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The Best Musical Theater Songs By New Composers

Stop belting the same old tunes and check out these new composers.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul working on <i>24 Hour Musicals</i>
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul working on 24 Hour Musicals
(© Kerry Long and Joseph Schuyler)

If you’re a musical theater nerd, you likely grew up singing the Singers Musical Theatre Anthology books. And don’t get me wrong, the music in those books has its merits. However, if you’ve sung just about every one of those songs, you are likely bored. And maybe, it’s time to move on.

If you like to belt, there are a wealth of new composers who can get you out of your comfort zone. So I picked some of my favorite contemporary musical theater pieces for you to check out. Sing your heart out.

1. “Hand in Hand” by Kerrigan-Lowdermilk. There is no word to describe this song other than “fierce.” It has a jazzy feel and some scatting between verses. Yes, scatting. (See what I mean about getting you out of your comfort zone?) If you can pull it off, it will be amazing. So take that as a challenge and learn this piece!

2. “In Short” by Pasek and Paul. This piece is from the song cycle Edges. If you’ve never heard of it, go see it. It is the most hilariously realistic show I’ve ever seen, and this song might be the most comical. Your acting chops will be tested and so will your belt. (Check out “Ready to be Loved” from Edges as well.)

3. “Love Me, Love Me Not” by Joey Contreras. Now, we move to ballads. This piece starts off slow and easy, but don’t be fooled. Heaving belting is required. Natalie Weiss has performed this piece, if that tells you anything.

4. “Dancing in Pairs” by Carner and Gregor. Here’s another great ballad to learn. A gorgeous, LEGIT, ballad. Go at it.

5. “Lost in the Brass” by Tommy Newman. I heard this song for the first time two weeks ago and immediately fell in love. It’s from the musical Band Geeks, which premiered at Troy University in Alabama (about 3 hours away from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa). This is another crazy belting piece. Lindsay Mendez kills it (check this performance out), and you can too.

These are just a few of my favorite contemporary musical theater songs, but there are plenty more to choose from. You can check out these songs, and many other new composer’s work here. If the song you’re looking for isn’t there, check the composer’s website.

All your friends will be jealous of the awesome music you’re singing. Trust me.