Since the success of “Hair” in the late 1960s, the rock musical has arguably become the most popular genre in contemporary musical theatre. Rock musicals such as “Rent” and “Spring Awakening” both ran on Broadway for years and developed core fanbases that continue to thrive. Mezzo belters such as Alice Ripley and Idina Menzel are closely tied to the genre and inspire countless singers today.
If you’re a pop/rock mezzo who is looking for a song that’s not next to normally done very often, here are 15 tunes that will help you score that role:
1. “Nobody’s Side” from “Chess”
In this scene from the 1986 musical, Florence sings of her new freedom away from Freddie after they argue about the politics of the chess tournament. Range: E3–E5.
2. “Didn’t I See This Movie?” from “Next to Normal”
One of the more notable recent rock musicals, “Next to Normal” is about a woman who lives with bipolar disorder and how it affects her family. In this scene, Diana refuses treatment from her doctor. Range: G#3–D#5.
3. “Always Starting Over” from “If/Then”
In this scene from a show with two distinct storylines, Liz comes to terms with living without her dead husband, Josh. Range: G3–Eb5.
4. “Fusion” from “The Woman Upstairs”
In one of the lesser-known efforts by Kerrigan and Lowdermilk, Helen, who has just moved to New York City, feels lonely in spite of all the noise around her. Range: G3–F5.
5. “I Didn’t Plan It” from “Waitress”
In this scene from Sara Bareilles’ musical, Becky defends her affair with Cal against Jenna, who she thinks shouldn’t judge because of her miserable home situation. Range: Eb3–Eb5.
6. “My Body” from “The Life”
In this scene from one of Cy Coleman’s later shows, a group of prostitutes defend themselves against a group of pimps. Range: C#4–F#5.
7. “This Time” from “Now. Here. This”
Written by the creators of “[title of show],” this song’s character makes her own rules for choosing a unique path in life. Range: F#3–D5.
8. “Even Though” from “I Love You Because”
In this modern adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” Marcy reminds Austin that in spite of his many flaws, she still loves him. Range: A3–F5.
9. “Pulled” from “The Addams Family”
In this part of the Andrew Lippa musical, Wednesday realizes that her new relationship with Lucas is putting her life in a new direction. Range: C4–E5.
10. “Safer” from “First Date”
While contemplating her family life and her personal problems, Casey realizes it’s best to depend on herself rather than anyone else. Range: Ab3–E5.
11. “Dead Girl Walking” from “Heathers”
This number finds Veronica Sawyer, a newly popular girl at her high school, seducing and losing her virginity to her partner in crime, J.D. Range: A3–G#5.
12.“Change the World” from “Lysistrata Jones”
Based on the Ancient Greek comedy “Lysistrata,” this song features Lizzie and her friends taking a vow of abstinence until their college’s basketball team wins a game. Range: G#3–F5.
13. “If You Knew” from “Lizzie the Musical”
This musical about the infamously acquitted killer has had community and university performances around the world. This song features Alice, Lizzie’s sister, reassuring the lost, misunderstood title character of her loyalty to her. Range: B3–D5.
14. “Don’t Say Another Word” from “Next Thing You Know”
This musical by Salzman and Cunningham ran Off-Broadway in 2011. Waverly, a struggling actress, hits a rough patch in communication with her lover, Darren, and is hesitant to get serious with him. Range: C4–Eb5.
15. “Gotta Get Out” from “Ordinary Days”
Unsure of her reasons for branching out of her comfort zone, Claire wants to get away from the city to start a new chapter with her boyfriend. Range: G3–E5.