Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog: Theatre Night Fever, November 6, 2011

November 6, 2011
Just The Right Song
by Howard Dai

I’m always searching for a good baritone song for musical theatre auditions that fits me. For me - a 14 year old dramatic baritone who looks like 16 – it’s kind of difficult to find songs that suit me.

“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Miserables was the one song I used for auditions for the past 3 months. It’s written by Claude-Michel Schonberg, for the character Marius, a really emotional and powerful number, about how he misses and feels guilty about all his friends’ deaths. The range of the song is an A below middle C to two Gs above middle C (A3 – G5). I had a bit of a struggle hitting that high G in full voice, it’s getting easier as I’m currently working on the upper register of my voice.

I think I will just sing it in the shower.

And there’s “Being Alive” from Company, a musical I really like, music and lyrics by the one and only Stephen Sondheim. “Being Alive” is sung by the show’s main character, 35 year-old Robert, when he's through with marriage but still desires someone to love and be loved. The range of the song is from a D above middle C to two Es above middle C (D4 – E5). But the song is obviously not for a teenager like me, even though the range is perfect for me. So I think I will just sing it in the shower.

So those were the dramatic songs. Here’s the real tough part – uptempo songs.

I used to sing “Those Magic Changes” from Grease back when I was still a tenor, which was around six months ago. A song sung by Doody, a high school student, a “greaser”, and a rock star wanna-be. Perfect character for me, except that it’s a tenor song, the constant high C to high A (C5 – A5) in the chorus really struck me. I have to move on to another song.

Eight freaking measures.

So my musical theatre friend, who’s also a baritone, told me about this song called “What Do I Need With Love?” from Thoroughly Modern Millie,  sung by Jimmy to express his love for Millie. Even though the character Jimmy is defined as a tenor in the show, the range of the song from a D above middle C to two G above middle C (D4 – G5) is perfect for a high baritone. But for me, this is way more difficult – instead to just hit one high G note like in “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” in “What Do I Need With Love?” you have to hold that note at the end of the song for eight measures. Eight freaking measures. I’m still really struggling with that ending part, but other than that it’s a very suitable song for my voice.

I’m still searching for good baritone songs for auditions not already overused. You can find me on Twitter ( Any suggestion will be welcome!

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