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Audition Songs for a Tenor

downstagedownstage Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
edited September 2012 in Musical Theater Major
So, I'm not a huge fan of ballads. Since young tenor "male ingenues" are usually the lovers, it seems like a lot of tenor ballads depicting undying love to the love interest. I am not against love songs in the slightest, but it seems like all of the non-oversung, approved-composer audition ballads are talking about the same thing. For future reference, I shall call these "safe ballads". I have a couple questions about what is "acceptable and what auditors would prefer to see" in an audition ballad:

1.) Is material from new shows okay (e.i. Book or Mormon or Newsies)?
2.) Is material from jukebox musicals okay (e.i. Jersey Boys or Boy From Oz)?
3.) What about music that changes speed throughout the song? Does a ballad always have to be "slow" or it just be...for lack of a better term, ballad-y?

What I am looking for:
1.) A tenor song (or song that can be transposed in a tenor key) that shows off my range and acting-through-song abilities
2.) Something that's NOT oversung...in fact, not something that's somewhat-known that the auditors are trying to remember where they heard the song instead of listening to me sing
3.) Material that's suited to my age. I will be 21 at the time of auditions, but I look 16, but I still have a "presence" that sets me apart from people who are legitimately in their adolescent years. Maybe something that suits my look and type (most people say that I resemble young Elijah Wood with dark red-auburn hair*).
4.) Something that really makes me stand out and that I can relate to (terribly amateur and vague of me, I know, but who isn't looking for this?)

"Safe Ballads" I am considering:

1.) "It Only Takes A Moment" from Hello Dolly!
2.) "Come to Me, Bend to Me" from Brigadoon
3.) "Young and Foolish" from Plain and Fancy

Ballads that I really want to do (in no particular order):

1.) "Why God Why?" from Miss Saigon
2.) "Seven Wonders" from Catch Me If You Can
3.) "Run Away With Me" from The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Browne (is this one over-done?)
4.) "My Eyes Adored You" from Jersey Boys
5.) "Don't Cry Out Loud" from Boy From Oz
6.) "Pity the Child" from Chess
7.) "We Can Never Go Back To Before" Ragtime (traditionally sung by Mother, but I can see it being sun by a man
8.) “Santa Fe” from Newsies


Composers/musicals (whom/that I love) and I know I'm supposed to avoid:
1.) Sondheim
2.) Jason Robert Browne
3.) Andrew Lloyd Webber
4.) Wicked
5.) Les Miserables

I want to have at least two ready to go at the audition.

*As a bonus question, I have red hair. It's not ginger or "bright" red hair -- it's auburn, so it's mixed with dark brown and it shines as lighter red in the sun on the top. It's very fine in texture and very straight. I have it cut in a "Disney prince" haircut. My question is, I know people are sometimes perceived as "character actors" if they're redheads. I also know that red hair is a recessive gene and very rare in men. Because I'm a man and my hair is of a darker-auburn shade, am I still going to be seen as a character or might it actually help me because so few men are redheads? I am willing to dye it brown or black if it would help me out.

Suggestions for ballads? Thoughts? Anyone know about redheads?

Thanks so much, sorry for the novel.
Post edited by downstage on

Replies to: Audition Songs for a Tenor

  • onstageonstage Posts: 1,249Registered User Senior Member
    Hi downstage, welcome! Because of your age, I'm unsure if your audition is for college. Auditions for college and professional auditions are very different, so it's a little hard to answer your specific questions without that knowledge.

    Of your "safe" songs, I think "Young & Foolish" is probably less frequently presented at auditions.

    In the second group of songs, for college auditions, you should avoid a cross-gender song like #7. And some colleges prefer that you stay away from shows that are currently on Broadway, like #8. Also, I love #3, but I've heard it a lot recently, so my guess is that song may be a bit overdone.

    And don't worry about your hair. It's not an issue -- hair color and style can be changed.
  • downstagedownstage Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    Hello! Thanks for the info! :)

    Sorry, forgot to include: yes, I am auditioning for college as a transfer student. I know that it's more competitive as a transfer student (I'm coming from a community college) and I'm hoping to use my age and life experience as an edge: I feel as though I can handle more intense, controversial material (e.i. "dark" Shakespearean monologues) that colleges seem to think that are not suitable for most 17- and 18-year-olds (not to generalize, but honestly, I couldn't have handled "those pieces" at that age either). Anyway, I'll sing whatever I have to to get accepted, but if there's anyway I can really capitalize on what I have and impress the auditors, that would be great.

    I was wondering if singing current songs was acceptable. When you mean "currently on Broadway", do you mean anything that's currently playing on Broadway (for example, "Annie" is not contemporary, but it's currently on Broadway)? Or are you referring to any musicals written in the past 5-10 years?
  • onstageonstage Posts: 1,249Registered User Senior Member
    I think the reasoning behind "don't do anything that's currently on Broadway" is that the songs from those shows can easily become overdone. So, yes, that means revivals too. Shows that opened in the last few years but are no longer running might not fit into this category. It does depend on what school(s) you are planning to audition for -- some will offer this sort of guideline, and some will not.

    And contemporary songs are certainly okay, if they are from musical theater repertoire. Again, be sure to check the guidelines for each individual school.
  • downstagedownstage Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    Okay, thanks!

    What's the verdict on the appropriateness of asking a current faculty member (on the phone, long before auditions) of my target schools what, in general, they're looking for, material-wise, from their prospective students during auditions.
  • onstageonstage Posts: 1,249Registered User Senior Member
    Seems like a reasonable request.
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