The 1950s and early ’60s were an exciting time for popular music in the United States, with the advent of rock ‘n’ roll and the rise of music artists like Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. Over the past several decades, many musical theatre writers have incorporated these early rock and motown styles into their shows. Some of these musicals feature original scores written to evoke music styles from that time period (Little Shop of Horrors, Hairspray, Memphis, etc.), and others feature jukebox scores made up of songs originally performed by period artists themselves (Jersey Boys, All Shook Up, Million Dollar Quartet, etc.).
Below, you’ll find several recommendations for audition songs from 1950s-60s Rock & Motown Style musicals. Remember, you can also search the database at MusicalTheaterSongs.com using keywords like “50’s Rock and Roll Style” and “60’s Pop/Rock Style” to find many more options! For more information about finding and performing period-appropriate pop/rock musical theatre songs, make sure to pick up a copy of Sheri Sanders’ book, Rock The Audition.
SONGS FOR MEN
• “How Can I Say Goodbye?” (ZOMBIE PROM)
• “It Takes Two” (HAIRSPRAY)
• “Cry for Me” (JERSEY BOYS) *originally performed by Frankie Valli
• “Grow for Me” (LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS)
• “Girl, Can I Kiss You?” (CRY-BABY)
SONGS FOR WOMEN
• “I Can Hear the Bells” (HAIRSPRAY)
• “Fools Fall in Love” (ALL SHOOK UP) *originally performed by The Drifters
• “Fly, Fly Away” (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN)
• “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (GREASE)
• “Easy to Say” (ZOMBIE PROM)