Broadway musicals are a brilliant display of dancing, singing, acting, and everything in between. There are a great deal of shows that have graced the Broadway stage throughout the years. No doubt the best thing about them is the wonderful music within them. This list will look at some of the most beloved songs from Broadway musicals and what they have to offer.
1. Cell Block Tango (Chicago)
This song is undeniably one of the most powerful and sultry numbers to hit the Broadway stage. While this musical is chock full of incredible songs, "Cell Block Tango" stands out among the rest. The song follows the story of six women who are accused of killing their husbands. We hear their side of the story and why they felt it necessary to give their husbands the chop. One listens and you will fall in love with it and be crawling to watch the whole musical. I highly recommend.
2. The Bitch of Living (Spring Awakening)
Spring Awakening is a unique musical that explores teenage sexuality in 19th century Germany. The song that really vocalizes the frustration the teenage boys in the musical are experiencing is "The Bitch of Living". This angsty rock number accurately expresses the feeling that your life is being controlled by everyone but you that all kids have. This song never fails to have me jumping around my room screaming the words until my voice runs out. If you are a fan of rock music and are skeptical towards the flashiness that is typically associated with musicals, this is the song for you.
3. Candy Store (Heathers)
I could not make a list of the best songs from musicals without including one of my favorite musicals of all time. While this musical has yet to hit Broadway, it has already made a big impact on the musical theater scene. "Candy Store" is hands down the most badass song from the production and provides a great insight into the evil ways of the Heathers. This song as well as the whole musical is just a whole lot of fun that will leave you captivated from start to finish.
4. Pretty Women (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
"Pretty Women" comes at the climax of this musical as the title character finally manages to get the evil Judge Turpin within his clutches. This song goes through a range of emotions and leaves the audience on the edge of their seat the entire time. This rollercoaster of a song is quite a thrill to experience and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the exhilaration that comes with not knowing what is coming next.
5. One Day More (Les Misérables)
Trying to pick a singular song to put on this epic musical proved to quite a daunting task, but I finally settled on "One Day More." This song is quite a spectacle and occurs at the end of the first act as all the characters express their uneasiness about the days to come. Every time I listen to it, I get chills. This song exudes power and emotion and can bring even the toughest people to tears.
6. You Can't Stop the Beat (Hairspray)
When picking a song for this musical I bounced through a bunch of options, but I kept coming back to "You Can't Stop the Beat." This song is a whirlwind of lively vocals and is an amazing way to close a show. No matter who you are I guarantee you after about 30 seconds of listening to this song you will be on your feet dancing. I recommend to anyone who is looking for a song to brighten their day.
7. Memory (Cats)
One of the most memorable songs to hit the Broadway stage "Memory" it a song that will stick with you. This song comes towards the end of the musical and sees the character Grizabella reminiscing the days of her youth. This song is emotionally gripping and will leave anyone who hears it blown away.
8. Seasons of Love (Rent)
Even people who have never heard of Rent have heard of the masterpiece that is "Seasons of Love." This song asks the question: How should one measure the value of a year of life? The answer? Love. This song is so heartwarming and uplifting it will manage to bring you out of the deepest of funks. I recommend to anyone in need of a good pick-me-up.
9. Sugar Daddy (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
While this song is definitely the last popular on this list, my bias got the best of me and I had to include it. For those who have never heard of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I highly suggest you go listen to the entire album right now. This rock musical follows the character genderqueer rock singer from East Berlin, Hedwig as she tells her story to the audience through her music. "Sugar Daddy" is a fun and upbeat song that describes how Hedwig (then Hansel) decided to get a sex change operation to marry an American soldier and move to America. This song never fails to get my blood pumping.
10. Defying Gravity (Wicked)
While writing this, I changed the song I picked this musical multiple times, but eventually had to settle done with the iconic "Defying Gravity." Another song that closes out the first act, this song never ceases to leave audiences amazed. The song chronicles the main character Elphaba's decision to not let anyone hold her down any longer and follow what she believes is right. While this song fits perfectly into the narrative of the show, it is also highly relatable to almost everyone who hears it as almost everyone struggles with the choice to do what others think is best for them or to lead their own path. "Defying Gravity" is truly gripping and will resonate with all who listen to it. Highly recommend.