It’s a scientific fact that as gays, we walk faster than our straight counterparts and we all love a good musical. If you don’t you’re just denying it.
There are many amazing musicals out there and some truly iconic songs but more often than not, there are certain songs that steal an entire show. It might be because of the talent involved in singing them or even just the story that the song tells and the journey that we experience with the character. In honour of these, here’s a top ten of show-stealing songs from modern musicals.
10. “Six” from Six
Six is a new historical musical about the wives of Henry the Eighth. It imagines the six wives competing for the “saddest story,” and gives each wife their own song and their own style and genre of music. Six is the finale where the six women join together and sing about their lives together. Each song is a show-stealer in its own way and it was impossible to single out a particular song because they are all so cleverly written and educational so of course, it made sense to go with the song that incorporated everybody.
If you’re unfamiliar with Six, you won’t be for much longer. The show is beginning to gain a following and will take the world by storm. Welcome to your new obsession.
9. “The Letter” from Made in Dagenham
Made in Dagenham began as a film based on the true story of the women who walked out of work and went on strike at Ford’s factory in protest of sexual discrimination and demanded equal pay in 1968. While there are several outstanding songs in the show, “The Letter” is a song that comes part way through Act Two and belongs to Rita’s husband, Eddie.
Throughout, Eddie has been a useless husband; he even forgets his tenth wedding anniversary. This song comes during the height of the strike when the women have gained media attention and are a subject of shame among the sexist men. Eddie, however, defends his wife and it’s a beautiful turning point where Eddie realises how much he needs the woman he took for granted.
8. “Monster” from Frozen
Frozen is known for being Disney’s most popular film of recent years, if not ever. Like The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Hunchback of Notre Dame and the other Disney Broadway shows, Frozen expands on the original film version and introduces new songs like “What Do You Know About Love?” and “Dangerous to Dream,” all of them are wonderful songs and feel perfectly at home in the show – they work so well, it’s hard to believe they weren’t actually in the film – but none are as strong as “Monster.”
Terrified of what she has done and how she can’t control her powers, Elsa counts herself as a monster and even contemplates suicide as a desperate attempt to put an end to the winter she has triggered. It’s a crazy journey for Elsa as she panics and toys with the idea of ending her life before deciding that she needs to be strong and find a way to regain control. It’s a dark turn for a Disney musical but it is a powerful one.
7. “Full Moon Lullaby” from King Kong
King Kong is a curious show. It follows the classic plot of actress, Ann Darrow chasing a career, determined to make it big in Hollywood. While on location on the mysterious Kong island, she is captured and rescued by King Kong himself. The two of them form a bond and Ann wants to protect the “monster,” that everyone else wants to harm. Admittedly the writing was a little off in parts and the story feels rushed but the songs are gorgeous. The staging is ridiculously clever (boats rock on waves, Kong runs through the streets of New York and climbs the Empire State) and the Kong puppet is something that has to be seen to be believed.
Up against the giant puppet which is stunningly brought to life by a team of puppeteers, Christiani Pitts holds the show together as Ann. “Full Moon Lullaby,” shows off just how beautiful her voice is and the skill with which she works with the puppet.
6. “World Burn” from Mean Girls
With an amazing cast who bring to life a modern retelling of the cult classic film, it was impossible to pick a standout moment – how can you chose between Karen singing about sexy corn and sex cancer, Cady on her past romantic failings, Gretchen on not fitting in, Janis on revenge or Damien on social media? You can’t. So I had to pick “World Burn.”
“World Burn” from Mean Girls is the ultimate power song. It feels like a Bond theme and comes at the point where Regina George decides to fight back and destroy everything in revenge for Cady ruining her life. The level of sass Regina gives is something we can all only ever aspire to. It’s also fun to hear some of our favourite iconic lines from the film turned into a song.
5. “Michael in the Bathroom” from Be More Chill
Be More Chill has taken the world by storm. It has gained a massive following and it’s easy to see why. In a story about teenagers taking pills that install supercomputers in their brains to make them cooler, it proves that it’ll always be a timeless metaphor for drug use. The song, “Michael in the Bathroom,” is about Michael who has been thrown aside by his friend, Jeremy.
In the song Michael is alone in a bathroom at a party where he doesn’t know anyone except Jeremy. He faces his anxiety without Jeremy who has taken the pill has started ignoring Michael because he isn’t cool enough. It’s a fun, relatable character song about social anxiety and falling out with friends.
4. “Words Fail” from Dear Evan Hansen
“Words Fail” is the emotional climax of Dear Evan Hansen and is probably one of the most heartbreaking songs in any musical. If you’re not familiar with the story of the show, it’s a sad one. Evan suddenly finds himself the centre of attention after a tragic mixup following the death of a school peer. In order to gain some popularity and to chase the girl he has a crush on (who happens to be the deceased’s sister) Evan plays on this mixup and becomes a second son to the family who have just lost theirs.
It’s hard to explain without giving too much away (#KeepTheSecrets) but “Words Fail” comes when Evan’s web of lies has become too much and he breaks down and confesses. If you’re a fan of the show, or if you just want to know the story, I highly recommend the novel based on the musical. The songs are enough to reduce anyone to tears. The book has the same effect and with a film reportedly coming soon, it looks like Dear Evan Hansen will be emotionally scarring us for quite some time. Let’s just hope that Ben Platt repises the role for the film.
3. “Just Breathe” from The Prom
The Prom is a modern story for a modern world. It’s a musical comedy which deals with Emma who wants to invite her girlfriend to Prom but faces backlash and bullying from her classmates after her wanting to bring her girlfriend gets the prom cancelled. Thankfully, Emma has the school’s principal on her side and he has even consulted the State Attorney on the subject to be told they have a case.
Meanwhile a group of has-been Broadway actors who are desperate to become relevant and loved again find Emma’s story and travel to Indiana to help fight for her cause.
“Just Breathe” is our introduction to our loveable protagonist, Emma. Caitlin Kinnunen slays the song and takes us on a beautiful journey with the character as she stumbles through her anxiety and keeps it light and fun at the same time.
2. “He’s My Boy” from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Following on with the prom theme, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a new musical based on the story of Jamie, a teenager from the North East of England, who wanted to go to his prom in full drag. Back in 2011 there was a BBC documentary about Jamie and now, his inspiring story has become a musical with a film version on the way!
Even though everybody’s talking about Jamie, it’s his mum who steals the show with “He’s My Boy.” It’s a gorgeous song about a mother’s unconditional love and determination to protect her son who is growing up too fast. In a musical full of uplifting, fun songs this one hits emotionally. If you can get through it without shedding a tear, you’ve got no heart.
1. “Dead Mom” from Beetlejuice
Beetlejuice is one of Broadway’s newest additions. I was lucky enough to see it during previews when I was in New York and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Tim Burton’s original…if not just anyone in general. The show is a spin on the source material but all the iconic moments like Day-O, Miss Argentina and the sandworm, are still there. Almost every single song is a show-stealer in Beetlejuice but one of the strongest is “Dead Mom.” Without giving away too much, the song is about Lydia’s feelings since her mum passed away (yes, this part is new) and her struggles with her father who has moved on with a new woman. It’s a great song that beautifully portrays Lydia’s grief.
Alex Brightman slays as Beetlejuice while Kerry Butler and Rob McClure are hilarious as Barbara and Adam, the newly adjusting ghosts. Leslie Kritzer plays a scene-stealing Delia and Miss Argentina. Sophia Anne Caruso (Lydia) is a relative newcomer having starred in a few shows before, most notably David Bowie’s Lazarus alongside Michael C Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Dexter) and she is set to go far. With one of the best and most unique voices on Broadway I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. You can also check out the rest of the Beetlejuice soundtrack when it releases on Friday 7th June.
Are there any songs or Musicals that haven’t been mentioned that you absolutely love? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook and help us all discover new musicals to get excited over!