Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Vocal Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Robynne Redmon

Second Committee Member

Rachel L. Lebon

Third Committee Member

Esther Jane Hardenbergh

Fourth Committee Member

Maria Fenty Denison

Fifth Committee Member

Kathryn Reid


The Broadway Musical can arguably be considered one of the most popular art forms in America today and new musicals are constantly being written, produced, and performed. As a result, many voice students become interested in singing musical theater repertoire, suggesting that the study of musical theater singing and performance of musical theater literature be included in the vocal education of an undergraduate voice major. Teaching musical theater provides a unique challenge, because vocalists are required to sing in every style historically within musical theater. Today’s Broadway shows require vocal styles ranging from classical to rock. Other styles of singing found in the modern American musical are legit, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, rhythm and blues, and country. Therefore, teacher knowledge and pedagogical techniques, enhanced through actual performance experience within these various styles of singing become increasingly important, especially when teaching the undergraduate voice student. When auditioning for a musical, the auditioner’s book of songs becomes essential. The song repertoire should generally cover five categories that span the history of musical theater. The categories are operetta, contemporary pop, contemporary classical, golden age, and jazz influenced. In addition to these five categories, an audition book should contain an up-tempo piece, a ballad, a dramatic song, and a comic song or character piece. This study defines the five categories and outlines significant composers and musicals in each category. This study also examined and analyzed five songs in each category that would be considered appropriate for the undergraduate soprano voice major. The analysis of each song focuses on elements of vocal pedagogy, specifically on belting and female issues with registration, as well as stylistic elements appropriate for each song category. It also outlines specific vocal and stylistic elements within each song that contribute to an authentic performance.


musical theater; undergraduate; soprano; belting; audition; repertoire