Actor Kara Lindsay first made a splash on Broadway as Newsies original Katherine opposite Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan. The whipsmart, quick-tapping talent went on to play Glinda in the long-running musical Wicked on Broadway and now flashes back to the 1960s playing Cynthia Weil in Broadway’s Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Lindsay stopped by Playbill’s studio to give a glimpse at the secret to her success: great audition material. Watch her sing through her vocal repertoire in the video above and read below for how she chose the songs that landed her on the Great White Way.
Can you tell me a bit about each of the songs you sang in the video? For what audition did you sing it for? Why did you choose each song?
“Someone to Watch Over Me” has always been one of my favorites. Its a sweet ingenue type song and one that I felt really comfortable singing. In your initial auditions for new projects many times they ask you to sing “a song in the style of” a particular composer. “Art Is Calling For Me” is a fun bouyant soprano song that shows your range. I had been singing this song since high school and quickly learned that every other girl in musical theatre had, as well! There is a fear of bringing in a song that is overdone and potentially being overlooked because of this. In the end I think you need to go with your gut. If the overdone song is one that you can really live in and feel comfortable performing, then do it! “You Don’t Own Me” is a fun ’60s song I had been singing since college. The lyric and strong pulse of this song makes for such a specific character. A strong feisty gal who takes zero BS. In the initial auditions for Beautiful, almost five years ago, casting asked us to bring in a ’60s song of our choice. My decision was easy. I wasn’t the right fit for the role back then, but I’m so grateful the opportunity came around again. The auditions you work so hard on may not initially go your way, but years later it may pay off. You just never know!
What other songs are in your book?
I sing a lot from Baby. I sang “Story Goes On” for Newsies since they also asked for a “high belt” song. This is hilarious to me because in the song the character is singing about her pregnancy and I was auditioning to play a teenage girl in a new Disney musical. I also use “Two People In Love,” which is normally a duet from Baby. It’s a great uptempo 16 bars that makes me smile. I also have a couple of songs from my college friends Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond. They are a brilliant duo and I’ve been a ginormous fan of their work.
What is the song you sang to book your first professional job? Why did you choose it? What about it spoke to you?
I sang “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” by Jason Robert Brown for my first professional audition. I listened to Lauren Kennedy’s JRB album religiously (still do) and became an intense superfan of his music. I worked on a lot of JRB music throughout college since it was rangy for me and most auditions asked for 16 bars of a high belt song. The storytelling in his music is what spoke to me. If you can have a solid beginning middle and end for your 16 bars, the easier it will be to take them on some sort of journey in your short time allowed in the audition. And the more you will be thinking about what you are saying rather than the notes you are singing. First professional job at West Virginia Public Theatre booked!
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?
I love Adam Guettel. “Migratory V” from Myths and Hymns has also been in my book since college. I sang it in a couple concerts but not yet for an audition. I think the roles I generally go in for are a bit more bouncy which calls for an uptempo type song. “Migratory V” is my anthem. I just love it.
Accompaniment provided by Drew Wutke