Musical theatre is loaded with iconic bass/baritone roles, such as Curley, Captain von Trapp, Javert and Billy Flynn. While charm and comedic timing are heavy components of several characters, vulnerability and heartbreak are inevitable, too. To highlight the more melancholy side of the characters, here are 15 tearjerking songs for bass-baritones to consider:
1. ‘I’ll Cover You (Reprise)’ from ‘Rent’
In one of the musical’s most powerful scenes, Angel’s lover, Collins, is the last to eulogize her at her funeral. Range: F#2–G#4.
2. ‘This Nearly Was Mine’ from ‘South Pacific’
In this second-act ballad, Emile regretfully wonders about his could-have-been future with Nellie. Range: B2–D4.
3. ‘Sorry-Grateful’ from ‘Company’
Harry and the other married men onstage explain that marriage changes both everything and nothing about a person. Range: B2–E4.
4. ‘I Won’t Send Roses’ from ‘Mack and Mabel’
In this underrated Jerry Herman musical, Mabel is developing feelings for Mack, but Mack has no time for a relationship. Range: G2–D4.
5. ‘Lost in the Darkness’ from ‘Jekyll and Hyde’
In the musical’s opening solo, Henry Jekyll sings to his comatose father in an asylum. Range: G#2–E4.
6. ‘Drink With Me’ from ‘Les Misérables’
At the barricade, Grantaire and the students fear being forgotten after death. Range: D3–Eb4.
7. ‘If I Can’t Love Her’ from ‘Beauty and the Beast’
In the musical’s Act I finale, the Beast realizes Belle is his last chance of finding love and becoming human. Range: B2–F4.
8. ‘The Longer I Live’ from ‘Dracula’
Count Dracula contemplates his eternal life and comes to terms with loving Mina. Range: G#2–F#4.
9. ‘Lesson #8’ from ‘Sunday in the Park with George’
While reading a book from his grandmother, George reflects on the striking and morose similarities between him and his great-grandfather. Range: G#3–F4.
10. ‘I Don’t Remember You’ from ‘The Happy Time’
In this lesser-known Kander and Ebb musical, photographer Jacques is having issues committing to his former lover, Laurie. Range: Ab2–Eb4.
11. ‘It’s Hard to Speak My Heart’ from ‘Parade’
In this pivotal scene from Jason Robert Brown’s musical, Leo attempts to humanize himself for the jury. Range: B2–E4.
12. ‘What Would I Do?’ from ‘Falsettos’
Marvin and Whizzer share one final moment together before Whizzer dies. Range: A2–F#4.
13. ‘With So Little to Be Sure Of’ from ‘Anyone Can Whistle’
In this early Sondheim musical, Hapgood reflects on his brief relationship with Fay before they part. Range: B2–E4.
14. ‘Ghost of a Chance’ from ‘Drift’
This number comes from “Drift,” a concept album-turned-musical about the stages of divorce and child custody. Range: D3–E4.
15. ‘If She Were Coming Home’ from ‘Next Thing You Know’
In this Salzman and Cunningham musical, Luke gives up on his attempts to mature his behavior for Waverly. Range: B2–A4 (falsetto).