quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot


Happy Music Monday! As you may have noticed, all genres are fair game around here. And what's perhaps the most American genre of all? No, not the blues. No, not jazz. No, not rock. No, not- look, we're just gonna say it: it's the musical, okay? And we're not going to debate it with "facts" and "logic" because we've said it, and that's how it is. Today Scott's looking at five great musical numbers, then asking you to share your own. Here's the first:

West Side Story - Cool


I had to fight the urge to just post five West Side Story songs, I admit. But if I have to pick just one, "Cool" is the one I'd pick. It's the best balance of form and function as it both serves the plot, demonstrates character growth, sounds amazing and offers a long-term business strategy you can snap to yourself before a meeting with your bosses. Not that I've ever done that, of course.

More inside, after the jump. See you there, we hope...

Sweeney Todd - A Little Priest


Musicals speak through metaphors, sure, but very rarely so directly as Sweeney Todd. Here we see two people falling in love over meat pies made from various members of their society. Almost the same as West Side Story's One Hand, One Heart (see, I warned you I'd sneak it back in) but with much more of an edge. Also it's worth noting that I saw this version before I saw Disney's Beauty & The Beast so Angela Lansbury's teapot took a much darker tone to me.

Bye Bye Birdie - How Lovely To Be A Woman


There's something very sweet about this ode to what a teenager thinks a grown-up's life will be. Half the charm is in how wrong the lyrics are (pick out a boy and train him?) and it's like watching a kitten slap flight right before taking a nap. Bye Bye Birdie is possibly the most middle-class of all musicals, but history is history, right? If we can watch Victorian barbers eat people, we can surely handle 1957's gender politics.

The Lion King - Circle Of Life


For a great many people alive today, musical theater began with this Disney movie. This big, sweeping opening set the regal tone for the story of a young lion taking his place as king. Pretty much as efficient an opening setup as Disney's ever managed to create.

Chess - Nobody's Side


Chess is one of those musicals that just gets weirder the more you look into it. Not only is it a musical set around a chess game and a love story, it's also a metaphor for the Cold War, written by half of ABBA, and the origin of '80s crap-rock hit One Night In Bangkok. And yet, hearing people sing about relationships while people talk about chess grandmasters- well, maybe it's just me, but that's the kind of thing that should be a train wreck. How can a song about a chess referee even be enjoyable? And yet, somehow,Chess makes it all come out … well, not perfect, but at least listenable. Maybe it's just the slick synth-pop style but I gotta put it on my list, though I understand if it's not on yours. We all have our dark secrets when it comes to musicals, right?

Now's your chance to confess, friends, on our forums. What are your "proud-to-own"s and "ashamed-how-much-I-love"s in the musical theater? We want to know! And after you answer, hit up our Turntable.fm room for the regular Music Monday enjoyment. Also, let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use.

Quality Posts


quality posts: 41 Private Messages chicken0102

I definitely have to agree about the selections from "West Side Story" and "The Lion King".

I also have to toss some in from "The Phantom of the Opera":
"Think of Me"
"The Phantom of the Opera"
"The Music of the Night"
"All I Ask of You"


quality posts: 59 Private Messages RWoodward

Have to go with the classics. Robert Preston in "The Music Man." Any show where you try to woo a straight-laced but less than pure bookworm by rhyming Librarian with Carrion can't be wrong.


quality posts: 10 Private Messages optia

My favorite is the Superhero one: Last Hero on Earth

"What... if...
I were a superhero with a cape and a mask,
Give me some kinda powers and give me a task,
Give me one little chance and that's all that I ask
And I promise I'd stand tall,
I'd be the greatest superhero of them all!"....


quality posts: 13 Private Messages hefty244

Grease....seriously, all the songs were the movie soundtrack to my youth.

Now that I'm older and have seen the play in its many incarnations I see how cheesy they made the movie...but I don't care!

Summer Lovin' had me a blast...


quality posts: 83 Private Messages mossygreen

One of my deepest and most shameful secrets is a deep love of Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, which is entirely the result of having an older older sister obsessed with Evita.

It was impossible to choose a song, so here is Mandy Patinkin singing High Flying Adored over a montage of photos. I've always loved that Tim Rice's lyrics were never meant to be taken out of context, are a direct part of the plot and had no potential as cross-over hits. In that spirit, here is Herod's Song from Jesus Christ Superstar.

Sometimes musicals are about workers' rights or unsuccessful improv classes!

I'm going to put my movie musical choices in another comment, because they are little off-topic (no one's putting Hans Christian Andersen onstage to the best of my knowledge, because we do not live in an age of giants).

PS the greatest stage musicals are probably Guys and Dolls and Kiss Me, Kate. I don't care what anybody else says.


quality posts: 1 Private Messages dhcolbert

Mine's not as much about a single great song from a musical, but Les Miserable's masterful weaving of the same musical/lyrical lines with opposite meaning throughout the whole show.

There are many examples, but one of my favorites is how both Jean Valjean and Javert use the same melody and lyrics for the line "I am reaching, but I fall...".

While Valjean falls into a hopeful and forward looking place Javert falls to his death.

There are several other examples that get even more complex:

  1. Fantine/Valjean death scenes.
  2. "One Day More" weaving six separate stories in one line.
  3. Cosette/Marius/Eponine love song.

Slays me every time.


quality posts: 12 Private Messages tslothrop

The Old Devil Moon comes out of nowhere in Finian's Rainbow, seeming totally out of place, an old standard right in the middle of the movie. Then again, it is an old standard now...

Finian's Rainbow, with its overt anti-racism so extreme it almost appears racist, is a rare, glorious gem - mostly in green - that I am compelled to record every time it comes on. Then again, I could watch Barbra Hancock dance in the rain until the cows come home...


quality posts: 3 Private Messages lalligood

IMHO, it doesn't get any funnier in musicals than Avenue Q's "The Internet Is For clop material"

(HAHAHA The song title got censored!)


quality posts: 3 Private Messages hockeyfrog

Shpadoinkle Day, from Cannibal, The Musical!


quality posts: 1 Private Messages rcross126

The Lusty Month of May from Camelot (particularly the Vanessa Redgrave movie version over Julie Andrews on the Original Cast Recording)
La Vie Boheme from Rent (dope and masturbation all in one song...)
The Triangle Trade from 1776
everything Tim Curry does in Rocky Horror
You Won't Succeed on Broadway if You Don't Have Any Jews from SPAMALOT


quality posts: 1 Private Messages rcross126
lalligood wrote:IMHO, it doesn't get any funnier in musicals than Avenue Q's "The Internet Is For clop material"

(HAHAHA The song title got censored!)

Also great from Avenue Q is "It Sucks to Be Me"


quality posts: 1 Private Messages LeximusMaximus

The opening to EVIL DEAD: The Musical is good.

Cabin in the Woods


quality posts: 1 Private Messages thehonan



quality posts: 1 Private Messages Locals3

Lee Marvin & Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon. Even Dirty Harry singing to the trees is better than having him talk to an empty chair.


Might have to watch the DVD this weekend.


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska


Back in the day, there used to be livejournal surveys that people would pass back and forth to each other. You know... "what song is your 'Ultimate love song'", etc.

Mine was FILLED with Musical references. I'll see if I can find one.


quality posts: 11 Private Messages vigilante1987

"If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof. I like Topol's version from the movie better, but here's Zero Mostel on broadway:

Godspell had a lot of great music too, probably my favorite though is "Day by Day"


quality posts: 1 Private Messages aseries

Yes, it's an opera and not a musical. Jerry Springer The Opera.
Satan and Jesus duet: F*CK YOU/TALK.


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska

Okay, couldn't find an original one.

Most of my favorite musicals have already been mentioned:

Les Miserables - My mother had this on cassette. My brother, sister, and I all used to take turns singing it until it burned into our collective memory.

I additionally had "The Dream Cast" on videocassette after watching it over and over on PBS.

My favorites -

Favorite Solo: Eponine - On my Own
(Deep, completely unrequited love that even a sad, lonely tweenager can get)

Favorite Duet: Eponine and Marius - A Little Fall of Rain
(Deep, unrequited love being very gently patted on the head and told "There, There")

Favorite Angry Mob song - (Tie!) At The End of the Day / Do You Hear The People Sing?!

Phantom of the Opera
Best Solo: This category is moot, there's only two or three of them.
I vote "Angel of Music" with Meg and Christine because Meg's so under-utilized as a character.

Best Duet: Christine and the Phantom - The Point of No Return
(So deep within the web of the Phantom's love for Christine, there IS no disentangling her now... so he thinks.)

Best Group Chorale song: Masquerade - "Masquerade! Painted faces on parade!"
Such a powerful, beautiful, gorgeous mixture of color and light on the stage, just after the fall of the chandelier in the previous act - and if you were blessed enough to be in a theatre WITH the chandalier above you... YOU HELD YOUR BREATH WHEN IT FELL.

Jekyll and Hyde
Best Solo: "Alive" — Edward Hyde
Even when sung by David Hasselhoff (the version of J&H on DVD) this song fails to lose its power. Hyde is here, everyone needs to run. ;)

Best Duet: "Dangerous Game" — Edward Hyde and Lucy Harris
I love it for so many reasons. SO many reasons. :D

Best Angry Mob Song: "Murder, Murder" — A Newsboy and Ensemble
One by one, the poor councilpersons who dared to stand against Dr Jekyll begin to fall. Tsk. The best part it, we can tell WHY they're getting more and more concerned in the song because of the dialogue in-between the choruses.

The Music Man - The Train song - best intro ever.
My sister and I broke into this one outside of "The Muny". We gathered a freaking CROWD. Then they asked if we were part of a troupe. I practically fell over.

Cats - Mister Mistoffoles - NO list is complete without this musical.
I love this song MUCH more than the "beloved ballad", because Mistoffoles has more personality. You know, for a T. S. Elliot poem.

Hm? O, srsly, though... I think "Schaudenfreude" is my favorite. At least, the only one that I can post.

The Wizard of Oz - The Jitterbug
(Go look it up. It dated the movie, so they cut it.)

White Christmas - ALL OF THEM. Sorry, sorry. That's not fair.
"Sisters, Sisters" as performed by Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby takes the cake.


quality posts: 716 Private Messages CowboyDann

All these posts and (i might have missed it, but) no love for Oklahoma?

I'm at work so I'm going to have to assume this is from the early version.

That one's a classic though. Little ol' OK is becoming a state and everyones soups excited to be there. Can't believe nobody mentioned Oklahoma.


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska
CowboyDann wrote:All these posts and (i might have missed it, but) no love for Oklahoma?

That one's a classic though. Little ol' OK is becoming a state and everyones soups excited to be there. Can't believe nobody mentioned Oklahoma.


:D Sorry, I do like both of them, selective songs, but never loved either of them.

Truth be told, I love Summerstock (Killer combo of Judy Garland and Gene Kelley), Meet Me In St. Louis (CLANG CLANG CLANG GOES THE TROLLEY), Oliver! (Fagin is the BEST), and so on and so forth. They just couldn't fit in my initial list.

Same with Urinetown, Into the Woods, and Sunday in the Park with George.


I still think the only part I could be cast as would be the witch in "Into the Woods"... but I would NEVER dare to attempt it. Besmirch Bernadette Peters role with my inability to currently sing? NEVER.


quality posts: 8 Private Messages cbrett42

I'm late to the game, but there are a few I don't think have been mentioned yet, so I have to chime in.

Little Shop of Horrors is my favorite musical (though I acknowledge it's not the best). There are several great songs, it's hard to choose between Skid Row (Downtown), Somewhere That's Green, Dentist!, and Suddenly Seymour.

Oklahoma! has been mentioned, and again has lots of songs I could mention, but I've always really enjoyed Ado Annie's I Cain't Say No.

Jekyll & Hyde was mentioned, but I don't think No One Knows Who I Am has been. I find it hauntingly beautiful.

Another couple of favorites are Cell Block Tango and Mister Cellophane from Chicago.

Unless I missed it, I don't think anyone's mentioned Wicked (my pick would be For Good), Dreamgirls (And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going is a classic), La Cage Aux Folles (I Am What I Am is powerful), Follies (not a favorite overall, but I'm Still Here is pretty good), etc.

Do movie musicals count, or are we only talking stage musicals? Because I'm a big fan of Moulin Rouge!, especially Come What May.

I could continue adding to this list, but I've already listed too many. (And I'm posting so late I don't know if anyone will see these anyway.)