Musical theatre writers have always been sweet on mezzo belters: Mama Rose, Velma Kelly, Millie (of the thoroughly modern kind)… It’s a distinct, rich sound that suggests strength and fortitude. And there are certainly lots of great contemporary musical theatre songs to choose from for this voice type. Sad that we only can choose five, but why limit yourself (Are you a member yet? If not, what are you waiting for?! 180 writers, 550+ songs. What more could you want? Subscribe here)?
In the meantime, we’re happy to share with you some of our favorite mezzo belter songs, which run more of a gamut than you would image, thanks to the creativity and dexterity of our great writers!
Music & Lyrics by: Alex Ratner
Performed by: Lindsay Maron
This is a great song about a strong-willed young woman who finally is getting a chance to move beyond the hardships she faced growing up. The craft of this song is incredibly high and is perfect to present if you have a facile pianist and need to show something that highlights a level of musical and dramatic sophistication.
Music & Lyrics by: Dan Fuman
Performed by: Karen Marie Richardson
This song has great levels. The character sings “You don’t understand me” but the music says, “Oh, but please, please keep trying.” The musical feeling of the song is wonderfully eclectic – at moments jazz ballad, Golden Age Broadway and 70’s pop song – all with a completely reasonable accompaniment. This is the type of song that gets people behind the table to ask, “Who wrote that?” And don’t you want a couple more minutes in the room? Don’t be an enigma to them!
I Think That He Likes Me
Music & Lyrics by: Michael Kooman & Christopher Dimond
Performed by: Natalie Weiss
This is the quintessentially perfect audition song for a belt mezzo student auditioning for college. It’s age-appropriate, vocally responsible and shows a great journey (“I think I like him too!” I love that it never occurred to me… I mean, her. We’re talking about her…). See, very relatable! Plus, I love playing this accompaniment – it’s very pianist-friendly and has some fun syncopation in it. Solid gold choice!
Right for Me
Music by: Brad Ross
Lyrics by: Joe Keenan
Performed by: Lanene Charters
Three cheers for the long-suffering woman who finally meets her man. Just one problem: “his muscles are hard as brie” (if that’s not a brilliant lyric, I don’t know what is). This is a great song for a more mature woman, either as an audition or cabaret song. You’re in great hands with strong lyrical craft and an effortless melody. Have fun with your suffering!
There’s a World Out There
Music by: Kim Oler
Lyrics by: Alison Hubbard
Performed by: Victoria Huston-Elem
Taken from Hubbard & Oler’s beautiful adaptation of LITTLE WOMEN, this is Jo March’s “I want” song. It perfectly captures the excitement of her desire to move to the bustling city of New York. Again, a perfect song for a young mezzo belter auditioning for college. Oh, and can we talk about the key change in the last half of the song? Jaw-droppingly gorgeous!
P.S. – notice that we’re also including links to the performers who sang the song (where possible)? It’s not just because we want to honor their work and have you get to know them (though we definitely do). If you’re a mezzo belter, you should be clicking on these find ladies’ websites to see what other things they’ve performed. Chances are some of it might be right for you. Look for great songs, yes, but also look for great performers who sing great songs and follow their trail.
And stay tuned for the next week’s Anthology: Teen Girls.
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Visit www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com for more information on over 180 contemporary musical theatre writers and 550+ songs, all searchable by voice and song type.