or, the list to end all lists.....
- 1870’s-1920’s (ish)
- Gilbert & Sullivan, Franz Lehar, Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert, Rudolf Friml
2. Pre-Golden Age/Standards: Jazz Age - Tin Pan Alley - Musical Comedy - Early American Songbook - Cotton Club
- Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rodgers & Hart, Kurt Weill, Noel Coward, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Schwartz and Dietz, Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields, DeSylva, Brown & Henderson, Van Heusen, Kay Swift, Sammy Cahn, Vernon Duke
3. Golden Age - American Songbook
- Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Leonard Bernstein, Frank Loesser, Jule Styne (early), Bock & Harnick, Adler & Ross, Burton Lane, Meredith Wilson, Harold Rome, Jerry Ross, Cole Porter (later shows), Irving Berlin (later shows)
4. Post-Golden Age - Late American Songbook
- Jule Styne (later), Kander & Ebb, Cy Coleman, Jerry Herman, Harvey Schmidt, David Shire, Charles Strouse
- Stephen Sondheim, natch!
- Guettel, LaChiusa, Tesori or Frankel will sometimes work - something musically complex. But remember - musically complex can also mean tricky for you and the accompanist! Only sing Sondheim or the equivalent if the notice requests it.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber (some shows), Boublil & Schönberg, Maury Yeston, Frank Wildhorn (some shows), Jill Santoriello
7. Contemporary Musical Theatre (this list of composers will always grow - stay current by listening and researching!)
- Adam Guettel, Michael John LaChiusa, Andrew Lippa, Jason Robert Brown, Adam Gwon, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Marc Shaiman, Robert Lopez, Jeanine Tesori, David Yazbek, Larry O’Keefe, Peter Mills
Early Style: Stephen Schwartz, Marvin Hamlisch, Henry Krieger, Alan Menken, Andersson & Ulvaeus, Andrew Lloyd Webber (some shows), Ahrens & Flaherty, William Finn, Frank Wildhorn
Post-Millenial Style: Pasek & Paul, Carner & Gregor, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Joe Iconis, Katie Thompson, Deborah Ambramson, Kooman & Dimond, Dempsey & Rowe, Lamber & Morrison, Lutvak & Freedman, Brian Yorkey, Scott Alan, Seth Bisen-Hersh, Brett Macias, Peter Mills, Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Goldrich & Heissler, Ryan Scott Oliver, Timothy Huang, Adam Gwon
A. Musical Theatre Pop-Rock
- Ah, the dreaded pop-rock category!!! This is an excellent, comprehensive list of musicals http://bit.ly/2koB5Fc that you can mine for material. You’ll find some afore-mentioned contemporary composers, but also consider:
Early Style: Galt MacDermot, Elton John, Richard O’Brien, David Bryan
Late-Present Style: Jonathan Larson, Michael Friedman, Tom Kitt, Larry O’Keefe, Paul Scott Goodman, Stephen Trask, Duncan Sheik, Joe Iconis, Ryan Scott Oliver
B. Commercial Pop-Rock Choose songs from radio, films, television shows, etc. Choose songs from multiple decades and commercial music styles: pop, rock, country, hip hop, r&b, etc. If this isn’t where you live, at least have one pop song you can pull off, and get it coached!!!!
C. Jukebox Refers mostly to music from the 1950’s and 1960’s (early rock and roll), but later decades may also be included depending on the scope of the show. The link above can help here too!
9. Disney - Kid - Film
- Alan Menken, Sherman Brothers, Elton John, Robert & Kristen-Anderson Lopez, Phil Collins, David Nessim Lawrence, Randy Newman, Kooman & Dimond, the Muppets. Get creative.
- Classical For those with some operatic chops - this is an expansion on operetta. Can you sing some Puccini? How about Gian Carlo Menotti? Maybe some heavier Bernstein or even contemporary works by Jake Heggie etc? Be creative - if you can do it you never know!
- Rap If this isn’t your best event, that’s ok, but explore because you never know.
- Gospel If this is a category you can pull off, have a song ready to go!
- Country This is becoming less of a specialty and more of a “maybe you should have one.” Pop-country is everywhere (see Commercial Pop-Rock), but there is a wealth of beautiful earlier material that tells a great story and shows voice, just like in MT.
11. The “Anti-Type” Stretch Song
Is there something you’ve always wanted to sing but it’s totally inappropriate? You never know when you might need exactly that. This is for the more experienced performer, but keep a list of ideas!
Just what is a SORAP? This is a term coined by Warren Freeman, voice teacher at Catholic University and coach extraordinaire. It means: “A Short Musical Theater Song That Shows Off Range and Personality.” What does range mean? Not just high and low notes - range can be shown dramatically as well as musically.
Now you know the categories, short and detailed. But there are other considerations…..
Ask these questions of each song in your book:
1. Does this speak to me?
2. Can I deliver this out of context and make it authentic dramatically?
3. Can I deliver this authentically, vocally and stylistically?
Be sure to do a CROSS-CHECK (like on an airplane) to make sure you cover each (most) of these factors:
- Highest notes
- Lower notes
- Musicianship: complicated rhythms, excellent line
- Winning Arc vs. Losing Arc vs. Spiral
- Pop or rock
- Concert or Stand-Alone or Cabaret or Art Song
There are other considerations, of course, like your personal qualities, the essence of the character and the appropriateness of the story told in your audition song for the story of the show for which you’re auditioning. You’ll get better at matching songs to auditions as you go along.