This one might be of special interest for film fans! Many of the songs below come from shows that originated as films. In some cases, they are songs that were also in the screen version but done in a new way (like Kelli O'Hara's 'Pure Imagination' from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) while others are brand new songs from films that were not musicals (like 'I Can't Go Back' from Pretty Women).
Of course, there are other great songs here as well. One worth noting in particular is 'The Beautiful Game' from the show of the same titles. There aren't as many sport-centric musicals out there as one might imagine, but this one sets football (soccer, to Americans) against a very specific historical backdrop. If you don't know it, check it out down at number 284.
271. 'Pure Imagination' from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Kelli O'Hara)
MCC Miscast (2017)
In the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka entered people's hearts as the mysterious candy man who sings 'Pure Imagination,' an ode to the freedom and joy one gets when they live in a place their own mind has created. While Christian Borle took on the role on Broadway, and was lovely as always, I decided to showcase this version by Kelli O'Hara, because I love a good Miscast moment, and the way Kelli's beautiful soprano voice completely elevates the song to a new level. Watch here.
272. 'Disneyland' from Smile (Jodi Benson as Doria)
Unsung Musicals (1994)
'Disneyland' is a song that I always saw show up in song anthologies and eventually decided to look up. There's something especially fun about the singing voice of Ariel from The Little Mermaid performing an ode to Disneyland. It may not be a particularly popular song but for Disney lovers, like me, it hits you nicely in the feels. Listen here.
273. 'Stick it to the Man' from School of Rock (Alex Brightman as Dewey, Company)
Broadway.com Preview (2015)
I have never seen the film School of Rock, but I did find the stage production charming, even if I'm not someone who generally has a stick-it-to-the-man attitude. It's hard to hold back a smile when you watch these children get coaxed into figuring out who they are, regardless of who they have been told to be. Watch here.
274. 'I Can't Go Back' from Pretty Woman (Samantha Barks as Vivian)
Today Show (2018)
In the stage production of Pretty Woman, Samantha Barks takes on the role made famous on screen by Julia Roberts. Here, in song, she has a moment of realizing that she has the ability to make her life what she dreams it could be. It's a song of empowerment and determination. Watch here.
275. 'Sixteen Going on Seventeen' from The Sound of Music (Andrew Keenan-Bolger,
Jay Armstrong Johnson)
Broadway Backwards (2017)
If you're like me, you grew up with The Sound of Music and singing this song while bouncing around happily. Over the years I feel like I've seen this song performed more times than I can count, always by a man and woman. In 2017 that changed, when Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Jay Armstrong Johnson did a delightful same-sex version of the song for Broadway Backwards. It is adorable in every way and I smile through it every time I see it. Watch here.
276. 'Make Someone Happy' from Do Re Mi (Audra McDonald)
The Kennedy Center (2019)
Audra McDonald's voice glides effortlessly over this sweet song about how the most important thing in life isn't fame or fortune, but connecting with someone and loving them. Watch here.
277. 'Partner in Crime' from Tuck Everlasting (Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Jesse Tuck,
Sarah Charles Lewis as Winnie)
Original Broadway Cast (2016)
Tuck Everlasting is a book that has been made into a film twice and then had a very (less than 50 performances) short run as a musical on Broadway. I'm not familiar the source material, but I found the musical enjoyable. It's about a young girl named Winnie who meets the Tuck family, who never age and appear as if they will live forever. In this song, Jesse Tuck and Winnie dream about adventures they can have together. It may not have been a hit with the critics, but I liked it and I think if I was a kid, I would have absolutely fallen in love with it. Listen here.
278. 'Shall We Dance?' from An American in Paris (Jill Paice as Milo)
Original Broadway Cast (2015-2016)
An American in Paris is based on a film of the same name, but with music from the Gershwins inserted. 'Shall We Dance?' is one of those fun numbers that always makes me tap my feet, so of course that's why I picked it. Put it on and see if you don't start dancing around your living room. Listen here.
279. 'Out of Your Head' from A Bronx Tale (Ariana DeBose as Jane, Bobby Conte
Thornton as Calogero)
Ghostlight Records (2017)
Ever since she won the Oscar for West Side Story, Ariana DeBose's star has been on the rise (really, she's everywhere!) It got me thinking about the time I saw her on stage in A Bronx Tale, based on the work by Chazz Palminteri. She played Jane, opposite Bobby Conte Thornton's Calogero, and the two depicted how fraught it was to be in an interracial relationship in the 1960s. This song is a love song that plays with both attraction and the awareness of how difficult making something of it would be. Listen here.
280. 'I Found a New Baby' from Bullets Over Broadway (Betsy Wolfe as Ellen, Zach
Braff as David)
Today Show (2014)
Bullets Over Broadway takes a lot of pre-existing music and shoehorns it into the plot of a show based on a 1990s film of the same name. To me, the highlight of it was seeing Betsy Wolfe and Zach Braff face off as a sparring couple in 'I Found a New Baby.' Watch it to see them bring down the house and throw all their energy at each other. Watch here.
281. 'If I Sing' from Closer Than Ever (Dalton Harris)
Broadway HD (2021)
Closer Than Ever is a musical revue, which means it's filled with songs that can stand on their own. Here, Dalton Harris does a wonderful job with 'If I Sing,' which is a beautiful tribute to fatherhood, passing generations, and the power of music. Watch here.
282. 'Another Winter in a Summer Town' from Grey Gardens (Christine Ebersole as
Original Broadway Cast (2006-2007)
Grey Gardens is, without a doubt, the most depressing musical I have ever seen, and I have seen many depressing musicals. Based on a documentary about a mother and daughter ("Big" Edie and "Little" Edie) who, in the 1970s, were living in a decrepit home in the Hamptons called Grey Gardens. The show contains a time jump, the first act showing all the potential of "Little" Edie's life, and the second act showing what actually happened to her. In this song, she talks about the darkness of winter in a place where everyone only comes to vacation in the warmer weather, and her loneliness and depression is palpable. Listen here.
283. 'Once Upon a December' from Anastasia (Christy Altomare as Anya, Ensemble)
NBC Nightly News (2017)
I absolutely love the animated film Anastasia, so I was very excited for the stage production. While I do have some gripes about how it was adapted (I may never forgive them for cutting 'In the Dark of the Night', which I consider to be one of the world's best villain songs) there's no doubt that 'Once Upon a December' remains as hauntingly beautiful as always. We are lucky to have the opportunity to watch it, still. Watch here.
284. 'The Beautiful Game' from The Beautiful Game (Company)
Original Cast (2000)
When this recording was released, my friend who lived in the UK sent it my way. I've still never had the opportunity to see it on stage, but there's something about it that sweeps me away to another time and place. 'The Beautiful Game' refers to football (soccer, to Americans) which is sadly much more revered as a sport across the Atlantic than it is here, and this musical places football at the center of the action while also dealing with a very tumultuous, dangerous time in Northern Ireland: the Troubles. Before political turmoil kicks off in the show, this number sets the stage, showing everyday life--and everyday love of football. It really draws you in and makes you feel like you're in Northern Ireland in the later 1900s. Listen here.
285. 'Fly into the Future' from Vanities (Lauren Kennedy as Mary)
Original Cast (2009)
Vanities is not based on a film, but it is based on a book of the same name. It is a small show that follows the lives of a trio of friends from high school through adulthood. As a long-term Lauren Kennedy fan (her album of Jason Robert Brown music is awesome!) I knew I had to see the 2009 production, and of course I chose one of her songs to feature here. It's a number about declaring who you don't want to be, as much as who you do want to be, and racing toward whatever the future holds. I'm often surprised I don't hear it performed out of context more often. Listen here.