“What you’re always looking for are the people who have all four numbers adding up to something extraordinary.”
—Theodore S. Chapin, 10-time Lotte Lenya Competition Judge
The Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes singer/actors for excellence in a wide-ranging repertoire of theater singing. Judges reward versatile musical theater singers who present fully acted performances of their material. You should choose repertoire appropriate for your vocal and acting abilities, as well as for age, type, and range. You should perform each selection as if you were playing the role in its dramatic context and sing in the appropriate musical style. You need to be able to convince the judges that you are “right” for the roles you are portraying and that you understand the dramatic context and musical idiom of each of your selections.
Successful performances demonstrate not only the contestant’s vocal talent and musicianship, but make a strong dramatic impression through the synthesis of singing and acting. They show that the contestant can create a character in a dramatic situation, act each moment truthfully, physically inhabit the role using movement and gesture when appropriate, and act the song/aria within a believably imagined environment. Standing in the crook of the piano is only rarely appropriate. Successful performances also demonstrate the contestant’s ability to apply appropriate technical and stylistic singing approaches to contrasting idioms of musical theater. Just as it would be inappropriate to sing an aria in a pop style, it also would be inappropriate to sing most American musical theater selections with your “grand” operatic voice.
For more advice on creating a successful performance for the Lotte Lenya Competition, please read “Tips for Contestants” and “How to Win the Lenya Competition.”