The Best Audition Songs for Big River – by Character

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.


Huck Finn

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


Jim

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


Pap Finn

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


Tom Sawyer

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


Young Fool

Bigger Isn’t Better” – Barnum

All I Owe Ioway” – State Fair

Mama Says” – Footloose


Ensemble (Altos)

Doatsy Mae” – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad” – Bonnie & Clyde

White Milk & Red Blood” – Dessa Rose


Ensemble (Baritones)

Colorado, My Home” – The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Ink” – Dessa Rose

Tell My Father” – The Civil War


Ensemble (Basses)

Father How Long?” – The Civil War

Good Old Girl” – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Look Around” – The Will Rogers Follies


Ensemble (Contras)

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!


Ensemble (Mezzos/Sopranos)

Something of My Own” – Dessa Rose

Tell Me” – Marie Christine

The Pricklepear Bloom” – The Robber Bridegroom


Ensemble (Tenors)

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:

• “I Can’t Write” from The Genius➝

• “Jugger’s Rain #1” in Audition Arsenal for Women in Their 20s➝

• “Jugger’s Rain #2” in Audition Arsenal for Women in Their 20s➝

• “Something Like This” from Call of the Revolution➝

• “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!

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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.


Act 1:

“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


Act 2:

“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!

Sign up for your free audition prep checklist.


Stacy Karyn,author of Audition Songs for Big River.
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 has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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