How to Choose an Audition Song for “Hairspray”

So, you’re wondering what song to choose for “Hairspray” auditions? Here are a few general guidelines that I think are important:

1) First and foremost, an audition song should help the creative team see the strengths in the performer that are appropriate for the show. Consider what part you’re trying out for. Consider the nature of the character and of that character’s songs in “Hairspray”. Then choose a song from a musical, or appropriate song that’s not from a musical, that shows off your talent as well as possible — in relation to that character’s traits, vocal range, and vocal quality.

In other words, the song you choose is emphasizing something—maybe a quiet introspective nature, or a loud brassy voice, or the ability to do comedy. Choose a song that’s connected to the target character. So, if you’re trying out for Mama Rose in “Gypsy” (for those of you that know that show), you wouldn’t audition with “In My Own Little Corner” from “Cinderella”; but “Don’t Rain on My Parade” might be good.

2) Confidence! Choose a song with which you feel comfortable!

3) We hope to hear lots of songs being auditioned, so decide whether a song from “Hairspray” is the best way to show us your talent — we’re probably going to be hearing a lot of those songs, and you do want to stand out! But if the best song for you is from “Hairspray”, go for it. Other possibilities include songs of the Hairspray-style, from the 1950s and 1960s (popular songs of that time, not necessarily from a musical).

4) You should bring music if you can, either sheet music or a karaoke track. I don’t feel that having background music is absolutely essential, but it does sometimes help a singer feel more comfortable and/or sing better.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

–Jeff Rosenschein, Musical Director