Welcome! Congratulations! You made it to the end. I have now completed providing you, dear Reader, with a list of 365 songs from different theatrical productions. Most times it was easy because I was pulling my favorites out of the air, but others caused me to really sit and think about my next choice, because my brain kept wanting to pull other songs I liked from shows I'd already used. Ultimately, though, I think I managed to showcase a wide array of songs (from the popular to the all-but-forgotten) and performers. I hope you have enjoyed this series and the music it featured as much as I did creating it.
346. 'Donny Novitski' from Bandstand (Corey Cott as Donny)
Original Broadway Cast (2017)
Set around the conclusion of World War II, Bandstand is a show about veterans attempting to reintegrate into society. In this song, Corey Cott's Donny sets the stage for the rest of the show. He hears an advertisement on the radio for a competition for the best new song written to honor those serving/who have served in the military. Donny sees this as a golden opportunity because not only is he a musician but he is a musician with experience serving. This song serves as his moment of realization that he could possibly win the contest, if all the pieces he needs to help with that fall into place. Watch here.
347. 'All I've Ever Known' from Hadestown (Eva Noblezada as Eurydice, Reeve
Carney as Orpheus)
Maestra Music (2021)
I picked this song because I have so many friends with deep interest in mythology. This musical is based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and in 'All I've Ever Known', Eva's Eurydice realizes she's falling in love with Reeve's Orpheus, while Reeve's Orpheus reflects on how lucky he is to be with her, too. Watch here.
348. 'Living in the Shadows' from Victor/Victoria (Julie Andrews as Victoria Grant)
Original Broadway Cast (1995-1997)
I remember so well walking through midtown in the mid-1990s and seeing ads for this production all over the place. In fact, to this day if someone says 'Julie Andrews' to me, one of the first things that comes to mind is her dressed in the suit from the poster for the show. I picked this song because I wanted to showcase a Julie solo from this musical about the complexity of pretending you're someone you aren't. Listen here.
349. 'I Got You' from Bring it On (Company)
Bring it On may be a classic film about competing cheerleaders, but the entirety of my exposure to it was from the stage production. The show is obviously built on intense conflict but this song is from the end of the show, when everything is finally settled and they get to just, well, celebrate how it all worked out. It's a good one for when you're feeling the need to have a sing along with your friends. Watch here.
350. 'My Body' from The Life (Company)
The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1997)
The Life takes a look at Times Square before it became a cleaned up, family-friendly place. I never got to see it, but I have clear memories of seeing Lillias White and rest of the company do promotional performances. One of those memories I had, was of this performance of 'My Body' from The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Why do I remember it? I'm not sure. But I was pleased to see it on YouTube so that I could share it. It's a group of woman sex workers responding to the unwanted passing implications of damnation from a religious group by reminding them them that they can do whatever they want with their own bodies if it's going to help them survive. Watch here.
351. 'I am the Starlight'/'Light at the End of the Tunnel' from Starlight Express (Greg
Mowry as Rusty, Steve Fowler as Poppa, Company)
Tony Awards (1987)
Starlight Express was way more popular in the UK than it was in the US, and it is one of the most bizarre and unique musicals out there. Not only does the cast spend a great deal of time careening around the stage on roller skates (even more so than in the later musical, Xanadu, which I featured early on this list) but it's literally about a child's dream of train engines and the replacement of steam power with newer methods. You can't say they didn't think outside the box with this one. Honestly, I didn't have a specific song I wanted to showcase from this show, so I picked the Tony Awards performance because you just need to see the cast in action. Watch here.
352. 'Do the Work' from Prince of Broadway (Company)
Original Broadway Cast (2017)
The 'prince' in the title Prince of Broadway is Hal Prince, because this musical is an ode to all of the shows that he produced over the course of his career. It's a true revue, so the songs are drawn from somewhere else, except for one called 'Do the Work', which is why I chose it. Written by Jason Robert Brown for the production, this song features the whole company and it's as much about literally doing the work as it is about having the courage to tell the stories you think need to be told. Listen here.
353. 'First Date/Last Night' from Dogfight (Derek Klena a Birdlace, Lindsay Mendez
When Dogfight premiered in New York, I remember it being something everyone was talking about. The story is set in the 1960s and it's about a Marine named Birdlace who falls in love with a woman named Rose on the night when he's meant to be having a last hurrah with his friends before deployment...the same night where he subjects Rose to a terrible prank. This song takes place after the prank (which I won't give away because, plot) when Birdlace and Rose agree to put what happened behind them and go on a first date. Watch here.
354. 'How Will I Know?' from Death Takes a Holiday (Jill Paice as Grazia)
Original Off-Broadway Cast (2011)
If you've ever had something happen to you that you didn't expect, but it made you realize that suddenly life is extremely different, and probably won't ever be the same again, this is the song for you. Listen here.
355. 'The Way it Ought to Be' from A Tale of Two Cities (Natalie Toro as Mme
Defarge, Kevin Earley as Ernest Defarge, People of Paris)
International Studio Cast (2015)
A Tale of Two Cities is based on the famous Dickens' book of the same title about the French Revolution. Early in this musical adaptation this song, the Defarges and the Parisians look at the France they've always known and the bloody fight they're willing to go through to get the country to be the way they want it to be. Shout out to my friend Joe who was absolutely OBSESSED with this musical for years. Listen here.
356. 'At the Fountain' from Sweet Smell of Success (Brian d'Arcy James as Sidney)
The Rosie O'Donnell Show (2002)
Brian d'Arcy James is one of those performers whose name I'm always happy to see pop up in a show. In 'At the Fountain' Brian's character Sidney, a frustrated press agent, sings about how he finally--finally--feels like he is about to see all his professional dreams come true. Watch here.
357. 'Other People's Stories' from Amour (Melissa Errico as Isabelle)
Original Broadway Cast (2003)
In Amour, the character of Isabelle isn't allowed to go out and live life herself (courtesy of an abusive husband) so she spends a lot of time living vicariously through others. 'Other People's Stories' shows how her life is confined to following the adventures and wondering about the secrets of the famous and, well, anyone allowed to actually do things. It's got a charming melody and melancholy meaning. Listen here.
358. 'Nowhere Left to Run' from Amazing Grace (Chuck Cooper as Thomas)
Original Broadway Cast (2015)
Chuck Cooper has such an iconic voice and he shows it off perfectly here. This song is from a musical (loosely) about a man named John Newton, who wrote the famous hymn 'Amazing Grace'. He also went from being a slave trader to an abolitionist. In 'Nowhere Left to Run' Chuck's Thomas, an enslaved man, confronts John, pointing out to him that no matter how much he claims he has no choices, he actually does, and one day his guilt over how he's treating others through his behavior is going to catch up with him. It is a beautifully-sung moment of calling an oppressor on his crimes. It's hard to listen to it without being moved. Listen here.
359. 'Gold' from Camille Claudel (Linda Eder)
Linda Eder Official YouTube Channel (2013)
The real Camille Claudel was an artist (sculptor) whose life spanned from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. The musical about her life focuses on her relationship (toxic as it was at times) with fellow artist Auguste Rodin. Here, near the end of the show, Camille gets a stunning solo number performed by one of my all-time favorite singers, Linda Eder, reflecting on her life and career. Really though, it could be about anything and Linda would make it tremendous, it's what she does. Listen here.
360. 'Someone Woke Up' from Do I Hear a Waltz? (Betsy Wolfe)
If It Only Even Runs a Minute IX (2012)
I'm always in a Sondheim mood, so I started to think about which musicals he was involved in that I hadn't shared yet. Do I Hear a Waltz? isn't one of his most popular shows, but of course it contains some gems, like this one. If I ever get to Venice, you can bet I'll spend a few minutes singing this bouncy ode to falling in love with the city as soon as you arrive in it to myself. Watch here.
361. 'I'd Rather Be Sailing' from A New Brain (Jonathan Groff)
Barnes and Noble (2015)
I spent many years listening to John Barrowman sing this song on one of his solo albums and thinking I'd never love anyone else's version, then Jonathan Groff came along and earned a spot matching my appreciation for the Barrowman rendition. This song is smooth and thoughtful and all about a man dealing with a terrible medical condition who would much rather be out on the sea sailing with his beloved boyfriend. Watch here.
362. 'I've Got Things to Say' from Waiting for the Moon (Jarrod Emick as F. Scott
Waiting for the Moon has had several titles over the years (including Zelda), but when I first saw it down in North Carolina a lifetime ago, this was the name. I absolutely, 100%, fell in love with this Wildhorn musical about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Instead of telling the story from one of Fitzgerald's books, it takes a look at their relationship. To my continued heartbreak, there has never been a professional recording of the score. I spent so much time this year hoping to find a great version of it because I didn't want to have to share something that was probably not on the up and up. That said, my adoration of the score means I ultimately decided (as time was running out) that I had to share it, no matter what. Here, Jarrod Emick's Fitzgerald dreams of being a successful writer in a song with a pacing, melody, and rhythm I find absolutely beautiful. I only wish I could share the entire score. Listen here.
363. 'Come to Your Senses' from tick, tick...BOOM! (Raúl Esparza)
MCC Miscast (2022)
On the original cast recording of tick, tick...BOOM! this song was performed by Amy Spanger, while Raúl Esparza played a different role--the lead one that represented the composer, Jonathan Larson. 'Come to Your Senses' is a gorgeous number and it was extremely popular when I was coming up, to the point where people were told they probably shouldn't sing it unless they wanted to be just like everyone else. In context, it's a song from a show within a show, but it stands alone superbly as a call for the singer's partner to not let their relationship completely fall apart. It's a song I always planned to feature and when Raúl decided to perform it for Miscast some 20 years after the show's original debut, I knew I'd use his version, because it's so darn good. Watch here.
364. 'Take Her to the Mardi Gras' from Thou Shalt Not (Harry Connick, Jr.)
Harry on Broadway (2006)
I was absolutely hellbent on including a song from Thou Shalt Not on this list, only it took me forever to accept that I would not be able to include the song I wanted. Thou Shalt Not was an utter flop, based on the novel Thérèse Raquin, which was set in New Orleans, involved an awkwardly-staged sex scene, and Norbert Leo Butz as a ghost tormenting the the lovers who killed him. The song I wanted to share is called 'Tug Boat' and it was eerie and set up the death scene of Norbert's character, Camille. However, it's not readily available in a legitimate version anywhere. After searching for nearly a whole year, I gave up, but I still wanted to feature this jazzy, dark show because despite the years, I still remember seeing it like it was yesterday. So, I turned to the recording done by Harry Connick, Jr., who composed Thou Shalt Not, and picked my favorite of the songs he chose to feature, 'Take Her to the Mardi Gras', which is decidedly less depressing than 'Tug Boat' and was a perfect choice for the start of Mardi Gras, when I was originally tweeting these selections. Listen here.
365. 'Move On' from Sunday in the Park with George (Jenna Russell as Dot, Daniel
Evans as George)
Tony Awards (2008)
I knew 'Move On' was going to be my final song for this list pretty early on in making it. It just seemed all too appropriate. Sunday in the Park with George is a classic, looking at the intersection of life and the creation of art (centering on artist Georges Seurat as he works on his famous pointillism piece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte). It's about continuing to move forward and discovering what the world has to offer and what you have to offer the world, and so much more. Watch here.
Thank you, yes you, for following along with me all this time. I hope I've introduced you to new music and that you now have a playlist bursting with all of your favorites!