This entry contains two very different themes. It's a little bit about musicals based on films and a lot about musicals using a traditional sound. It also contains one song that it guaranteed to make me cry as I enter an existential crisis, but I love it anyway.
The longer I've been working on this, the more I've had to really think about what songs to choose. I didn't want to repeat musicals, but I did choose to repeat certain performers or composers on purpose. Some of the songs here are examples of that, too.
Oh, and as usual, some are ones I just like to sing.
All of this is to say, there's a little bit of everything here. I hope you like it.
226. 'Seventeen' from Heathers (Will Chase and Ingrid Michaelson)
54 Sings Heathers (2018)
I have never seen Heathers, either the famous film or the fan-favorite musical. I came to know this song because, surprising no one, I'll always watch something if Will Chase is part of it. It's about 'damaged' teenagers engaging with a desire to be just kids while also choosing each other as partners. Seeing adults sing it, however, adds an interesting new layer for consideration. Watch here.
227. 'Apex Predator' from Mean Girls (Barrett Wilbert Weed as Janis, Erika
Henningsen as Cady)
Mean Girls on Broadway (2018)
I did not see the film of Mean Girls until right around the time I saw the stage production, so it doesn't have cult classic status for me. That said, if you like the film, or this set-the-stage song, it'll be perfect for you...and even if you don't, if you're a fan of Emily in Paris you might enjoy spotting Ashley Park (Mindy) in the role originated by Lacey Chabert on screen. Watch here.
228. 'Fight the Dragons' from Big Fish (Norbert Leo Butz)
Memory and Mayhem at 54 Below (2017)
Big Fish is a strange little novel and film that became an equally strange little musical. At its center is the relationship between father and son and the fantastic stories the father liked to tell. Few people can weave a story through song like Norbert Leo Butz. He's one of the most versatile performers out there. My favorite part of Big Fish was his 'Fight the Dragons', a somewhat intimate moment where Norbert's father character encourages his son to be brave in the face of uncertainty and fear. Watch here.
229. 'Gorgeous' from The Apple Tree (Kristin Chenoweth as Passionella)
The View (2006)
The Apple Tree is a great little show that contains three distinct, short, musicals. In the final one Passionella (a Cinderella-like character) becomes gorgeous thanks to her very own fair godmother. 'Gorgeous' is a fabulously fun number all about reveling in the realization that one is, well, gorgeous. Watch here.
230. 'The Road You Didn't Take' from Follies (Philip Quast as Benjamin)
National Theatre Production (2018)
Back in 2001, Broadway had a revival of Follies that captured my heart. I loved it to pieces, and to this day it is the example to which I compare all other productions. The problem is, no one else agreed with me that it was fabulous, and it closed quickly--before there was any chance of a cast recording being released. As a result, I don't get to share Gregory Harrison's absolutely breathtaking version of this song. It's a good thing, then, that I also have a long-term love of Philip Quast, because it gave me the best alternative to share. In 'The Road You Didn't Take', Benjamin Stone is part of a group of people (performers and their spouses, largely) who return to their beloved theatre before it is gone for good. Confronted with memories of his past, Benjamin ruminates on the choices we make in life and whether we continue to wonder about the person we would have been if our lives went differently. It caused many a moment of existential reflection for me and in college, I even had some of its lyrics painted on my door. Listen here.
231. 'What Did I Have That I Don't Have?' from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
(Barbara Harris as Daisy)
Original Broadway Cast (1965-1966)
My first experience with On a Clear Day... was actually the 2011 Broadway revival. It starred Harry Connick, Jr. and involved a great deal of changes (including the genders of main characters). In that production, this song was performed by a man. So, to me, going back to the original version and hearing a woman sing it was to go against what I knew. I loved it. Here, the character of Daisy ruminates on changes to her life and how that unfortunately might have made her less appealing in certain circles. Listen here.
232. 'Opposite You' from The Glorious Ones (Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley)
Broadway & Beyond (2017)
Few real-life couples exude as much love as Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley did when they sang together. That, more than the song itself, is why I chose this performance. I'll never get over Marin's passing and any opportunity to watch her create magic (especially with Jason) is one I will take--you should too. Watch here.
233. 'Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat' from Guys and Dolls (Tituss Burgess as
Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Company)
Tony Awards (2009)
When I was in grade school, my music teacher was obsessed with Guys and Dolls. Despite my love of musical theater, it wasn't a show that I came close to appreciating as much as he did. In the spirit of full disclosure, that overall opinion never changed...but when I saw the Broadway revival in the late 00s, I thought Tituss Burgess absolutely brought the house down in 'Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat'. Now, you can see his Tony Awards performance. Watch here.
234. 'Lonely Room' from Oklahoma! (Shuler Hensley as Jud Fry)
Royal National Theatre (1998)
The Oklahoma! production of the late 1990s/early 2000s was beautiful in a lot of ways, but for me the most wonderful part of it was Shuler Hensley's Jud. He was vulnerable and tragic, a strong counterpoint to (on Broadway) Patrick Wilson's Curly, and this song brought me to tears. Listen here
235. 'Somebody, Somewhere' from The Most Happy Fella (Jo Sullivan as Rosabella)
Original Broadway Cast (1956-1957)
Moved by the sadness of the prior entry, I decided to spend the next several days going a little bit lighter, or at least more hopeful. 'Somebody, Somewhere' is a lovely little song about the possibilities one can imagine upon learning another person has interest in them. Listen here.
236. 'No Other Love' from Me and Juliet (Brent Barrett and Kim Criswell)
The Musicality of Rodgers and Hammerstein (2002)
Me and Juliet employs the classic theatrical device of having a show exist within the show and a behind-the-scenes romance. As part of this multi-layer plot, you get 'No Other Love', a song which was so beloved it gained a life of its own, removed from the plot. Taken by itself, it is a beautiful song about having one's romantic partner be the only love of one's life and the anticipation of reuniting that comes from being separate. Listen here.
237. 'Demon Rum' from Nice Work if You Can Get It (Judy Kaye as Duchess Estonia
Original Broadway Cast (2012-2013)
I decided I needed to shake things up at this point, so I diverged from ballads and love songs for something completely different: a traditional-style song about the evils of liquor. Judy Kaye shows why she's a stage legend in this number, and as a fair warning, it will get stuck in your head. Listen here.
238. 'The Very Next Man' from Fiorello! (Patricia Wilson as Marie)
Original Broadway Cast (1959-1961)
Growing up as a traditional soprano, my introduction to Fiorello! was through the beautiful ballad "When Did I Fall in Love?" It wasn't until I was in college that I learned about the lower, more fun songs in the show. This one, in particular, where Marie proclaims that she is going to marry the very next man who asks her, delights me. Listen here.
239. 'How Can I Wait?" from Paint Your Wagon (Olga San Juan as Jennifer)
Original Broadway Cast (1951-1952)
Have you ever felt like you might explode if you didn't see someone who interested you again? This high-energy, traditional, chesty number captures that feeling better than any other song I've ever heard. It is one of my favorites. Listen here.
240. 'Over the Hill' from Shenandoah (Penelope Milford as Jenny)
Original Broadway Cast (1975-1977)
Completing this run of several songs for lower female voices, 'Over the Hill' is another fun one. In it, Jenny is belting her heart out about the fact that her love life is stalled and by the time it goes anywhere she will be too old and wrinkled to enjoy it. It always makes me chuckle. Listen here.