If you’ve been following our “Anthology” series, you know we’ve been featuring awesome contemporary musical theatre songs by genre: Story Songs, Dramatic Up-Tempo, Dramatic Ballad, Comedic Up-Tempo (Women), Comedic Up-Tempo (Men), Comedic Ballad (Women), Comedic Ballad (Men). Click on the corresponding link to check them out.
It’s no surprise to anyone who has a finger on the pulse of contemporary musical theatre, that the pop/rock idiom has had a huge influence on the genre in the last 15 years (#duh). We’re fascinated by the way our writers have successfully infused the pop/rock style into their theatre songs while communicating a clear journey for the character. These are not just “park and bark” pop songs (not that there’s anything wrong with that) – they’re theatre songs with a pop/rock flare that showcase characters fighting for something. Essentially, it’s the best of two worlds, like the bringing together of chocolate and peanut butter.
This week, we highlight five of our favorite pop/rock up-tempos for men. Some are belty, some more mixy… there’s really something for everyone here. And all these songs are available for purchase and immediate download on our site (are you a subscriber yet?? Why not?! Check us out: ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com).
Sinutoke & Defoe (recent Jonathan Larson Award winners) capture a swirl of passion as this character extols the mysteries and possibilities of flight. This piece requires a tenor who really can navigate between a mix and belt/mix. It’s also not an easy accompaniment (i.e. – maybe not the best for an audition, unless you know the pianist), but this song (and the writers) will definitely give you wings!
Leave the Station (To Nashville, with Love)
Music & Lyrics: Zak Sandler
Performed by: Gabe Violett
If you’re a belt tenor looking for something with a country flair, this is the song for you. Zak creates a great verse-chorus format and wonderful hook. Flirty, sexy, and self-assured, this song gives you a lot to play with. If all songs in this idiom were written so well, we’d be listening to the radio more often.
Modern Living 2.0 (Post Modern Living)
Music & Lyrics: Clay Zambo
Performed by: Jim Stanek
“I have so many ways to reach you, but we never really touch.” If ever there was a lyric that captured the challenge of modern living… Clay Zambo, who we’ve gleefully featured before, outdoes himself with this lyric, which is a supported by an aching chorus, crying “Can you hear me?” There’s no doubt a strong action/objective in this song – perfect for a baritone with great articulation and…. well… communication skills.
This song is especially good for a young belt tenor who can convey how hard it is to feel different in a community of people who are doing their best not to stick out. We love Danny’s honest performance of this song, which will read very well in an audition. The pacing of the lyric is pitch perfect as is the simplicity of the lyric itself (simplicity in the good way, which writers know is never easy). This song will put you with the cool kids for sure.
Music by: Chris Miller
Lyrics by: Nathan Tysen
Performed by: Matt Doyle
Oo! Oo! Oo! Oo! I love this song! First, I’ve never met a raise 4th I didn’t like. And who doesn’t love a song about getting over someone (or trying to, anyway)? Miller & Tysen excel at balancing the pop/rock idiom with great storytelling. This is a find for a belt tenor who’s had a bad break-up along the way (that should probably cast a wide net…).
Check back next week for some wonderful pop/rock up-tempos for women!
Check out our new book “Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions: Sound Advice for the Student, Teacher, and Parent” now available on Amazon.
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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.