The Best Audition Songs for The Color Purple – by Character

Do you have an upcoming audition for The Color Purple? 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 The Color Purple, broken down by character.

Since The Color Purple is an early contemporary musical, the following songs are from musicals between 1990-2020. In addition, there are lots of pop 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 (something gospel, 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 “Color Purple 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 The Color Purple cast album➝ while reading through the synopsis.


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.


Celie

Beautiful” – Marie Christine

I Got Four Kids” – Caroline, or Change

My Child Will Forgive Me” – Parade

Your Daddy’s Son” – Ragtime


Mister

Don’t Take Much” – The Life

She’s My Sister” – Memphis

That’s What He Said” – Parade

The Bus” – Caroline, or Change


Nettie

I Hate the Bus” – Caroline, or Change

Something of My Own” – Dessa Rose

The Human Heart” – Once on This Island

Waiting for Life” – Once on This Island


Shug Avery

Ain’t Nothin’ But a Kiss” – Memphis

Colored Woman” – Memphis

I Didn’t Plan It” – Waitress

White Milk & Red Blood” – Dessa Rose


Sofia

Are You a Believer?” – Ghost

Tell Me” – Marie Christine

The Oldest Profession” – The Life

You Can’t Get to Heaven” – The Life


Ensemble (Altos)

Dig a Little Deeper” – The Princess and the Frog  [non-musical theatre]

Lot’s Wife” – Caroline, or Change

Twelve Children” – Dessa Rose


Ensemble (Baritones)

I’ll Be Here” – The Wild Party

Ink” – Dessa Rose

The Man I Used to Be” – The Count of Monte Cristo


Ensemble (Basses)

Friends on the Other Side” – Princess and the Frog  [non-musical theatre]

They Live in You” – The Lion King

Wheels of a Dream” – Ragtime


Ensemble (Contras)

Let It Sing” – Violet

Shadowland” – The Lion King

Woman” – The Pirate Queen


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


Ensemble (Mezzos/Sopranos)

I’m Leaving You” – The Life

The Sea of Life” – The Pirate Queen

We Had a Dream” – The Life


Ensemble (Tenors)

Big Love” – Memphis

Endless Night” – The Lion King

Say a Prayer” – Memphis


Step 4: Select a monologue

If requested, here are a few audition monologues for The Color Purple:

• “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” in Solo!: The Best Monologues of the 80s – Women➝

• “Moon Man Walk” in The Best Men’s Monologues from New Plays, 2019➝

• “Mother Moon➝” from Fading Joy➝  (Joy)

• “That’s All I Got➝” from Other Desert Cities  (Trip)

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


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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The Color Purple Song List

Here’s a list of the musical numbers in The Color Purple, 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:

“Mysterious Ways” – Celie, Nettie, Sofia, Ensemble

Somebody Gonna Love You” – Celie

“Our Prayer” – Nettie, Celie, Pa, Mister, Ensemble

“That Fine Mister” – Ensemble

“Big Dog” – Mister, Celie, Young Harpo, Ensemble

“Mister” / “Nettie & Lily of the Field” – Celie, Nettie, Mister

“Dear God – Sofia” – Celie

“A Tree Named Sofia” – Doris, Darlene, Jarene

Hell No!” – Sofia, Celie, Ensemble

“Brown Betty” – Harpo, Squeak, Celie, Ensemble

“Shug Avery Comin’ to Town” – Mister, Celie, Ensemble

“All We Got to Say” – Celie, Mister, Doris, Darlene, Jarene

“Dear God – Shug” – Celie, Shug

Too Beautiful for Words” – Shug

Push da Button” – Shug, Harpo, Ensemble

“Uh-Oh” – Sofia, Celie, Mister, Harpo, Buster, Squeak, Ensemble

“What About Love?” – Celie, Shug


Act 2:

“African Homeland” – Nettie, Celie, Ensemble

“The Color Purple” – Shug, Celie

“Church Ladies’ Easter” – Doris, Darlene, Jarene

“Celie’s Curse” – Celie, Mister

“Mister’s Song – Celie’s Curse” – Mister

“Miss Celie’s Pants” – Celie, Shug, Sofia, Ensemble

“Any Little Thing” – Harpo, Sofia

“What About Love? (Reprise)” – Celie, Shug

I’m Here” – Celie

“The Color Purple (Reprise)” – Celie, Company


Which of these audition songs for The Color Purple 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 The Color Purple.
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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