Have you ever looked at an audition listing and thought to yourself, “What the heck do I sing for this?” If you’re like me, I ask myself that question for EVERY AUDITION. Do I have to go out and find, buy, learn, cut, and coach a brand new song just for this particular audition? The answer of course is… it depends.
First of all, you must carefully read the audition notice. Some listings will be extra-specific in the kind of repertoire that the casting director wants to hear. Others (many many others, actually) will request something along the lines of “a short musical theater song that shows off range and personality.” Does this help you AT ALL? Surprisingly, it does:
“A Short Musical Theater Song That Shows Off Range and Personality”
- “Short” – 16 to 32 bars at the most (exceptions can be made for faster-tempo songs)
- “Musical Theater Song” – something written for the stage, and probably more on the traditional side (depending on the time period of the show you’re auditioning for)
- “That Shows Off” – pick the most interesting part of the song that allows you to demonstrate variety in your vocal choices
- “Range” – your comfortable range, not the extremes of it. For instance, could you sing this song sick as a dog and still sound great?
- “Personality” – what does the fact that you chose this song say about you?
In general, you should have a few trustworthy songs that you can trot out when an audition requests the “Show Off Range And Personality” test. These are officially called SORAP songs. And by “officially,” I mean that I just made that up. Ideally you’d have SORAPs in a variety of different tempos, styles, and time periods.
If something doesn’t already spring to mind as your go-to SORAP song, you may need to search the musicaltheatersongs.com database again! Use the link marked “song details” to narrow your results to songs that fit comfortably in your range. Show the search results to your voice teacher or coach, or share them with your friends and see if any sparks of inspiration strike them. Visit the links to listen to the song on Spotify or buy it on iTunes, then get to work on finding the best cut that suits you. We’ll chat about how to cut a song in a future post…
If an audition asks for a SORAP, you know that casting directors aren’t looking for you to sing a specific type of song. So just do what you do best— be you!