“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 can 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
No monologues about giving birth or being a mother (you are too young)
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
- Not for the Life of Me (still)
- Gimme Gimme (still)
- Screw Loose (this has been HUGE lately, and it’s just not a good audition song — kind of like Privilege to Pee — just screechy and annoying)
- Privilege to Pee
- Here I Am
- Astonishing (still!)
- 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)
- The “First Chair” monologue
- 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
Entire Overdone Shows That Directors Are Sick Of
- Any show that the school you are auditioning for has done in the last two years.
- Whatever the “Hot New Musical” is…
- The Sound of Music
- A Chorus Line
- Jekyll & Hyde
- Little Shop of Horrors
- 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 from The Wizard of Oz (this song belongs to Judy Garland)
- Any other “Signature Song”
- I believe from Book of Mormon (although I love it, so go ahead and sing if for Shenandoah 🙂
- Live Out Loud
- Pretty Funny from “Dogfight”
- How ’bout a dance (again, I like it so feel free to sing it at SU)
Thanks so much for all of this advice on this blog! To add to the ideas on this page: I went to a master class with Jason Robert Brown recently who said that, yes there are things that are overdone, and do avoid the current or recent “hit” shows, but that there are dangers of doing songs way on the other end of the spectrum. Don’t do a song from a completely unknown or unproduced show – do stuff with pedigree, that shows that you know the repertoire and that you know what good writing is. Don’t bust your gut to try and do a song that no one else will be doing – you end up auditioning the song and not your performance of it. – all his words.
I totally agree! Thanks for the comment.
Amazing advice on here – thanks so much!
Hi! I love your blog; it’s been an incredible help to me. I was just curious if I could get your opinion on a song choice of mine? I have a very important audition coming up where I am supposed to sing a contemporary musical theater piece, and I was thinking about “Everything Else” from the musical Next to Normal. I’ve performed it before with a lot of success, and I feel comfortable enough with it to use it for an audition. In your opinion has Next to Normal been overly popular for contemporary auditions?
It does show up from time to time, but I think it can work as long as the type makes sense for you. Its age appropriate, which is a huge plus.
Is it generally a bad idea to do songs from musicals such as Honk, Seussical, Just So, etc, because the characters singing aren’t actually human? As obviously an animal can’t really be classed as your ‘type’…?
It depends on the situation. If you were auditioning at a big open call for multiple companies, such as the Strawhat auditions or the Southeastern Theater Conference auditions, a song for one of those shows could work. It would need to relate to the monologue that you presented or to you as a person. For instance, “Wait a Bit” can work really well because it relates to normal human struggles. You could also use any of these songs for a show that had similar types of animal characters.
What about Change from A New Brain for In the Heights? If not, any other ideas for a mezzo auditioning for In the Heights?
Yes, that could work. However, if the audition notice says that pop rock music is acceptable, I would at least take a pop rock piece with you.
What about Should I Be Sweet from Take a Chance for a M&T auditions?
I want to audition for the NYU Steinhardt master in musical theater program but I am having a bit of trouble choosing two audition songs. They say the songs must be contrasting but no “pop, jazz or rock songs”. What would you recommend??
Any thoughts on “Always True to You” from ‘Kiss me Kate’?
Good song. Just make sure the repeated notes on the higher passages are absolutely in tune and sung well.
Is Here I Am from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels still overdone? I need a contemporary piece for my college audition and I’m not having much luck and I really like that one.
I haven’t heard it at all in the last two years. However, just be sure you sing it REALLY well.
My voice teacher wants me to audition with “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” for “The Wizard of Oz” with a theater company that she’s part of. I’ve read a lot of audition tips and all of them say to never sing this song. I get why but I still wonder if it would be okay for a middle/high school show. Any thoughts?
Since she’s a part of that company and has suggested it, I think you are safe to sing it.
Ok thanks I just wasn’t really sure because she’s stopped giving classes for personal reasons and I couldn’t really ask her.
Would it be unwise to do Rose’s Turn for a recorded audition tape? I can really nail the song but it is not age appropriate as I am a high schooler; should I do it nonetheless?
Hi! Thanks for the advice. I’m auditioning for a musical theatre performance bachelor program and they want 2 songs one contemporary one golden age. I was thinking of doing The Light In the Piazza and Wonderful Guy from South Pacific? I was wondering how overdone these are/ would you recommend them? Thank you!
What are your thoughts on “Legally Blonde” from Legally Blonde…?