The Best Audition Songs for Hairspray – by Character

Do you have an upcoming audition for Hairspray? 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 Hairspray, broken down by character.

Since Hairspray is set in the 1960s, most of the suggested songs below are either directly from the 1960s, or from musicals that are set in the 1960s.


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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 upbeat, etc.). Make sure to select a song that’s appropriate for your specific casting call. Also, as you’re picking out a song, these links may be helpful:

Backing Tracks for the Songs Below

The “Hairspray Audition Songs” Spotify Playlist


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 or libretto➝ while listening to the Hairspray 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.


Amber Von Tussle

It’s My Party” – Baby It’s You/Lesley Gore

Stupid Cupid” – The Marvelous Wonderettes

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” – Lesley Gore  [non-theatre]

You Can’t Hurry Love” – Ain’t Too Proud


Corny Collins

I Don’t Want To” – All Shook Up

Jailhouse Rock” – All Shook Up

Maybe (Baby)” – Grease Live!

Radio” – Memphis


Edna Turnblad

Love Who You Love” – A Man of No Importance

True Love Ways” – Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story

Wanting Things” – Promises Promises

Who’s Sorry Now?” – Return to the Forbidden Planet


Link Larkin

Butter Outta Cream” – Catch Me If You Can

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” – Jersey Boys

Live in Living Color” – Catch Me If You Can

The Way You Do The Things You Do” – Ain’t Too Proud


Little Inez

ABC” – The Jackson 5  [non-musical theatre]

Ain’t Nothin’ But a Kiss” – Memphis

Ease on Down the Road” – The Wiz

I Want You Back” – The Jackson 5  [non-musical theatre]


Motormouth Maybelle

A Natural Woman” – Aretha Franklin  [non-musical theatre]

Easy to be Hard” – Hair 

I Am Changing” – Dreamgirls

Listen” – Dreamgirls


Penny Pingleton

Frank Mills” – Hair

I Say a Little Prayer” – Dionne Warwick/Promises, Promises

My Boyfriend’s Back” – Jersey Boys

Somewhere That’s Green” – Little Shop of Horrors


Seaweed

Big Love” – Memphis

Just My Imagination” – Ain’t Too Proud

My Girl” – Ain’t Too Proud

My Problem Right There” – Hands on a Hardbody


Tracy Turnblad

Downtown” – Petula Clark  [non-musical theatre]

Good Morning Starshine” – Hair

Judy’s Turn to Cry” – Lesley Gore  [non-musical theatre]

Knowing When to Leave” – Promises, Promises


Wilbur Turnblad

Going Down” – Hair

Half As Big As Life” – Promises, Promises

She Likes Basketball” – Promises, Promises

Upstairs” – Promises, Promises


Ensemble (Altos)

I Hate the Bus” – Caroline, or Change

Jet Set” – Catch Me If You Can

Whoever You Are, I Love You” – Promises, Promises


Ensemble (Baritones)

Christmas is My Favorite Time of Year” – Catch Me If You Can

One of the Great Ones” – A Bronx Tale

The Pinstripes Are All That They See” – Catch Me If You Can


Ensemble (Basses)

Dentist!” – Little Shop of Horrors

Grow for Me” – Little Shop of Horrors

The Man Inside the Clues” – Catch Me If You Can


Ensemble (Contras)

I Wish It Would Rain” – Ain’t Too Proud/The Temptations

Mama Said” – Baby It’s You/The Shirelles

Music of My Soul” – Memphis


Psst… Here’s where you can find out your vocal type!


Ensemble (Mezzos/Sopranos)

Colored Woman” – Memphis

Fly, Fly Away” – Catch Me If You Can

Nothing Short of Wonderful” – Dogfight


Ensemble (Tenors)

Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” – Herman’s Hermits  [non-musical theatre]

Someone Else’s Skin” – Catch Me If You Can

Where Do I Go?” – Hair


Step 4: Select a monologue

If requested, here are a few audition monologues for Hairspray:

• “Album” in Solo!: The Best Monologues of the 80s – Women➝

• “Eggs in a Basket” in The Acting Coach Approach: 48 Monologues for Kids➝

• “Green Pepper➝” from Cocktails at Pam’s  (Estelle)

• “It’s Never One Thing➝” from Shows for Days  (Irene)

• “Sky Lines #1” in Audition Arsenal for Women 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!

DIY Rep Book Page Ad.


Hairspray Song List

Here’s a list of the musical numbers in Hairspray, 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:

Good Morning Baltimore” – Tracy, Ensemble

“The Nicest Kids in Town” – Corny, Ensemble

“Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” – Edna, Tracy, Prudy, Penny, Velma, Amber, Ensemble

I Can Hear the Bells” – Tracy, Ensemble

“Miss Baltimore Crabs” – Velma, Tracy, Tammy, Amber, Shelley, Link, Little Inez, Ensemble

It Takes Two” – Link, Ensemble

“Velma’s Revenge” – Velma

“Welcome to the 60’s” – Tracy, Edna, Ensemble

“Run and Tell That!” – Seaweed, Little Inez, Ensemble

Big, Blonde and Beautiful” – Motormouth, Tracy, Edna, Wilbur, Ensemble


Act 2:

“The Big Dollhouse” – Matron, Edna, Velma, Tracy, Amber, Penny, Motormouth, Little Inez, Ensemble

“Good Morning Baltimore (Reprise)” – Tracy

“(You’re) Timeless to Me” – Edna, Wilbur

“Without Love” – Tracy, Link, Penny, Seaweed, Ensemble

I Know Where I’ve Been” – Motormouth, Ensemble

“(It’s) Hairspray” – Corny, Ensemble

Cooties” – Amber, Ensemble

“You Can’t Stop the Beat” – Tracy, Link, Penny, Seaweed, Edna, Wilbur, Motormouth, Velma, Amber, Company


Which of these audition songs for Hairspray 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 Hairspray.
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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