Throughout the years, Broadway has had an incredible legacy of baritones, including Jerry Orbach, Terrence Mann, and Hugh Jackman, just to name a few. However, rock tenors and high belters dominate the contemporary musical theatre scene. Does the Impossible Dream of finding fresh baritone rep leave you Lost In the Stars? Here are 10 overlooked baritone audition songs to consider.
1. “The Kid Inside” from Is There Life After High School?
This musical, whose characters recall high school experiences, premiered on Broadway in 1982. The opening song “The Kid Inside” was recorded by Barry Manilow for his album Showstoppers. This song is best suited for more lyrical baritones, especially those in their 20s and early 30s. Range: B2-G4 (in falsetto).
2. “It Took Me A While” from John & Jen.
This two-person musical by Andrew Lippa ran Off-Broadway in 1995, and was revived in New York last year. This song plays as John comes of age and decides to join the Navy. This show’s style is reminiscent of other Off-Broadway shows such as The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. Range: B2-F#4.
3. “No Other Way” from Tarzan.
This adaptation of Disney’s Tarzan (1999) premiered on Broadway in 2006. A new song written for the musical, “No Other Way” is sung by Kerchak after he exiles Tarzan from the gorilla clan. This number is great for robust baritone voices seeking to eventually play roles such as Javert or the Phantom. Range: C3-Gb4.
4. “Love Sneaks In” from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
This musical, based on the 1988 film of the same name, premiered in San Diego in 2004 before transferring to Broadway in 2005. The character Lawrence sings “Love Sneaks In” after he takes the soap queen Christine to the train station, and realizes he has feelings for her. This crooner-type of ballad is appropriate in auditions for baritone-heavy shows such as The Music Man and Guys and Dolls. Range: G2-D4.
5. “Why Does She Love Me?” from Love Never Dies.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to his long-running musical The Phantom of the Opera on West End in 2010. This song, sung at the start of Act II, is about Raoul contemplating his troubled marriage with Christine. This song is a safe choice for auditioning for pop-opera shows such as Les Miserables. Range: Bb2-F4.
6. “In Every Age” from Titanic.
This musical by Maury Yeston opened on Broadway in 1997. The opening number “In Every Age” is sung by the Titanic’s designer Thomas Andrews, who marvels at Titanic being humanity’s next great accomplishment. Range: A2-G4.
7. “I Rise Again” from On the Twentieth Century.
This musical premiered on Broadway in 1978 and was revived last year in New York. The song “I Rise Again” is sung by Oscar, a selfish impresario who tries to convince his colleagues that he will regain success even after four flops. This song is great for more classical shows and operetta such as Gilbert and Sullivan. Range: B2-E4.
8. “Funny” from City of Angels.
This musical, inspired by film noir motion pictures, premiered on Broadway in 1989. In the number “Funny,” the character Stine experiences the collapse of his real and fictional worlds. The conversational nature and slight dissonance both make this song fitting for a Sondheim or Jason Robert Brown audition. Range: Bb2-F4.
9. “At Night She Comes Home to Me” from Baby.
The musical Baby, which opened on Broadway in 1983, is about three couples each expecting a child. In the song “At Night She Comes To Me,” the sports instructor Nick sings about his free-spirited and athletic wife, Pam. Range: Db3-Eb4.
10. “Guido’s Song” from Nine.
This musical premiered on Broadway in 1982, was revived in 2003, and became a feature film in 2009. In this song, Guido Contini, a film director suffering from a midlife crisis, struggles to distinguish his ambitious interior world from reality. This song is not only great for auditions, but it makes a showy cabaret number, as well. Range: G#2-G4.