One of the things we enjoy doing most is recommending new repertoire to our readers. The music nerds in us take flight when we can introduce someone to a song they’ve never heard. And for every good song from this year’s Broadway season, there’s at least one or two songs that are just as well-crafted but don’t have the same benefit of exposure. We feel that’s part of our job.
Well, apparently we’ve been getting pretty good at it, given the large number of hits on these anthology blogs! And we got to thinking: are the songs we’ve recommended in the past starting to get overdone the way some of the Broadway repertoire is?
What a wonderful problem for the writers of the songs if that’s indeed true! And just in case, we thought we’d reboot this series with some new songs we think you should know. Let’s start with some great (new) songs for legit soprano.
Legit sopranos, you have not been forgotten or forsaken. Writers are still writing for you. Don’t believe us? Here’s proof (actually, proof times 5).
Music & Lyrics by: Billy Recce
Performed by: Allison Strong
This is a pop/rock ballad that works perfectly for a soprano with a strong mix. So often pop/rock songs wear the performer. Not true with this song – it allows the performer to shine. The song has a great a melody and trusts simplicity in music and lyric. And how often will you find a pop/rock song that’s truly written for soprano? Jump at this one!
How I Would Live (from Express)
Music & Lyrics by: Janine McGuire & Arri Lawton Simon
Performed by: Sarah Ziegler
This is song is so darn charming, we couldn’t help but include it. Beautifully sung by fellow writer Sarah Ziegler, this piece shows a perfect melding of Golden Age craft with a more contemporary harmonic language and structure. It’s important to remember that songs like this can be used in auditions for Golden Age musicals where appropriate. And doesn’t supporting a fantastic contemporary writing team feel good? We recommend it!
I Have a Secret (from August Strindberg’s “The Stronger”)
Music by: Craig Baldwin
Lyrics by: Kathy Lombardi
Performed by: Shira Lissek
If you doubt the tremendous scope of contemporary musical theatre, look no further. Here’s a song that could just as easily be sung as an aria. This piece requires a singer with serious chops who has the dexterity to navigate the expressive leaps and wonderful changes in the dynamics. But this is not just a technical showstopper for the singer – it has a strong intention and demands clear acting beats. For us, this is at the height of music-drama. Oh, and make sure you have an amazing collaborative pianist. Craig is a dynamo at the keys (playing on this recording), and his accompaniment makes that crystal clear.
If I Had Strength (from Connected)
Music & Lyrics by: Alanya Bridge
Performed by: Lara Boyle
This dramatic up-tempo song requires a technical and dramatic range in a contemporary style. The musical soliloquy takes us to places we don’t expect and, boy, do we like it! With lovely legato lines and also patter moments, this song demands a strong legit sound (kudos to Lara for a stunning performance). Also, this song cuts very well for an audition – something else you want to think about when look for new repertoire.
Music by: David Sisco
Lyrics by: Tom Gualtieri
Performed by: Amy Justman
May I humbly share with you a song I composed ? My collaborator of over 15 years Tom Gualtieri and I wrote this folk-influenced story song with Amy Justman in mind. For many years, we’ve been fond of Amy’s voice and easy presence on stage, both of which she features in the premiere performance of the song at 54 Below this past January. This song is a bittersweet look at how an old relationship can still continue to teach us who we are and how to move on.
Check back next week for some great new songs for legit mezzo sopranos. And, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can always join ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com and find the perfect song for you!
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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.