Actors spend the vast majority of their careers in the audition room before they shine in the spotlight. Tracking down the right song is a challenge. Playbill heard the cries of young performers’ Facebook crowd-sourcing (and the curiosity of all musical theatre fans) and decided to go to straight to the source: the actors booking jobs on New York’s biggest stages.
Brandon Uranowitz earned a Tony nomination for his standout performance in Broadway's original musical An American in Paris as musician Adam Hochberg. This past fall, he wowed audiences as Mendel in the revival of Falsettos opposite Stephanie J. Block. Now, Uranowitz shares with us the songs he used to nail the auditions and book both of those gigs. Of course, not every audition goes as planned and Uranowitz reenacts his most embarrassing audition—while still nailing all the notes—in the video above. Here, he gives us a rare glimpse into his repertoire book with Playbill pianist Logan Culwell-Block.
What other songs (besides what you’ve sung for us) are in your book?
Brandon Uranowitz: Aren’t the contents of one’s book a sacred secret?! I feel like it’d be blasphemous to reveal the whole thing. Also, I must say my book has been significantly thinned out over the years. But some favorite highlights are: “Shiksa Goddess” from The Last Five Years (shocker!), “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, “Come Back To Me” from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and “What More Can I Say” from Falsettos (sorry Christian!).
What is the song you sang to book your first professional job? Why did you choose it? What about it spoke to you?
Well, my first professional job was technically when I was 11 and played the Little Boy in the world premiere of Ragtime, and for that I sang “Give My Regards to Broadway.” I’m not so sure that it really “spoke to me” so much as it just made me look super adorable to casting people. My first real professional job as an adult was on the RENT Broadway Tour, and for that I didn’t actually sing anything from my book. They gave me a cut of Mark’s track in What You Own from the show.
What is the song you sang to book your first Broadway contract?
My first Broadway contract was for the ill-fated Baby, It’s You and again I wasn’t asked to sing anything from my book, but to prepare “Mr. Bassman” by Johnny Cymbaland and “Rhythm of the Rain” by The Cascades. “Mr. Bassman” was subsequently cut from the show after our first preview—so only 1,100 very, very lucky people got to witness that song.
What is a song that you love and have always wanted to sing at an audition, but hasn’t been right for any role or show you’ve tried out for so far?
“Not Getting Married” from Company. I think it’s pretty obvious why that hasn’t been a particularly appropriate choice for me. But, it’s a song that speaks perfectly to my neurotic sensibilities and I am itching for an opportunity to use this song and go balls to the wall at some audition for something some day.