365 Days of Musical Theater: 91-105
This segment of my 365 Days of Musical Theater adventure was significant to me because I cross the 100 songs line! I've now covered over 100 fabulous songs from 100 different musicals and I'm not even 1/3 of the way through the year!
In addition to celebrating song 100 on a beach with Mamma Mia!, this installment includes my favorite take on a Carousel classic, an oft-forgotten show that my medievalist friends in particular should love, a blood-thirsty vampire girl's song performed by Elton John, a wonderful Miss Saigon clip featuring my favorite Chris and Kim, and multiple songs where women tell it like it is with no holding back.
These songs were originally tweeted between May 24, 2022 and June 7, 2022.
91. 'Run Away with Me' from The Mad Ones--formerly The Unauthorized
Autobiography of Samantha Brown (Aaron Tveit) Concert at the Zipper Theater (2008) I don't remember how I came across this song initially, but I know it was this version, so it was probably during Aaron Tveit's run in next to normal. What I do remember is that I was instantly in love with it. It is an honest, heartfelt, dream-filled plea for the love of your life to be with you. It was also something that I really, really wanted to sing, so when I went to a Musical Theater intensive in the summer of 2010, it was in my regular rotation. I remember those days so fondly, and I love revisiting the song whenever I get the chance, so there was no way I would skip out on including it. A YouTube search for 'Run Away with Me' will bring up dozens of interpretations, but Aaron's has always been my favorite. Watch here.
92. 'I Don't Remember Christmas' from Starting Here, Starting Now (Christiane
Noll) A Broadway Love Story album (1998)
In the late 1990s, Christiane Noll was slaying it as Emma, Dr. Jekyll's fiancee, in Jekyll and Hyde and as a fan I purchased her solo album. Through this, I first heard 'I Don't Remember Christmas', a fabulous song about what happens when you realize you have stopped missing the person you are no longer with (or at least, want to convince someone that is the cast). I knew the song was from the Maltby and Shire revue Starting Here, Starting Now but I loved Noll's interpretation so much that I never looked into a cast recording from the actual show. As a result, despite all my years of loving theater and this song, I must admit that I only recently realized that in Starting Here, Starting Now (at least as far as the cast recording I heard was concerned) it was sung by a man. It just goes to show that in so many cases, equally great versions of a song can come from many different performers. Listen here.
93. 'Maybe This Time' from Cabaret (Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles)
New Broadway Cast (1998-2004)
Although I've seen Cabaret many times (my favorite Sally was Sienna Miller) and never actually saw Natasha Richardson in the role, this was the cast recording I always listened to. I've also always felt that 'Cabaret' was an overrated number and 'Maybe This Time' was Sally's greatest moment. It's also just a phenomenal song. (The TV series Schitt's Creek clearly agrees with me in a way, they used 'Maybe This Time' as a significant moment in the arc of the character Stevie.) Listen here.
94. 'Amsterdam' from Passing Strange (Ensemble)
Original Broadway Cast (2008)
I had a friend who really loved Passing Strange, the musical about a young Black man (he isn't given a name, but is called Youth) growing up and seeking to become a successful musical artist. My friend was very clear to me that the show was extremely loud, and I read in several other places that this was true. So, when I went, I purposely bought a seat on an upper level and in the back, hoping it would soften the sound. Then, when I picked up my ticket, I learned they had bumped me down to the front orchestra, dead center. I hoped for the best, but I ended up missing parts of the show because the extreme sound was so much that I could feel my chair vibrating and left it with a serious headache. This could have meant I hated my experience, but I didn't. In particular, I loved the song 'Amsterdam' which occurs when Youth arrives in the city and is confronted with all that such a metropolis has to offer. Luckily, the cast recording is only super loud if you pump up the volume, so you can enjoy it without fear. Listen here.
95. 'Soliloquy' from Carousel (Michael Hayden as Billy Bigelow)
Broadway Revival Cast (1994-1995)
I was feeling nostalgic as a round-numbered anniversary of my high school graduation was approaching. That nostalgia caused me to think about Carousel, the musical we did my senior year. When I was cast in it, I immediate got a professional recording to play over and over, and the 1990s Broadway revival cast was the one I chose. It's incredibly difficult to do Billy's lengthy 'Soliloquy' in which he ruminates on the news he is going to become a parent, and I found Michael Hayden's recording of it wonderful. Billy is not a great person, but Hayden definitely humanized him and for the length of this song, he had me in the palm of his hand. Listen here.
96. 'Last Night of the World' from Miss Saigon (Lea Salonga as Kim and Will Chase
as Chris) The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1999)
The first show I ever saw Will Chase in was Miss Saigon, as Chris, but unfortunately there is no (that I've found, anyway) professional recording of his 'Why, God, Why?' although I wish there was because my memory is that it was absolutely stunning. Luckily, though, I found this clip of Will and the incomparable Lea Salonga singing 'Last Night of the World' together from an appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show in 1999, so you get to see my favorite Miss Saigon pairing in action. Watch here.
97. 'What Makes a Man' from Allegiance (Telly Leung as Sammy Kimura) Original Broadway Cast (2015-2016)
Listening to Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon for #96 made me segue into thinking about Allegiance, the Broadway show she starred in alongside George Takei, that was based on his family's experience during World War II, when Americans of Japanese descent were removed from their homes and forced into 'relocation centers'/'internment camps' where they were incarcerated, often for years. You can read more about it here. I view Allegiance as an underappreciated, but incredibly important, musical about American history and I chose 'What Makes a Man' (in which Telly Leung's Sammy contemplates masculinity, tradition, patriotism, and a way out of their situation) to feature because I think it serves as a good entry point into the show. This musical was professionally recorded, and I highly suggest watching it if you can. Listen here.
98. 'Hell No'/'The Color Purple (reprise)' from The Color Purple (Felicia P. Fields as
Sofia, LaChanze as Celie, Company) Tony Awards Performance (2006)
The original Broadway production of The Color Purple may not have featured the now super-famous Oprah Winfrey as Sofia like the movie did, but it did have the extraordinarily talented Felicia P. Fields whose number, 'Hell No', brought down the house as she made it very clear that a woman needs to now how to stand up for herself and not take abuse from their significant others. Watch here.
99. 'I'm a Monarchist' from Blondel (Paul Nicholas as Blondel + 'the Blondettes')
London Cast Recording (1983)
At some point when I was in college studying medieval history, one of my friends asked me if I'd ever heard of Blondel, a musical (or rather, a pop/rock opera not unlike Jesus Christ Superstar in style) set in the middle ages during the Crusades, about a musician attempting to write his first big hit for King Richard the Lionheart. Early in it, he reveals his song, 'I'm a Monarchist' which makes this historian chuckle with delight. It's one of the shows I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find to share, but I did! Huzzah! Listen here.
100. 'Lay All Your Love on Me' from Mamma Mia! (Dominic Cooper as Sky, Amanda
Seyfried as Sophie) Film version (2008)
For day 100, I told myself to pick something that was just pure fun and contained a performer I love. I found the stage production of Mamma Mia! enjoyable (thanks, ABBA classics!) but the film has my heart entirely for this scene of Dominic Cooper singing a duet on the beach. I have fond memories of going to see the film in theaters so, even though I knew I should have used the cast recording, since it was a special day (100 songs is a lot!) I let my fangirl flag fly and went with the film scene. Watch here.
101. 'I Am What I Am' from La Cage aux Folles (Douglas Hodge as Albin)
New Broadway Cast Recording (2010-2011)
As Pride month was starting, I thought it was a good idea to pull out a classic anthem to recognize all those celebrating. I've seen many versions of La Cage, and the emotion Douglas Hodge put into this song is my favorite, so there you have it. Listen here.
102. 'I Want More' from Lestat (Elton John singing the Claudia part)
Demos for what ultimately became the 2006 Broadway production
Just like I'm the person you know who enjoyed Lennon, I am also the person you know who loved Elton John's score for Lestat (yes, as in the famous vampire). Although the Broadway production based on Anne Rice's novels didn't last very long and a cast recording was never properly released, demos (like the one here) and other aspects of the musical have made their way onto YouTube over the years. I've always thought this show was underrated, and songs like 'I Want More' deserved a longer life. Here, Elton John's demo shows him singing a song that would belong to the character Claudia, a young woman who has become a vampire and, well, constantly craves blood. It's a great song to listen to and a fun one to sing. I'll always hold out hope that the cast recording that was created eventually gets an official release because Allison Fischer did a phenomenal job as Claudia on stage. Listen here.
103. 'Mr. Hopalong Heartbreak' from Urban Cowboy (Lauren Kennedy)
Here and Now album (2007)
Much like Lestat, Urban Cowboy wasn't on Broadway for long. Also like Lestat, it had some good music, primarily this country-inspired anthem where a woman (Sissy) tells a man exactly where he can stick it. If you need to feel empowered or want to tell someone they don't get your time anymore, this one is great for it. In fact, it'd probably be great to pair with 'I Don't Remember Christmas' when it comes to theme and energy, both are perfect for breakups. Listen here.
104. 'Everybody's Girl' from Steel Pier (Debra Monk)
My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies (1998) When I was a kid, watching My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies like the musical theater devotee that I was, Debra Monk's performance of 'Everybody's Girl' struck me as utterly scandalous. I loved Monk's boldness and the lyrics laden with entertaining sexual humor--she is, after all, singing about being everybody's girl. As funny as this song is to listen to, you will benefit more from watching her, because she sells it so well that you'll be thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Watch here.
105. 'Madeleine' from Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Elly Stone,
Mort Shuman, Shawn Elliott, and Alice Whitfield) Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording (1968)
There are a lot of great songs in this revue of Jacques Brel music in English translation, but 'Madeleine' is probably my favorite. Why? Because it is so damn catchy. Want a giddy, peppy song about a man who waits for a woman named Madeleine with the same success as those hoping Godot will show up? This is the song for you. Heck, even if you don't think it'll be up your alley, give it a try because I promise you, it will make you bop. It's a good song to end this installment, because it will stay with you. Listen here.