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16 Underrated Contemporary Tenor Roles

Since the rise of rock musicals from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, tenors have usually dominated the contemporary musical theatre scene. Roles from this decade, such as Elder Price, Evan Hansen and Aaron Burr, are highly coveted by up-and-coming actors around the world. However, the large box office draw of these characters’ shows overshadows the quirkier, less-appreciated roles and shows that are mostly contained to niche circles.

Here are 16 underrated contemporary roles tenors will love, with “contemporary” meaning anything from “Rent” onward:

1. Adam from ‘The Mad Ones’

Formerly known as “The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown,” this musical is about Samantha, a high school valedictorian who tries to navigate life after high school. Adam, her boyfriend, wants to elope with her and start a new life together.

2. Luke from ‘Next Thing You Know’

In this Salzman-Cunningham musical, Luke is a playboy who has no plans to settle down — until he unexpectedly finds love.

3. Percy Jackson from ‘The Lightning Thief’

In this show, based on the Rick Riordan novel of the same name, Percy Jackson is a teenager who discovers that he is a demigod.

4. Jervis Pendleton from ‘Daddy Long Legs’

Jervis is a socially awkward philanthropist who provides for the college education of Jerusha, an orphan.

5. Will from ‘Glory Days’

A year after their high school graduation, Will and three of his friends reunite to catch up, though things don’t go quite as smoothly as planned.

6. Austin Bennett from ‘I Love You Because’

In this show, based on Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice,” Austin has an on-and-off relationship with Marcy.

7. Tiernan from ‘The Pirate Queen’

The love interest and friend of the pirate Grace O’Malley, Tiernan is a sailor who loves her in spite of her marriage to Donal, who is from a rival clan.

8. Flick from ‘Violet’

Flick is a black sergeant who meets Violet on a bus trip to Arkansas.

9. Sammy Kimura from ‘Allegiance’

Sammy joins the U.S. Army in World War II after doing time in a Japanese internment camp.

10. Frank from ‘Far From Heaven’

Frank Whitaker is an upper-class New England citizen who has been having a gay affair behind his wife’s back.

11. Jack the White Knight from ‘Wonderland’

In an updated version of “Alice in Wonderland,” the White Knight promises to save Alice and is a representation of Alice’s ex-husband.

12. Jesse Tuck from ‘Tuck Everlasting’

Jesse is Winnie’s love interest and comes from a family who is immortalized by a special drinking water.

13. Randall from ‘Bring It On: the Musical’

Randall is a school DJ who starts a relationship with Campbell and tells her to view her life in the long run.

14. Jasper from ‘Jasper In Deadland’

The main character of Ryan Scott Oliver’s 2014 Off-Broadway musical, Jasper is a 16-year-old who travels into the seven circles of Deadland to save his friend, Agnes.

15. Bud from ‘Urban Cowboy’

Bud is a cowboy who moves from West Texas to Houston to work in the city’s oil industry.

16. Jack Singer from ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’

Jack and his girlfriend, Betsy, elope to Vegas where Tommy, a gambler, tries to steal Betsy from Jack.

Did we leave out your favorite overlooked recent tenor role? Let us know in the comments below…

Written by Joseph Kisiday

Joseph Kisiday is a 2016 graduate from Christopher Newport University, majoring in Music Composition. Joseph's love for theatre came at a young age through discovering the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, such as "Cats" and "The Phantom of the Opera." When he is not writing, Joseph can be found watching operas or Miyazaki films.

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