Everyone knows that your musical theater audition song must be appropriate for your vocal range and type, but what about your age? As a young woman, choosing a song that doesn’t fit your age and appearance won’t just stop you from landing the job at hand—it can also create a lasting wrong impression with everyone in the audition room. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best musical theater audition songs for young woman-identified performers of every type. From classic to contemporary and sopranos to belters, we’ve got you covered.
A good audition song should fit you, your abilities, and the audition while captivating your audience.
It fits you. The song should fit your voice type and vocal range—this isn’t the time to try going from your normative alto to aspirational soprano. It should also allow you to fully embody the character performing it, so choose one that’s castable for you in terms of utility (gender, age, size, accent) and personality (can you fully portray the feelings involved?).
It fits the audition. If you’re trying out for a role in “Once,” it’s probably not the time to pull out your best comedic song performance from “The Book of Mormon.” Show your audience that you’re able to portray the characters and emotions involved in the role you’re auditioning for.
It crafts a narrative. Even if the song is just a few bars, you want to be able to take your audience on a journey and keep them coming back for more.
It depicts a powerful emotion. Whether it’s an uplifting love song or a devastating dirge, the song should allow you to connect to listeners through the power of emotion.
It’s recognizable but unique. Many casting directors recommend that you avoid the biggest bangers—there’s only so many times one can hear “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Misérables” without allowing the melancholy to swallow them whole. Look for songs that are popular but aren’t the best known from the show (“Let It Go” from “Frozen,” here’s looking at you) or songs that you can put your unique spin on in a way that will impress your audience.
“She Used to Be Mine” from “Waitress”
Summon your best existential nostalgia with this sentimental ballad Sara Bareilles wrote for the musical “Waitress” adaptation. The song allows you to highlight your vocal control, emotional capacity, and ability to dive deep.
“Helpless” from “Hamilton”
It’s hard not to tap your toes to this R&B love melody describing Eliza Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton’s “meet-cute to marriage” trajectory. While it may not have the raw power of “Satisfied” or “Burn,” its whimsical depiction of romance gives you the opportunity to showcase your musical storytelling.
“When I Grow Up” from “Matilda”
This song provides a great opportunity to meta-textually demonstrate your youth—as well as the wondrous places you can go. Lean into the sense of yearning to grow up and the undercurrent of loss to really wow casting.
“Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly” from “Annie Get Your Gun”
A song that’s sugar, spice, and the tiniest bit nice, this Irving Berlin classic is a perfect uptempo showcase for spunk and vocal twang.
“Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl”
Drawing comparisons to Barbra Streisand is never a good idea—so don’t. The beauty of this oft-performed but enduring call to arms is the room it offers for personal flair (and ample sass, of course).
“I Can Cook, Too” from “On the Town”
If you’ve got a brassy belt—and only 16–32 bars to prove it—this showstopper is your calling card. (It also is one of the truly funniest songs in the musical theater canon and will bolster your audition for any role that dwells in comedy.)
“If I Loved You” from “Carousel”
You really can’t go wrong with the classics (it’s why they are, in fact, the classics), and this one—which may well render among Rodgers and Hammerstein’s very best—may well also render as the seminal so-in-love ballad for young women.
“Mama Who Bore Me” from “Spring Awakening”
The cool-girl contemporary standard, this song opens the beloved Duncan Sheik musical—and, when done right, provides an easy opportunity for full-body chills. (Reader, this is always a good thing.)
“On My Own” from “Les Misérables”
This song is the ingénue showcase for gals who belt. If you choose to include the key change toward the song’s tail end, you’ll display an impressionable range while also showing off your acting chops. (Also, c’mon, who doesn’t cry when they hear this one?)
“Requiem” from “Dear Evan Hansen”
A tearjerker that gives both vocal prowess and the ability to emote equal billing, the Act 1 ballad from the Pasek and Paul breakout musical is for those fearless enough to sing from a currently running smash hit—big risk, big reward.
“Still Hurting” from “The Last Five Years”
This one from Jason Robert Brown is all about evocation, which means you need to invest heavily in the specificity of the moment and lyrics or risk the song falling flat. But if you nail it, you’ll have demonstrated in those few bars a deft (and very hire-able!) interpretive skill.
“Think of Me” from “The Phantom of the Opera”
If “On My Own” is the ingénue showcase for belters, “Think of Me” is that for sopranos. It has everything: operatic highs, heartfelt yearning, and the signature Andrew Lloyd Webber vibrato. What else could an audition possibly need?
Ready? Check out Backstage’s musicals audition listings!