Monday, April 28, 2014

The Revised 104 Best Broadway Songs of All Time

So like many of my readers, my twin sister Laura took one look (or rather, listen) at my Best of Broadway playlist on Spotify and could not wait to tell me all the problems with it. Of course I responded with, "Well if you're so smart, you make a list! Wait... Can you though?" So I bring you the first guest blogger on Singular Sensation, #TwitterlessTwin.

Ah! I am so excited that Sally asked me to guest blog! I’ve never blogged before, so obviously I’m super stoked to make my debut on my super famous sister’s awesome blog! Now my sweet sister is pretty smart and VERY pretty, but sometimes she just needs her big sister to come in and save the day... and let's say, I did it again.

I might have to disown her for her virtual snub of THE Stephen Sondheim, but I guess I can forgive that... Anyway, I did a bit of research and came up with obviously a FAR superior list. 

I added in classic shows such as "A Little Night Music," "Anything Goes," "Company," and "Oklahoma!"... and yet I STILL managed to snub Hairspray. It's kind of a weird list, because I did not want it to turn into a "really famous broadway songs" playlist. Thus, I omitted, "The Ladies who Lunch," "Memory," and "Send in the Clowns" just because I wanted to make sure to add songs that I truly loved- not just songs that people would miss if they weren't there. 

I was horrified that Sally omitted "On the Street Where you Live" from "My Fair Lady." Ok, in context it's kind of a creepy song, but out of context, I can't get enough Lerner and Loewe love songs. I also emphasized some "un-love" songs like "Make Believe" from "Show Boat," and "People Will Say We're in Love" from "Oklahoma!". "I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight" is cute, but not quite "top 104" calibre. Unfortunately for you readers, Sally and I share the same emotional attachment to that song, so it stays on the list. The "Night Waltz" from "A Little Night Music" must be what dreams sound like. It is so magical, that I'm virtually certain the world stops each time I listen to it. Also, "The Impossible Dream" used to be my favorite song of all time. It ought to be on every list everywhere about anything. This snub from my sister makes me doubt that she's actually my twin. 

"Sobbin' Women" was technically added for the movie version of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," but that version was then beefed up and sent back to Broadway, so it counts, right? "You're the Top" will never lose its charm, because Mr. Porter's lyrics are a masterful work of art. "Another Hundred People" had to be on the list because it is so exciting, just like the city it describes. It perfectly reflects that idea that anyone who has spent a good amount of time in a big city will understand. It is utterly overwhelming to think that everyone you see on the street has a purpose and a life and friends, and this song captures the thought beautifully. 

Obviously, those aren't all of my revisions, but any more commentary would probably become very boring very quickly. Check out the whole list below! (if the embedded playlist doesn't work, try this link)


I like accounting, so slow, tedious tasks are my thing. I obviously had to let Mr. Stephen Sondheim be better represented, as well as some other shows with which Sally and I are less familiar. This list is what I came up with! Notice that although I cut 25 of Sally’s original songs, of the ones I added, only 7 of them were from shows that she had already covered. Basically, this means that she handed me an awesome template and I was able to do outside research to make sure that the list better represented what I considered to be a broader view of “The Best.”

Take out: Where’s the Girl (Reprise); put in “Where’s the girl?” (both from The Scarlet Pimpernel)
Replace Javert’s Suicide with “What have I done?” (both from Les Miserables)

Take out:
1.    The Riddle (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
2.    He’s not Here (Next to Normal)
3.    Confrontation (Les Miserables)
4.    So in Love (Kiss Me, Kate)
5.    The Company Way (H2$)
6.    Been a Long Day (H2$)
7.    Underground (Memphis)
8.    Where is Love? (Oliver!)
9.    Reviewing the Situation (Oliver!)
10.  The Night that Goldman Spoke at Union Square (Ragtime)
11.  Sarah Brown Eyes (Ragtime)
12.  He Wanted to Say (Ragtime)
13.  Wilkommen (Cabaret)
14.  Mein Herr (Cabaret)
15.  Agony (Into the Woods)
16.  Hello, Little Girl (Into the Woods)
17.  In His Eyes (Jekyll and Hyde)
18.  One (reprise)/Finale (A Chorus Line)
19.  Sue Me (Guys and Dolls)
20.  If I were a Bell (Guys and Dolls)
21.  Prologue (West Side Story)
22.  Jet Song (West Side Story)
23.  Cool (West Side Story)
24.  Bloody Mary (South Pacific)

Add in (from shows already represented in the list):
1.      Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (Les Miserables)
2.      Who will Buy? (Oliver!)
3.      On the Street Where You Live (My Fair Lady)
4.      Tonight (West Side Story)
5.      Cabaret (Cabaret)

Drowsy Chaperone, Big River, The Music Man, and Starlight Express have been left out entirely.

Here’s the breakdown by show:
Miss Saigon: 1
The Scarlet Pimpernel: 3
Jersey Boys: 2
Next to Normal: 6
Wicked: 4
Les Miserables: 7
Catch Me If You Can: 2
Kiss Me Kate: 2
The Last Five Years: 1
How to Succeed…: 1
Memphis: 1
The Phantom of the Opera: 3
Beauty and the Beast: 1
Oliver!: 2
Fiddler on the Roof: 1
Ragtime: 2
Rent: 4
The Sound of Music: 1
Chicago: 2
Urinetown: 1
Into the Woods: 2
Titanic: 1
 Jekyll and Hyde: 3
A Chorus Line: 2
Bonnie and Clyde: 1
Thoroughly Modern Millie: 1
Guys and Dolls: 3
Camelot: 4
My Fair Lady: 3
West Side Story: 4
South Pacific: 5
Billy Elliot: 3
Pippin: 4
A Little Night Music: 2
Company: 2
Oklahoma!: 1
Anything Goes: 1
Show Boat: 3
Man of La Mancha: 1
Little Shop of Horrors: 1
The Lion King: 2
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: 1
Spamalot: 3
The King and I: 1

I could really go around in circles all day on this list! I will probably disagree with myself about it tomorrow because it is so difficult to take a song out of context without bringing along its friends. Despite all of that, I’m pretty confident that I could turn on any song on this list and go “oh my goodness! THAT’S my favorite song!!!”

You’ve got the best of the best here. If you’re not familiar with broadway songs and you’d like to drink from a fire hydrant, this list is a pretty good place to start!
Laura out.

So, of course it's not a contest, but which do you think is better? Just kidding- we're sisters, so of course it's a contest!

Sally Henry www.BroadwayWorld.com/author/Sally-Henry // Twitter: www.twitter.com/bwayginger // Facebook: www.facebook.com/singularsensationbway

Laura is an accounting major/theatre minor, so she's one of those rare theatre people who can do math. Her pastimes include freeloading on my +1 tickets to shows, fangirling over Terrence Mann, and groveling at the feet of Stephen Sondheim. Also, she's the only Laura that's cooler than Laura Benanti.

This ultra-attractive picture was taken backstage at Hamlet this semester, in which she played the Player Queen. Her hair cannot be contained.
(bio by Sally Henry, picture selected by Sally Henry)

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