Long before tenors dominated the contemporary musical theatre scene, rich bass voices such Jerry Orbach and Robert Goulet were widely acclaimed. Nowadays, if on some enchanted evening you need an audition song, we’ve got you covered, basses! Here are 10 overlooked audition songs for basses to consider.
1. “Marry Well” from Grey Gardens.
Based on the 1975 documentary on The Beales, Grey Gardens premiered Off-Broadway in 2006 before transferring to Broadway the same year. In this number, Major Beale tells his granddaughter Edie of how much wants to preserve their family’s legacy. Range: A#2-E4.
2. “Masculinity” from La Cage aux Folles
Based on a 1973 French play, this musical opened on Broadway in 1983, and has been revived twice (2004 and 2010). In this scene, Georges, who owns La Cage aux Folles, teaches the drag queen Albin to become less flamboyant. Range: Bb2-Eb4.
3. “A Fellow Needs a Girl” from Allegro
This musical, Roger and Hammerstein’s third stage collaboration, opened on Broadway in 1947 and was revived Off-Broadway (albeit significantly edited) in 2014. In this song, Dr. Taylor, a small town physician, hopes that his college-aged son Joe will eventually marry his girlfriend Jenny. Range: Bb2-Db4.
4. “If I Sing” from Closer Than Ever
This 1989 musical revue premiered Off-Broadway in 1989, and was revived there in 2012. In this number, a musician recalls loving music through his father’s piano abilities. Range: A2-Eb4.
5. “Pilate’s Dream” from Jesus Christ Superstar
One of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best-known shows, this musical opened on Broadway in 1971, and has been revived there three times since. The character Pontius Pilate retells a dream in which he will be entirely blamed for Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. This song is best for auditioning for similar rock musicals such as Spring Awakening. Range: A2-Bb3.
6. “A Wonderful Day Like Today” from The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd
After a UK tour in 1964, this musical opened on Broadway in 1965. This song is sung in the beginning of the show, when the two main characters, Sir and Cocky, bask in the joys in living in the “driver’s seat” of life. Range: Bb2-Eb4.
7. “Paris By Night” from Victor/Victoria
Adapted from the 1982 musical of the same name, this show, featuring Julie Andrews as the title character, opened on Broadway in 1995. “Paris By Night” is sung at the start of the show, in which Toddy, a nightclub performer, boasts about Parisian nightlife. Range: Bb2-Eb4.
8. “Coffee Shop Nights” from Curtains
This late Kander and Ebb show premiered in Los Angeles in 2006 before transferring to Broadway the next year. The musical whodunit is about an actress who is murdered during her opening night curtain call. In this song, Lieutenant Frank Cioffi confides in Niki, an ingénue, about him being married to his job. Range: G#2-D4.
9. “I Don’t Remember You” from The Happy Time
This Kander and Ebb musical premiered in Los Angeles in 1967 before transferring to Broadway the next year. In this scene, the photographer Jacques is having issues committing to his former lover Laurie. Range: Ab2-Eb4.
10. “Real Life” from tick, tick…BOOM!
This Jonathan Larson musical premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1990, was reworked after his death, and opened Off-Broadway in 2001. In this scene, the research executive Michael tries to convince his composer friend Jon that starting a family with Jon’s wife, Susan, might not be a bad idea. This song is another great choice in try-outs for rock musicals. Range: Bb2-G4.