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Range and Audition Question 
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Fresh Face
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Post Range and Audition Question
Hey everybody!

My high school has done productions of Hello Dolly! and My Fair Lady in the past two years. Last year, I swore to myself that I would try out for all of the drama productions...and I didn't.

Anyway, I happened to be asked to be an understudy for Freddie and Zoltan Karpathy and play Harry, Selsey Man, Ascot chorus member, and escort for the Queen of Transylvania...and I had a great time!

We now have a new and "adventurous" drama teacher. She's done a high school production of Sweeney Todd elsewhere, so there may be a chance that we get to do one here.
Chances of us doing a musical this year, though, is slim. I don't care, though. I'm trying out for every production this year!

Anyway, my questions:

1) I'm a tenor with a range up to a Bflat above the saff, however, I can sing all the baritone Sweeney Todd parts without any difficulty...just in chest voice. Wouldn't this be classified as a tenor with baritone extension?

2) How would I demonstrate my vocal range in an audition? Should I ask to sing two contrasting pieces; one in a tenor range and one in a baritone?

3) What songs would be appropriate to sing in the auditions for either part?

4) What would be a good monologue for Sweeney? Anthony?

Thanks! I'm sorry if anything like this has been asked before. Forgive me, I'm new!


Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:42 pm
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Off-Broadway Lead
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1) I would just classify you as a tenor who is able to sing baritone. A baritenor typically defines someone with baritone timbre who is able to sing in the tenor range, but for you it seems to be the opposite.

2) This depends on how lenient these auditioners can be. Obviously, you can't pick a song that shows off your baritone timbre and your tenor timbre. If it's like any other audition, unfortunately you're going to have to choose one part to audition for, since Anthony and Sweeney are two completely different roles. But if your director/musical director allow you to sing two different songs at your audition, go for it!

From what I'm predicting, tenors are hard to come by, so you might be looked at as a tenor (Tobias/Pirelli/Beadle/Anthony?) over a baritone, despite the fact that you can sing in that timbre. But you never know.

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Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:26 pm
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Tony Winner
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Man of Magic Land, did you say you can sing all of Sweeney's parts? Provided what you've indicated above is true, this would mean you can sing from F#2 to Bb4, or two octaves and a third - something of an unusual range for the standard fare of actors. Most musical theatre actors to whom I talk rarely ever have anything beyond a solid High A (if they say "tenor") and no lower than a low G (if they say baritone).

If you do, though, more power to you! But Sweeney's tessitura is definitely baritonal, and you seem to describe more of a tenor's sound.

If you do have up to Bb4, you'd be very valuable, as Mr_X said, in one of the actual tenor parts.


Last edited by Vichysois on Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:36 am, edited 2 times in total.



Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:28 pm
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Fresh Face
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Thanks for the replies!

Yes, on a good day I can sing Fredrick's parts from Pirates of Penzance but in the lower ends of my chest voice, I can sing all of Sweeney's parts.
I sort of discovered this when I jokingly sang Music of the Night down an octave for my girlfriend.

My speaking voice, though, is obviously that of a tenor's. It's harder for me to sustain Sweeney's low speaking voice than it is for me to sing his parts. I'm sure I could pull it off with some practice.

Anyway, at my school, normally they don't let you waltz in and audition for a specific character, but they'll have you read for whatever character they think you would be best as.

After your replies, I'm thinking that a tenor character would best suit me. While I would like the role of Sweeney, I think I would much rather not have another person win the role of Pirelli and screw it up.
Really, any role in Sweeney Todd is great to me. Besides, a part is only as small or as large as you want it to be.

Thanks!


Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:57 am
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If your highest note is a Bb, then Pirelli might be a problem, as he has to sustain high Cs for several measures. I would suggest Anthony, Tobias, or the Beadle.

I don't suggest you go for Sweeney, but that's just because I'm a bass and I don't like tenors getting cast in parts that aren't for tenors.


Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:20 pm
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Pannic wrote:
If your highest note is a Bb, then Pirelli might be a problem, as he has to sustain high Cs for several measures. I would suggest Anthony, Tobias, or the Beadle.

I don't suggest you go for Sweeney, but that's just because I'm a bass and I don't like tenors getting cast in parts that aren't for tenors.


I was going to say the same thing but was a little scared to. XD

Honestly, Anthony and Toby are both great tenor parts. Sweeney as a show has many, many amazing roles. I'm sure you'll find one you'll enjoy playing. Best of all, it's a great show for male performers: it has tenors, a kinda-sorta baritone (Anthony), a bass-baritone, and a bass. The full spectrum! 8)

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Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:57 pm
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Fresh Face
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Pannic wrote:
If your highest note is a Bb, then Pirelli might be a problem, as he has to sustain high Cs for several measures. I would suggest Anthony, Tobias, or the Beadle.

I don't suggest you go for Sweeney, but that's just because I'm a bass and I don't like tenors getting cast in parts that aren't for tenors.


Yeah, my voice cracks on a C if it's more than a few beats long.

I have a problem with tenors playing Sweeney and singing the part in a tenor range (Johnny Depp).

Thanks for all the feedback, though.
I agree, every part is wonderful in Sweeney Todd. There's not a single character I wouldn't want to play. All of Sondheim's musicals are like that.


Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:39 pm
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Pannic wrote:
I don't suggest you go for Sweeney, but that's just because I'm a bass and I don't like tenors getting cast in parts that aren't for tenors.


Amen to that. There are so few bass parts as it is, that basses are generally "reduced" to poaching low baritone roles when we can get them, or getting stuck playing The Villain over and over. Lead bass parts are few and far between.

And Todd's about as close as you're going to get. It takes a pretty developed basso to hit Gb, but most trained ones can push up there if allowed to get loud enough.

It's a dangerous skill to have though -- I volunteered to cross-learn some tenor parts in a community choir I joined a few years back because the whole section was two people, one of which was often gone. So, I figured, instead of cancelling potential shows because neither of two people could get there, I could at least fake it because I could hit most of the notes and just falsetto the absurd ones in a convincing manner. A couple weeks later we had some song that ended on a F#4 marked fff.

I let loose.

The director's eyes lit up and I never escaped the section until I moved away. Sure, I was the only guy in the chorus who could hit Bb1, too, but those weren't in any of the music.


Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:19 pm
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Mr_X wrote:
1) I would just classify you as a tenor who is able to sing baritone. A baritenor typically defines someone with baritone timbre who is able to sing in the tenor range, but for you it seems to be the opposite.


We'll call him a Tenortone.

While we're talking about the lack of "heroic" bass roles, the only one I can think of at the top of my head is Joe in Show Boat, actually.

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Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:23 pm
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I tried to think of another example, but you've got me, too. I was left thinking of baritone roles with a low tessitura that a bass with a solid head voice can sing, like Cervantes/Don Q in "Man of La Mancha" or Tevye from "Fiddler."


Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:07 am
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