365 Days of Musical Theater: 241-255
Updated: Mar 18
It may not be fall now, but this section of my 365 days has a lot to do with what my friends call 'Spooky Season.' Since this section overlapped with Halloween, many of the songs in the middle of this batch of 15 are ones that felt appropriate for the season. They aren't necessarily scary in and of themselves, but they embrace traditional Halloween motifs like vampires, the horror genre, a cult classic, and a literal Halloween vigil held by a Peanuts character.
Don't worry though, you don't have to love Halloween to enjoy these songs. I can say that with complete confidence because, honestly, I don't like Halloween, but I love all of the music I chose to share for that time of the year.
These songs were originally tweeted between October 21, 2022 and November 3, 2022.
241. 'Pinball Wizard' from The Who's Tommy (Shoshana Bean ft. Allen René Louis &
MCC Miscast (2022)
The Who's Tommy has a long-known score full of songs that make you want to rock out, but when Shoshana Bean, Allen René Louis, and Anastasia Talley tackled 'Pinball Wizard' for Miscast in 2022, it was like the song had been written for them all along. Watch here.
242. 'Raise Your Voice' from Sister Act (Patina Miller as Deloris Van Cartier, Nuns)
Tony Awards (2011)
I admit that as someone who grew up watching the Sister Act film regularly, I didn't love a lot of the changes made for the stage production. That said, 'Raise Your Voice' is a song where you get to watch the nuns find their confidence and bring down the (figurative) roof. It's a great time and you'll want to cheer at the end for sure. Watch here.
243. 'I Believe' from Altar Boyz (Company)
Off-Broadway Cast (2005)
Altar Boyz is a funny musical about a religious boy band with members named Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham. Despite all the laugh-causing jokes in the show, it has a pretty sweet streak to it. No songs embody that more than 'I Believe' where the Altar Boyz join together to sing about how they know they came to know each other for a reason. It tugs at the heart strings for sure. Listen here.
244. 'Middle of a Moment' from James and the Giant Peach (Skylar Astin)
Cast Recording (2015)
The world needs Skylar Astin having solos on more cast recordings. Consider this my petition for it. I was glad, however, when I found him singing a track on the James and the Giant Peach recording. It covers the classic theatre theme of moving forward, leaving badness behind, and being brave enough to go toward the new and unknown, and it sounds great (elevated for sure) on his smooth voice despite being written for a child character. I wouldn't be shocked if we see more adults sing it just because they can. Watch here.
245. 'Puttin' on the Ritz' from Young Frankenstein (Roger Bart as Dr. Frankenstein,
Shuler Hensley as The Monster, Company)
Original Broadway Cast (2007-2009)
I grew up watching the original film of Young Frankenstein and howling with laughter. I have vivid memories of watching it for the first time with my dad and then imitating the way it was performed on screen with my fellow choir members during rehearsals for a concert where we definitely were supposed to be being serious. The stage production isn't as embedded in my heart as the film, but Roger Bart and Shuler Hensley really captured the spirit of this absurd number, so I had to feature it. After all, who doesn't like watching (or heading) Dr. Frankenstein and his creation, the Monster, sing a classic song while dressed to the nines? Listen here.
246. 'Wicked Little Town' from Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Euan Morton)
Kimmel Center (2017)
When it was on Broadway, I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Neil Patrick Harris in the lead role. It was a great production, but later when I learned Euan Morton was going to play Hedwig on tour, I wished I could see him because his voice is one of my favorites. I'd have liked to have shared him singing my actual favorite song from the show, 'Wig in a Box', but the best performance I could find of him was 'Wicked Little Town.' In context, it is a song that Hedwig, who wants to be a star, wrote about someone she knows with and has feelings for. Watch here.
247. 'Life After Life' from Dracula (Tom Hewitt as Dracula, Kelli O'Hara as Lucy)
Broadway on Broadway (2004)
I am 99% certain that I was at this Broadway on Broadway performance, which is why I chose it to showcase Dracula. Dracula is, as you would think, an adaptation of the famous novel. 'Life After Life' is the intense finale of Act One where Kelli O'Hara's Lucy has just become a vampire and is poised to begin tracking down her first victims. Also, they sing the phrase 'life after life' many times, and it might get stuck in your head. Watch here.
248. 'Larger Than Life' from & Juliet (Stark Sands as Shakespeare)
Original Broadway Cast (2022 - )
This song appears here not because it is part of my Halloween-ish group, but because I was celebrating attending the first Broadway preview of & Juliet. The show is an absolute delight and a masterclass in creating something fun and funky that is jukebox in nature. It centers on the notion of Shakespeare (Stark Sands) and his wife, Anne Hathaway (Betsy Wolfe), rewriting the end of Romeo and Juliet so that Juliet doesn't die. I love every minute of it and there are so many wonderful performances on it (you simply MUST listen to Philippe Arroyo and Justin David Sullivan sing 'Whataya Want from Me?') but any chance I have to feature Stark Sands singing a Backstreet Boys song, I am going to take. Enjoy it. It is a pure delight. Listen here.
249. 'And Eve was Weak' from Carrie (Marin Mazzie as Margaret, Molly Ranson as
Premiere Cast Recording (2012)
The musical adaptation of the classic Stephen King horror story spent ages as a quiet cult classic. It's original Broadway run in the late 1980s was a colossal flop and there was no cast recording, so most people learned its music through the dissemination of grainy bootlegs. Then, in 2012, there was a production that got a cast recording--and much rejoicing. Here, Carrie (Molly Ranson) has experienced her first period, but her mother (Marin Mazzie) twists it into something altogether evil...and requiring of a religious purification. Listen here.
250. ‘Once in a While' from The Rocky Horror Show (Jarrod Emick as Brad)
New Broadway Cast (2000-2002)
I grew up watching the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show with my parents, so it was a big deal when the show came to Broadway and I got to go. I remember thinking about how wonderful it was to see such a wide array of people in the audience. I sat there, 16 years old, between my father and a man I didn't know who wore a black leather jacket and pink feather boa. We were three very different people but we had two things in common: we all knew the famous call back lines the audience shouts at the actors and we were beyond happy to be there. 'Once in a While' isn't a song that made it into the film version, so the first time I saw the show on Broadway was the first time I heard this song about Brad dealing with being upset that Janet's primary interest is no longer himself. I love it. I wish it was in the film, but even if it was, I think I'd love Jarrod Emick's version better anyway. His voice is fabulous and as soon as I saw him perform it, I knew I had a new favorite song from Rocky Horror. Listen here.
251. 'The Vigil' from Snoopy! (Mark Hadfield as Linus)
Original London Cast (1983)
Back in 2004 I attended a fabulous benefit concert version of Snoopy! but there was no recording of it, so I turned to the Original London Cast for this selection. The song is perfect for Halloween. It's Linus, sitting about, waiting for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, who...well...doesn't seem to be coming. Listen here.
252. 'Life Is' from Zorba (Marin Mazzie as The Leader)
Broadway.com for Encores! (2015)
I know I've referenced my voice teacher a lot over the course of these entries, but it's because of how influential she's been on my musical theatre life. Here's another example: 'Life Is', which centers on the notion that life is everything that happens while you're waiting to pass away, is one of her favorites. Watch here.
253. 'Little Girls' from Annie (Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan)
Original Broadway Cast (1977-1983)
When I was in grade school I had a classmate who was absolutely obsessed with the film version of Annie where Carol Burnett (an American treasure!) played the grouchy, nasty Miss Hannigan. She watched it--and forced me, too, as well--all the time, until I really couldn't stand the musical at all. It took years before I could listen to it (and sometimes the memory still makes me cringe). That said, despite all the baggage I bring to it, 'Little Girls', Miss Hannigan's number about hating little girls despite having once been one, was always the high point. Here, I share Dorothy Loudon's version to stay focused on the stage, but Carol Burnett's is always the one I hear in my head. Listen here.
254. 'The Man I Used to Be' from Pipe Dream (Will Chase)
Barnes & Noble release of PIPE DREAM Encore's Cast Recording (2012)
I knew almost nothing about Pipe Dream before this production released a cast album. With Will Chase on it, of course I needed to listen, and this song was a bouncy, lovely time. I suggest it for anyone who wants to smile while thinking about all the changes a person goes through in life and how you can end up a completely different person--often in a good way. Watch here.
255. 'My Own Morning' from Hallelujah, Baby (Taylor Iman Jones)
If It Only Even Runs a Minute, 17 (2018)
Who among us doesn't dream of a morning where they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want? This song is all about that, so it should be a sentiment we all understand. Watch here.