Ballads are songs with a slower tempo that are emotionally-driven and tell a story. Ballads are challenging because they require sustained notes , longer musical phrases and strong story-telling skills. They can be dramatic, romantic, nostalgic, or even funny.
If you are a developing contemporary singer, then you need at least a couple of modern ballads in your repertoire, or in your audition book. Some of your choices of ballads should be drawn from popular and rock genres, and others from musical theatre repertoire.
In particular, music-theatre ballads are ideal, because they rely on strong characterization and story-telling skills. This blog post offers you a collection of more than 50 modern ballads (post 1980). There are ballads for females, males and children.
Ballads for Male Singers
- Beautiful City from “Godspell” (1971) by Stephen Schwarz
- The Mason from “Working” (1977) by Stephen Schwarz
- Kid Inside from “Is There Life After Highschool” (1982) by Craig Carnelia
- Finishing the Hat from “Sunday in the Park with George” (1984) by Sondheim
- Anthem from “Chess” by Andersson & Ulvaeus (1986)
- Someone to Fall Back On by Jason Robert Browne
- Larger than Life from “My Favourite Year” (1992) by Stephen Flaherty
- One Song Glory from “Rent” (1996). Words and Music by Jonathan Larson
- First You Dream from “Steel Peer” (1997) by Kander and Ebb
- Maybe We Just Made Love from “I Love You Because” by Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham
- I’d Rather be Sailing from “A New Brain” (1998). Music and lyrics by William Finn.
- It’s Hard to Speak my Heart from “Parade” (1998). Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
- I Loved You Too Much by Drew Gasparini
- What I Wouldn’t Do For You from “Mrs. Sharp” by Ryan Scott Oliver
- Do You Remember from “Peter Pan” by Pasek & Paul
- You Walk with Me from “The Full Monty” (2000) by David Yazbek
- Sail Me Away from Lestat (2005). Music by Elton John. Lyrics by Bernie Taupin.
- Part of a Painting from “Edges” (2005) by Pasek and Paul.
- Where Are All the People from “Chaplin” (2006). Music and lyrics by Christopher Curtis
- Alabanza from “In the Heights” (2007). Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- You Can Do Better Than Him from “Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical” (2009) music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black
- Run Away from “The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Browne” (2009) by Kerrigan and Lowdermilk.
- Santa Fe from “Newsies” (2011) by Alan Menken
- Hold Me in Your Heart from “Kinky Boots” (2012). Music and Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
- Not My Father’s Son from “Kinky Boots” (2012)
- Here for You from the album “Ballads for Broadway Impact” (2017). Music by Jonathan Gealt
Ballads for Female Singers
- Not a Day Goes By from “Merrily We Roll Along” (1981) by Sondheim
- The Story Goes On from “Baby” (1983). Music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby
- Colored Lights from “The Rink” (1984) by Kander and Ebb
- Meadowlark from the Baker’s Wife (1989). Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
- Stranger to the Rain from “Children of Eden” (1991) by Stephen Schwartz
- Every Tear a Mother Cries from “Honk!” (1993) by George Stiles
- Home from “Beauty and the Beast” (1994). Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
- It’s Only Love from “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (1997). Music Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Nan Knighton
- My Child Will Forgive Me from “Parade” (1998). Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
- The Music Still Plays On from “A New Brain” (1998) Music and lyrics by William Finn
- Quiet Night at Home from “Bare: A Pop Opera” (2000). Music by Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by Jon Hartmere
- Come to your Senses from “Tick, Tick Boom” (2001). Music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson
- I Know Where I’ve Been from “Hairspray” (2002) by Shaiman & Whittman
- I’m Still Hurting from “The Last Five Years” (2002) by Jason Robert Brown
- Il Adore from Taboo (2002). Music by Boy George, Ritchie Stevens and Kevin Frost
- There’s a Fine Fine Line from “Avenue Q” (2003) by Lopez and Marx
- The Light in the Piazza from “The Light in the Piazza” (2005) by Adam Guettel
- I’m Here from “The Color Purple” (2005). music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.
- The I Love You Song from “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (2005). Music and lyrics by William Finn.
- Astonishing from Little Women (2005). Music by Jason Howland. Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein.
- Legally Blonde from “Legally Blonde” (2007). Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin.
- Not Alone from “A Very Potter Musical” (2009) Music & lyrics by Darren Criss and A. J. Holmes
- Say the Word from “The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Browne” (2009) by Kerrigan and Lowdermilk.
- Pulled from “The Adams Family” (2010). Music and lyrics by Adam Lippa
- With You from “Ghost: The Musical” (2011). Music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard
- Fly, Fly Away from “Catch Me if you Can” (2011). Music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman.
- One Perfect Moment from “Bring it On” (2011) by Miranda, Kitt and Green
- She Used to be Mine from “Waitress” (2016). Music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles.
Ballads suitable for both Males and Females
- Round Shouldered Man from The Secret Garden (1989). Music by Lucy Simon and lyrics by Marsha Norman
- Electricity from “Billy Elliot the Musical” (2005). Music by Elton John, lyrics by Lee Hall.
- Part of Your World from “The Little Mermaid” (2008). Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman.
- Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun from “A Christmas Story: The Musical” (2009). Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
- When I Grow Up from “Matilda” (2010). Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin