NMT COUNTDOWN: Top 10 NMT Stand-Alone Songs to Sing at Cabarets and Concerts
It’s back to school season and The Green Room is looking out for you. All this month, the NMT Countdown series is bringing you a guide to the best-selling songs on NMT from the last year. Are you planning a cabaret and looking for the perfect stand-alone song? Are you a soprano looking for audition material that shows off your classical skills? The NMT Countdowns will guide you to some of the best songs NMT has to offer. PLUS: for today only, get 20% off the songs on this list with the code NMTCOUNTDOWN. Happy singing!
Stand-alone songs are important. They serve needs in both marketing a show and representing a composer that may be new to audiences. For this reason, I have always been an advocate for utilizing cabarets and concerts to test audience sensibilities on new material. If you’re appearing in a cabaret or concert this fall – or planning a solo show of your own – take a look at these NMT bestsellers from 2014-15. You can’t go wrong with these songs that work well in a concert setting and that will help introduce new listeners to these amazing writers.
1. Kindergarten Love Song (Drew Gasparini): Drew Gasparini is nothing if not surprising and his lyrics are a continued thrill. This piece offers us a very specific character with very specific goals without ever alienating audiences who want to “know more.” This song is a perfect addition to any concert, providing some much needed levity in an evening that could easily become sad and ballad-heavy.
2. Accident Prone (Kirsten Guenther and Laurence O’Keefe): Again, levity is key in any concert or cabaret and Guenther’s inspired and honest lyrics are just the cure. You should always look for self-contained stories and this beautiful, charming and ultimate ode to clumsiness is a sure hit that will resonate with audiences.
3. The Last Loser In The Universe (Drew Gasparini): And here – Drew does it again. A great uptempo piece that isn’t comedic but has a sentiment that is universal – an important element of any concert selection. The lyric is amazing and the performance here by composer Alexander Sage Oyen is captivating. If your concert has an act break, I recommend using this as an act opener or closer. Powerful in every way.
4. I Loved You Too Much (Drew Gasparini): Very few NMT songs have the personality and honesty of these Gasparini lyrics. Many of the ballads in a concert get awarded to females – so use this piece from Drew’s CD I Could Use A Drink to shift that balance. Your tenor will love you for it.
5. Hand In Hand – (Kerrigan-Lowdermilk): Lindsay Mendez’s performance here is decidedly stunning, but fear not – this is a very singable song and perfect for your mezzo/alto who loves to belt. Don’t be confused – this is not IDINA-style belting – it’s more of the classic jazz age female alto. The song harkens back to the golden age of jazz and blues that resonates with all audiences. Warning: be sure to choose a vocalist who can handle the scat sections.
6. Disaster (Drew Gasparini): Like in so many of Drew’s lyrics, the honesty here is so contemporary, honest and poetic. So much of what he does feels like a disciple of Jonathan Larson: beautiful and unafraid of being daring. “Disaster” has so much to say in four minutes – a perfect companion for any tenor in your concert.
7. I’m Sorry (Kerrigan-Lowdermilk): I cannot say enough about Kerrigan-Lowdermilk. They were the team that made me feel the new Golden Age of musical theatre had arrived. “I’m Sorry” is a great way to discover them if you don’t know them. This piece is a perfect showcase for your charming female actor/signer. Audiences love this selection.
8. I Won’t Mind (Jeff Blumenkrantz, Annie Kessler, and Libby Saines): I have no words for this amazing song. No one made this work more poignant than legend Audra McDonald. A beautiful piece that will resonate with any parents in your audience. The melody has all the charm of Richard Rodgers and the simplicity of a Golden Age ballad.
9. All of My Friends (are Whores) (Drew Fornarola): What is most interesting about Drew’s piece is that the lyrics are highly contemporary and the melody has a Golden Age/Cole Porter flavor. This dichotomy is what makes this piece comedically genius. Be sure to have an excellent actress who can handle the subtle comedy here.
10. I Still Love You (Adam Gwon): Adam Gwon constantly writes mature themes and lyrics that ride the line between simple and layered, and his work always stands apart. This piece feels so much like the bulk of his work on Ordinary Days that I don’t think it’s overstating that this piece is definitive of the brilliant work of Adam Gwon. Keep this in your concert arsenal. It’s a showstopper.
Click here to stream today’s NMT Countdown playlist. Remember, the code NMTCOUNTDOWN is good for these songs today only, so if you’re planning or appearing in a concert anytime soon, snatch up this deal before it’s gone!
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