The Best Audition Songs for Show Boat – by Character

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

Since Show Boat is a 1920s musical, the songs below are from between the 1920s and 1940s as well 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. Also, as you’re picking out a song, these links may be helpful:

Backing Tracks for the Songs Below

The “Show Boat 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 listen to the Show Boat cast album➝ while reading through the synopsis. Or you can watch the live recording➝.


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.


Ellie

Buddie Beware” – Anything Goes

Chain Store Daisy” – Pins and Needles

Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye” – Anything Goes


Gaylord Ravenal

A New Love is Old” – The Cat in the Fiddle

One Alone” – The Desert Song

Treat Me Rough” – Girl Crazy


Joe

I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’” – Porgy and Bess

It Take a Long Pull to Get There” – Porgy and Bess

Thousands of Miles” – Lost in the Stars


Julie La Verne

All the Things You Are” – Very Warm for May

Better Luck Next Time” – Top Hat

Please Don’t Make Me Be Good” – The New Yorkers


Magnolia Hawkes

Falling in Love With Love” – The Boys from Syracuse

How Long Has This Been Going On?” – Rosalie

Once You Lose Your Heart” – Me and My Girl


Ensemble (Altos)

Happy Talk” – South Pacific

It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow” – Louisiana Purchase

Who’ll Buy?” – Lost in the Stars


Ensemble (Baritones)

A Kiss for Cinderella” – Of Thee I Sing

A Red-Headed Woman” – Porgy and Bess

September Song” – Knickerbocker Holiday


Ensemble (Basses)

Leaning on a Lamp Post” – Me and My Girl

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” – Jumbo

When I Grow Up (The G-Man Song)” – Pins and Needles


Ensemble (Contras)

Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home” – St. Louis Woman

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” – George White’s Scandals

Little Girl Blue” – Jumbo


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


Ensemble (Mezzos)

I’m Just Wild About Harry” – Shuffle Along

Nobody Makes a Pass at Me” – Pins and Needles

Pirate Jenny” – The Threepenny Opera


Ensemble (Sopranos)

Glad to Be Unhappy” – On Your Toes

Just Imagine” – Good News!

The Man I Love” – Strike Up the Band


Ensemble (Tenors)

Little Jazz Bird” – Lady, Be Good

Starting at the Bottom” – Fine and Dandy

You’re Too Far Away” – Nymph Errant


Step 4: Select a monologue

If requested, here are a few audition monologues for Show Boat.

• “In a Minute” from The Anniversary➝  (Tatiana)

• “Marriage” from Sweet and Twenty➝  (The Agent)

• “Nothing But Misfortune” from Poor John➝  (John)

• “You Won’t Misunderstand Me” from The Goal➝  (Sir Stephen)

• “Very Well➝” from Enemies➝  (She)


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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Show Boat Song List

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

“Cotton Blossom” – Ensemble

“Where’s the Mate for Me?” – Gaylord Ravenal

“Make Believe” – Gaylord, Magnolia

Ol’ Man River” – Joe, Ensemble

“Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” – Julie, Queenie, Magnolia, Ensemble

“Life Upon the Wicked Stage” – Ellie, Ensemble

“Till Good Luck Comes My Way” – Gaylord, Pete, Frank, Ensemble

“You Are Love” – Gaylord, Magnolia

“The Wedding” – Magnolia, Gaylord, Cap’n Andy, Ensemble


Act 2:

“Why Do I Love You?” – Magnolia, Gaylord, Cap’n Andy, Ann Hawks, Ensemble

Bill” – Julie

“Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (Reprise)” – Magnolia

“Goodbye, My Lady Love” – Frank, Ellie

After the Ball” – Magnolia, Ensemble

“Ol’ Man River (Reprise)” – Joe

“You Are Love (Reprise)” – Gaylord

“Act II Finale (Ol’ Man River)” – Joe, Ensemble


Which of these audition songs for Show Boat 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 Show Boat.
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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