37 Best Alto Audition Songs

Every director of a musical has sat through auditions and heard 90 percent of the woman actors sing “Popular” from Wicked. If you're an alto, chances are you're going for one of the character roles since most lead roles are written for sopranos.

You want a song that shows off your voice, sure, but also one that makes an impression. Sometimes, that means choosing something a little more obscure, and sometimes it means finding a song that fits your voice and acting ability. Here are the best alto audition songs that can help you stick in the heads of the show's production team.

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1. “Cabaret” from Cabaret

Song year: 1966

An iconic song from an iconic musical, “Cabaret,” allows an alto to show the emotions of a performer who has seen and experienced the world's darkness. The song's range sits comfortably in an alto voice, so the singer can show off her lower register and convey a sense of depth and maturity.

2. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid

Song year: 2008

This song, sung by the villainous Ursula, has a low and sultry melody and a theatrical quality that allows the singer to showcase acting skills (via character work) alongside their singing. The catchy chorus and memorable lyrics make it an excellent choice for an audition.

3. “Somewhere” from West Side Story

Song year: 1957

This is the signature song from a legendary show. It's got a tender melody and emotive lyrics that make it a great alto song. With a need for vocal control and emotional range, “Somewhere” can set you apart from the crowd. And it's a slower song, so it can offset the frantic feel of some auditions.

4. “Ireland” from Legally Blonde

Song year: 2007

This upbeat piece is a terrific key for any alto, and with this one in your repertoire, you can show versatility. The bouncy melody makes it a crowd-pleaser, and a charismatic actor will score points with it. High energy helps sell this one, too.

5. “Special” from Avenue Q

Song year: 2003

Since Avenue Q is populated by foul-mouthed puppets, don't choose this one if you're auditioning for children's theater. “Special” is a tongue-in-cheek song that can help an actor show a director her comic timing and ability to connect with an audience. It's also got a nice alto range that lets an actor demonstrate power on the lower notes.

6. “The Winner Takes it All” from Mamma Mia!

Song year: 1999

Mamma Mia! has some fun moments, but it's got its tender parts, too, and “The Winner Take It All” comes from that second category. The emotional range gets tested on this one since there's an overarching theme of heartache throughout. A skilled actor will show a director that she has a fine alto voice and acting chops, too.

7. “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line

Song year: 1975

It's hard to go wrong auditioning with a piece from a classic show that has stood the test of time.

“What I Did for Love” is a classic Broadway ballad perfect for an alto to show vocal control and emotional range. Sung by Diana, the song reflects on her life in the performing arts and her sacrifices, so it requires strong storytelling skills and emotional depth.

8. “A Change In Me” from Beauty And The Beast

Song year: 1994

“A Change in Me” begins as a quiet and reflective piece and builds to a powerful climax. Belle sings about how the Beast has changed her and helped her to see the world in a new way. An alto can showcase her range and her ability to belt, which is a valuable skill in theatre. There's also that lovely melody.

9. “All That Jazz” from Chicago

Song year: 1975

“All That Jazz” is a great choice for altos looking to show off performing skills by creating a strong character. It also requires a performer to have strong acting skills since the song is part of a play-within-the-play. A successful audition will come from an alto who can convey Velma's personality and motivations convincingly.

10. “Anyone Can Whistle” from Anyone Can Whistle

Song year: 1964

No list of musical songs would be complete without Sondheim. An alto singing “Anyone Can Whistle” can demonstrate an ability to create a strong character and convey a sense of optimism and energy. The song's message is universal, so it's good for performers of all ages and backgrounds. Sung by the character Fay Apple, this optimistic song encourages people to pursue their dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.

11. “Happily Ever After” from Once Upon a Mattress

Song year: 1959

Princess Winnifred sings “Happily Ever After” at the end of Once Upon a Mattress, so it's, predictably, a happy song. It's a joyful celebration of the story's happy ending. It asks an alto to be able to belt and also sing softer tones, so it's a good way to show versatility. In the show, there's some encouragement to get the audience to sing along. Brave altos who try this might even get the director at the audition to join her. That would be something.

12. “If I Had a Fine White Horse” from The Secret Garden

Song year: 1991

Lily, a ghost, sings, “If I Had a Fine White Horse.” The vocal range for this song is well-suited for an alto, as it requires a lower register with some higher notes toward the end. The melody is haunting to go with Lily's ghostly presence, and the song allows the singer to use her expressive abilities. The piano accompaniment is relatively simple, too— another reason it's a good audition choice.

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