11 Creative Ways to Find New Audition Songs

audition songs auditioning inspiration repertoire Feb 06, 2023

By: Chelsea & Cynthia

 One of the biggest fears for actors is singing overdone audition material. Second to that is having a book full of repertoire that simply doesn't suit them.

We get it - your song choices say a lot about you! So, what if performing your audition material felt as good as slipping into your favorite outfit?

The bottom line is this: There is no black-and-white, right or wrong answer. It's about finding the right material for you, which then translates into speaking volumes about who you are as an artist and as a person.

People get caught up in this idea thinking that they have to bring in something unknown or obscure, but then you've fallen into the trap of trying to play the game... and there is no game. You cannot second guess what anyone behind that table is thinking. So just by trying to 'be unique', you've already done yourself a disservice.

Instead, make sure it's a really well-crafted, excellent song with good storytelling, a good melody, and a good hook and that it fits you really, really well.

Now, if you're still in the hunt for a song that suits you well, and also looking for something different, keep reading for our 11 creative ways to discover new songs!

1. If You Like, "I Could Have Danced All Night," Try "Show Me"

So for example, let's pretend you know that you're an Eliza Doolittle - her character is your vibe and vocal range - and you love performing "I Could Have Danced All Night". But now you're ready for something slightly different, maybe you've used that song for a long time or are ready for something a little fresher. 

Take some time to explore the other songs the character sings in the very same musical. So, for My Fair Lady, it is not just, "I Could Have Danced All Night", maybe start working on "Show Me"! The song will be new and exciting for you, yet still fits who you are and in a range that feels comfortable. 

2. If You Like MY FAIR LADY, Try GIGI

Try looking at other material written by the same composers. So Lerner and Loewe, the composing team behind the Golden Age classic MY FAIR LADY, wrote plenty of other fantastic shows, some of them are lesser well known, with GIGI being of them, PAINT YOUR WAGON being another. And their other two big hits are BRIGADOON and CAMELOT. 

There's music in each of those shows that fit the vibe, the energy, and a lot of the same vocal colors as the pieces you may have loved in MY FAIR LADY. It's the same composing team and the same era, so there will be a lot of similarities. 

You can apply this to contemporary music as well. If you find yourself drawn to a certain composer's music, what else have they written? Go into their back catalog and find other shows and other music that they've created. 

If you find a new piece of theirs that you love, but it wasn't quite as popular in its day and could be considered "obscure material", you can still be confident that it fits in the good category of obscurity, because it's going to be skillfully written, well crafted and still feel familiar to those sitting behind the table. 

3. If You Love Audra McDonald, Check Out Her Solo Album

If you find yourself drawn to a certain artist or actor, explore their solo albums! Many of them have different themes or might feature the music of a certain composer that will work well with your personality and skill set. This is a great way to grow your repertoire when you already find yourself aligned vocally or energetically with a certain actor or performer.

4. If You Think You Are The Next Leslie Odom Jr., Then Check Out Their Resume/IMDB Profile

Take note of all of the shows they've been in, even back before they were famous and you might be inspired into looking into those shows for material for yourself if you find yourself aligned with that actor. So even if you're a brand new actor, maybe you're in your teens or your early twenties, and you really resonate with an actor who's maybe in their forties - you're not going to be playing their current roles right now. But when you dip back and discover what was that person doing when they were starting out in the business like yourself, you may find some really great material for yourself!

5. Explore TheatreTrip.com

This resourceful website was created by Stacy Karen, and it details repertoire for very specific criteria or themes. For example, you could search for musical theater songs about new beginnings or bass-baritone songs that are comedic, etc. 

But the coolest feature of the website is she has musical song audition lists for nearly any musical you can imagine. For example, "The Best Audition Songs For Next to Normal By Character". She goes through and suggests five songs for each character in that show - so songs that are not from that show but that would be a good fit for that character, musical style, etc. She even goes so far as to suggest songs for the ensemble. 

It is a fantastic resource, we really can't recommend it enough.

6. Our Favorite Songbook Resource: The Singers Musical Theater Anthology Series By Hal Leonard

If you were taking voice lessons in the 2000's, then your voice teacher probably suggested you go out and buy the physical copies of these anthologies. 😉 It's an amazing resource to see songs categorized by voice type, and again, songs that are well known, but also others that you might never have heard of before.

But you don't even need to purchase a copy of this to get some of the benefits out of these lists. Go onto the website where it's listed on Amazon or on the Hal Leonard website, and just look at the index of songs. Explore the table of contents for your voice type, and use that as a jumping-off point.

7. Follow @themusicaldealer On TikTok

Essentially this creator posts videos recommending new cast albums that he loves, great unknown songs from an  Australian musical that most of us here in America haven't heard of yet and so much more. Also, if you click on the Link Tree in his bio, you'll find detailed spreadsheets of musicals, his rankings, categorizations, shows for children, shows with LGBTQ representation, and just some fantastic resources that can expand the new material you are exploring.

8. Follow Us (@bwayvocalcoach) On Instagram

Since the beginning of our existence, we have posted creator spotlights, which are blue graphics featuring a person's headshot. If you find the blue squares in our feed, you'll see the creators that we love and admire, who are creating interesting new works in the Broadway and musical theater world - many of which you might not have heard of. Those posts also feature a handful of songs to listen to by these composers or creators to introduce you to their work. 

9. Take A Look At Our "If You Like This, Then Try That" Series (The red graphics in our feed)

Go in and find all of our red repertoire carousels, as well as our highlights. We have taken popular audition songs and handpicked other pieces that are very similar, that you may not have considered trying. 

Be sure to follow us on Instagram for these entirely free, weekly resources (and even feel free to reach out or leave a comment if you have questions!) 

10. When Searching For Pop Music, Try MusicNotes.com

As of the last few years, there are now audition cut versions of pop songs on their website. In fact, if you go to musicnotes.com/audition, you will find the precut,16 and 32-bar, pieces of hundreds of pop songs that make for really great audition songs. 

If you've ever bought a pop song off MusicNotes and been disappointed by the piano arrangements, you are not alone.  But these audition-specific arrangements have been rearranged to sound good on the piano when it's just you and the piano in an audition room.

11. Make Spotify Or Apple Music Radio Playlists

If there are songs that you love to sing or artists you resonate with, but you have a feeling they might be overdone side, or they're already existing in the musical you're auditioning for - create a Spotify/Apple Music radio station from that song and let the algorithm give you 20 or 30+ songs that live in a similar vein, in a similar vibe, in a similar era, and do some listening.

Then start to curate new playlists of stuff material you want to listen to down the line or another playlist of absolute yesses. This is a great way to build a collection of music, that you can then bring to your next studio class or voice lesson and begin to work on.

Bonus Tip: Keep A List In The Notes App On Your Phone

If you hear a song that is really catchy or one you haven't thought of in a long time or whatever it may be - write it down so you don't forget to explore it later! You never know where inspiration may strike - a grocery store, in the mall, or at a concert. Don't let those opportunities to grow your repertoire pass by you because you don't take the 2 seconds to make a note of it for later! (Even if in the moment you don't know the title, write down a few lyrics that you heard and let Google do the digging later on)

If you're interested in diving deeper into this topic or exploring other interesting musical theatre conversations - check out the Broadway Vocal Coach podcast! Or check us out on Instagram, and get involved in the conversation! 

Are you a musical theatre performer and wondering what your next step should be? Take our Quiz - we can’t wait to hear your story and help you take the next step in your career. 


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