Do you have an upcoming audition for Big River? Well unless you have specifically been asked to sing a song from the show that you’re auditioning for, it’s generally best not to. That said, you should still show off similar vocals and personality. So here’s our list of audition songs for Big River, broken down by character.
Since Big River is a 1980s musical, most of the following songs are from between the 1960s-1990s. In addition, there are lots of country and gospel vibes below in order to match the style of the show.
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Step 1: Read your audition details
Please read your audition details carefully, as they sometimes specify the type of song they’d like to hear (a ballad, something uptempo, etc.). Make sure to select a song that’s appropriate for your specific casting call.
Step 2: Get to know the show
In casting calls, they often ask for you to be “familiar with the show”. And even if it’s not requested, it’s generally assumed. One way to do this is to read through the synopsis while listening to the Big River cast album➝.
Step 3: Pick an audition song
Next, based on your personality and vocal type, decide whether you’d like to audition for the ensemble or a specific character. Just keep in mind that if you audition for a specific character, you still might not be chosen for that particular role.
There’s usually a spot on the audition form asking if you are open to being in the ensemble or accepting a different role. I would suggest ticking that box and taking whatever you are offered. Every role is important, and you will earn valuable experience in a show.
And on that same note, even if you audition for the ensemble (and not a specific character), there’s always a chance you might get chosen for a leading/supporting role!
To summarize, keep an open mind and try not to take the process too seriously. And when you’re ready, choose the song that you feel most comfortable with from the list below.
“Mamaw” – Pump Boys and Dinettes
“Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like” – The Will Rogers Follies
“I’ll Never Pass This Way Again” – The Civil War
“The Only Home I Know” – Shenandoah
“Make Them Hear You” – Ragtime
“That’s What He Said” – Parade
“The Bus” – Caroline, or Change
“Wheels of a Dream” – Ragtime
Mary Jane Wilkes
“Asheville” – Bright Star
“Nothin’ Up” – The Robber Bridegroom
“Sleepy Man” – The Robber Bridegroom
“That’s What You Call a Dream” – Bonnie & Clyde
“Big Fish, Little Fish” – Purlie
“It’s a Boy” – The Will Rogers Follies
“Serve Yourself” – Pump Boys and Dinettes
“The Sidestep” – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
“Give a Man Enough Rope” – The Will Rogers Follies
“Museum Song” – Barnum
“The Colors of My Life” – Barnum
“There Is a Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute” – Barnum
“Bigger Isn’t Better” – Barnum
“All I Owe Ioway” – State Fair
“Mama Says” – Footloose
“Doatsy Mae” – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
“Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad” – Bonnie & Clyde
“White Milk & Red Blood” – Dessa Rose
“Colorado, My Home” – The Unsinkable Molly Brown
“Ink” – Dessa Rose
“Tell My Father” – The Civil War
“Father How Long?” – The Civil War
“Good Old Girl” – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
“Look Around” – The Will Rogers Follies
“Dusty Plays the Saw” – The Burnt Part Boys
“Steal With Style” – The Robber Bridegroom
“Virginia” – The Civil War
Psst… Here’s where you can find out your vocal type!
“Something of My Own” – Dessa Rose
“Tell Me” – Marie Christine
“The Pricklepear Bloom” – The Robber Bridegroom
“How Glory Goes” – Floyd Collins
“Love Stolen” – The Robber Bridegroom
“River Jordan” – The Civil War
Step 4: Select a monologue
If requested, here are a few audition monologues for Big River:
• “Jugger’s Rain #1” in Audition Arsenal for Women in Their 20s➝
• “Jugger’s Rain #2” in Audition Arsenal for Women in Their 20s➝
• “Wilderness of Mirrors” in Audition Arsenal for Men in Their 20s➝
Final Step: Prepare for your audition
After collecting your materials and getting familiar with the show, it’s time to move forward with the actual preparation. If you’re in need of some guidance on this step, you can always go through this FREE audition prep checklist!
Want more songs? Check out these DIY Rep Books for EVERY vocal type!
Big River Song List
Here’s a list of the musical numbers in Big River, along with which characters sing in each of them. Unless you have been asked to, do not choose from the below songs for your audition! The following is more intended to be used for character research purposes.
* That said, if you’ve specifically been asked to sing a song from the show, you can find the sheet music for the best possible audition songs below.
“Do Ya Wanna Go to Heaven” – Miss Watson, Company
“The Boys” – Tom Sawyer, Ensemble
“Waitin’ for the Light to Shine” – Huck
“Guv’ment” – Pap
“Hand For the Hog” – Tom
“I, Huckleberry, Me” – Huck
“Muddy Water” – Jim, Huck
“The Crossing” – Ensemble
“River in the Rain” – Huck, Jim
“When the Sun Goes Down in the South” – Duke, King, Huck, Jim
“The Royal Nonesuch” – Duke, Company
“Worlds Apart” – Jim, Huck
“Arkansas/How Blest We Are” – Fool, Alice’s Daughter, Company
“You Oughta Be Here With Me” – Mary Jane Wilkes, Susan Wilkes, Joanna Wilkes
“How Blest We Are (Reprise)” – Alice, Alice’s Daughter, Bill
“Leavin’s Not the Only Way to Go” – Mary Jane Wilkes, Jim, Huck
“Waitin’ for the Light to Shine (Reprise)” – Huck, Ensemble
“Free At Last” – Jim, Ensemble
“Muddy Water (Reprise)” – Company
Which of these audition songs for Big River did you choose?
And what role are you auditioning for? We would love to hear all about it in the comments! And in the meantime, you can check out our database of best audition songs for other musicals.
Need extra help? Just go through this free audition prep checklist!
Author: Stacy Karyn
Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She holds a BA in theatre, a TESOL drama certificate, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.