5 Good Audition Songs for Your Next Tryout

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Before she wowed us as Celie in “The Color Purple,” Fantasia Barrino brought us to tears—and Simon Cowell to his feet— with a soul-stirring rendition of “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess.” “People sing better when they’re connected to the emotional life of a song,” says New York City–based vocal teacher David Brunetti. “Don’t walk into a singing audition; think of it as an acting audition.” Here are a few options from Brunetti for your next audition that you can connect with:

“Everything” from “A Star is Born”

“If you’re more of a pop belter, auditioning for anything contemporary—like a Jason Robert Brown show—this song by Barbra Streisand is perfect. It’s written with great notes to sing. It’s about something important, it’s about longing for a meaningful life. It’s very powerful; anybody can relate to that.”

“In Your Eyes” from “Pleasures and Palaces”

“If you’re a tenor, this one’s very adaptable: it works whether you’re auditioning for a pop show or a Golden Age musical, like Rodgers and Hammerstein. Written decades ago, by Frank Loesser, who did ‘Guys and Dolls,’ it sounds like it could be written today. It has beautiful music, with lots of great notes in it and a wide range.”

“If He Walked Into My Life” from “Mame”

“This is a good audition song for women who don’t have big voices. It has good notes without requiring huge technique. You can really score with this one because your acting carries it through. You don’t have to be the greatest singer in the world to accomplish it. Another wonderful Jerry Herman song is ‘Wherever He Ain’t.’ It has relatively good high notes that are strong and full of feeling.”

“Someone Is Waiting” from “Company”

“It’s one of the great Sondheim songs that nobody does. (‘Being Alive’ is overdone.) It’s beautifully written with good notes for a baritone. We hesitate to say, ‘Look for a song with high phrases.’ But the truth is, you need them. It works the room.”

“If I Love Again” by Ben Oakland and J.P. Murray

“This one’s beautiful for sopranos. It has ascending phrases, like ‘in someone else’s fond embrace.’ Ascending phrases are very important in a soprano audition because the high notes are the money notes.”

 David Brunetti is a teacher, musician, and writer in New York City. He teaches ongoing classes in bringing acting technique to songs. He has served as vocal coach and accompanist for the likes of Jud Collins, Jennifer Holliday, Eartha Kitt, Leslie Uggams, Donna Murphy, Paul Giamatti, and Geena Davis.