UPDATE April 26, 2023: A lot has changed since I first published this article in 2012. In the last 10 years, we have seen an expansion of resources for finding rep, MusicNotes.com has drastically expanded its library, and vocal coaches are no longer relying on the Singer’s Anthology series. I am leaving this article for reference, but I no longer think this list is necessary. Instead, I would like to direct you to a newer article about “Do Not” lists. Thanks for checking out the blog! ~ Matt
NOTE: I am receiving large numbers of requests for feedback on audition pieces. My schedule no longer allows me to respond to every request in a timely manner. I will still try to respond to requests, but I may approve your comment and leave it on the website for others to respond before I can personally chime in. Thanks for checking out the site! ~Matt
“DO NOT” lists can be controversial but can also be a great starting place to figure out if your singing something everyone else will be singing as well. The following serve as a starting place for your rep search. I will update this list as I receive updates from agents, colleagues, etc.
Nothing with excessive profanity
Nothing that puts yourself up on a pedestal/says look at me! (i.e. Gorgeous from Apple Tree)
Nothing with excessive sexual innuendo
Do not play a mentally challenged person
Do not ask rhetorical questions of a sexual nature to the audition panel
Nothing from a current Broadway show
Nothing made famous by a specific artist (i.e. Barbara Streisand or Kristin Chenoweth)
From a top agent in NYC:
- Anything Jason Robert Brown
- Anything from Phantom of the Opera
- Girl in 14 G
- Taylor the Latte Boy
- Gorgeous (Apple Tree)
- Take a Chance on Me
- Run Away with Me
- I Gotta Run
- Neverland (Scott Alan)
- Mama Says
- Forest for the Trees
- Not for the Life of Me
- Gimme Gimme
- everything from Wild Party
- Screw Loose
- Privilege to Pee
- Here I Am
- Show off
Overused selections (This is not always as important for college auditions, but it can serve as a warning and you may want to bring other songs. If the song is perfect for you, its probably ok for a college audition if its on the list below, for the list above, its probably not a good idea regardless of how well you sing it.)
- All I need is the girl
- Always true to you
- Anyone Can whistle
- At times like this
- Being Alive
- Corner of the sky
- How ’bout a dance?
- I’m not that smart
- In a very unusual way
- In my life
- It hurts me
- Not for the life of me
- Not while I’m around
- Notice me, Horton
- On the street where you live
- Sara Lee
- She Loves Me
- Should I be Sweet (or Hot)
- Don’t rain on my parade
- Easy Money
- Everybody’s girl
- Fifty Percent (50%)
- Forget about the boy
- Gimme Gimme
- Goodbye, old girl
- Good Think Going
- Home (Beauty and the Beast)
- Home from Phantom
- I cain’t say no
- I enjoy being a girl
- I met a girl
- I wanna be bad
- Ice Cream
- Life of the Party
- Lonely Town
- Look what happened to Mabel
- Lost in the wilderness
- Love Look Away
- Luck be a lady
- Mamma Says
- Man Wanted
- Many a new day
- Maybe this time
- Miracle of Miracles
- My new philosophy
- My white night
- No man left for me
- Nobody does it like me
- Show me
- Stranger to the rain
- Take a chance on me
- That’ll show him
- The Story Goes on
- Tonight at 8
- Waiting for life to begin
- What do I need with love
- What is it about her?
- What you’d call a dream
- When did I fall in love
- When will my life begin (from Tangled)
- Wherever he ain’t
- Yes, my heart
- You can always count on me
- You’ve got possibilities
- Secret Garden
- Children of Eden
- The movie “Fame”
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (this one applies to college too)
- Phantom of the Opera (this one applies to college too)
- Any Disney films
- The Fantasticks
- Joan Cusack’s monologue (Is there, oh, ANY OTHER TIME you could have told me this?) — this has been VERY popular for at least three years now. Give it a rest.
- Squeaky Fromme from Assassins
- Darleen Dances
- Bridal Registry from A My Name is Still Alice
- Belize’s monologue about the national anthem from Angels in America
- Mom’s Ashes from I Think I Love You — I can’t BELIEVE this is STILL so popular… it is really getting ridiculous
- Murder Your Fish/Mess up your life a little… don’t know what it’s from but it must be in a monologue book somewhere because HOLY COW
- Diana from Moving (Quaker school… awards… someone is going to prick your bubble)
- Anything from Kellie Powell’s website (notmyshoes.net) – she’s a great person, lately every 1 out of 5 female auditionees at SU has a monologue from her site.
- Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray
- On My Own from Les Miserables
- Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls (why are teenagers always singing this? the character has been engaged for 14 years!)
- Memory from Cats
- I Hate Men from Kiss Me Kate
- All That Jazz from Chicago
- Wash That Man… from South Pacific
- Can’t Help Lovin’… from Show Boat
- Big Spender from Sweet Charity
- You Can Always… from City of Angels
- Shy from Once Upon a Mattress
- Tomorrow from Annie
- I Enjoy Being A Girl from Flower Drum Song
- Broadway Baby, Hard Hearted Hannah, Hit Me With a Hot Note from Follies
- Surrey With The Fringe On Top & I Can’t Say No from Oklahoma
- They Call the Wind Mariah from Paint Your Wagon
- Corner of the Sky from Pippin
- Summertime from Porgy & Bess
- The Music of the Night from The Phantom of the Opera
- Hero & Let’s Hear It For The Boy from Footloose
- Seasons of Love from Rent
- Big Spender from Sweet Charity
- Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid
- In My Own Little Corner from Cinderella
- Popular from Wicked
- Anthem from Chess
- This Is The Moment from Jekyll & Hyde
Overdone Audition Songs Not Associated With A Specific Show
- I Get a Kick Out of You
- Miss Bird
- Embracable You
- New York, New York
Overdone Shows That Directors Are Sick Of
- Any show that the company you are auditioning for has done in the last five years.
- Whatever the “Hot New Musical” is… right now it’s Wicked
- The Sound of Music
- A Chorus Line
- My Fair Lady
- Jekyll & Hyde
- Little Shop of Horrors
- The Fantastiks
- Les Miserables
- Phantom of the Opera
- Almost everything by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Watch Out For… Songs that are Problematic
(These songs may not necessarily be overdone, but have something that may make them inappropriate for auditions)
- Over The Rainbow fom The Wizard of Oz (this song belongs to Judy Garland)
- Any other “Signature Song”
I know that we’re heavily discouraged from using anything with accents or dialects, but I still can’t help but ask… “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Suddenly Seymour,” (Little Shop) I feel really showcase my voice perfectly and I love singing them. Should I not even consider them just because of Audrey’s dialect? Would doing one of them without the dialect be even worse then doing it with?
It depends what you’re auditioning for. If you are auditioning for an academic program and those are the songs that absolutely show you off the best and make you feel comfortable, then use them. I would tame down the dialect or not do it at all. However, be prepared to do the opposite of whatever you decide to prepare and have other selections available in case they ask. Most panels are not going to toss you to the side because you picked a “wrong song” they may just ask to hear it a different way or hear a different song. If they are going to hold it against you, you don’t want to go there anyway.
I have a similar question to Boechinko, albeit a bit on the late side. I did Little Shop in high school (as Seymour), and I can pretty much do all of the male songs from that show most comfortably, even without the accent. I know the show’s on the “overdone” list, but the “Dentist” song isn’t on the list. Would this still be advised against as an audition choice? I really enjoy doing it and it fits my voice well, but I can come up with another song if need be.
Sorry for the long delay, I was out of the country giving a masterclass. I rarely see or hear people singing the “Dentist” song. If it really fits you, I think you could use it, just be careful not to over act it. The role is meant to be ridiculous in the show because you are supposed to be a caricature. In a college audition, we want to see a real person, not a caricature. So if you can do it in a way that is a little less showy and a little more real, I think it could work, but if you can’t, try looking at other roles. Think more Dexter, than Steve Martin.
I am wondering if “Far From the Home I Love” from Fiddler on the Roof would be considered a good classical broadway ballad, or if it is overdone at all?
I think that is a fine choice. I would just make sure that your monologue and uptempo selections are a little more on the cheery/positive side.
I am about to audition for UK drama school and was planning to do Stars and The Moon from Songs For a New World by Jason Robert Brown. I feel I can perform this song well and it works nicely as I have to remain on a stool (ie no movement) while singing. Is this a no-no all the same? I don’t want to drop at the first hurdle because my song is too ‘done’.
Things in Europe are a little different than they are in the United States. I gave a masterclass earlier this fall in Sweden and almost every student had a Jason Robert Brown or John Bucchino song in their book and it seemed totally acceptable. You may want to email their admissions rep and ask them. England may be different and none these rules may apply. Good luck!
I noticed nothing from Into the Woods, either individual songs or the musical itself was on this list. Personally, I was under the impression that it was overdone. Is this not the case? Or does it find itself on the list as a no no under the “Nothing made famous by a specific artist” because of B. Peters? I am specifically interested in ‘Children Will Listen’ and ‘No One Is Alone’
These songs are not specifically on any of the do-not lists I’ve seen. However, they are by Sondheim, and in general Sondheim is a do not. Sondheim can be difficult to play and difficult to cut. The subject matter is often mature and not appropriate for young performers. Into the Woods is a little different though. If you feel like those songs are your best options, I think you’re ok. If you can find something else, you’re probably better off.
Are songs from Spelling Bee overdone?
Some say yes…?
Heather: Yes, I do see 25th on many of the do not lists and do hear it myself quite often. I think more of the problem with the show is what to use it for when auditioning? 25th is just about the only show with adult actors playing kids (with rated R minds) that I know of. There is of course You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, but there aren’t a whole lot of others. When picking an audition song for a specific show you want to make sure that it conveys a message that could fit one of the characters in that show. For a general call, you want to present something that show who you are. Most people are not adults that only play pre-pubescent kids, so Spelling Bee doesn’t really work.
Hope that helps.
I know that this is primarily for college auditions, but my question is for professional and regional auditions (NYC based, specifically). Do you know if other shows by Kerrigan-Lowdermilk besides Samantha Brown are “safe”? Also, is “Hold On” from Secret Garden one of the ones that I should steer clear of?
Kerrigan-Lowdermilk fall into what I call the “modern cabaret/musical theatre” category. Other composers include Pasek/Paul and Scott Alan. The material is becoming very overdone. Look the song your considering up on YouTube. IF there are a lot of videos, its probably overdone. If you aren’t finding many vids, there may not be as many people singing it and it could work. I don’t hear “Hold On” that often but I do remember trying to make a decent 16 bar cut of it once for a student and we had to be a little creative if I remember correctly.
Modern rep is always a challenge to find. At the end of the day, if you sing something that may be overdone, make sure you really think about it dramatically and try to bring something different to it.
I’ve seen Children of Eden on many lists, but I have had some good results with “In Whatever Time We Have” (male)… is it overdone? Is it a bad choice because it is from that show?
I rarely hear it myself. If you’ve had good results, then it must work for you. “Lost in the wilderness” is overdone as well as “Children of Eden”.
Hi, I have an audition for a High School regional project of Cinderella (R&H) and I am hoping for a stepsister part. I will be entering my freshman year of high school next year, look much older than I am (Have been mistaken for four years older than I am since the age of 11) and am a mezzo that has a large range (can sing way down to tenor and can sing many soprano songs).
Does anyone have any good audition songs?
I was going to do My New Philosophy, then thought again about it, and it is extremely overdone and characterizing. So that’s my backup plan. 🙂
does anyone know if taylor the latte boy is overdone in the UK?
SO what sort of things SHOULD be sung?
Review the information on understanding your type and age appropriate roles. If you go through the research in the “type” postings, you should have more than enough repertoire to choose from.
I will be auditioning for “Assassins” and I was wondering if Sarah’s part from “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” from Guys and Dolls would be an acceptable audition piece. I’ve never auditioned for a Sondheim show before so I’m worried that, though the song shows my full vocal range, it isn’t the type of song they’re looking to hear. They didn’t give any specifications on what type of song to sing, so I’m just going on what I sing best. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
What character are you going for?
Is “It Takes Two” from Hairspray overused? Also, although It Takes Two isn’t very fast, would it still be considered up-tempo?
I don’t think its overused, I think its more of a ballad, but if you use the bridge, you can probably move it a bit and it could come off as a moderate uptempo.
Hello my name is Lydia I am auditioning for dance colleges in the Uk will it be the same for me? Thanks
The UK and Europe in general do have a different set of standards. For instance in Sweden, Golden Age repertoire is barely ever used in audition settings. Sorry I can’t be of more help.
Hi! Not for the Life of Me from Millie is probably my best go-to audition song. It really shows off my voice well and I don’t have another song that can really compare to it. Should I try and find something else or wil this be a good audition song choice fro college auditions?
Yes, I would find something else if possible. The word is out that its overdone and I haven’t seen it this year, but its one of those songs I really don’t want to hear either.
Hi, i have a college audition coming up and my two choices for auditions were “See I’m smiling” from the last five years and “gimme gimme”. are they really that awful to do for college auditions even if i feel they showcase my voice?
Yes, I’d really try to find other material. Your material shows that you’ve done your homework, that you are fluent in the musical theatre repertoire and you have something unique to bring to the table. Both of those songs are regularly performed and don’t necessarily communicate the message that you are well versed in the literature. Try the process I suggest for picking the perfect audition song and finding your type, there is a lot of great material out there.
What is your opinion of the Emily monologues from Our Town?
I’ve seen them work. Just make sure its directed at someone and not just a recollection of a memory.
I’m auditioning for Into The Woods later this week. It’s a general audition, but I want to get the part of Little Red Riding Hood. I know it’s on one of the lists, but I feel that “My New Philosophy” would showcase my vocal range and attitude. Would it be considered ok for the audition?
In that instance, I think it makes sense and you could get away with it.
This is a great list, thank you! I completely realize Lloyd Webber is mainly off-limits; but would a song from his latest, (Love Never Dies), be a should-not as well? The show hasn’t made it to Broadway, and it doesn’t seem very well known as of yet. The titular piece shows off my range nicely; this would be for college… Another: my teacher has me doing “Show Me” from My Fair Lady as an uptempo option. Yea, nay?
Thank you very much!
Show me is great – not over done. I’ve had a student use a piece from Love Never Dies and it worked for him. I think its safe for now. Sorry its taken so long to get back to you, its a very busy time of the year. Break a leg!
PS. Once the musical, considered audition material?
Sure. Its hot right now, but not many people have access to the music so I haven’t seen it pop up yet too often.
Oh dear, I’m terribly sorry to comment over and over; I’ll leave you in peace after this last question, I promise!
Somewhere, from West Side Story? Is this show still as overdone as I think it is?
Thank you, O MT Guru! 🙂
I don’t mind “Somewhere” its simple and direct. I’ve seen it several times this year, but I personally never get tired of it.
I am working on putting together a cabaret/dinner theatre show using overdone audition songs. The premise is simple, the songs should be relatively well known and canned versions of them should be readily available. I am writing it for a quartet, two woman and two men. One older couple and one younger, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone. Need to include duets, trios and a couple quartets as well as solos. Of course, with the popularity of Les Mis right now, will have a couple sets from that show. Any ideas out there?
Try the Facebook song, its been done quite a bit.
Is Reefer Madness overused? Also, for a college audition that requires two contrasting songs, do you think someone could get away with using an overused song with a song that isn’t used often, as long as each suits their voice?
I have never seen Reefer Madness in an audition. As far as it making up for an overused song, that’s hard to say. Some schools are more picky about that than others. At Shenandoah, as long as its done well we don’t care. But its in your best interest not to sing the same song as the last five guys so you are not compared to them.
Ok, the choosing of audition songs can prove to be a daunting task. It seems like there are so many songs on the DO NOT list that its hard to come up with songs to even use. I have 2 upcoming auditions, one for Les Mis and one for Into the Woods. For my Les Mis audition I had chosen to do You Must Love Me from Evita bc of the emotion that can be portrayed. But you mentioned selections from Evita being a bad choice. For my Into the Woods auditon I had chosen My White Knight which you also placed on the DO NOT list. So, do you have any suggestions on better selections for an audition for both of these shows???
Look up the posts on picking the perfect audition song and discovering your type. I think those two should lead you to a long list of repertoire that will serve you well for years to come. If the audition is coming up soon, stick with what you are comfortable with. If not, I think the Evita is fine, but I would work on finding an alternate for My White Knight.
Thank you! I’ve actually decided on another Sondheim song for the Into the Woods audition. I appreciate your input.
So I'” actually already in college but I am auditioning for the MUNY this weekend and I’m having second thoughts about my audition pieces. I’m trying to decide between “Falling in love with love” “when did I fall in love” and “yes my heart”. Oh gosh I need help.
Is it appropriate for a girl to sing a song that was originally performed by a man? I have a pretty low alto range and I feel comfortable singing some male songs such as “Goodbye” from Catch Me If You Can or “Beautiful City” from Godspell. I can sing higher songs as well, but I was just wondering.
Switching gender on a pop/rock song is usually ok, but with musical theatre you are better sticking to the gender in the show. When you sing a song for an audition, you are basically saying this is an excerpt of a role that I could sing.
Reblogged this on TheMusicalKiss and commented:
I think auditioning should depend on your voice. there are some songs that your voice can’t touch and there are those you would just smash. All you need to do is find the right fit for you. Are you comfortable singing it? Do you feel your chords are all right when you sing? Go for it! But I still think these songs are helpful
I’m a mezzo auditioning for a college program in a couple of weeks. I’ve had a really difficult time trying to find songs that weren’t overdone and that contrasted enough with each other…as of right now I am planning on singing “Sleepy Man” from the Robber Bridegroom as my ballad and “The Lady Is A Tramp” from Babes in Arms as my uptempo…does this sound like a safe pairing?
Yes, I think that sounds like a good combination.
Would you suggest avoiding ‘The Last Five Years?’ I’ve gone through a lot of different audition songs and I found that ‘If I didn’t believe in you’ suits me really well. Other than that I have no idea how to find song that aren’t done to death, as I’ve never really been that into musicals.
Ps, great list btw
I think that song is fine for an audition as long as it fits your type. I haven’t seen songs from “Last Five Years” that often lately so that show can probably be used sparingly. Women should still avoid Summer in Ohio (not as funny as people think it is in an audition) and I’m Still Hurting (too depressing/angsty for an audition).
I’m a jr. Thespian in Florida and want to do a solo next year for a district festival/competition. I was thinking of doing either Something’s Coming from West Side Dtory or Being Alive from Company. I’m torn between which one I should do. What song do you think would be better? Are there any other solos that you think I should do instead. This year I did Empty Chairs At Empty Tables from Les Miserables and did fantastic. Do you think I should do that again?
Taylor – Being Alive is too old for someone your age. Sondheim was writing for people in their 30s, not teenagers. Even Into the Woods is much deeper than teenagers understand even though its a very popular high school musical. Everything Les Mis should be off-limits right now because everyone who doesn’t read this blog is going to be singing it thanks to the movie. I think Something’s Coming is your best bet of those three. But I’d also check out age appropriate shows like 13 the Musical, Bare, and Spring Awakening. ~ Matt
I am graduating from college with a BA in Theatre this spring and I have an audition for a professional musical theater company coming up. Would you say that this list applies to professional musical theatre auditions as well? Or are there more shows and songs that should be steered away from?
I would say this list applies to professional auditions as well. However, if you can sing a song better than anyone else and it is your absolute best song – sing it.
I’m auditioning for the musical theatre program at WCU and I see that you do not recomend to sing a song with an accent….but my vocal teacher wants me to sing Wouldnt it be loverly from my fair lady. Would that be a innapropriate uptempo song choice because she has a cockney accent. I will also be singing Look to the rainbow from Fibians Rainbow.
Western Carolina refers to this site for advice on “do not” lists. Therefore, I would say no to “Wouldn’t it be loverly.” That role is known for the cockney accent, singing it without an accent leaves out a vital part of the story.
In about 2 weeks I will be auditioning for the musical Annie Get Your Gun, for the part of Annie. I have a good monologue but still need a song. I probably have about the same vocal range as Annie in this show. I am considering “Loverly” from My Fair Lady and “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. You mentioned My Fair Lady as overused, and I feel like “I Feel Pretty” is also probably sung a lot. Your thoughts?
What type of theatre is it? Community, professional, educational?
It is my local theatre.
For a local theatre you should be fine with whatever you chose to sing. Just be sure that whatever you chose to sing shows you off at your best. – Matt
Thanks for the advice! I’ve decided to sing Loverly, and I think it will go just fine.
OMG! I’m OVERDONE! I feel so famous! This is fabulous. 1 in 5 females? I have cornered the market!
You are definitely famous Kellie! Seriously this year there were a ton of your monologues in auditions. I personally like some of the ones I’ve seen quite a bit. But there are so many people doing them without looking around for material from a play that fits them better, which is putting them on the overdone list. The internet monologues show a lack of work in getting to know the rep and that is what bothers an audition panel. But for anyone else reading, Kellie is a fabulous person and its worth following her career. ~Matt
I know you said Andrew Lloyd-Webber is a big no, which I would agree with. So many people tell me they’re going to use Memory or Think of Me etc. What about something from one of his more obscure works? Specifically “The First Man You Remember” from Aspects of Love.
I’ve never heard it in an audition, if its what you sing better than anything else, its worth a try. Aspects of Love doesn’t have the same stigma around it as Phantom or Love Never Dies.
I know this is mostly for college, but I’m auditioning for a performing arts highschool so I’m hoping the same rules apply. Is the song “I Enjoy Being a Girl” overdone? I hadn’t even heard it until just a few days ago, but I just want to make sure. Also, any suggestions for one of my two monolouges would be greatly appreciated.
For a performing arts high school that song should be fine. As for monologues, for a performing arts high school I don’t think you need to worry too much. They know you are seeking training, so they are just trying to see what you can do. Don’t try to overdue anything, just be yourself.
As a ballad for a college audition, how is “Role of a Lifetime” or “Once Upon A Time” from Bare?
I think they could both work. Haven’t heard either in an audition.
How do you feel about “Loving You Keeps Me Alive” or “Before Summer Ends” for college auditions? (this is for my son by the way)
Same thoughts as for “Before Summer Ends”. The text for Loving You Keeps me Alive seems like it may be easier to take out of context.
As a ballad for college audition “Before Summer End” from Dracula. This is for my son.
Deneen: I’ve been on the road and short on time, I apologize its taken so long to respond. Musically this is a good song. Dracula is a weird character to portray as a representation of yourself being yourself. If you can pick a section that doesn’t have text about anything related to the Dracula story and can be used out of context towards another person in everyday life, then I think it could work.
I am currently suiting up to prepare for my Unified Auditions for this upcoming season. With that in mind I have found the perfect contemporary uptempo that I am currently trying to match. My uptempo shows a nice belt and is light hearted and comedic without being too “in your face and screamy.” As a baritone i have a nice legit lower register and would like to show it off in my Golden age ballad. I wanted to sing a song that shows off my legit and lower register like ” If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot but that song is too overdone and too out of my age range. Any suggestions?
If ever I would leave you is a very standard musical theater ballad. If you have a unique up-tempo and a good monologue I think you’re fine singing that song. It shows us a certain vocal quality that we automatically know we can use or can’t use. Just make sure you sing it as yourself and don’t try to put on any mannerisms of someone older than yourself.
Hi Matt, I’m going to be auditioning for different Musical Theatre programs in January and I will be singing “The Light in the Piazza”, from the The Light in the Piazza and “If I were a Bell” from Guys and Dolls. I will also be doing a monologue from Saint Joan, as Joan of Arc and a monologue from “The Star Spangled Girl”, as the character of Sophie. Are those good choices?
The songs sound good to me. You’re definitely selling yourself as a soprano with those two pieces. I’m not that familiar with either of the monologues, I believe I have seen something from Joan of Arc before that was not that great. If you want to send me a message through the feedback form with the text of the monologues I can let you know what I think.
Is “Pulled” from The Addams Family or “Say the Word” from The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown overdone? Also, I read something about Neil Simon monologues being overdone; what about anything from “I Ought to be in Pictures”?
Thank you for your time.
Pulled is definitely overdone. The Samantha Brown piece is not. As for Neil Simon monologues, I do see a lot of them. However they are somewhat standard rep and they come from actual plays instead of monologue books, which are two positive attributes. Standard repertoire is a little bit different when it comes to being overdone. The overdone monologues and songs that get annoying are those that come from pieces that are the hottest thing at the current moment.
This page is brilliant, so much help. Is there a list of shows where I can find a solo from that aren’t “overdone”?
Not really. Look at the information on how to find the perfect musical theater song under the materials section
Thinking about using Un Bel Di (Madama Butterfly) for a Musical Theater audition….you mentioned selecting from Aida…..yes/no? Am more than a few years removed from college….30 to be honest;)
Madame Butterfly is not a musical, so that would not work for musical theater audition. I list Aida, but that is the musical by Elton John. Try finding something from the singers musical theater anthology that fits your vocal range. There should be several things out there for you.
Do you think Wicked is still too current a show to start singing some of it’s songs at auditions?
Also, any songs you think would suit a teenage Tenor would be much appreciated!
(Nothing to risqué)
Yes. Wicked will probably be on this list for a very long time.
Hi there let me start by saying just came across this blog by a google search and I am so happy to have found your Blog. Great advise.
I know this is all about college but can you offer any advise to Children. I have a 9 year old daughter auditioning for local and Broadway coming up in a few weeks. She is a soprano and can belt. Would you suggest still staying away form the songs on your list or do you think there is more leniency when it comes to children. Any advise on song choice and any Do nots would be a great help.
There is definitely more leniency for a nine-year-old. Especially because there are so few roles out there with solos for them. I do think it would be in her best interest to sing something as close to her age as possible. Definitely do not sing anything overly adult.
I’m auditioning for colleges this year and I was thinking of singing either Another Hundred People from Company or Worst Pies from Sweeney Todd would these be good choices?
I wouldn’t use either of those. Another hundred people is too old for you. Worst pies in London is a Sondheim piece, it’s hard to play, and it doesn’t really tell us anything about you as a person.
Hi! I am starting my auditions for MT college programs soon. I am a tenor and wanted to know if you had any specific suggestions towards any songs you feel that would be best for a college audition… I am afraid to pick a song that may not fit for a college audition…
Without knowing your type, it’s really hard to tell you good audition songs. Try following the process at this link:
Hi I am a voice teacher & coach and I would like your opinion on the following:
Do you think “The Beauty Is” from “light in the piazza” is an unwise choice because of the difficulty of the accompaniment? It’s got a great 32 bar cut.
thank you for your thoughts!
See if you can find out who will be playing the auditions. If it is someone experienced, the song should be fine. If it’s a student accompanist or an accompanist without classical chops, it could be a problem. One strategy would be to have another first choice song and if you hear great playing coming out of the room before the audition, switch to “The Beauty Is.”
I’m auditioning for twelve angry jurors (twelve angry men) and I was wondering if the Emily Webb monologue “changes” from Our Town was a good choice. If not, do you have any suggestions?? Thanks
I’m not that familiar with 12 angry jurors. However, I do know there are some good monologues in Our Town. I believe I know the monologue you’re talking about and I think that it would be okay.
Hi Matt, I’ve been struggling for a few months now trying to find a good song for my college audition. What do you think about everything else or superboy and the invisible girl from next to normal? Would not for the life of me from thoroughly modern millie and someone like you from jekyll and hyde still be a no even If can sing them pretty well?
Also, should rock shows like once, spider man, or spring awakening be avoided for college auditions? And my last question, I’m a very strong soprano and my teacher is always encouraging me to sing classical style songs like till there was you from the music man, or somewhere from west side story, what are your thoughts for this? Because I feel that they’re just not right, and I would be labeled as a classical singer because of the lack of belting in those kind of songs. Thank you so much.
Hello! My name is Delaney Hagy and I will be auditioning for several colleges this winter. I was wondering if you thought Someone to Watch Over Me or It Might As Well Be Spring are overdone/ good audition choices?
Thanks so much!
Hello! My name is Delaney Hagy and I have some college auditions coming up. I was wondering if you felt “It Might As Well Be Spring” from State Fair or “Someone to Watch Over Me” are over done songs from the Golden Age? Also would a monologue from Almost Maine be overdone?
“It might as well be spring” is great and not overly done. “Someone to watch over me” is a little overdone, but its a classic and its not annoying in the audition room. Just make sure you sing it really well if you choose that song over State Fair. As far as Almost Maine, should be fine.
I’m not sure what musical I’m auditioning for yet (it’s still coming up pretty soon), but would a song that was cut from a show make a good audition song?
It depends, but cut songs can often work.
This website is brilliant and I have just read all the posts.
Currently trying to get some audition pieces together for UK MT courses which ask for 3 contrasting pieces and was wondering whether you thought the following are contrasting enough or overdone:
Why God Why? – Miss Saigon
Something’s Coming – West Side Story
Stranger in Paradise – Kismet
I’m British currently in UK youth Musical Theatre so I probably don’t have as much weight to my opinion on this site as others but since you haven’t had a reply yet I though I would give you my advice: I’ve been told ‘Why God why?’ always goes done well. It lets you convey emotion and Miss Saigon is not overdone. It changes it tempo so doesn’t remain ‘a slow emotional yardy ya song’. I don’t know enough about the one from Kismet to say. The fact its quite unheard of, to me, would suggest do it. As long as you don’t have to do an accent, they are varied and it’s not from Wicked or Les Mis then you’re on a good line. Where are you applying to?
Is any song from Cabaret overdone? I have a feeling something like Mein Herr might be.
I have a college audition in a month, and I have picked far from the Home i love for my ballad but I’m not sure what i should do for an uptempo. I don’t really have many of them in my repertoire. i’m mezzo soprano(A4-G6) but not a huge belter
also you said to make sure the monologue is upbeat if one does Far from the home i love, but I thought i’d do Catherine’s monologue from Proof since i did a a scene from it in an acting class and really connected with the character. should i find something else?
thanks in advance!
Do you have any suggestions for auditioning for the role “Lady of the lake” for Spamalot?
I am a classically trained soprano. Even though I am not trained in theatre, I can still perform all of her songs quite well and incorporate all the diva that she brings to the stage. I can’t decide on a song that shows off my range and that is comical to fit the part. I was considering “to keep my love alive” since it is a cheery little song about murdering all her husbands but the melody and form of the song is so repetitive. It doesn’t show off what I can do. I was also considering ” a summer in Ohio” it’s funny and i live in ohio but everyone says NO Jason Robert Brown. I then considered “when did I fall in love” thinking I could really ham it up and over act it, since that is her character in the show. But that song is also on the “do not” list.
Any ideas would be much appreciated.
I will be auditioning at Emerson College as a prospective Musical Theatre BFA . I have been considering Nothing Short of Wonderful from Dogfight or A Summer In Ohio or I Can Do Better Than That from The Last Five Years, Which do you believe would be most appealing? Also, I am required to have another contrasting piece ready to audition with. Could you give me a few ideas as to what would be contrasting to the pieces I mentioned? I was thinking possibly Pretty Funny from Dogfight. Any other suggestions?
I’m about to audition for James and the Giant Peach at my University and i have no clue as to what i’m auditioning with. I’m a bari-tenor and i have nothing prepared. I was wondering if maybe you could help considering you did make this forum of “do not do …” i was thinking Go the Distance from hercules but the sheet music was problematic for me. I was also thinking of any other disney song. If I could get your opinion soon then that would be amazing. Thanks.
What do you think of “Live In Living Color” from Catch Me If You Can, “Another Pyramid” from Aida, or “Run, Freedom Run!” from Urinetown?
Hello, I am doing an audition for Pinkalicious the musical and need two contrasting songs. I was going to do part of God Help the Outcasts which shows my range but I need help with an upbeat comedic song. I’m a mezzo / soprano. Any ideas ? I was going to do My New Philosophy but I see it’s overdone… anything like this?
So, I recently discovered the genius of Joe Iconis. I’m not auditioning for anything in particular at the moment, but I am trying to build a good repertoire of songs i can pull from in the future. Anyway, some of his material can be a bit mature. There isn’t any excessive profanity, but there is innuendo present in a lot of his work. One of his songs that really showcases my voice is “Jeff”. Is it still okay to perform at an audition, or should I look to other places for pieces?
What about the song “Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad” from Bonnie And Clyde? Also, how do you feel about songs that have been transposed? Should I just find a song in that key or do you think it’s alright to use a piece that I’ve had transposed?
Hey I was wondering if ‘If I Can’t Love her’ from Beauty and The Beast and ‘Seven Wonders’ from Catch Me if you can are considered overdone 🙂
Neither are overdone. However, I would recommend against “If I Can’t Love Her.” Its a very unique role and the song doesn’t really do much for showing us you as a person. I would rather hear you sing a cut from “If I loved you.”
If I loved you it was mentioned in the do nots list though? But thanks a lot!
For a college audition….is Someone Else’s Story from Chess okay? I know several guys who have sung from Chess before but never any women. Thanks!
Hi I am auditioning for the musical theatre program at WCU and I’ve had a lot of trouble picking the right audition songs. For the ballad, I am thinking of doing either Notice Me, Horton or Blue Wind from Spring Awakening. Would either of those be good choices? Also, do you have any suggestions for upbeat songs? I thought about doing Take Me Or Leave Me. Is it too overdone?
I’m auditioning for Amneris (in Aida) and my choir director (who has heavy experience in theater) said to do I Hate Men and Somewhere That’s Green, both of which are on this list…is it still okay to do it? I’m auditioning at a community theater.
Both of those songs are from traditional musical theatre. I would suggest singing something more contemporary or even a pop song.
What about any songs from legally blonde, I don’t think I saw it on the list. Also would “As long as he needs me” from Oliver be too depressing? I was originally thinking of doing “Still Hurting” from the last five years, but I saw your comment about it. I still want to do it, but if its not recommended, I could switch.
Also, which is better for an audition an upbeat song or a ballad? Although I enjoy upbeat songs, it makes my voice sound odd and I personally find my voice stronger when I do ballads.
Legally Blonde is ok if it really fits you. So much better should probably be avoided but otherwise you should be fine. As long he needs me is ok. No still Hurting. It’s overdone and it’s too emotional, it just drags down the room. As far as ballad vs. uptempo, do what you feel you do best.
Are there any songs from Les Mis that are not over done? I have and large range, I just don’t know what gets used much. If most are overused, then what is your all-time favorite song from a musical?
Sorry but Les Mis should not be used in auditions. It’s all overdone.
Do you have any suggestions of good audition songs that show range and acting but are not over done and directors will like to hear and not be sick of?
Don’t worry about showing range, show who you are. If the show asks for a specific vocal range, then show it. It would probably be helpful for you to read this post
Would you say Next to Normal is over done? So Anyway, Everything Else, Maybe (Next to Normal), Didn’t I see This Movie, The Break, You Don’t Know etc…..
The only song that is maybe a little overdone is “Everything Else.” If you have to really push or it sounds like you are screaming the high notes on “nothing your paranoid parents can say,” don’t sing it. If you can absolutely nail that part, not pushing, not flipping over into head voice, but belting with a free an open throat that shows control – you can sing it.
Would you consider Is It Really Me from 110 In the Shade overdone??
No, it’s fine.
Is “If I Were a Bell” from Guys and Dolls overdone?
I think its a good audition song, but I don’t hear it that often.
I’m auditioning for the addams family musical; is “gotta get out” from ordinary days overdone? thanks!!
Nope, its not over done. Good luck!
I have a question… would I be able to do a song from Fame for my audition?
I would try to find something else, there are better choices out there. Do a little research and see if you can come up with roles that you could play and chose songs from those roles.
I’m in a theatre program, and we need to have a monologue, 16 bars of a song, and a special skill. I was thinking of doing Astonishing or Dyin Ain’t So Bad. Thoughts? Thanks it’d be appreciated!
Dyin Ain’t So Bad is the better choice in my opinion.
Alright Thank you!
I am audition for the BFA Musical Theatre program at WVU and we are supposed to have contrasting pieces. I was thinking An English Teacher from Bye Bye Birdie, or Happy to Keep his Dinner Warm from How to Succeed for my upbeat piece. Are either bad choices or overdone?
For my ballad I was thinking Lying There from Edges, or There’s a Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q, or something like Till There Was You or I’ll Know.
I think those are decent choices. Fine, Fine Line and Lying There are slightly overdone. There are also a fair number of teachers who don’t like Edges for various reasons. If you could find other choices for those, it might be a good idea. The other suggestions are all good.
I’m going to be auditioning for musical theatre programs in the spring and still really don’t know what I’m doing. I’m wondering if Spring Awakening is overdone? And if I sang a boy’s song from that show would it be frowned upon or just something different? Also, do you have any thoughts about “Calm” from Ordinary Days? Thanks!
Haven’t seen Spring Awakening as much lately, so I think something from one of the female roles would be find. Its not okay to gender bend for musical theatre repertoire. Pop/rock is different – its okay for that rep.
I think it can be great to gender bend a musical theatre song for comedic purposes. For example, Santino Fontana sang “I Feel Pretty” in his audition for Hans in FROZEN. The casting directors thought it was hilarious and perfectly summed up the role of Hans, and he got the role. Gender bending can work in certain situations, but don’t ever do it simply because you like a certain song that is written for the opposite gender.
I will be auditioning for college very soon. My question is, what about a song in a male key transposed for a female? I’m thinking of singing Santa Fe from Newsies as one of my pieces and having it transposed/ Thoughts?
Not a good idea. There is plenty of repertoire out there for females. You should really find something that fits your type and personality from that repertoire.
I’m doing “Light in the Piazza” and “A Little Bit In Love” for my auditions to Sheridan Collage. I’m looking for two really good contrasting monologues as well, any ideas? 🙂
Check out this link for suggestions:
Even though Les Miserables on the whole is advised against (and rightly so; a lot of it is overdone), would Cosette’s solo ‘I Saw Him Once’ be acceptable? It’s not as well known and it’s actually not included in most performances of the musical.
I don’t know that piece, I don’t think its going to be overdone.
hi i have a question about ethnicity during a college audition. is it a no-no to sing a song that is sung by a person of some kind of hispanic descent if you are not hispanic even if the song cut does not mention being hispanic in it? i thought in the heights would be an interesting choice to pick for a college audition, so i was curious as to what you would think.
In the Heights is a little tricky, lots of non-ethnic people do it. You can probably get away with it, just know that a lot of people use that material. I should probably add “Breathe” and “It won’t be long now” to the list.
I am auditioning for college BFA programs and struggling to find the right comedic monologue. I have a natural comic flare and am good at dialects. I do know that using accented monologues are not recommended. I would like to find a goofy, nerdy monologue from a published play. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.
I really fell in love with home from phantom. I’d really prefer to sing something that’s not hugely overdone but I really do love it and it fits my voice so well! And I connect so well with it, which is a huge reason I love it so much. Should I use it anyways or move on?
If its the absolute best thing you can sing, you can probably get away with it. Word seems to be out and I haven’t seen it in two years. So you may possibly be the only one who would sing it.
I usually try to pick something by the same composer as the production I’m auditioning for, but not the same show. Is that tacky or smart?
It’s not a bad idea, especially if the composer’s style is so unique there really isn’t anything else out there that is similar.
Would “Moonshine Lullaby” from Annie Get Your Gun be a good choice? What about “Calm” from Ordinary Days? Also, do all of the same rules apply for pre-screen videos or are they a bit more flexible?
I am auditioning for Into The Woods at my high school and I was wondering if you have any ideas for any Sondheim songs for mezzo/alto? I have a pretty large range and am having difficulty finding a song that “fits me”, ny ideas? I am also trying to find a comedic monologue that would easily translate to me being a good person to play for the Witch… Again, help is needed.
I need help. I am a BFA Acting Major at Texas Christian University so singing isn’t my strongest suit but we are required to sing in Auditions at the beginning of each semester and in the spring we are doing Guys and Dolls. I have a pretty low voice and I know I should be looking for a golden age song but I can’t seem to find anything I feel isn’t overdone.
I went and saw Into the Woods, and fell in love with the song I know things now. I’m comfortable doing, and it’s in my vocal range. Is it a good song to audition with?
Hey! I’m auditioning for college soon and was having trouble picking an uptempo!
Goodbye from Catch Me If You Can
I’m Alive from Next To Normal
My Unfortunate Erection from Spelling Bee
Heaven on Their Minds from JCS
any opinion on those?
Hi! I’m auditioning for a summer intensive program. If I paired “Poor Wand’ring One” with “Hopelessly Devoted,” and Izzy’s monologue from Rabbit Hole, would that work well? I didn’t see Grease on there until the very end, and there were other songs on the list from Grease but not Hopelessly Devoted. I’m 21 and a soprano.
So, I’m auditioning for my high school’s production of Into the Woods. I’m an alto, and it’s really hard to find suitable songs to audition with. I know it’s on the list, but do you guys think I’d be able to sing “I cain’t say no”? It’s one of my favorite songs to perform, and i sing it really well. There’s no other songs I can find that fit me as well as this song.
for a musical theatre college audition, do you think Let Me Be Your Star is too overdone or too “put me in your program”? it fits my voice well but i dont wont to do it if it would give off bad vibes. thanks in advance
I wouldn’t use it because it comes from a TV show, not a musical. And you are right, it does say “put me in your program.” ~Matt
Hi I’m auditioning for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels(Ensemble) soon, and I need a 16 or 32 bar song. I was thinking Proud of Your Boy from Aladdin, the first verse of What Do I Need With Love from Millie or the first verse of Accident Waiting to Happen from Drowsy Chaperone. Which do you think would be the best plan. I have a wide repertoire but I”m trying to find something that is similar to Yazbek’s style.
Thank you for this post btw it really helped me trim down my choices.
Hi, Matt. I have an upcoming audition in New York. Would you say that Miss Saigon is overdone?
I think you can get away with it as long as the song is type appropriate. Regional theatres are doing Saigon and there is a market for actors and actresses who can play those roles.
Hi, Matt! I am auditioning for my high school’s production of Almost, Maine. It is required that I audition with a short, one-minute, contemporary monologue. I wasn’t thinking of doing anything with a romantic theme, but after reading this, and reading the comments, I’m rethinking my decision. (My original plan was to perform the first part of, “Almost 16,” by Gabriel Davis) Since Almost, Maine is revolved around romance, should i do a monologue that has a romantic theme? If so, do you have any suggestions for a teenage female? thanks!
For a high school production, I think something with a romantic theme is just fine. In high school they are not looking for the same things as they are for college auditions. So if you feel really comfortable with it and think it fits the show, I say go for it!