2018 truly seemed to be the year of the movie-musical.
The ‘Greatest Showman’, which came out in 2017, ended the year with its soundtrack as the number one album of the year and ‘This Is Me’ as the most downloaded single of 2018. The ‘A Star Is Born’ cast had their soundtrack reach number seven on the Top 40 Albums of 2018 chart, and the ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’ soundtrack reached number four on the same chart. It’s now not uncommon, especially on an Ocean night, to get the chance to sing along to your favourite ‘The Greatest Showman’ hits and as a lover of all things musical theatre, this sudden popularity of movie-musicals pleases me to no end!
With this nationwide enjoyment of movie-musicals becoming more apparent, here’s my list of the best musical songs, in no particular order. Though really, this list should be taken with a pinch of salt as it is based on my humble, theatre-loving opinion and, just as with normal music, everyone has a different taste. However, whether you’re a musical veteran or a newbie, hopefully you’ll find something new you can enjoy on this list.
- Dead Girl Walking – Heathers the Musical
Based on the cult 80s film starring Winona Ryder, Heathers just enjoyed a sell-out run on the West End starring Carrie Hope Fletcher. This song comes halfway through Act 1 and is sung whilst main protagonist Veronica is seducing love interest JD into some risky business.
Suggest Version: The Original Off-Broadway Cast
- Last Night of the World – Miss Saigon
A loving duet from the other worldwide success written by the creators of ‘Les Miserables’, this song is a tender moment shared between the two main characters, Chris and Kim, as they dream of a life away from war torn Vietnam.
Suggest Version: The 2014 West End recording
- Seasons of Love – Rent
The opener of Act 2, ‘Seasons of Love’ has become an anthem for love, even outside of the musical theatre community. ‘Rent’ tells the story of a group of young artists struggling to survive in New York during the AIDs crisis.
Suggested Version: The movie cast recording
- No Good Deed – Wicked
Often overshadowed by the more famous ‘Defying Gravity’, this song is Elphaba’s crowning moment of Act 2 and in my opinion is a more impressive vocal stint than the aforementioned ‘Defying Gravity’.
Suggested Version: The Broadway Cast
- She Used to Be Mine – Waitress
This heartfelt ballad from the Sara Bareilles written musical finds the main protagonist reflecting on the disconnect she feels between her current self and the person she used to be.
Suggest Version: Original Broadway Cast, but Sara Bareilles’ version is good too
- Say No to This – Hamilton
Hamilton is a musical that doesn’t really need any sort of introduction. It tells the story of one of the US’s Founding Fathers and this song depicts his affair, which ultimately begin his downfall.
Suggested Version: Again, the Broadway Cast.
- I Never Wanted to Love You – Falsettos
Falsettos is an incredible musical, but isn’t the most well-known. I deeply urge everyone to listen to it. ‘I Never Wanted to Love You’ is just one of the heart-wrenching songs on the soundtrack.
Suggested Version: the 2016 Broadway Revival Cast, Stephanie J Block is a gift.
- One Day More – Les Miserables
I think you’d struggle to find a list of top musical songs that doesn’t include ‘One Day More’, and that speaks for itself. It’s one of the most iconic songs in what I would consider the most famous musical in the world.
Suggested Version: The 25th Anniversary Cast
- The Dark I Know Well – Spring Awakening
This is a pretty dark one, with some pretty dark subject matter. But this musical is one of my very favourites so it seemed wrong not to put one song from it on this list. This singing in this song, this musical in general, is just so technically impressive it’s hard not to love it. Though, as I’ve found, it’s not for everyone.
Suggested Version: the Broadway Cast
- And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going) – Dreamgirls
Does this song need a reason? I’m sure everyone knows this song in some form, whether you know it’s from a musical or not. It’s pure jaw-dropping stuff – emotion-wise, singing-wise, everything-wise.
Suggest Version: Any version, the original Broadway cast, the film cast, or the West End cast. Any version of this song is amazing.
And, because I’m indecisive, here are six honorable mentions that I couldn’t not include:
- Someone Gets Hurt – Mean Girls the Musical
- The Music of the Night – Phantom of the Opera
- Cell Block Tango – Chicago
- No One Is Alone – Into the Woods
- Suddenly Seymour – Little Shop of Horrors
- You Will Be Found – Dear Evan Hansen
By Robbie Nichols