37 Best Alto Audition Songs

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.


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.

13. “Kiss of the Spider Woman” from Kiss of the Spider Woman

Song year: 1992

On the other end of the accompaniment spectrum is “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” It boasts a quick tempo and a complex piano part, but if the audition pianist is up to snuff, this can be a rewarding choice for an audition. Aurora sings this one, and as she represents the seductive and dangerous side of femininity, this piece allows for the display of some acting skills.

14. “The Music That Makes Me Dance” from Funny Girl

Song year: 1964

Though Fanny Brice is the lead in Funny Girl, and the part isn't written for an alto, “The Music That Makes Me Dance” fits in an alto range. It's also a classic ballad, so having it in her repertoire can only benefit any alto actor. The piece asks for a strong lower register with some higher notes at the song's end. It's a ballad, so it's slow with a simple accompaniment.

15. “One Day” from Groundhog Day

Song year: 2017

Choosing “One Day” represents a bit of a risk, as the song in the show is sung by Phil, the main character played by Bill Murray in the film from which this show was adapted. But it's in a good alto range, allowing for a warm and expressive lower register with some higher notes as the piece reaches its climax.

16. “When You're Good to Mama” from Chicago

Song year: 1975

Two words: “sassy” and “sultry.” An alto can make a real impression with this piece, sung by prison warden Mama Morton. This piece will show off an alto's voice, sure, but also her stage presence. It's playful, but it isn't silly, so a successful rendition of it will require more than just hamming it up in front of the production crew. Bring attitude and flair.

17. “My Husband Makes Movies” from Nine

Song year: 1982

Nine is a curious little show. Luisa is the unhappily married wife of the show's main character. A plus for choosing this song lies in its relative obscurity. Everyone knows Funny Girl, but busting out a piece from a show performed somewhat less often can be a bold choice. Good alto range, coupled with emotional lyrics, makes a good combination. If you needed sass for “When You're Good to Mama,” you'll need intensity to pull this one off.

18. “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” from Grease

Song year: 1971

Choosing a less popular song can constitute some risk. Choosing something everyone knows, like “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” has its own risk, too. Since everyone knows it, some people may have preconceptions about how you should play it. But it's an iconic song from a smash hit, and it draws on the singer's storytelling ability. Heartache and vulnerability should be on display.

19. “The Party Goes With You” from 35mm

Song year: 2012

Another rather obscure show, 35mm,features songs inspired by photos. The character singing “The Party Goes With You” is the subject of a photo— a young woman enjoying a party. The quick pace and high energy mean this isn't a song you stand still while singing. If you choose this one, make sure you bring it all to the audition room.

20. “Times Are Hard for Dreamers” from Amelie

"Times Are Hard for Dreamers" from Amelie

Song year: 2017

Amelie has a vivid imagination, so “Times Are Hard for Dreamers” requires a palpable sense of whimsy. As a part of the show Amelie, it's also a wistful and dreamy song, so there's a balance to be struck. The piano part is playful, and the whole song is quite charming.

21. “What Did I Ever See in Him” from Bye Bye Birdie

Song year: 1960

Kim sings this song about her relationship with Hugo, who she's realizing isn't right for her. But it's not a downer. “What Did I Ever See in Him” is sassy and funny, providing a lighthearted moment in the musical that requires energy and humor. This rather sarcastic song offers a great chance for an alto to showcase her acting skills and stage presence.

22. “Anything Goes” from Anything Goes

Song year: 1934

Another entry in the songs-everybody-knows category, “Anything Goes” is the opening piece from the show of the same name. It celebrates the carefree and adventurous spirit of the 1930s and sports lyrics full of wordplay. It can be a mouthful, but the melody is catchy. The song establishes Reno as a fun-loving and charismatic nightclub singer.

23. “Goodbye My Love” from Ragtime

Song year:  1998

Sarah, tragically separated from her lover, Coalhouse, sings “Goodbye My Love.” It's an emotional ballad expressing pain and longing for Coalhouse. It's a great choice for an alto audition because it showcases an actor's ability to convey complex emotions through song. You need a good vocal range for this one, alto or not.

24. “I Ain't Down Yet” from The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Song year: 1960

Molly is a determined and resilient woman determined to rise above her humble beginnings and make a name for herself. “I Ain't Down Yet” shows her indomitable spirit and refusal to give up in the face of adversity. The song is full of energy and features a catchy melody that showcases an alto's vocal range and power.

25. “I Know Things Now” from Into the Woods

Song year: 1987

Little Red Riding Hood comes of age in the show after her encounter with the Wolf and narrowly escapes being eaten. The actor can show range as Little Red reflects on the lessons she's learned. The nice alto range allows for some subtle acting choices that can make for very nice moments. Also, it's another Sondheim show.

26. “In My Own Little Corner” from Cinderella

Song year: 1957

Cinderella has an unhappy lot, but she wants a better life for herself. Though Cinderella isn't written specifically for an alto, this song fits nicely in most alto singers' ranges. The very tender melody requires some finesse, so this isn't the song to show off your belting chops. Acting chops, though— those can get a good showcase here.

27. “What Is A Woman” from I Do! I Do!

Song year: 1966

Agnes sings “What Is A Woman” at a pivotal moment in I Do! I Do! She reflects on the challenges and sacrifices that women often face in marriage and life. The song is a reminder of the struggles women have endured throughout history. Agnes sings about the pain and frustration of feeling trapped. Don't choose this one if you're auditioning for a farce. You might send the wrong idea.

28. “As Long as He Needs Me” from Oliver!

Song year: 1960

Lionel Bart's Broadway classic contains “As Long as He Needs Me,” sung by Nancy, who is in a troubled and abusive relationship with the villainous Bill Sikes. Despite Sikes, she expresses her unconditional love and loyalty. But he's bad, so the actor singing this song must be able to convey emotional complexity. The range is great for altos, and the song requires a sense of longing and desperation.

29. “Home” from Beauty and the Beast

Song year: 1994

“Home” allows an actor to show a character changing before the audience's eyes. Belle begins to realize in this song that her feelings for the Beast are changing. She doesn't necessarily want to go to her home but rather to find a place that feels like home. Few altos will get cast as Belle, but this song is a great one for an audition.

30. “Watch What Happens” from Newsies

Song year: 2012

Newspaper reporter Katherine sings this one, and she starts with writer's block before drawing inspiration from the titular Newsies. “Watch What Happens” is another song that allows an alto to take the audience on a journey with the character. Pulling that off at an audition in front of a director can score an actor some serious points.

31. “The Cake I Had” from Grey Gardens

Song year: 2006

This is a somewhat comic song from a show replete with funny, sad, and tragic moments. “The Cake I Had” requires acting range and versatility. Comic timing is a nice bonus. Edith once had it all, but time has taken much of it away from her. She only has a memory of her amazing wedding cake. Acting chops and a robust lower register will pay dividends here.

32. “Another Night at Darryl's” from The Witches of Eastwick

Song year: 2000

This bluesy song offers the actor three different characters to choose from, or if the audition format allows, an alto can sing all three as the song progresses. “Another Night at Darryl's” needs sensuality and charisma, and the successful performer will show the character's inner desires and emotions throughout the song.

33. “Hold On” from The Secret Garden

Song year: 1991

Maybe you want a heartfelt ballad for your audition. “Hold On” fills that bill. It's touching and uplifting as Martha sings to Mary Lennox to help her adjust to her new surroundings. Martha's voice becomes more forceful and confident as the song goes on, so an actor can build a character during the song.

34. “How ‘Bout a Dance” from Bonnie and Clyde

Song year: 2011

Bonnie, despite being with Clyde, encounters and spends time with a lawman on their tails. She sings “How ‘Bout a Dance” to this lawman, and the song becomes an intimate portrait of forbidden love. She doesn't love the lawman like he secretly loves her, but it's a lovely moment in the show.

35. “Kiss Her Now” from Dear World

Song year: 1969

“Kiss Her Now” is sung by a male character, but it's not so low that an alto can't shine when singing it in an audition. A big plus to this one regards the alto without a huge range. Most notes occupy a narrow vocal range, so few altos will have to stretch to pull this one off.

36. “Nobody Makes a Pass at Me” from Pins and Needles

Song year: 1937

Pins and Needles is a revue-style show, but that shouldn't stop you from choosing “Nobody Makes a Pass at Me,” especially if you're a strong belter, which this song relies on. It's also got some higher notes in it, so altos can score big in the audition room with this one. It's a lesser-known song that can make an impression on the audition panel.

37. “With Every Breath I Take” from City of Angels

Song year: 1989

“With Every Breath I Take” is an emotional ballad. Altos who can show that with their voice will benefit from choosing this for an audition piece. It's a beautiful song that may not be as well-known as some more popular Broadway standards. In an audition where everyone is singing “What I Did for Love,” an alto could make an impression with this song.

Top Alto Audition Songs, Final Thoughts

There are hundreds of other songs, but these ones represent several genres and song styles the auditioning alto can choose from and add to her audition repertoire. There are alto audition songs out there for every actor, so find the one that works best for you. Break a leg!

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