mezzo soprano singing

11 Mezzo Soprano Songs: Musical Theater

If there’s one thing we adore at Theater Love, it’s mezzo soprano songs — mezzos have some of the meatiest, most exciting roles in musical theatre. That means that you get to choose from a huge variety of exciting, gloriously singable songs.

We’ve been working on gathering our favorite mezzo songs, as well as some new pieces. That way, whether you’re auditioning for a musical or looking for a piece to sing in concert, we’ve got you covered. Our favorite part? They also work for sopranos — especially if you’re looking for a piece to ease the strain on your higher register during a full concert.

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Top image courtesy of Secretaría de Cultura Ciudad de México under CC BY-SA 2.0

1. When you want a contemporary musical theatre song: “Toll”

If you’re looking for contemporary mezzo soprano songs, we love this one! It’s got a healthy dose of that conversational style that’s so popular in modern musicals — but it also has a lovely melodic line, so it stands on its own. This is huge, especially when you’re singing in concert; listeners need songs that are strong enough to hold up outside of the show.

The lyrics tell a sweet and funny story that you don’t often hear in musical theatre. We love how Jeff Blumenkrantz uses pedestrian language in a surprisingly elegant way. (How often do you sing “tollbooth” and “blue Chevrolet”?) The wording is clever, and the unexpected words shock your audience into paying attention. Best of all? “Toll” isfun to sing. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which is handy for auditions. Belt it, sing it in a completely legit style, or use a mix. It sounds great any way you go!

Sheet music for “Toll” (plus so many other amazing Jeff Blumenkrantz songs!)

2. When you want to bring the musical theatre drama: “How Many Tears”

What, you’ve never seen Martin Guerre? Neither have we. It’s one of those rarely produced musical theatre pieces, which is fantastic when you’re auditioning — you can rest assured that there won’t be a million other mezzo sopranos singing the same piece. If you’re looking for a concert song, it works perfectly. It tells a complete story, all in less than 4 minutes. The accompaniment is relatively simple, so it sounds perfect on a piano.

Our favorite part? “How Many Tears” is a lovely, melodic piece that’s absolutely overflowing with emotion. The character is heartbroken, but you can easily introduce an element of anger or wistfulness. If we were making an audition cut, we’d take the end of the song — it builds beautifully into a glorious crescendo. If you’re a belter, let it rip. If you’re a legit mezzo, bust out your biggest vibrato to blow the roof off. We love it both ways!

Sheet music for “How Many Tears” (digital download!)

3. A mezzo soprano song that shows off your comedy chops: “Mr. Right”

Are you auditioning for a comedic mezzo role? This song gives you plenty to work with. It’s from Love Life, a concept musical from 1948. There are some time-specific references, but otherwise, it’s pretty easy to put a contemporary spin on this piece. With its bouncy melody and comical lyrics, it would also be a fun addition to a concert.

The best part? This is one of those mezzo soprano songs that works for all types of mezzos — so you can sing it whether you’re a belter (see Jeannine Wacker) or you have a more legit sound (see Lauren Worsham). If you can nail the comic timing of the lyrics, you can have the audience laughing through the whole thing!

Sheet music for “Mr Right” (plus so many other fantastic Kurt Weill songs)

4. For mezzos with serious vocal flexibility: “Nothing”

Mezzos are hardly hurting for character roles, and this song is a perfect example. It’s the perfect storm of uptempo fun, quiet introspective moments, exuberant belting, and even little hints at a ballad. The lyrics are fantastic, of course, but the music gives you so much flexibility to show off your voice! We love it for auditions, but it’s also a hilarious (and touching) addition to a vocal recital or concert.

So at Theater Love, we’ve all seen A Chorus Line — but we’ve never heard “Nothing” sung quite like Ruthie Henshall does here. We love love love that gorgeous mezzo weight to her voice, and she really uses it to her advantage in this performance. Our favorite part? Listen to how she leans into the notes from 0:51-0:55. Glorious!

Sheet music for “Nothing” (digital download!)

5. When you need a solid ballad for mezzos: “Goodbye My Love/Journey On”

Is there anything more moving than a good mezzo ballad? This song from Ragtime is so delicious to sing — and if you can summon up all of your emotion and power and pour it into the crescendo, you can have the audience holding their collective breath. So beautiful! Plus, the melody is just lovely.

This song has a decent range for a mezzo soprano, but most of it sits right in a comfortable place. It’s lovely in a legit sound, but you could easily work in a mix. We’re picturing this song as the penultimate piece before intermission in a concert. It’s got that beautiful build that just gets right to the listeners’ hearts. (Also, how much do we love Tracy Lynn Olivera?)

Sheet music for “Ragtime”

6. For a Romantic French Vibe: “Storybook”

Oh, how we love this song! Mezzo sopranos, if you haven’t sung this one, now’s the time! It’s from the musical The Scarlet Pimpernel, which hasn’t been on Broadway since 1997 — in other words, you can rest assured that it won’t be overdone at musical theater auditions! It’s also a lovely choice for a concert; it works well in a small cabaret or a big performance hall.

Now, if you have the luxury to sing this piece with the full instrumentation, that’s obviously the best choice — never turn down the chance to sing with a full orchestra. But, if you’re like the rest of us peasants, a piano will do. Bonus points if you can find someone to play the accordion and really drive home that adorable French vibe. Also, the ending is a fantastic chance to work on your French pronunciation!

7. For a Mezzo Soprano with a Taste for Jazz: “My Own Brass Bed”

This one is just so luscious and jazz-y and Old Hollywood-y — it would be so delicious and indulgent to sing. It’s from The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and we all but guarantee no one else will be singing it at your next concert or audition. We love how Tammy Grimes stretches out those little falls in this version, making the most of every note.

Are you looking for concert songs for mezzo sopranos? This is a nice little amuse bouche that can be used to transition between styles or to create a little moment between intense songs. It’s super short and sweet — the perfect opportunity to show off what you can do and then leave them wanting more. And if you need something that’s easy on the voice, it doesn’t get much more gentle than this!

Sheet music for The Unsinkable Molly Brown

8. For a Classic Broadway Sound with an Edge: ”You Don’t Know”

So you know Meredith Wilson; he wrote The Music Man. He also wrote the show that “You Don’t Know” comes from. It’s called Here’s Love, and it has just a hint of that signature Wilson sound — but with a surprising edge and a 1960s-era modernity that makes it really interesting to listen to. You’ll still get to show off your legit vibrato, but you can also explore the darker themes.

Our favorite part about this song? It’s got so much potential for drama! The character is clearly feeling emotional, and there are so many ways you could play it. Angry, heartbroken, disdainful…so much fun! Plus, if you’re a mezzo soprano with a strong upper range, you can really lean into the “heart full of hate” climax note.

Sheet music for Here’s Love

9. A Song for Mezzos with Personality: “What Makes Me Love Him?”

Have you ever seen The Apple Tree (or The Diary of Adam and Eve, as it’s also called)? Neither have we. This one isn’t produced very often, which is awesome when you’re looking for mezzo soprano audition songs. (Interestingly, Kristin Chenoweth played this role on Broadway in the early 2000s, but it falls nicely into a mezzo range.)

With its lilting accompaniment and calming tune, this mezzo soprano song feels like a lullaby. The familiar chord progressions are instantly soothing — the song is the kind that makes your audience pause, sigh, and relax into the performance. (Isn’t that a lovely experience at a concert?) But take a minute to listen to the lyrics; they’re not as sweet and charming as they might sound. Eve is going through all of her objections to Adam, and slowly taking them out as she realizes how she feels. It’s so easy to empathize with, and we love the sweet resolution.

Sheet music for “What Makes Me Love Him?” (digital download!)

Sheet music from The Scarlet Pimpernel

10. A Mezzo Soprano Song with a Bernadette Flair: “So Far”

Do you look to Bernadette Peters for repertoire ideas? This could be your next song. The range is easy, with a quite a few opportunities to show off your vibrato. We love that the melody is catchy but not super predictable; it makes a few unexpected turns, which is crucial when you’re singing in an audition or a concert. Those tiny variations are just enough to keep your audience listening carefully.

Not a lover of Bernadette? (We feel you.) This song also works beautifully for mezzos with more lyric or legit voices. (See the second video) Another good sign? We couldn’t find many performances of this song, which means that it’s not one of those no-go audition songs for mezzo sopranos. In other words, you can rest assured that your listeners probably haven’t heard it many times.

Sheet music for “So Far” (digital download!)

11. For a Mezzo with a Contemporary Legit Sound: “If I Could Fly”

Say what you want about Frank Wildhorn — the man knows how to write for women’s voice in a way that’s somehow safe, singable, and fascinating to listen to. (Listen to contemporary Broadway songs for mezzo sopranos; that’s harder than you might think!) That’s why we love “If I Could Fly”; it’s so much fun to sing, but you can do it without wrecking your chords!

We think this song works best for legit mezzos who can really lean into the vibrato — BUT if you’re a belter, you could lean into the sustained notes instead, for a totally different effect. Whichever way you go, this song lends itself well to emotional interpretation. You can act your heart out, which is perfect when you’re auditioning for a dramatic role in a musical.

When you’re a mezzo, the hunt for new songs can be a real challenge. Whether you’re auditioning for a musical theater production or looking for songs to sing in a concert, these pieces are a great place to start. What are we missing? What are your favorite mezzo soprano songs?

Those are just a few of our favorite mezzo soprano songs from musical theatre. Do you have any to add to the list? Let us know in the comments! And keep an eye out — we’ll be publishing more song ideas for mezzos soon! In the meantime, you might find some great options in our list of comedic songs for legit sopranos.

Mezzo soprano songs

Pin photo courtesy of Drama League under CC BY 2.0

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