A lot of times when listening to Broadway musicals, it's hard to find a song to sing that's not astronomically high. As an alto, it can be frustrating sometimes when it seems like every song was written with sopranos in mind. But don't fret, there are great alto songs out there that won't break your vocal chords if you know where to look! Here are my 14 favorite ones.
1. "Omar Sharif" from "The Band's Visit"
This song just exudes an aura of mystery and nostalgia. The low notes sound spectacular and really make this song stand out even more. There's a reason why this musical swept this year's Tony Awards. Everything about it is unique.
2. "I Know Where I've Been" from "Hairspray"
In a musical filled with cheery dance numbers, this song really gets to the root of the issues being addressed (namely, racism in the 60s). It's powerful and ultimately hopeful.
3. "I'm Not That Girl" from "Wicked"
Elphaba from "Wicked" is iconic for her crazy high notes held out for ridiculously long periods of time, but she is also a very strong alto. This song proves that in a musical full of dramatic, show-stopping numbers, a soft alto song can still hold its own.
4. "I Didn't Plan It" from "Waitress"
And now we bring the sass! This song perfectly contrasts its low key with unexpected high notes to make it all the more powerful.
5. "If You Want Me" from "Once"
"Once" is the only musical to have brought singer-songwriter music to Broadway. And this style works perfectly with alto power music, as everything about this song is raw while still maintaining a soft and dream-like quality.
6. "I'd Give My Life for You" from "Miss Saigon"
The whole character of Kim is simultaneously tragic and very strong. This song is the perfect way to show both of these qualities as she swears to her son that she'd do anything for him. Not ending the song on a high note really sets up the tone for the rest of the show.
7. "Good for You" from "Dear Evan Hansen"
This song marks one of the most important parts of the show, where all the lies Evan told start caving in around him. And since the song is led by his mother (who is a strong alto), it really makes this song all the more intense.
8. "Close the Door" from "Anastasia"
This song, sung by the grandmother character who believes that Anastasia is truly gone, is heartbreaking in all the best ways. It doesn't need huge, belted notes to bring all the emotion out.
9. "Monster" from "Frozen"
I just had to mention probably the only alto Disney princess (unless you count Meg from "Hercules"). Everyone talks about how great "Let It Go" is, but the follow-up Elsa solo written for the Broadway is just as great. It highlights Elsa's internal struggle while mixing high notes with belting.
10. "Satisfied" from "Hamilton"
Angelica Schuyler is one of the most difficult and intense roles on Broadway right now. Besides rapping at the speed of light, the singer also has to maintain that alto base and hit some high notes. Overall, anyone who can pull off singing this song needs to have some serious vocal chops and alto power.
11. "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables"
This is a classic alto power ballad. Though it does get belt-y, it always comes back to that quiet, sad place that has captivated music theater lovers for decades now.
12. "Sonya Alone" from "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812"
Great Comet has a huge array of musical styles, but I love how Sonya's songs (and Brittain Ashford's voice) go more into that low, singer-songwriter place while still keeping up with the style of the rest of the show. With the lines that slowly increase in intensity, we really feel Sonya's anguish.
13. "Out Tonight" from "Rent"
This song is just a lot of fun! It's nice singing a rock/Broadway song that doesn't make my vocal chords feel like they're going to fall off by the end of the song.
14. "The Winner Takes It All" from "Mamma Mia"
If you say you haven't dramatically sung to this (or any ABBA song, for that matter) at some point in your life, you're lying.