Author: Carman, Judith
Date published: May 1, 2010
TEENS' MUSICAL THEATRE ANTHOLOGY. A Treasury of Songs from Stage & Film, Specially Designed for Teen Singers. Female Edition and Male Edition. Edited and compiled by Lisa DeSpain. Accompaniment CD included. Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 2009.
The thirty-two songs in each edition of this anthology are taken mostly from standard musicals, including such shows as Damn Yankees, Kiss Me Kate, Finian's Rainbow, The Fantasticks, Mary Poppins, Chicago, The Wiz, The Secret Garden, and Little Shop of Horrors. The vocal ranges for females lie between F#^sub 3^ and E[musical flat]^sub 5^ with two songs venturing to F^sub 5^ and G#^sub 5^. For males, the ranges are C^sub 3^ (with occasional B[musical flat]^sub 2^s and A^sub 2^s) to the top of the staff (with a few A^sub 4^s and an occasional C^sub 5^). The front material contains an Introduction, Notes Regarding 16-Bar Audition Cuts, and notes on the show, the authors, and the songs. The volume is intended to be source material for young singers who audition for music theater.
Editor Lisa DeSpain makes two statements in the Introduction concerning the use of music theater songs for the teen voice. "Theatrical songs are a perfect choice for the teen voice, both the developing singer and the experienced performer . . . In mastering the challenges of the musical theater repertoire, a singer will master all the techniques needed to create a superb instrument out of their [sic] voice."
Many voice teachers may take issue with one or both of these statements, especially the second, as some teen singers are interested in singing classical repertoire. It is difficult to see how mastering the music theater repertoire challenges will create an instrument technically capable of singing the lyrically demanding music of classical composers. On the other hand, American singers are called upon to sing many different styles of music and will need to learn music theater techniques at some point, although the vocally formative teen years may not be the best time to confine the voice in terms of range and agility.
In any case, many singers will find these volumes of songs quite useful in various situations, especially auditions.