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365 Days of Musical Theater: 331-345


Photograph of a pair of large headphones laying sideways above the numbers 331 - 345

The end of our musical theater adventure is quickly approaching! It's hard to believe that we are in the penultimate entry (also, I recently saw Bad Cinderella and, since this list is already frozen, I can't add a song from it, but I do want to say you need to hear the title number, it is SO catchy and I am obsessed).


At this point in my list I had to really sit down and think about what songs I wanted to use. I'd already included so many of my favorite musicals, while others were being saved for the final stretch. As a result, I started to think back even more and pull out songs that I liked from shows you may not hear about that often. So, for while there are some beloved classics here (like Nine or Ain't Misbehavin'), there are also many selections from shows you might never have heard of because they didn't truly infiltrate the zeitgeist...but honestly, that can make them even more fun to hear. I hope you love these. Thank you for being with me for 345 songs, and please come back soon to see how this all ends!



331. 'Unusual Way' from Nine (Laura Benanti as Claudia)

Broadway Revival (2003)

Although Laura Benanti was in a revival of Nine, her version of this song was the first one I ever heard and is the one I think of whenever it is mentioned. In it, the character of Claudia expresses her feelings for a man who can never return her love, at least not the love she wants from him. I've never been a huge fan of Nine in general, but 'Unusual Way' is a moving and vulnerable moment that I definitely appreciate. Listen here.


332. 'I Wanna Be a Rockette' from Kicks (Karen Ziemba)

My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies (1998)

'I Wanna Be a Rockette' is about exactly what the title says, and for years, I wondered when this musical would show up somewhere. Years later, there were articles about how Kicks might finally be getting its moment in the sun. To the best of my knowledge, that day still hasn't come (and it certainly, at least, hasn't come on Broadway). In any case, we still have this Broadway-worthy number from the show that's perfect for someone dreaming big. Watch here.


333. 'Like a Rolling Stone' from The Times They Are A-Changin' (Michael Arden as

Coyote)

The View (2006)

I've never been a big fan of Bob Dylan music but I've been a Michael Arden fan forever, which is why I wanted to go see The Times They Are A-Changin' back in the day. Unfortunately, the day I went was the day he was out. The show was messy and strange and involved clowns and I still don't know what I think of it, but I wanted to feature it because no one ever does. Luckily, we have Arden's performance from The View to watch which is the closest I ever got to seeing him in the show. Watch here.


334. 'We are the Champions' from We Will Rock You (Tony Vincent as Galileo,

Company)

London Cast Recording (2002)

My friend who lived in the UK absolutely loved We Will Rock You when it first was staged there. I was interested in it at the time because of my love for Tony Vincent from when he played Judas in the Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. He was so phenomenal that I am still sad the 2000 Broadway version wasn't given a cast recording. When my friend sent me the We Will Rock You cast recording, I was eager to listen to it. Although the show itself seemed a little strange (it was extremely futuristic) I once again was moved by the power of Tony Vincent's vocals. It's hard to do Freddie Mercury's music and succeed at it, but he was vocally beyond what I could have hoped. 'We are the Champions' has always been my favorite Queen song, so that's why you get it. Listen here.


335. 'License to Chill' from Escape to Margaritaville (Paul Alexander Nolan as Tully,

Company)

NBC Nightly News (2018)

If you're a Jimmy Buffett fan, this beach-world set jukebox musical is for you. It's an ode to all things partying and living that Margaritaville life. This song, 'License to Chill', comes early in the show and gives you an idea of its setting and tone. I picked it for two reasons. First, because I love Paul Alexander Nolan's voice and, second, because I love these 360 videos where you can play with it and feel like you are embedded in the stage. No matter what you think of Buffett music, if you enjoy theater, you'll want to check out the way this was filmed, it's a good time. Watch here.


336. 'Intermission Song' from A Strange Loop (Company)

The Tonight Show (2022)

A perfect show for Pride Month, A Strange Loop has an exciting premise that is very meta. It's about a queer man who is working as a theater usher when his thoughts (the chorus, played by a group of fabulous singers) start poking him about how he should be writing a musical about his life experience. More than just a Tony winner, this show also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and, honestly, the adoration of every single person I know who saw it--which almost never happens. Watch here.


337. 'Be a Man' from Zanna, Don't! (Jai Rodriguez as Zanna, Ensemble)

World Premiere Recording (2003)

Also perfect for Pride month, Zanna, Don't! is a musical about a world where being heterosexual is the exception to the rule and being homosexual is the norm. I particularly love this song, not least of all because it's a celebration of the world's famous gay men from history. It's clever and entertaining and such a smart way to show how a person's lens (in this case, sexuality) influences their view of everything about the world. Listen here.


338. 'It's About Magic' from Merlin (George Lee Andrews as Old Merlin, Company)

Tony Awards (1983)

Merlin wasn't a massive success, but it has such a phenomenal 1980s vibe that I can't help but be charmed by the footage I've seen of it. Plus, if you want to really feel old, check out the original Playbill. The cast included Nathan Lane, Christian Slater, and Chita Rivera. Here, though, you'll get a great introduction to the show in all of its magical 1980s glory. The song might even stick in your head a little bit, too. Watch here.


339. 'Mean to Me' from Ain't Misbehavin' (Nell Carter)

My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies (1998)

Ain't Misbehavin' is a revue, and my first encounter with it was through Nell Carter's performance of 'Mean to Me' in this concert. It particularly is an ode to the music of places like the Cotton Club and Harlem's amazing music scene featuring Fats Waller. As a child, though, I didn't know all of this background. All I knew was that Nell Carter was a force to be reckoned with and even just watching her sing this on television felt like an honor. She leaves nothing on the table in this performance. Watch here.


340. 'Airport Song' from Honeymoon in Vegas (Ticket Agents and Ensemble)

Original Broadway Cast (2014-2015)

This number is stupid and silly and extraordinarily funny. The premise? There is a desperate need to get a flight to Las Vegas but every single one detours through Atlanta. If you live in the US and know that Atlanta is an absolutely massive connection hub, this song hits particularly hard in the amusing department. Listen here.


341. 'The Woman's Dead' from Curtains (Company)

Original Broadway Cast (2007-2008)

Curtains is an amusing musical about a murder mystery set in the mid-20th century. 'The Woman's Dead' is a great song to get a feel for its sense of humor. Yes, a woman really is dead, but, well, no one is upset about it because she was kind of terrible. Enjoy. Listen here.


342. 'Deep Beneath the City' from In Transit (Company)

Playbill (2016)

An entirely a cappella musical about New York City is the sort of thing I find delightful. This song is about the characters' love/hate relationship with the MTA. Listen to enjoy the harmonies, the super-relatable theme, or both. Watch here.


343. 'Joy of the Lord' from Hands on a Hardbody (Keala Settle as Norma, Company)

Ghostlight Records (2013)

Hands on a Hardbody has the unique (based on a documentary) concept of being about a group of people competing in a contest where you win by being the last person with their hand remaining on the car. It forces the characters into constant contact until they withdraw their hand-either on purpose or by accident-and this format gave time for each character to get their moment in the sun. My favorite, when I saw it, was when Keala Settle let loose in 'Joy of the Lord.' The song comes at a point where her character, Norma, is at her wit's end. She can't stop laughing to the point of alarm, and then truly brings it with this fabulous number. Watch here.



344. 'Selling Out' from American Psycho (Benjamin Walker as Patrick Bateman)

American Psycho YouTube Channel (2016)

American Psycho started as a novel before becoming a famous film starring Christian Bale and then taking on life as a stage musical. The US version featured Benjamin Walker as Patrick Bateman, a business man who also happens to be a serial killer. The show was dark and twisted and, well, not for me. I decided to share it, though, because my friend Allison loved it beyond all measure. This song come early in the show, helping to establish the world, which is why I picked it. Watch here.


345. 'If I Had My Time Again' from Groundhog Day (Barrett Doss as Rita, Andy Karl

as Phil)

Masterworks (2017)

The only appropriate song to tweet on Groundhog Day was one from the musical based on the film of that name. In it, Barrett Doss' Rita, having learned that Andy Karl's Phil has been reliving the same day over and over again, sings about how silly it is when people say they would do things exactly the same because if she had the ability to relive times in her life, there are many things she would change. Watch here.



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