Please at least enter your name, e-mail, and phone number!
Awesome, thanks for getting in touch! We'll reply ASAP!

Musical Theatre Community Class - "Preparing for Your Audition"

Show up to your next Musical Theatre audition with confidence! In this extended community class, Mrs. Rebecca and Mr. Nicoli discuss everything from a history of musical theatre, song styles/classifications, building your repetoire and more!

Musical Theatre Community Class - Preparing for Your Audition

- contributed by Rebecca P. & Nicoli H.

Rebecca (00:00:00): Welcome to our preparing for a musical theater auditions workshop. I'm so glad that you're here. So today-

Nicoli (00:00:11): Me too.

Rebecca (00:00:12): I'm Rebecca.

Nicoli (00:00:14): I'm Nicoli.

Rebecca (00:00:15): And we're just going to be going through some good rules of thumb to have for preparing your audition materials. So anytime you audition for a musical, especially, you want to make sure that you have something ready to go, ready to perform, and that you don't have to put a lot of extra work into. So what if you find out about an audition two days beforehand? You want to have something ready. You're like, "All right. Yes, I can do this audition." So we're going to do just kind of a brief history. Oh, look, it's me. We're going to do just a brief history of the different types of musical theater songs and how you can include them in your audition rep.

Rebecca (00:01:05): So to get started with our history, we're going to our first slide here, musical eras. Okay. So sometimes when you're auditioning for a show, you will be asked to sing a certain type of song, right? You might be asked to sing a standard musical theater piece, or a traditional musical piece, or something from perhaps the golden age of musical theater, and that is generally pre-1960s. That can include musicals like The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, all of the big Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that you hear about.

Nicoli (00:01:56): The big classics.

Rebecca (00:01:57): The classic musicals that you maybe have seen movie versions of, although, I don't know, do people watch musicals anymore?

Speaker 3 (00:02:05): Yes.

Nicoli (00:02:05): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:02:08): I'm not sure, but ... So when we talk about traditional musical theater, that's what that means. Pre-1960, before musicals start getting influenced by pop music and rock music.

Nicoli (00:02:25): Through Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Singing in the Rain. Does that kind of fit in [crosstalk 00:02:28]?

Rebecca (00:02:28): Yeah, Singing in the Rain, those musicals ... exactly.

Nicoli (00:02:32): Big dance numbers.

Rebecca (00:02:32): Yes, big dance numbers. Oklahoma! That's a good example. A lot of the movie musicals from back then, of course, even from the '30s and '40s. The '30s musicals have more of what today we might call jazz standards, songs that you may have heard Frank Sinatra sing or jazz musicians perform now. A lot of them got their start in musicals.

Nicoli (00:03:02): Do you know any of these names we talked about so far, or any of these big musicals?

Speaker 3 (00:03:06): [inaudible 00:03:06].

Nicoli (00:03:07): That's what we want to try to do, so we'll start ... It's a good thing. A lot of people don't study them or learn them-

Rebecca (00:03:11): It's true.

Nicoli (00:03:14): But if we start watching them now, you want a couple in your repertoire.

Rebecca (00:03:16): Have you ever heard-

Speaker 3 (00:03:17): Hello Dolly?

Rebecca (00:03:18): There we go, Hello Dolly.

Speaker 3 (00:03:20): We've seen all of it.

Nicoli (00:03:20): It's a whole new world for you, you got to-

Rebecca (00:03:24): It's a big, big ... Big musicals. So to go on after the golden age, what we'll call contemporary musical theater, even though some of this contemporary is before any of us were born. 1960 forward, but with little to no pop rock influence, so shows like Chicago, Cabaret. And then even into more modern times, shows like Rag Time, shows like A New Brain. These are all very obscure. I'm being very ...

Nicoli (00:04:07): I'm struggling here, outside of Chicago.

Rebecca (00:04:10): [crosstalk 00:04:10] very helpful for these. But generally speaking, the musicals that happened after 1960 that don't have a lot of pop rock influence and are not the big mega musicals of the 1980s, which we will go to next.

Nicoli (00:04:27): Probably the most recognizable one, right?

Rebecca (00:04:27): Or no, next we go to the pop musicals, pop influenced musicals. That would be the Stephen Schwartz musicals like Wicked. Wicked would be considered pop influenced. And A Chorus Line, that would be considered pop influenced. Some Andrew Lloyd Webber stuff.

Nicoli (00:04:52): Cats.

Rebecca (00:04:52): Possibly Cats. Jesus Christ Superstar would be one. And then newer composers, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton, In the Heights, all pop influenced scores.

Nicoli (00:05:07): What's the one you like?

Speaker 3 (00:05:07): Rent?

Liam (00:05:07): Rent.

Nicoli (00:05:10): Rent.

Rebecca (00:05:10): Rent.

Nicoli (00:05:11): And Hugh Jackman's The Greatest Showman would count in this.

Rebecca (00:05:17): The Greatest Showman. Yes, definitely. The Greatest Showman would count as pop influenced. Some more modern musical ... Dear Evan Hansen would count as pop influenced. And also some of the older '70s musicals, like Pippin or Godspell, things like that would count as pop influenced.

Rebecca (00:05:38): And then to move on to rock influenced, so many genres, so little time. Those are musicals by, for instance, Elton John, like the musical Aida. That would include Rent by Jonathan Larson. So there's a lot more of a rock sound to the music in these musicals. So you said you like Rent? So it's got that, much more of a driving beat, it's got a lot more what we would think of as rock instruments playing, and the vocal styles of the singers are a lot more rock influenced. It's got a grittier sound to the vocals and things like that.

Nicoli (00:06:25): Spring Awakening would fit in that.

Rebecca (00:06:26): Spring Awakening, yes, definitely.

Rebecca (00:06:31): And so when you're going through the music you want to audition with, it's good to have a little something from every group. Because sometimes you'll go to an audition, and you won't be asked for anything in particular. They'll just say, "Sing a song," or, "Sing this much of a song." And you can sing whatever you want, as long as it showcases your voice and you sing it really, really well. And you'll find that more often in like local theater stuff. Usually they don't care. If you're going to a big audition for a professional company, or an off Broadway, or even a semi-professional company, anything like that, you'll be asked for more specific, and it might be show specific as well.

Rebecca (00:07:28): So if we move on to the next slide, we're going to go to the mega musicals, the pop- opera genre, if you will. These are your musicals, a lot of them from the 1980s, early '90s, to the mid '90s, into the '90s. By Andrew Lloyd Webber, like The Phantom of the Opera. I would say Evita would count as that too. And-

Nicoli (00:07:59): Is this where Les Mis fits in?

Rebecca (00:08:00): This is where Les Mis would go, and Miss Saigon.

Nicoli (00:08:03): Have you heard [crosstalk 00:08:04]?

Rebecca (00:08:04): Those shows that are ... we call them pop-opera. A lot of people think The Phantom of the Opera is opera. It's not, but don't get me on my soapbox about that one.

Nicoli (00:08:15): Have you seen The Phantom of the Opera?

Rebecca (00:08:19): Ah, I mean, The The Phantom of the Opera was the musical that got me into, "This is what I want to do. This is what I want to sing, this is what I want to do." So The Phantom of the Opera is definitely, when you say the mega musicals of the 1980s, that's the one that comes to your mind first, I would say. And so other musicals from that mega musical genre, all the musicals from that genre are traditionally sung through. They don't have a lot of dialogue. They don't have ... if any. I don't think Phantom of the Opera has any spoken dialogue, maybe a couple of lines.

Nicoli (00:09:07): I don't think so. Maybe mid-song, a couple.

Rebecca (00:09:08): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:09:08): I think Les Mis is the same, really goes straight through.

Rebecca (00:09:10): Les Mis, yeah. At the beginning of-

Nicoli (00:09:12): Have you seen Les Mis?

Rebecca (00:09:13): At the beginning Masquerade in Phantom of the Opera, the two managers have a very, very brief conversation before they start singing. And I'm fairly certain, those lines are actually written to be sung, but they just speak them. So everything is sung through, which is like opera, opera is sung through. So that's why we call them pop-opera.

Nicoli (00:09:34): Hamilton kind of set up like that.

Rebecca (00:09:36): Hamilton is ... I mean, Lin-Manuel Miranda is an all genre encompassing composer. I feel like he takes what he likes, and just throws it all together into something fantastic. But yeah, Hamilton is-

Nicoli (00:09:55): Have you seen Hamilton?

Rebecca (00:09:56): ... pretty much sung through.

Nicoli (00:09:58): [crosstalk 00:09:58].

Rebecca (00:09:57): But I mean, you could think of a lot of the spots where there's more rap, as more like in opera, what you would call recitative, which is, it's sung, but it's the character speaking, not singing. And so I think, yeah, Lin-Manuel Miranda, what a human. Sorry, I just hit my microphone. What a human. Okay, so let's move on to different song types. So you can have all of these different song types within your list within all of those genres that we talked about. Do you want to talk a little about the I Want songs?

Nicoli (00:10:47): As the name implies, [crosstalk 00:10:48], the I Want song is the moment for a character that ... it's the moment in a play, the Disney musicals, musicals in general, where they kind of say what they want, basically, what the point is. A lot of our favorite Disney songs are I Want songs. You've already kind of established who you are as a character, and it's the point in the movie or the play where you go, "This is what I need. This is what I want. This is where the struggle is." And if that was spoken, the urgency really wouldn't be there, especially if it's a musical. If you just say, "Hi, my name is blah, and I want to do this." It's not going to mean the same as if you sing this whole kind of ballad or really iconic kind of song.

Rebecca (00:11:31): Exactly.

Nicoli (00:11:32): And the I Want basically sets up that journey for the character in the whole show. And makes you get on their-

Rebecca (00:11:36): Definitely.

Speaker 3 (00:11:36): Part of Your World.

Rebecca (00:11:37): Yes.

Nicoli (00:11:37): Part of Your World. They want you to want as well, the audience really wants at that point.

Rebecca (00:11:41): Yes, absolutely. And going a little bit back to the history of musical theater, of course, musical theater evolved from operetta, which evolved from opera. And in opera, we talked a little bit about recitative, where they're talking. But then they have their aria, and that's where they are giving vent to their emotions. So in an I Want song, it's very similar to an aria in that the character is telling us who they are and what their motivation is. And a lot of times, the I Want song comes towards the beginning of the show.

Nicoli (00:12:27): Kind of in the first act, usually.

Rebecca (00:12:29): Yeah. It's usually in the first act, because we need to know who these people are, because we're not going to like them, if we don't know them. Right?

Nicoli (00:12:37): What's a Disney movie that you like a lot?

Liam (00:12:39): Sing.

Nicoli (00:12:40): Sing.

Rebecca (00:12:41): Sing.

Speaker 3 (00:12:42): [inaudible 00:12:42].

Nicoli (00:12:41): Yeah, I haven't seen Sing, so I can't help you there. You can give us another one.

Rebecca (00:12:47): [crosstalk 00:12:47].

Nicoli (00:12:47): Have you seen some of the classics, like Aladdin?

Speaker 3 (00:12:49): Aladdin.

Liam (00:12:49): Aladdin.

Nicoli (00:12:49): Beauty and the Beast, and all that?

Rebecca (00:12:49): Aladdin.

Nicoli (00:12:49): Aladdin's a good one.

Speaker 3 (00:12:49): Prince Ali. Would that be his I Want song? Or ...

Nicoli (00:13:05): What do you think his I Want song would be? That's a good question, honestly.

Speaker 3 (00:13:06): [crosstalk 00:13:06].

Rebecca (00:13:07): Well, no. I mean, that's a good question. So-

Nicoli (00:13:08): Because One Jump Ahead is kind of an I Am song, not so much an I Want song.

Rebecca (00:13:11): Not yet, exactly.

Speaker 3 (00:13:11): Right.

Rebecca (00:13:13): In the musical, not the movie, in the musical Aladdin has a song called Proud of Your Boy, which he's singing. Apparently he has a mother in the musical, which he's singing about.

Nicoli (00:13:28): I know, they cut a lot from the movie to the musical. It's a little different.

Rebecca (00:13:31): They changed a lot.

Liam (00:13:32): Are you talking about Aladdin 2?

Speaker 3 (00:13:33): No.

Rebecca (00:13:34): No, they made a stage production, a Broadway musical of Aladdin, so they added songs and they made it more stagey than movie. So yeah, he has a song called Proud of your Boy. And the whole song is (singing). And that, I think, is his I Want song. He wants to make his mother proud, he wants to be a better person. He talks in the song about how he's been all of these bad things, but he's going to do better, but she has to do better too. It's a great song.

Nicoli (00:14:12): Some more modern examples would be Moana, How Far I'll Go.

Speaker 3 (00:14:15): Lion King.

Rebecca (00:14:15): How Far I'll Go.

Speaker 3 (00:14:17): Can't Wait to Be King.

Rebecca (00:14:17): Can't Wait to Be King, that's an I Want song.

Nicoli (00:14:18): Lion King, Can't Wait to Be King is one of the best ones, absolutely.

Rebecca (00:14:20): Yes, absolutely.

Nicoli (00:14:21): You really get with Simba on how excited he is to get there.

Rebecca (00:14:23): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:14:24): In Frozen, it would be Anna's For the First Time in Forever.

Rebecca (00:14:30): (singing). No, that's a different song.

Nicoli (00:14:31): That's Tangled.

Rebecca (00:14:31): That's Tangled.

Nicoli (00:14:32): That's also an I Want song, yeah.

Rebecca (00:14:33): That's an I Want song.

Nicoli (00:14:35): Go through some of the Disney classics-

Speaker 3 (00:14:37): Beauty and the Beast.

Nicoli (00:14:37): And see if you can find some that you ... Beauty and the Beast would be Belle, maybe.

Speaker 3 (00:14:41): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:14:42): Yeah, yeah. In the musical, she sings Home.

Nicoli (00:14:46): Home? It's a fun challenge to go back and watch some of the classic Disney movies and try to find the I Want songs, and then start to pick out where they're at.

Rebecca (00:14:54): Definitely.

Nicoli (00:14:54): They're usually some of the more popular songs too.

Rebecca (00:14:58): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:14:58): Some of the most memorable ones, because there's so much emotion behind wanting something, the character's on the edge.

Speaker 3 (00:15:06): I want a lot of things.

Nicoli (00:15:06): Wite an I Want song for your biopic.

Rebecca (00:15:07): Yeah, you could have your own I Want song. All right. Let's move on to the next one. Oh, these are examples from musicals. The Wizard and I, from Wicked, My Shot from Hamilton, Corner of the Sky from Pippin, if you know. Something's Coming, from West Side Story.

Nicoli (00:15:27): I think I would like Hamilton.

Rebecca (00:15:29): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:15:30): That's a good one.

Rebecca (00:15:33): All right. And then the character song. Character song can also be an I Want song. We can have cross types as well, or mixed types of songs. And it gives the audience a clear understanding of what the character is about, who the character is as a person.

Nicoli (00:15:53): Can that also be kind of an I Am song?

Rebecca (00:15:56): Yes, definitely. Definitely.

Nicoli (00:15:57): Have you seen Beauty and the Beast? Gaston, that whole song is just, "Hi, my name is Gaston, I'm great."

Rebecca (00:16:02): (singing). Whatever, Gaston.

Speaker 3 (00:16:02): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:16:02): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:16:02): That's just saying, "This is who I am."

Speaker 3 (00:16:03): [crosstalk 00:16:03].

Rebecca (00:16:03): I mean, that one, he barely even sings it about himself. He's so into himself that someone else has to sing it, has to proclaim his greatness to him.

Nicoli (00:16:19): I could be wrong, but I think an I Am song could also be a group-

Rebecca (00:16:22): I Am song, yeah.

Nicoli (00:16:25): Like in Moana, the We Are the Island song, whatever that one in the beginning is, is just them kind of saying, "This is who we are." And then the other Lin-Manuel, In the Heights.

Rebecca (00:16:36): In the Heights.

Nicoli (00:16:37): [crosstalk 00:16:37] they have the block ...

Rebecca (00:16:38): Yeah, the first opening number of In the Heights.

Nicoli (00:16:39): It could be a personal thing, or it could be a group thing, "This is who we are, this is who I am."

Rebecca (00:16:42): Yeah. It just sets up who they are as a character.

Nicoli (00:16:47): Usually near the beginning.

Rebecca (00:16:48): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:16:48): If you write a musical in your life, we need to know who you are first.

Rebecca (00:16:51): Yes.

Nicoli (00:16:52): "I am [ Liam 00:16:52], this is my song." So you would go out with an I Am song before an I Want. We got to know who you are, and then we'll care about what you want.

Rebecca (00:16:59): Then we find out what you want. You might do them both in the same song, but ...

Speaker 3 (00:17:04): Literally, My Fair Lady. (singing).

Rebecca (00:17:06): (singing) ... that is a classic example of an I Want song, as well as a character song.

Speaker 3 (00:17:14): Funny Girl, what does she sing at the bottom of the staircase?

Rebecca (00:17:19): The ...

Speaker 3 (00:17:19): When she's [crosstalk 00:17:20] her mama's place.

Nicoli (00:17:20): What's the New York one? I know what you're talking about.

Rebecca (00:17:25): My brain just went blank.

Nicoli (00:17:26): All I'm thinking about is the fairy one.

Liam (00:17:27): Is there any in Cinderella?

Speaker 3 (00:17:30): Cinderella? (singing)

Rebecca (00:17:31): She sings (singing). She's wishing, she's dreaming for another life.

Nicoli (00:17:38): That's kind of an I Want, yeah.

Rebecca (00:17:39): That's an I Want song, definitely.

Nicoli (00:17:41): What about, is there one in Lion King? Would there be I Am song in Lion King, or a character song?

Rebecca (00:17:48): Circle of Life, maybe.

Nicoli (00:17:49): Circle of Life, kind of talking about everything.

Rebecca (00:17:53): [crosstalk 00:17:53].

Speaker 3 (00:17:56): Sound of Music. [crosstalk 00:17:56].

Nicoli (00:17:56): Do you like Sound of Music?

Rebecca (00:17:56): Sound of Music.

Speaker 3 (00:17:58): I can't remember what the ... what's the one that she sings on the way to the ...

Liam (00:18:02): I can't remember what Sound of Music is. I don't know what.

Rebecca (00:18:05): It's the one with all of the children and the nuns.

Speaker 3 (00:18:09): You know that one.

Liam (00:18:09): Oh.

Speaker 3 (00:18:09): (singing).

Rebecca (00:18:10): And World War II.

Speaker 3 (00:18:12): What is the one that she sings from the bus?

Rebecca (00:18:18): (singing). Yes.

Liam (00:18:21): I don't.

Speaker 3 (00:18:21): (singing)

Rebecca (00:18:22): (singing). Yeah, that's a good one. That's a really good song. So some examples-

Nicoli (00:18:27): Alexander Hamilton is a good one.

Rebecca (00:18:28): Yes, Alexander Hamilton, that is a good one. Character song, Adelaide's Lament from Guys and Dolls, "A person could develop a cold." Poor Unfortunate Souls. A lot of times, character songs can be funny or they can be ... it kind of depends on the character. Villains are going to have a villainous character song, like Poor Unfortunate Souls in The Little Mermaid.

Speaker 3 (00:18:53): Singing in the Rain, Make 'Em Laugh, that would be a character [crosstalk 00:18:55].

Rebecca (00:18:55): Make 'Em Laugh would be a character song, also a comedy song.

Nicoli (00:19:00): Some things could be two, yeah.

Rebecca (00:19:02): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:19:02): Because Poor Unfortunate Souls, that could be a character song, and villain's song is kind of just a character song just from a villain's perspective. Some people just call it the villain number, the villain song.

Rebecca (00:19:11): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:19:11): But it's still, "Hi, I'm evil, and this is me."

Rebecca (00:19:13): Exactly. So if you're auditioning for a show and you're auditioning for the villain role, you probably want to sing a villain song for your audition. It doesn't have to be the villain song from that show.

Nicoli (00:19:24): If you want to be the bad guy, you probably don't want to go in with an emotional I Want song ballad, because then-

Rebecca (00:19:30): Right, you want to show ... If you're going in for Jafar in Aladdin, maybe you'll sing Cruella De Vil, from 101 Dalmatians, or something. You'll sing something-

Speaker 3 (00:19:44): Not This is Love from [crosstalk 00:19:46]-

Rebecca (00:19:45): Right, not This is Love, exactly. Perfect.

Nicoli (00:19:47): That actually makes a huge difference. If you want role and you go into an audition, your song choice is almost an essential part of ... I mean, you need to nail the audition, but also, they pay a lot of attention to your song choice.

Rebecca (00:19:57): They do. Because whenever you're doing an audition, the people you're auditioning for, the producers or the directors, whoever's there that you're auditioning for, they're trying to picture you in a certain role. So you want to go in and present yourself as the role you're auditioning for, as opposed to ... Yeah, if I want to be Ursula, I'm not going to go in and sing Part of Your World.

Speaker 3 (00:20:25): Right.

Nicoli (00:20:25): Same loosely applies to acting.

Rebecca (00:20:26): Different type.

Nicoli (00:20:27): You have an audition in a week, so you can be thinking about that too.

Rebecca (00:20:30): Yeah, acting auditions too.

Nicoli (00:20:30): Even if it's just a straight monologue, you want to take it from ... whatever you want the directors and the producers to see you as, is what you want to go in as.

Rebecca (00:20:35): Absolutely. And-

Nicoli (00:20:35): If you're going for a comedy, find a comedy monologue, or read your lines comedically. If you know it's a comedy going in-

Liam (00:20:47): Mama, you need to completely rethink our life.

Nicoli (00:20:51): We need a new game plan.

Rebecca (00:20:53): Rethink everything.

Speaker 3 (00:20:54): [crosstalk 00:20:54].

Nicoli (00:20:55): New game plan, go. So you do have a comedy coming up next Saturday, and you have an audition for that, so you can start immediately.

Speaker 3 (00:21:01): What is that comedy?

Nicoli (00:21:03): It's called The Love of Three Oranges. It's going to be very, very fun.

Liam (00:21:09): The Love of Three Oranges?

Nicoli (00:21:09): So we'll take the same approach to that.

Rebecca (00:21:12): And this is also something to consider. Even if you audition for plays mostly and only musicals, sometimes things overlap a lot. A lot of times you may audition for a musical that has roles in it that don't do a lot of singing or dancing, they need more acting in those certain roles. So you want to be able to do some of all of it when you're going into an audition that needs all of it. A triple threat, yes, exactly.

Speaker 3 (00:21:43): [inaudible 00:21:43].

Rebecca (00:21:44): All right, let's go on to our next type of song. The charm song. Charm song also is very similar to the I Want song and the I Am song. It's a song that makes us like the character. Wouldn't It Be Loverly, prime example of a charm song, an I Want song, a character song, really. I mean, it shows us who the ... Part of Your World is a charm song as well, I would say, because she is charming, she's floating around talking about all her forks and stuff, and wanting to just go up and have legs.

Nicoli (00:22:25): Usually at the point in the story when you think, "Oh, I want to be there." If you're a charmed, then it's probably a charm song.

Rebecca (00:22:31): Yes.

Nicoli (00:22:31): Be Our Guest definitely can be a charm song.

Rebecca (00:22:35): Yes.

Nicoli (00:22:36): It's really flashy, it's really big.

Rebecca (00:22:36): Songs that make you like the person singing, basically, is the charm song.

Nicoli (00:22:44): And this happens not in the same way, but in movies as well. There's always charm scene. There's the shot of Hogwarts, or the shot of something, the shot of the spaceship, something you want to be entranced with the cast-

Rebecca (00:22:58): [crosstalk 00:22:58] pulls you in.

Nicoli (00:22:58): Or whatever makes you go, "Oh, I want to be there. I care about these characters because I care about the place now." Or, "I care about the event or the time period," or something.

Rebecca (00:23:06): Yeah. For me, it's always costumes, pull me right in.

Nicoli (00:23:10): Yep.

Rebecca (00:23:12): So let's go ahead and look at some examples of the charm song. If I Only Had a Brain, from The Wizard of Oz.

Nicoli (00:23:22): (singing). Have you seen The Wizard of Oz? That's a really good one [crosstalk 00:23:25].

Rebecca (00:23:22): That'd be a good song for you.

Nicoli (00:23:25): That would be a really good audition song for you.

Rebecca (00:23:28): Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:23:28): [ inaudible 00:23:29] that one.

Rebecca (00:23:32): I Feel Pretty, from West Side Story. Wouldn't It Be Loverly, again. Here I Am, from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Those are just some examples of charm songs. They make you like the character. Now, some musicals, you never like the characters. We were talking about that the other day.

Nicoli (00:23:50): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:23:51): But that's a different genre. All right, so let's move on to our next type of song, the ballad. Now these types of songs, the ballad, the uptempo, the ones we're going to talk about next, all go along with the last ones we were talking about the charm song, the character song, the all of that. Because a lot of times, those things overlap. So one song can be three or four different categories, and you can use it. If you get asked to sing a ballad, you can use it as a ballad. Generally, you'll be asked to sing either a ballad or an uptempo. They don't usually say, "Sing a charm song."

Nicoli (00:24:35): "Charm me."

Rebecca (00:24:36): But it's good to know what types of songs you have in your repertory.

Nicoli (00:24:43): Before we start naming some, do you think you can find a ... what were we talking about?

Rebecca (00:24:47): A ballad.

Nicoli (00:24:47): A ballad. Do you think we can find a ballad in a movie? It's usually the part in their ... sometimes the super long dance while they fall in love, that you probably get bored during, but everybody else loves.

Speaker 3 (00:25:00): (singing).

Nicoli (00:25:00): What would be-

Rebecca (00:25:02): A ballad, yeah, it's usually slower tempo. It's a lot of emotions.

Nicoli (00:25:07): You seen Beauty and the Beast?

Liam (00:25:08): Yes.

Nicoli (00:25:08): Can you think of what it would be in that?

Liam (00:25:10): Yes.

Rebecca (00:25:11): What would a ballad be in Beauty and the Beast, do you think?

Liam (00:25:15): I can't think of the song. What's its name? Mama, what's its name? Mother. [inaudible 00:25:21], what's its name?

Nicoli (00:25:21): You lost your [crosstalk 00:25:22].

Rebecca (00:25:22): How about-

Nicoli (00:25:23): It's Beauty and the Beast.

Rebecca (00:25:24): It's Beauty and the Beast.

Nicoli (00:25:26): That's the name of the song, yeah.

Rebecca (00:25:26): (singing).

Nicoli (00:25:27): It's the same, where they're dancing at the staircase, and yeah.

Liam (00:25:30): I give up.

Rebecca (00:25:30): (singing).

Nicoli (00:25:34): But ...

Speaker 3 (00:25:35): I have all boys, so Beauty and the Beast doesn't get played quite as much.

Rebecca (00:25:39): Right. A Whole New World is a ballad.

Speaker 3 (00:25:42): In The Greatest Showman, what's the one that he and his wife dance to? Liam.

Liam (00:25:49): It's ... mother, my favorite, what's it called?

Rebecca (00:25:54): A Million Dreams is a ballad.

Nicoli (00:25:56): A Million Dreams would be a ballad, yeah. I still haven't seen that show.

Rebecca (00:25:58): Yeah. Never Enough is a ballad, from The Greatest Showman.

Nicoli (00:26:03): I can see that.

Rebecca (00:26:04): That's the opera singer.

Nicoli (00:26:07): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:26:11): Oh.

Liam (00:26:11): Hi.

Rebecca (00:26:11): So yeah, some examples of the ballad, Burn from Hamilton.

Nicoli (00:26:18): Burn.

Rebecca (00:26:18): If I Can't Love Her, from Beauty and the Beast. Still Hurting, from The Last Five Years. I Have Dreamed, from The King and I. Just some different ... They're slow. They don't have to be super slow, but they're slower tempo, they are all about emotion, most of the time about love. That's just how it is.

Nicoli (00:26:38): Oh, yeah.

Rebecca (00:26:39): Had a student one time, they're were like, "Is every song about love?"

Liam (00:26:43): Yes.

Rebecca (00:26:44): Well ...

Nicoli (00:26:45): Almost.

Rebecca (00:26:46): Kind of, yeah. I mean, what else is there to sing about?

Liam (00:26:49): A lot of things.

Nicoli (00:26:50): A Whole New World, you said that.

Rebecca (00:26:52): Yeah, A Whole New World's a ballad.

Nicoli (00:26:53): A Whole New World is a great one.

Rebecca (00:26:54): Yeah. Let's see. Mary Poppins.

Nicoli (00:26:56): Can You Feel the Love Tonight.

Rebecca (00:26:57): Yeah, Can You Feel the ... that's a ballad.

Nicoli (00:26:59): There's a ballad.

Rebecca (00:27:00): In Mary Poppins, Feed the Birds is a ballad. Yeah, there are lots of ...

Nicoli (00:27:06): What's the chimney song? (singing).

Rebecca (00:27:07): (singing).

Nicoli (00:27:07): That would be a charm song.

Rebecca (00:27:07): That would be a charm song, absolutely.

Nicoli (00:27:08): You want to be on those chimney tops, yeah.

Rebecca (00:27:14): All right. So our next type is the uptempo song. What do you think an uptempo song might be?

Nicoli (00:27:24): You like these.

Liam (00:27:24): The first song in Aladdin, got to live to eat. Got to-

Rebecca (00:27:31): Got to jump, (singing).

Nicoli (00:27:31): (singing).

Rebecca (00:27:31): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:27:34): Yeah, that's a charm song, I think, and a-

Rebecca (00:27:36): I think that's a charm song and an uptempo.

Nicoli (00:27:37): And uptempo.

Rebecca (00:27:38): Absolutely.

Nicoli (00:27:38): You kind of double do there.

Rebecca (00:27:39): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:27:39): It makes you want to get up and dance, but you also want to be in Agrabah, so you're ...

Rebecca (00:27:42): Yeah, it's fun, and it makes you like him.

Speaker 3 (00:27:46): (singing). [crosstalk 00:27:49].

Rebecca (00:27:48): Yeah, you find him charming, even though he's riff-raff, a street rat, or whatever. You still like him, because he is charming and he sings.

Nicoli (00:27:56): The Genie song, is almost-

Rebecca (00:27:57): I mean, that's why I like people.

Nicoli (00:28:00): What's the Genie song?

Rebecca (00:28:01): Friend Like Me.

Nicoli (00:28:01): Never had friend like me. That one's a charm song and an uptempo song.

Rebecca (00:28:04): That's an uptempo, yeah.

Nicoli (00:28:05): All the ones you want to get up and dance do are it.

Rebecca (00:28:07): Yeah, those are your uptempo numbers. So for some examples, Not For the Life of Me, Chim Chim Cheree. I Have Confidence, from The Sound of Music. I would say that's a character song, an uptempo song, a charm song. I mean, it's so many different songs.

Speaker 3 (00:28:26): It's the Hard Knock Life, that's-

Rebecca (00:28:27): Yep, from Annie.

Nicoli (00:28:28): (singing).

Rebecca (00:28:29): That's an uptempo. That's one everybody wants to dance to.

Nicoli (00:28:32): What's the scene that you showed me with him, the dance one we just talked about a minute ago? With the mattress?

Rebecca (00:28:43): The Greatest Showman? Oh, in Annie?

Nicoli (00:28:44): Mm-mm (negative).

Rebecca (00:28:48): Oh.

Nicoli (00:28:48): In Singing in the Rain.

Rebecca (00:28:48): Oh, Singing in the Rain.

Speaker 3 (00:28:49): Oh, [crosstalk 00:28:49]. Make 'Em Laugh.

Rebecca (00:28:50): Make 'Em Laugh.

Speaker 3 (00:28:50): (singing).

Nicoli (00:28:50): Make 'Em Laugh, that could be a uptempo-ish.

Rebecca (00:28:54): Yeah, that's an uptempo song.

Nicoli (00:28:55): That can count.

Rebecca (00:28:56): Yeah, make them laugh is an uptempo.

Nicoli (00:28:57): A lot of the ones you've talked about are uptempo.

Rebecca (00:28:59): Yeah. I love that song.

Nicoli (00:29:00): They're the fun ones, yeah.

Rebecca (00:29:01): That's one of my favorite, favorite, favorite songs. Okay. So moving on to the comedy song, Make 'Em Laugh. We're already talking about comedy songs.

Nicoli (00:29:11): [crosstalk 00:29:11].

Rebecca (00:29:10): Definitely. The lyrics make us laugh out loud, and a lot of times, they are self-complaining songs. I found this quote about comedy songs, "Self-pity is only attractive when it makes us laugh." So the songs are written specifically for the characters to kind of talk themselves down a little bit, but in a funny way to make you like them. A lot of us have that coping mechanism.

Speaker 3 (00:29:41): Just as a mother, but some of these songs, you have to be really careful with kids singing them. Because what comes off as funny as an adult sing them comes off creepy as a kid singing.

Rebecca (00:29:51): Yes.

Liam (00:29:52): (singing).

Nicoli (00:29:52): That can happen.

Speaker 3 (00:29:54): [crosstalk 00:29:54].

Rebecca (00:29:56): Yeah, that's true. And I'll also say, kids songs of course can fall into any of these categories, but they're almost their own category in a lot of ways. I would say up until 13, 14, you're going to be singing what would be traditionally kids songs for auditions, if you're auditioning for a musical. You don't want to be 10 and go in there and sing something from Gypsy.

Speaker 3 (00:30:29): [crosstalk 00:30:29].

Rebecca (00:30:29): Yeah, yeah, yeah. We don't want to do that.

Speaker 3 (00:30:38): [crosstalk 00:30:38].

Rebecca (00:30:37): So for kids auditions, we can use all of these kind of rules of genre and rules of type of song. But you're limited in some ways, from what you can pick from, because you can't sing everything.

Speaker 3 (00:30:54): "I'm getting married in the morning," ain't going to work for you, son.

Rebecca (00:30:58): No.

Nicoli (00:30:59): Got to get a little older first.

Rebecca (00:31:00): No. Send in the Clowns-

Nicoli (00:31:01): Gaston could be one that you could do. Gaston's also a comedy song and a character song, and a I Want song. It kind of fits everything, which means it's a good audition song.

Rebecca (00:31:07): Yeah. And honestly, the Disney musicals, as much as they kind of get talked down about by Broadway purists or whatever, as a teacher, they are extremely, extremely useful because they have songs that kids can sing that are appropriate that are good songs. They're fun to sing, they're good to sing, they're not too hard to sing. So yeah, I'm all about the Disney.

Rebecca (00:31:36): All right. Let's see. So here's some examples of comedy songs from musicals. I Speak Six Languages, from the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Les Poissons, from The Little Mermaid. We were talking about that one earlier. That's a funny one. It's also a good character song as well.

Nicoli (00:31:57): A good ... Love Is an Open Door, from Frozen would be a comedy and a charm song, and also, it's the love song, but it's not really presented in a ballad, so it's one of the few that isn't the typical.

Rebecca (00:32:09): Yeah, definitely.

Nicoli (00:32:10): Which is probably foreshadowing then.

Rebecca (00:32:13): And from Frozen, the In Summer, that's-

Nicoli (00:32:15): In Summer's, it's a charm and a comedy.

Rebecca (00:32:16): It's a charm and a comedy song. Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 3 (00:32:20): [inaudible 00:32:20].

Nicoli (00:32:21): I can see that.

Rebecca (00:32:21): And I'm Calm, from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The character is the most not calm person, but he sings this whole song, "I'm calm, I'm calm. I'm perfectly calm." And it's one of the funniest songs in the whole show, because he's singing exactly the opposite of what he is. Because he's trying to be calm, but he can't.

Rebecca (00:32:46): So let's go on to the 11 o'clock number.

Liam (00:32:52): Dun, dun, dun.

Rebecca (00:32:55): Dun, dun, dun. So Broadway shows used to start later than they do now. They started at 20:45, and so that means that they would end around 11. And it's very, very common, almost all musicals, and still to this day, almost all musicals have a number towards the end of the show where the lead goes out and sings their face off. And it's a way to wake up the audience, the end is coming, and it gives the star a turn center stage, basically. No Good Deed, from Wicked, is a good example of that one.

Rebecca (00:33:34): And I'll go on to the list here. Yeah. Gimme Gimme, from Thoroughly Modern Millie. I mean, that's a big song at the end of the show. Words Fail, from Dear Evan Hansen.

Nicoli (00:33:50): She Used to Be Mine from-

Rebecca (00:33:52): She Used to Be Mine, that's a big 11 o'clock number, yes.

Nicoli (00:33:55): [crosstalk 00:33:55]. Usually, if you cry in a musical, this is the one. The 11 o'clock number's when your mascara's going to be running.

Rebecca (00:34:01): Yeah. In Wicked, No Good Deed, her love is gone, everything's falling apart, she's ruined everything and, (singing). It's a big emotional piece. And the 11 o'clock numbers are usually pretty high energy, unless the character is ... unless it's the end.

Nicoli (00:34:26): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:34:26): Unless they're like, "I've got nothing more to give," and then they have a really sad song at the end. But it's usually something that gets the audience energized again towards the end of the show.

Nicoli (00:34:39): And a lot of times, in movies and musicals and storytelling in general, it's at the character's lowest or at the most desperate, or at the point where they flip, the point that-

Liam (00:34:46): Like in Sing 2.

Nicoli (00:34:46): Did somebody go that low and Sing 2?

Speaker 3 (00:34:48): Yeah, he did.

Nicoli (00:34:49): I haven't seen Sing 2.

Rebecca (00:34:51): What happens then? What's the song?

Liam (00:34:52): Mother.

Speaker 3 (00:34:56): No, [crosstalk 00:34:59].

Nicoli (00:34:59): Can't phone a friend every time, pal. I'm sure there is one, because all good stories the characters hit just the lowest. You're like, "Whoa, how are we going to recover from this? What's next? How do we get to the end? Everything's changed. Our castle's been broken." The world that we charmed you with earlier that you wanted to go to-

Speaker 3 (00:35:17): [crosstalk 00:35:17] Hello Dolly, when he realizes that she's the one he wants, and he sings his song.

Nicoli (00:35:26): Do you remember?

Liam (00:35:27): How come nobody can think of the songs?

Rebecca (00:35:29): Her number is ...

Speaker 3 (00:35:33): After the big Hello Dolly thing, she walks [crosstalk 00:35:35].

Rebecca (00:35:35): Yeah, and she ... Yes, (singing).

Speaker 3 (00:35:37): (singing).

Rebecca (00:35:40): That's her 11 o'clock number. Yeah.

Nicoli (00:35:42): And you can have a few, right? Because in Les Mis, it's kind of hard to pick. You've got a lot of just tragedy, going down, goes downhill, down.

Speaker 3 (00:35:49): [crosstalk 00:35:49], it's like this competition of [crosstalk 00:35:50]-

Nicoli (00:35:50): Yeah, how low can you go.

Rebecca (00:35:51): We never stop singing. Put it on the turntable, let's go round and round.

Nicoli (00:35:54): So you can have an 11 o'clock section, rather than a song too.

Rebecca (00:35:59): Yeah. And I feel like a lot of the mega musicals definitely have, because they're so big, they have such big choruses, they have just so many characters, that it's almost like everyone gets there own 11 o'clock number. There's no star-star. But actually, I would say for Les Mis, the two I would call 11 o'clock numbers would be Bring Him Home and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.

Nicoli (00:36:30): I could see that. I would also think A Little Fall of Rain, because that's right at the ...

Rebecca (00:36:33): It is.

Nicoli (00:36:34): But it's kind of like a pre-11 o'clock number. [crosstalk 00:36:38].

Rebecca (00:36:37): But Empty Chairs at Empty Tables definitely is closest to the end.

Nicoli (00:36:43): Right.

Rebecca (00:36:43): And it's the biggest number, and it's when all his dead friends come out. That might be the 11 o'clock number of Les Mis.

Nicoli (00:36:51): I think so.

Speaker 3 (00:36:52): What's the 11 o'clock number of Sound of Music? Is it Edelweiss, is it [crosstalk 00:37:01].

Nicoli (00:36:59): I guess it could be Edelweiss.

Rebecca (00:37:02): I think it's Edelweiss.

Nicoli (00:37:03): That comes early in the show.

Rebecca (00:37:03): I mean, that's the big emotional moment of the show. That's right before they escape.

Nicoli (00:37:12): Yeah. 11 o'clock numbers are really, really ... Most actors, probably one of their favorite things to do. And in an audition book, you absolutely want to have some of those, because we've all been low at some form or another. Even if you're six-

Speaker 3 (00:37:27): [crosstalk 00:37:27].

Nicoli (00:37:27): You've had a moment where you're low.

Speaker 3 (00:37:30): [crosstalk 00:37:30] in the barber himself.

Rebecca (00:37:32): Yes.

Speaker 3 (00:37:33): [crosstalk 00:37:33]-

Nicoli (00:37:32): And so that's really fun to-

Rebecca (00:37:33): I would call that-

Speaker 3 (00:37:36): ... and then everyone else comes in [crosstalk 00:37:36]-

Rebecca (00:37:36): The 11 o'clock number of that one.

Nicoli (00:37:36): Exactly, and that's just empathy. If you've been a human for more than a couple years, you know how it feels to be at the bottom somewhere. So it's really fun to pour that into whatever song this is. Whatever age you're auditioning for, whatever role you're trying to play. Or even if you're cast and once you're playing and you have to do the same thing night after night, people always ask, "Oh, I wonder how you do the same show twice a day, every single week for three years?" It shouldn't really get old, because you're not just going up there and singing a song. You're really kind of sweating it out and putting [crosstalk 00:38:04].

Rebecca (00:38:03): You're being the song.

Nicoli (00:38:04): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:38:05): You're being the character.

Nicoli (00:38:06): And that's one of the easier ones to be. I could see getting burnt down on Be Our Guest every night, because you dance, sing, point, and you get off stage and you get some water. But for these, I think you really wait to ... Fly, Fly Away in ...

Rebecca (00:38:21): Fly, Fly Away in Catch Me if you Can.

Nicoli (00:38:22): Catch Me If You Can, [crosstalk 00:38:23].

Rebecca (00:38:23): Oh, yeah. That's a good one. So much emotion. Okay. Let us move on to the next slide. So we talked a little bit already about this crossing song types, the ballad, the charm song, the I Want, all in one, Part of Your World. Character and comedy, I'm Calm. Uptempo, I Want, 11 o'clock, Gimme Gimme, from Thoroughly Modern Millie or No Good Deed. All of those would go in the crossing song types.

Nicoli (00:38:56): Would It's Quiet Uptown count as Hamilton's 11 o'clock?

Rebecca (00:38:59): Ooh, that's a good question.

Nicoli (00:39:03): A ballad and an 11 o'clock, maybe.

Rebecca (00:39:05): Oh, maybe. Yeah.

Nicoli (00:39:09): Burn could also be an 11 o'clock.

Rebecca (00:39:11): Yeah. There's so much packed into to the end of Hamilton, I feel it's hard to pick. I mean, I feel as far as personally watching it, I pretty much never stopped crying. So what the biggest emotional punch was, I couldn't say. But probably It's Quiet Uptown. I mean ...

Nicoli (00:39:35): Usually, the musicals you like the most are going to have a good hybrid. Usually, if it's one I Want, one character, one 11 o'clock and then go home, you're not going to remember it. But if it's a ton of mixed, and you really have to think about, "Oh, this could be this, and this, and this, and this." It sounds like Sing's loaded, I'm going to have to see that and see what's going on there.

Rebecca (00:39:52): Yeah, Sing has a lot of good songs.

Speaker 3 (00:39:54): It has a lot of good songs, but it's definitely not set up like a musical-

Rebecca (00:39:57): No.

Speaker 3 (00:39:58): ... with each song has its own place, because it's a group of other people singing cover songs.

Nicoli (00:40:04): And even in the oddest way, it does. When Johnny sings, I'm Still Standing, that's kind of an 11 o'clock, because he's low.

Speaker 3 (00:40:09): Right.

Rebecca (00:40:09): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:40:10): I mean, he may be on stage-

Speaker 3 (00:40:11): In his storyline, yes. In the whole movie-

Nicoli (00:40:13): So it's an uptempo.

Speaker 3 (00:40:14): ... each person has their own [crosstalk 00:40:16]-

Nicoli (00:40:16): But he's still kind of freaking out, and he still hasn't had that moment with his dad yet. So even-

Rebecca (00:40:22): I mean, I would consider that.

Nicoli (00:40:24): Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:40:24): I mean, in Grease, "I've got thrills, they're multiplying." Would that be an 11 o'clock, or would that be a closing?

Nicoli (00:40:30): That would-

Speaker 3 (00:40:30): Because, after that, you only got a (singing).

Nicoli (00:40:33): That's kind of the payoff. I don't know if that's 11 o'clock.

Rebecca (00:40:35): Yeah. Does grease have an 11 o'clock number? It might. I don't know if it does in the movie. It might, in the actual show. Stranded at the drive-in, maybe.

Nicoli (00:40:46): They have that long scene in An American in Paris that La La Land recreated in that kind of classic jazz deal of, "This is how it could have gone," and then he does the dance number for 20 minutes where he imagines what life with the girl would've looked like the whole time.

Speaker 3 (00:40:59): [crosstalk 00:40:59].

Nicoli (00:40:59): And then he wakes up on the balcony alone, so ...

Liam (00:41:01): It is.

Rebecca (00:41:01): I love it.

Nicoli (00:41:03): The big drama you love so much is usually that 11 o'clock.

Rebecca (00:41:07): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:41:07): "I'm at my lowest," and then she comes out of the car and loves you in the end. That would be the payoff bit.

Rebecca (00:41:12): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:41:12): Yeah, I think Grease, that's more of a payoff.

Rebecca (00:41:15): Yeah, I think that's more [crosstalk 00:41:17].

Nicoli (00:41:17): What's are those called? Is that next? Or do we-

Rebecca (00:41:19): Hmm?

Nicoli (00:41:19): Does it have an official name, that big finale scene?

Rebecca (00:41:22): The finale? I mean, I don't think it has an official name. The one where either everyone comes out and sings, or ... usually everyone comes out and sings.

Speaker 3 (00:41:30): [crosstalk 00:41:30].

Rebecca (00:41:31): The big final.

Nicoli (00:41:33): The cap, the reprise. Reprise, if you're fancy. Reprise, if you're ...

Rebecca (00:41:35): All right, so let's go on. So in the handout, I gave you a way to organize your book, basically, and just the different types of songs that you want to have. You generally don't want to have more than, say, 12 songs in your book. You don't want to have tons and tons of music. Have a separate book for stuff you're working on, stuff that you might swap out at some point with one of your audition pieces. But for your audition pieces, you definitely want to have at least one of each of these categories, I would say. You also want to put in some music that does not come from musicals, like a pop-rock, jazz type songs. Because a lot of musicals nowadays are jukebox musicals, is what we call them, where like Mamma Mia! is all ABBA songs.

Nicoli (00:42:44): Sing would be a jukebox musical.

Rebecca (00:42:45): Yeah, Sing would be. Yeah, exactly. So you want to be able to sing some of those types of songs as well. For me in my list, I consider that an extra category because vocally, I'm not the voice type that's going to audition for that show, because I don't have that type of voice. So it kind of depends on what your voice type is, what your strengths are basically. But I still have a pop song in my rep just in case.

Nicoli (00:43:21): Right, it's not that uncommon. If you were to come to an audition prepped with a couple songs you knew, and you sang a good I Want and a good charm song, or something like that, to kind of fit the vibe of my show. But my character, we're also kind of living in a pop world, and I asked you to sing an Elton John song, it's not a bad thing to ... because I'll do that.

Rebecca (00:43:37): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:43:37): We'll randomly spring, "Hey, do you know something rock? Can you do a Billy Joel or an Elton John or something bright and poppy?" And if you have that as well, that really helps you out in an audition, if you [crosstalk 00:43:47].

Rebecca (00:43:47): Yeah, so you definitely want to be as versatile as possible in your audition rep. So that's why you have a ballad, an uptempo, from each category, and then you have your extras in there.

Rebecca (00:44:06): I didn't have a slide about this, but Stephen Sondheim gets his own category, because he wrote Into the Woods, he wrote Sunday in the Park With George. A lot of kind of iconic musicals that, for some reason, theaters perform Into the Woods a lot with kids, and I'm not sure why, but they do. I think it's because it's fairy tales. But Sondheim auditions, you should only really sing a Sondheim song for a Sondheim audition, because his music is so complex. You need to show that you can sing his music, and his music is like no other. So you don't want to go into a Sondheim audition and sing Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, because ...

Nicoli (00:44:59): Right. Damn.

Rebecca (00:45:00): Yeah. So in your extras category, you might want to have a Sondheim song, and you might want to put a Disney song in there. If you don't have Disney in your other groups, or you might want to put a jazz song, or you might want to put ... just so you have a little extra. But I would say definitely have about 12 songs that you can sing at the drop of a hat. Not just that you can sing, but that you can sing brilliantly.

Nicoli (00:45:30): Right.

Rebecca (00:45:31): That you can sing with any amount of pressure, or nervousness, or anything. Songs that you know like the back of your hand.

Nicoli (00:45:40): Songs that's like breathing for you.

Rebecca (00:45:41): Never go into an audition with a song you don't know that well.

Nicoli (00:45:44): That reads on your face. I've told the actors here that if you are thinking about your lines, we can see your lines in your eyes.

Rebecca (00:45:51): Yes.

Nicoli (00:45:51): We can tell, especially if you're on camera. If you're in a film thinking, "I'm on film," we're going to see that in your eyes. It's so, so obvious. And that'll play across in an audition too.

Liam (00:45:59): I have two songs.

Nicoli (00:46:01): You got two, you don't-

Rebecca (00:46:02): Yeah, you don't have to have 12 songs right now.

Nicoli (00:46:05): It's a start.

Rebecca (00:46:05): It's something to work towards.

Nicoli (00:46:07): And you're in a very cool place, being your age, because you can pick all these songs, get really good at them, and then as you age, as you start to crawl up in age and start to experience different things, when you fall in love and you get your heart broken-

Rebecca (00:46:20): Add some-

Nicoli (00:46:20): Like somehow, your little brother's already done. You can play that, so you can start ... You can have two books. You can have your audition book. This helped me out a lot in college. I had a book of reliables. It was ready to go. Monologues, I had one for monologues. And then you would have one for songs, and then you can have a book of up and coming, this is what I'm shopping-

Rebecca (00:46:39): Stuff I'm working on and stuff.

Nicoli (00:46:40): ... this is what I'm feeling. And then the minute it becomes relevant and good enough, and it's reliable in your voice or in your acting range, then you can scoot it into your actual book.

Nicoli (00:46:46): And once you age, you might want to take I'm Sixteen Going On Seventeen out and put something else in its place. You can [crosstalk 00:46:52]-

Rebecca (00:46:52): Right, exactly.

Nicoli (00:46:53): And another great-

Speaker 3 (00:46:54): (singing).

Nicoli (00:46:57): And another great thing you can add and kind of practice here is if 12 songs brilliantly is a lot to do, and you might think, "I'll get bored with it," and there's a great chance right there to start falling in love with material. Because if you're going to get bored with 12 audition songs over and over again, you're not playing the same character every night for years on end or weeks on end or months on end, whatever it is, in rehearsals. That's going to kind of ... it's working out your muscle, almost. If you can sing these 12 reliably, constantly, rehearsing them pretty regularly and still in love with them, then you know you can reliably play that character. And that's an extra boost of confidence.

Rebecca (00:47:30): Yeah, definitely.

Nicoli (00:47:30): If I go in having done a song twice, aside from not being prepared, I'm not going to ... if I got the role, I'd be in trouble. I'd be scared. "Oh my God, I have to fall in love with this. I have to ..."

Rebecca (00:47:39): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:47:39): Those are never fun.

Rebecca (00:47:43): Okay, let's move on to the next slide. And I just did an example of what I would put in mine. A standard ballad, a standard uptempo, a contemporary driving, contemporary ballad, comedy, pop rock. There's my pop song, right there, Blondie. Sondheim.

Nicoli (00:48:04): That's why you wanted Blondie in the top.

Rebecca (00:48:08): So there you go. And then, quickly here, when you're making your cuts, this is where we're going to need your help.

Nicoli (00:48:20): We're going to use you as an example.

Rebecca (00:48:21): Yes.

Nicoli (00:48:22): We're going to cut your song up.

Rebecca (00:48:24): So generally, when you're at an audition, you're not going to be asked to sing the whole song. That almost never happens, unless there's only five people auditioning, and then you may be asked to sing the whole song. But generally speaking, you're not going to sing the whole song. You're going to be asked for a 16 bar cut or a 32 bar cut. And generally people are like, "I don't even know what that means." Right? So a bar is a measure. So 16 measures, that's not very much. So would you ... Let's see. Let me get my book out and I'll show you. You want to come up to the piano, and I'll kind of show you.

Rebecca (00:49:08): So if we look at this song here, from Annie Get Your Gun, I Got the Sun in the Morning. 16 bars, if I start at the top. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. That doesn't even get me to the chorus.

Liam (00:49:25): Yep.

Rebecca (00:49:26): Okay? So if I'm going to an audition, am I going to go in and just go ... (singing). Am I just going to sing the very beginning of the song for 16 bars? Or am I going to say, "Oh, wait. Let me sing the big part of the song." Let's see, where would that be?

Nicoli (00:49:50): [crosstalk 00:49:50].

Rebecca (00:49:50): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. 20 bars would get me from the final chorus to the end. Okay, that might work. And so then I'd go in there and just go ... (singing). Just sing the high, loud part.

Rebecca (00:50:11): That may work. But what would make a better audition is if I did a little bit of the beginning and a little bit of the end. That way, I show I can sing the more gentle part, and I can sing the big and loud, and I have more emotional range throughout the song. Does that make sense to you?

Liam (00:50:37): Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rebecca (00:50:37): So what if I did ... (singing), and then I cut to ... (singing). Then I get into the bigger part, and then I can do the ending. (singing). And it kind of lets me do a little of the beginning, and then a little of the middle, and a little of the end. That's actually not a 16 bar cut, that's more like a 30 bar cut. 16 bar cuts are really hard, just in all honesty.

Nicoli (00:51:26): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:51:26): So what song are you working on right now?

Speaker 3 (00:51:28): A Million Dreams.

Nicoli (00:51:28): That's a good song. A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman.

Rebecca (00:51:37): A Million Dreams? Okay. So ...

Nicoli (00:51:39): First of all, can you tell us what that is?

Rebecca (00:51:43): What kind of song is A Million Dreams?

Nicoli (00:51:45): Yeah. What are you showcasing here? Is it slow or fast?

Liam (00:51:53): Slow?

Nicoli (00:51:54): It's kind of slow, so it fits in that ballad category. Do you think it's more of a character, "I am this person," or is it more of an, "I want something"?

Liam (00:52:02): It's [crosstalk 00:52:04].

Speaker 3 (00:52:04): Literally an I Want, it's a dream.

Nicoli (00:52:05): Yeah, it's talking about your dream. So we assume we already know who you are, and this song, as you sing ... it's a ballad, so it's not super fast. It can be charming still, so it can match that.

Rebecca (00:52:15): Yeah. I think it's also a bit of a I Am song too, but setting us up, because we haven't met the adult P. T. Barnum yet. Right? I guess-

Speaker 3 (00:52:31): Don't they call it a traveling song? A song that takes you from when he's a child and straight into-

Rebecca (00:52:36): Yes, yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:52:38): So we can kind of [crosstalk 00:52:38]-

Nicoli (00:52:38): Hakuna Matata would be-

Speaker 3 (00:52:39): They tell us a lot about him in the song, with the being [crosstalk 00:52:41] and stuff.

Rebecca (00:52:41): Exactly.

Nicoli (00:52:42): Yeah.

Rebecca (00:52:43): So with modern musicals especially, it's very difficult to cut into 16 bars, even 32 bars. Because modern musical theater writers don't write the same way that the classic ... Classical traditional musical theater pieces were really set up like verse, chorus, verse chorus, or intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, or something like that. So it was easier to cut them into little pieces. Whereas modern composers don't really do that. So instead of thinking necessarily 16 bars or 32 bars, you can think more time limits. 16 bars, you don't really want to go over a minute. That's about-

Nicoli (00:53:26): Do you know the difference between verse and chorus?

Liam (00:53:27): Nope.

Speaker 3 (00:53:28): Yes, you do.

Nicoli (00:53:31): I think you do, you just don't realize it.

Speaker 3 (00:53:31): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:53:32): The chorus is the part you sing, the big, everyone knows that, it's repetitive, it's the part you wait for, and you wait for, and you wait for.

Speaker 3 (00:53:37): [crosstalk 00:53:37].

Rebecca (00:53:36): So the chorus in A Million Dreams is the ...

Speaker 3 (00:53:41): (singing).

Rebecca (00:53:43): That's the verse.

Nicoli (00:53:43): That's the verse.

Rebecca (00:53:43): The verse is, (singing). Something, I don't know all the words.

Liam (00:53:50): [crosstalk 00:53:50] song.

Nicoli (00:53:49): Took some liberties.

Rebecca (00:53:56): (singing), that's getting us to the chorus.

Speaker 3 (00:53:59): Right.

Rebecca (00:53:59): (singing). The chorus is, (singing).

Nicoli (00:54:03): That's what you wait for. When you feel that satisfaction, you're there.

Rebecca (00:54:10): That's the chorus, that's the payoff.

Speaker 3 (00:54:10): And that, "I'm still standing," with [crosstalk 00:54:14].

Rebecca (00:54:16): Yeah, "I'm still standing," (singing).

Speaker 3 (00:54:17): And everything in between [crosstalk 00:54:17].

Nicoli (00:54:17): (singing).

Rebecca (00:54:17): That's a chorus as well.

Nicoli (00:54:18): (singing), that's all verse.

Rebecca (00:54:18): That's the verse.

Nicoli (00:54:19): That's building up, building up, building up.

Speaker 3 (00:54:20): The stuff that you repeat.

Rebecca (00:54:22): The verse usually tells you the nit-pickiness of the situation. It tells you what's going on in the show, with the character, at that time. The chorus is giving vent to your emotions more. Not always, but-

Nicoli (00:54:39): Most.

Rebecca (00:54:40): ... generally speaking.

Nicoli (00:54:41): And so the point of a cut is you don't want ... some songs have two or three verses before you ever get there. You don't want to spend your whole audition going, "I can go low and be really chill." You want to usually get your low chill, and then go for that chorus, so that you can really get them.

Rebecca (00:54:54): Now, the good thing with The Greatest Showman though, is it is verse, chorus, verse, chorus, so you can do a good amount of the song in one minute. You could start it off very soft, (singing), and find a spot. Do you want to look at the ... I don't have the ...

Nicoli (00:55:15): Yeah, I can pull up the chords to this one, unless you have a sheet.

Rebecca (00:55:18): Okay. He's got it, he's got it. So do you want ... You record.

Nicoli (00:55:24): Yeah, we can switch.

Rebecca (00:55:25): So I'm going to make another example of you. So when you go to a musical theater audition, always bring sheet music, depending on the audition. Local theaters a lot of times just want you to come in and sing acapella, and it doesn't matter, you don't need the sheet music. But sometimes, they ask for sheet music. And you need sheet music, not a chord sheet, not a lead sheet.

Speaker 3 (00:55:57): Nicoli has been trying to help me learn how to [inaudible 00:55:57] a chord sheet.

Rebecca (00:55:57): Right?

Nicoli (00:55:58): Yeah. We've been working chord sheets, so we're doing chord sheets. Yeah.

Rebecca (00:56:00): Well, no. I mean, and that's the thing. I mean, in modern music a lot of times, you-

Speaker 3 (00:56:04): [crosstalk 00:56:04].

Nicoli (00:56:04): Yeah. Most accompanist ... I can never say that word. I'm never going to get that right.

Rebecca (00:56:08): Accompanist.

Speaker 3 (00:56:09): There's too many consonants in there.

Nicoli (00:56:10): Most of them, they're very good sheet readers. I would never qualify for that, unless I really sharpen those skills. Most of them can read it like English. So that's why you usually kind of bring that in.

Rebecca (00:56:22): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:56:22): And they train that more so than the chords, so it's usually just safe. You can just assume that whoever's accompanying you will be a sheet reader, so you kind of read your audience before you go in.

Rebecca (00:56:33): Yeah.

Nicoli (00:56:36): Shall we cut it? You want to hop on that mic? We have a microphone for you.

Rebecca (00:56:41): Right there.

Speaker 3 (00:56:46): Do you need the words, or are you [inaudible 00:56:46]?

Liam (00:56:46): No.

Nicoli (00:56:46): Do you need them?

Liam (00:56:46): No.

Nicoli (00:56:47): Okay.

Rebecca (00:56:48): All right, you're good?

Nicoli (00:56:48): So do you want to go verse, pre-chorus and chorus?

Rebecca (00:56:51): So I'm going to pretend to be listening to your audition too.

Nicoli (00:56:53): There we go.

Rebecca (00:56:55): You probably wouldn't be this close.

Speaker 3 (00:56:59): No swinging the microphone.

Nicoli (00:57:00): So let's go verse one, we'll do the pre-chorus, and then we'll go, "A million dreams to the world we're going to make," and we'll cut it there just to kind of see where we're at time-wise.

Rebecca (00:57:11): Yeah. I'll time it.

Nicoli (00:57:11): Do you want to time it?

Rebecca (00:57:11): Shall I time it?

Nicoli (00:57:11): I'll give you your phone. Yeah.

Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

Want to learn more about musical theatre classes? Check out the link to our Musical Theatre homepage below!

More About Musical Theatre Classes

Check out some additional blog posts below or stop by one of our three campuses in the Greater New Orleans area!

  • Blog: "Diction for Vocalists"
  • Blog: "Learning Note Names on Piano"
  • Blog: "A History of Guitar Styles (Part 1)"
  • Blog: "Caring for Your Violin"
  • Blog: "Five Ways Dance Classes Impact Personal Development in Kids, Teens, and Adults."
  • Blog: "How to Play Open & Closed Position Chords on the Piano."
  • Blog: "How to Read Sheet Music."
  • Blog: "Music as a Language" - Learn about how music is a truly universal language that is able to be communicated and understood by more people than any other language!
  • Blog: "Pentatonic Blues Improvisation on Guitar"
  • Blog: "Preparing for your First Piano Recital"
  • Blog: "Purchasing a Violin"
  • Blog: "Vocal Journal for Singers"
  • Blog: "8 Ways that Music Lessons can improve students' lives."
  • Learn more about the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts
  • Upcoming Events