Audition Song Selection, What to Expect, Tips, and More!
20 Selections for Baritones: Choosing An Audition Song
Picking the right male musical theatre audition song can be very stressful, and especially so for a baritone! A tenor can impress a casting director with a belt - but when you've got more 'legit' (classical songs for baritones) material to work with - how do you stand out in a room?
Well for starters, you must love performing the baritone audition song you use. It goes without saying that you must have an excellent grasp of the lyrics and the story you are telling - but you must also feel good performing it. Your song should be like the perfect outfit - one that garners compliments, but also makes you feel good.
There are many auditions we don't get to sing something from our own book, so when you do get to sing something from our book, it's your chance to shine and show off what makes you stand out. That's why you shouldn't try out new material at an audition - I have my book of material from which I will choose for just about everything. In the rare case that I need to do a new musical theatre song (and I don't mean material they've sent you from the show), I will do my best to sing it with my teacher or at least in front of someone in advance (whether it's a roommate, spouse, or a room full of strangers at a piano bar).
Finding a song that's a great fit for you is an art, and can take a lot of practice! And if a song isn't quite the right fit right now, that doesn't mean it won't be down the line. Take it out of the audition book for now, and perhaps revisit it down the line.
To get you started, here is a list of 20 baritone audition songs that I think are solid - be they for a Broadway musical or your local community theatre.
"My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada"
AVENUE Q is jam-packed with good audition material, and a great comedic baritone audition song. An added bonus is that many of the songs are already a perfect length for an audition and don't need any cuts. This jaunty tune would be perfect for BOOK OF MORMON or MEAN GIRLS or anything with tongue-in-cheek humor. This is a very funny baritone audition song and contemporary/uptempo.
"I Don't Remember You"
This is from a little-known show called THE HAPPY TIME. It's about a man who has traveled the world and come home to his former sweetheart, only to discover he can't commit to her. You'll see me harping on about lyrics quite a bit, but for good reason. Your audition material must be engaging and in order to do that you must tell a story. This ballad has lyrics that can tell many different stories.
"Good Thing Going"
In this ballad from MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, Frank and Charley are two songwriters singing their latest work - it turns out the song hits close to home for them. For starters, the accompaniment for this song is perfect for auditions and will never mess you up! The melody is beautiful and the lyrics are heartbreaking. While it is a breakup song, keep it positive and the song will have a nice spin to it.
"Shall We Dance"
By George and Ira Gershwin
I've always loved this infectious song ever since I first heard it in CRAZY FOR YOU. The Gershwins write such memorable material...and that's what you want - to be remembered! This song has very clear motives to play and a delightful tune.
"When I First Saw You"
In the musical DREAMGIRLS, Curtis sings this song to Deena after she tells him that she wants to quit singing and pursue acting. It's a brief, beautiful ballad.
"Tonight at Eight" and "She Loves Me"
I couldn't decide which of these songs to include from SHE LOVES ME so I added both to the list! Both songs are sung by Georg and deal with his excitement over a blind date and then the elation when he discovers she likes him. These might be over-done but that's because they're perfectly crafted songs. They capture those first date and first love feelings so perfectly and are a joy to tackle as an actor.
"I'll Be Here"
By Andrew Lippa
Many of the songs we use for auditions are romantic. This ballad from THE WILD PARTY is no different but I challenge you to look at the lyrics in a different way. Perhaps this is a parent singing to a child?
"Shine on Your Shoes"
Though originally written for a revue called FLYING COLORS, most people know this as a Fred Astaire tune from the film THE BANDWAGON. I think you could make a perfect 32-bar cut out of this purely joyful song.
"Proud of Your Boy"
This song sung by the title character was originally cut from the movie version of ALADDIN but then added back in for the Broadway production. And for good reason! It's a beautiful power-ballad that would be perfect for any Disney audition (think NEWSIES!).
"Some Enchanted Evening"
Everyone knows this epic ballad from SOUTH PACIFIC, but be the one guy who sings it brilliantly and they'll be sure to remember you! It's a robust song that ends delicately. If you sing this song well, you'll be able to have it in your audition book for life and use it for any standard musical theater audition.
"Put on a Happy Face"
This song from BYE BYE BIRDIE is sung by Albert to the sad teenagers after they find out their beloved star Birdie is joining the Army. I often say that no one wants to hear sad songs in an audition and this bouncy song is the antithesis of sad!
By Bob Merrill
In the musical CARNIVAL, this song is sung by the hard and bitter Paul who has just realized he's fallen in love with his colleague Lili. I like this song because of the conflict within it but juxtaposed by the beautiful melody.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM has some wonderful material to mine. Hysterium sings this song as he finds himself caught between too many stories in the farce. Finding a comedy song is hard, especially an unknown. This one is not rare but is ripe with potential humor. Have fun with!
"What Kind of Fool Am I?"
STOP THE WORLD - I WANT TO GET OFF is the story of one man's life from birth to death. He sings this song at the end reflecting back and realizing that what he had all along was enough. If you decide to do a cut of this, be sure to include the last verse - they have great lyrics to play.
"It's Not Where You Start"
This upbeat song from SEESAW put Tommy Tune on the map. Check it out - maybe it'll put you on the map too!
By Clark Gesner
This song is from YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN. The show is made up of vignettes (including scenes and songs). This particular song is all about Charlie Brown trying to get his kite to fly. A simple enough idea but the patter-like lyrics and the lovable-loser charm of Charlie Brown make this a nice piece to use.
"Make Them Hear You"
From RAGTIME, this power-ballad is sung by Coalhouse who is trying to get justice for his beloved Sarah's murder. In today's political climate, this anthem can take on new meanings and therefore be useful for many auditions. Consider this piece for any audition that calls for something rousing or anthemic.
"Hooked on a Feeling"
By Mark James, originally sung by B.J. Thomas
Having a pop or rock song (or two) is a must. Not only are they used for jukebox musicals, but they can often be used for contemporary shows as well. Give this solid pop song from the 60s/70s a listen!
"Come Back to Me"
This song is from ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER. In the show, Dr. Mark Bruckner has just been left by the leading lady. Normally you would then hear him sing a sad, sappy song. In this case, he has an uptempo song about getting her back. I think getting to play this forlorn guy but with music that has a drive to it is very interesting for an actor.
"I'll Cover You"
There was a time when I'm sure this song was overdone, but I feel like that time has probably passed. Regardless, this song from RENT is a straight-forward, beautiful love song. And sometimes that's all you need to book the job!