Don’t Sing This Song At Your College Audition

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by David Petro

We all want to know “What To Do” in our college auditions. Equally important is “What NOT To Do”. Below is a list of songs you should scratch off your list, given to us by department heads and faculty members from Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Emerson College, The Boston Conservatory, New York University, Western Michigan University and Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Same Is Lame!

As music lovers, we are blessed with an over abundance of amazing music. There is a wealth of material from which to choose, without resorting to your best friends favorite song or the current hit Broadway show. It is crucial that you avoid overly familiar material and songs that are performed continuously.

NO! Not Again…

  • Any music from The Phantom of the Opera, Heathers, Hairspray, Wicked, Jekyll and Hyde and Les Misérables.
  • “My New Philosophy” from Your A Good Man Charlie Brown
  • “Astonishing” from Little Women
  • “Here I Am” from Little Women
  • “Privilege To Pee” from Urinetown
  • “Girl In 14G” by Jeanine Tesori
  • “Taylor The Latte Boy” by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich
  • “Santa Fe” from Newsies
  • “Watch What Happens” from Newsies
  • “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago
  • “Adelaide’s Lament” from Guys and Dolls
  • “Shy” from Once Upon A Mattress
  • “Tomorrow” from Annie
  • “Much More” from The Fantasticks
  • “I Can’t Say No” from Oklahoma!
  • “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine” from Showboat

Act Your Age!

You may have been a showstopper as Fantine in Les Misérables the School Edition or as Sweeney Todd Junior, but this is college. Attempting songs obviously created for mature characters, with fifty years of emotional content and backstory, is a cumbersome task for even a fifty year old. Your audition must be authentic, realistic and true to who you are…right now!

Leave these tunes at the nursing home…

  • “I’m Still Here” from Company
  • “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music
  • “Fifty Percent” from Ballroom
  • “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy
  • “Little Girls” from Annie
  • “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Misérables
  • “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret

Is Your Last Name Streisand?

Barbra Streisand never went to a university, Bernadette Peter’s received her Equity card at age 9 and Sutton Foster only attended one year of college. They are all amazing and they are NOT YOU. Songs associated with one of these performers will inevitable lead to unfavorable comparisons.

Back Away from the Belters..

  • Barbra Streisand – “Don’t Rain On My Parade”
  • Liza Minnelli – “Cabaret” and “All That Jazz”
  • Bernadette Peters – Music from “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Being Alive”
  • Sutton Foster – Music from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Little Women”

Cry Me A River! (Cue the world’s tiniest violin)

Overly emotional music is a huge audition pitfall. Building sentiment and emotional content quickly and convincingly can be incredibly difficult during a short audition.

Save money on Kleenex, by avoiding these songs:

  • “Stormy Weather”
  • “Cry Me A River”

Accompanists – Your Best Friends or Worst Enemy. You decide!

Best to avoid complex accompaniments and musical arrangements that might challenge audition pianists, as well as special nuances and timing intricacies required between singer and accompanist. Even the most astute accompanists can have difficulty negotiating a difficult or unfamiliar song and, if the accompanist messes up, the performer looks bad. Better safe than bad!

Danger ahead with these songs..

  • “Another Hundred People” from Company
  • “Funny” from City of Angels
  • “Giants in the Sky” from Into The Woods
  • “Everybody Says Don’t” from Anyone Can Whistle
  • “Marry Me A Little” from Marry Me A Little
  • “Getting Married Today” from Company
  • “Color and Light” from Sunday In The Park With George
  • “The Worst Pies in London” from Sweeney Todd

Singing On Thin Ice!

Jason Robert Brown has great audition material. Just be sure your selections do not fall under the “over-done” or  difficult accompaniment categories.

  • Tread lightly when selecting material, primarily up-tempo songs from Jason Robert Brown’s Last Five Years & Songs for A New World’s.

David Petro is a former Broadway performer and feature film, television and Broadway Casting Director and owner of David Petro Casting. He is also the creator and Executive Director of Broadway Break Thru.

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