Maria Solves Your Problems: Baritenors and Company auditions

Hi all,

I’m really loving getting these letters and looking forwarding to answering your questions! I’ll note that it’s helpful to have your type (voice and character), the character(s) for which you want to be seen, and whether you need one or two songs. Keep ‘em coming!

Today’s advice is to also consider the director and MD you’re auditioning for. A few times in discussing these audition songs, my buddy Nicole (who is a fantastic soundboard and helps me come up with ideas for this column) noted that some less traditional, subversive songs could be great—but only if the director would be open to hearing something really off-the-beaten path. Not everyone is looking for something incredibly obscure, which is why I try to suggest a range of options here. Do what’s right for you!

Here’s this week’s entry:

It’s audition season! I’m a male, baritenor range (tenor voice, baritone range. It’s a struggle but I’m working on it!), character actor type. My perfect type is Horton, Elder Cunningham, Warren in Ordinary Days, etc. I know most of the songs I’m planning on using for some shows, but a couple I’m stumped!

For a gangster in Kiss Me Kate, I’m using the first verse/chorus of “Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat.”
For an open call for Ragtime, I’m thinking “Larger Than Life” from My Favorite Year.
For an open call for Big Fish, I’m using either “Wick” or “Monticello” from Edges.
For Georg or Otto in Spring Awakening, I’m using “Stranger In This World” from Taboo.
For a brother in Joseph…, I’m not too sure. Any composers to look at besides ALW or any ALW shows to look at besides Jesus Christ Superstar?
For the title role in Shrek, I’m stumped. The only thing in my book remotely like the show musically is “Wick” from The Secret Garden. I don’t think I’ll use any other Tesori show since all of her shows sound so different from each other, and I’m not sure what other shows or roles to look at for songs. Help?

Thank you so much!
-Bring it on Baritenor

Shrek the Musical at the 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam, WA.

Shrek the Musical at the 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam, WA.

Wow, I’m thrilled you live in an area with so many great opportunities for doing theatre! I think your choices for the first four are pretty good – folks, what do you think about these?

Joseph: The brothers’ songs have such an absurdity to them that can be tough to pull off without going overboard. Maybe “All You Have to Do Is Wait” from City of Angels. If you’re really interested in doing something ALW, think about the tailor’s part in “The Lady’s Paying” from Sunset Boulevard, though that’s on the grand side for a brother. Also, I would consider looking at Children of Eden at Cain’s opening part of “Lost in the Wilderness” (if you only have the highlights CD, I’m not sure that’s included) which gets you a nice “E” without needing the “G” from the chorus of the song.

Shrek: I would potentially consider “Sailing” from A New Brain. It has a similar feel to “Who I’d Be” with the soaring melody but has those underlying humorous lyrics that you need to sell as being truly sincere. You might not think of that song as being for your type, but here, the juxtaposition of a Cunningham-type singing the big ballad gives the right feel for this role.

Also, based on your description, I suggest you check out “Archer” from Now. Here. This. by the good folks who brought you [title of show], and also take a look at Bazzard’s “Out on a Limerick” from The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

I just transferred to a University and they’re having auditions for Company some time next month! I’d really love to make a really good first impression, but not sure what I should audition with. I prefer to do stuff like all of the wonderful music on this site instead of things from shows that everyone else will do, but I’m not sure if because it’s Sondheim I should stick to something a little more classic…I’m a really young looking 23, which hopefully won’t be a huge problem because it’s for a college…Please help!

Thanks 🙂
-Clamoring for Company

I mean, if you can do a truly fantastic “Calm,” you can sing “Not Getting Married Today.” Hands down. (Off topic, but who wants to see a production of Company with Kate Wetherhead as Amy someday? I’m throwing that out to the internet.) Let’s find a few more NMT songs…a straighter, less-modern version of “Fifteen Pounds” is (possibly too much) on-the-nose for a girlfriend and gives you a chance to show off your acting for “You Could Drive a Person Crazy.” I’ve got a great deal of affection for “Communication” as this perfect little audition-serving-sized song that shows some more classical vocal technique mixed with dry humor. And if you’re looking for Marta songs, it’s worth looking at “Quiet.”

For something Sondheim-y, I feel that Merrily has some less-used bits of Mary’s. I would love to hear someone sing a cut of “Now You Know” or a truly engaging top of “Like It Was.”

Watch this video on YouTube.

Have an audition problem for Maria to solve? Comment below, email us, or fill out the Audition Help form, and your question will be the subject of a future column!

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