Hello fellow MDs, accompanists, and coaches! Welcome to our YouTube channel, all about audition repertoire. I’m a musical director and audition accompanist myself, and the purpose of this new series is to let you know what’s happening in these audition rooms in order to share with you the standard rep, as well as hot, new pieces, based on my own experience.

Whenever I accompany auditions, I keep a running list of all the songs brought in, as well as comments from casting directors and musical directors about the chosen material. Hopefully, this will provide some insight into current audition trends, and as show you some new music to share with actors.

Each week will feature a different topic, whether it be choosing a good pop/rock song, popular songs from a specific composer, and even songs to stay away from.

To kick this series off, I have included the ten most performed pieces from the musical theatre canon that I have come across in recent auditions. Several of these auditions were for an entire season of summer shows, so this should serve as a good survey of popular rep. The list includes four songs for men, five for women, and one that is commonly done by either gender.

FOR WOMEN
Someone Else’s Story from Chess
I Can Cook, Too from On The Town
So In Love from Kiss Me, Kate
Hit Me With A Hot Note from Sophisticated Ladies
I Will Be Loved from I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

FOR MEN
Lost In The Wilderness from Children of Eden
Proud Lady from The Baker’s Wife
It Takes Two from Hairspray
Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar

FOR BOTH GENDER
Old Devil Moon from Finian’s Rainbow

Watch the entire playlist below, or on our YouTube Channel.

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13 Responses to The Audition Playlist: 10 most performed audition pieces

  1. b says:

    Interesting.  In the auditions I have played in the past couple years in NYC,  I would say the men’s songs you list do come up a lot, minus Gesthemane (which I don’t see much), which I would replace with “Anthem” from Chess, “Being Alive” from Company, or “I Think I Like Her” from Summer of ’42.

    Oddly, the women’s songs you list don’t necessarily coincide with my experience.  “Hit Me With a Hot Note” is sung a lot (inexplicably), and “Someone Else’s Story” occasionally, but some songs that hear just as often would be:   “Home” from Phantom,  “Home” from Beauty  & the Beast, “Mira (Can You Imagine That?)” from Carnival, and “Gorgeous” from The Apple Tree.   If we’re talking about African-American women, then “Mama Will Provide” (Once On This Island) jumps to the top of the list.  

    But I’m wondering about the purpose of your list.  You don’t share any of the notes you took on director’s comments about the songs, i.e., are these good auditions songs, to begin with.  What should guide an actor’s song choice for an audition?

    (I would begin with saying that anything from The Light in the Piazza  — which shows up a LOT these days — should be out of bounds, as it is not reasonable to expect of the pianist, and not good audition material anyways!)

    • Hi B, thanks for adding new songs to this first playlist! None of us have the exact same experience, so it makes sense that not all  of the songs you and Kevin play would be a perfect match. This playlist series is not meant to be an absolute science, but a helpful guide, which it is. There will be different topics covered every week, and from your comment it sounds like it would be a great idea to have an African-American playlist. I have also found Mama Will Provide to be a top choice. Now a point that interests me a lot is the case you mention of The Light in the Piazza. It’s crazy that pianists are expected to play even the unplayable.

    • B, as Kevin said, this is the introductory post in a regular series.  This isn’t an exhaustive list, nor is it an encyclopedic treatise on song selection for actors.  It’s 300 words and 10 songs.  It’s an intro. Take it easy.

      Kevin, I think this series will be an invaluable resource for auditions accompanists, actors and voice coaches.  Well done, looking forward to the next.

      • b says:

        Taking it easy, thanks.  Just wanted to continue the discussion.  I certainly didn’t intend to come across as critical.  (Golly.)

    • Harold Purvis says:

      Hi 

      Any known sources please to purchase the sheet music of ‘I think I like her’
      Thanks

  2. Kevin B Winebold says:

    Hey, B!
    Thanks so much for your comments.  Home from Beauty and the Beast was next on the list, and same goes for Anthem for the men!  Gethsemane wouldn’t have been on my list a few months ago, but it’s been really hot recently, namely the final 16 bars (probably because of the revival happening).  And a few more down on the list for women is Once On This Island, but Waiting For Life. I love that we can have such different experiences doing the exact same thing in the same city!

    The purpose of this list was just to introduce the series, so you’re right: it’s a little generic.  In the future there will be more specific topics, as well as comments from casting directors and the like, so I hope it proves a valuable resource.

    And I couldn’t agree with you more about Piazza.  I wish there was a blacklist going around the city, banning certain songs.  I made myself sit down for hours with that score because people wouldn’t stop bringing it in, and I  still cringe when it’s put in front of me!  :-)

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Hjpgeeswood says:

    What an excellent idea Kevin and so informative and helpful

  4. tomcarradine says:

    Hi Kevin.  What a great article – and a brilliant idea.  It’s interesting to compare your experiences in the US with mine in the UK.  I haven’t been on the audition playing circuit for a few years (having been on the road on long contracts) but gradually getting back into it.

    In the UK you hear a lot of the same material that you talk about in your article and often you can tell where an actor trained by the audition rep that they sing – certain teachers / music departments in colleges favour standard rep.  New material comes in phases – I’ve seen a recent move towards Scott Alan songs, taking the focus away from Jason Robert Brown and William Finn who have both had their moment in the last few years.

    I might start a thread in the forums on the site with list of what I see at auditions.  I played for some pantomime auditions last week and made a list of what I heard.  Would be interested to compare this to your experiences in the US.

     I look forward to your further updates.

  5. Man, I could go my whole life without hearing Proud Lady every again. Yikes.  I hate it when guys bring that in.  I don’t even like hearing Max von Essen sing it.  Why is he yelling at me?

  6. […] Add Comment · In Audition Hey, folks! You spoke, and we’re listening!  Obviously, a top ten list wasn’t enough to cover the popular audition songs, so we’re going to keep this list […]

  7. […] be presented with new and interesting material in the audition room, rather than the hackneyed “old reliable” audition rep. I often keep a notebook (or my iPhone) handy to quickly jot down a song title or […]

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