When you think of contemporary musical theatre singing, belting, or at least a conversational mixed voice comes to mind: a powerhouse bringing down the house with “Defying Gravity,” or a Schuyler sister rapping and speech-singing about New York City. And to be frank, it’s true that modern Broadway is mostly focused on belt and other techniques and styles closer to modern commercial music. But if you’re a soprano and enjoy doing more legit soprano singing (aside from revivals of Rogers and Hammerstein musicals) I promise, there’s still a place for you! Here are 10 contemporary musical theatre songs for sopranos that require more legit technique.
1. The Beauty Is
This gorgeous number from Light in the Piazza is one of my favorites. Every bit as nuanced and head-voice dominant as some of the older shows in Golden Age Broadway, it’s perfect for legit sopranos.
2. The Finer Things
In general, Jane Eyre the musical has a more legit sound to it, and this is especially true of Blanche Ingram’s fun little ditty, “The Finer Things” (the rare character song for a legit soprano).
3. I Believe
Here’s the lovely Erin Mackey singing “I Believe,” from the short-lived musical Amazing Grace. The song may start off fairly low, but Erin sings some beautiful high notes as the song goes.
4. Love Never Dies
It’s not surprising that this sequel to Phantom of the Opera requires legit singing. Here’s Sierra Boggess’s Christine singing the title song.
5. Falling Into You
Unusually legit for a Jason Robert Brown musical, Bridges Over Madison County has a stunning score. Here’s the great Kelli O’Hara singing “Falling Into You.” She sings some other gorgeous songs in this show as well, like “Almost Real.”
6. What Only Love Can See
This little gem from Chaplin is simple and beautiful.
7. No One Else
Everyone does this haunting number from Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 a little differently– some singers incorporating more belt elements in than others–but regardless, there are many legit soprano aspects to this song. It’s one of my favorites to sing because you can stylize it so many different ways and still sell it.
8. After Midnight Dies
Definitely an offbeat one for a soprano (or anyone), “After Midnight Dies” from Wild Party is a nice respite from wide-eyed love ballads.
9. Everything You Love is in New Jersey
When legit soprano is your forte, you don’t get too many opportunities at comedic songs, but this is a fun exception.
10. When I Fall in Love
Back to full-on legit soprano dreams of love, “When I Fall in Love” from Pride and Prejudice is a perfect example of a throwback to a more Golden Age-esque legit soprano ballad.