time that I was writing songs which were not from a show, not hiding behind other characters, being more revealing. I had no singers or producers or anybody to hide behind.”
    Crowded Island is a song about living in such a fast paced, busy world, and about the futility of dating and searching for that special person but never settling down.
  • Pippin is a musical from 1972 which is still popular today and has recently enjoyed a run on Broadway.
    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.
    Marking Time was a song written for Act II of Pippin and it expresses his frustration at the ‘domestic’ life he has created for himself. The song Extraordinary replaced this song when the show eventually got to Broadway.
    It is a great song and would make a terrific audition song, and is a bit of a Schwartz ‘hidden gem’. Its a great song to act with as there is lots going on behind the lyrics. [/fcst]
  • My Son Pinocchio is based on the Disney television movie Geppetto and Son from 2000.
    In My Son Pinocchio, as in the original Pinocchio story, a wooden puppet aspires to become a real boy, and faces lessons about telling the truth however in this version Pinocchio’s dad has some lessons to learn in being a real father. After many adventures, the two manage to stumble into a caring, accepting relationship.
    Since I Gave My Heart Away is the final ballad from the show, it is sung by Geppetto and he is saying to Stromboli that he can take anything he wants just not Pinocchio. It is a beautiful song about the strength of love between father and son.
  • Godspell is Stephen Schwartz’s 1971 hit musical which is loosely based on the Gospell of Matthew with music set mainly to the lyrics of traidtional hymns. The musical satrted life as a college project and has gone from strength to strength and been probably performed somewhere around the world ever since!
    Learn Your Lessons Well accompanies the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. On earth, the rich man feasts, and Lazarus begs and is ignored. Upon dying, Lazarus is rewarded with Heaven, while the rich man is in Hell.
    This song is a popular one, and is possibly overdone, but I really believe that you could easily add some ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the number and make it your own.
Be bold, daring and creative and you can’t go wrong.