REALLY GOOD MUSICAL THEATER SONGS FROM REALLY BAD MUSICALS
Writing musicals is hard. Sometimes you write The Ladies Who Lunch and sometimes you write What a Remarkable Age This Is! from the 1997 musical "Titanic." This list is a thank you to America's heroes.
- •"Thank Goodness" from Wicked (2003)Wicked may be terrible, (terribly TUNEFUL, amirite?!) but stop giving Stephen Schwartz shit. He and Jerry Herman are the only composers to have three musicals run on Broadway for more than 1,500 performances. Kristin Chenoweth was born to flit on top of the lyrics "With this perfect finale / the cheers and the ballyhoo / who couldn't be happier" and land on the other side, backstage at the Tonys, slowly sawing through Idina's "Defying Gravity" harness. We all remember that broken rib, hunty.
- •"King of New York" from Newsies (2012)Again, this song features an internal rhyme I want to be inside of more than I want to be inside of the adorable Newsies themselves. "Nobbin' with all the muckety-mucks / I'm blowin' my dough and goin' deluxe" may be what finally got 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken his first Tony. There are more fun sounds in the aforementioned lyric than poppers popped backstage at every Newsies national tour opening night.
- •"The Proposal / The Night Was Alive" from Titanic (1997)I can't throw shade at Maury Yeston in the intro to this list and forget all the redeeming tunes from an incredibly ambitious show whose set SANK ONSTAGE. You just know when that happened, Rosie O'Donnell was all like "YAASSS KWEEN!!! Werkkkk! I'm gonna let you perform on my show!" This song is particularly heartbreaking, especially the verses sung by Brian D'Arcy James since the audience knows he is doomed to die and to play Debra Messing's husband on Smash.
- •"I Know It's Today" from Shrek: The Musical (2008)To understand why the producers decided to bring in the writers of the racially-provocative "Caroline, Or Change" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Rabbit Hole" to write jokes about a flatulent Mike Myers character is to understand humanity. But you're bound to wind up with some rays of brilliance, right? Three different versions of Sutton Foster slowly realizing how gruesome fairy tales are for ingenues and eventually abandoning all hope? Yes, please!
- •"Twelve Children" from Dessa Rose (2005)A musical about a sympathetic slave owner? What could possibly go wrong? Everything, except for this list song sung by the inimitable LaChanze. This song is not okay to sing at parties, but it has been done.
- •"You" from Road Show (2009)Stephen Sondheim's eyes for obscure subject matter were too big for his little fingers in this show following the Mizner brothers from the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida Real Estate Boom of the 1920's. One of the only musicals by Sondheim ever to include an openly homosexual romance, Road Show peaks during this number, a love song between two repressed con men couched as a ludicrously ambitious discussion about designing beach houses for aristocrats. Choke on that extravaganja.
- •"Lost in the Wilderness" from Children of Eden (1991)Stephen Schwartz, I'm sorry, you don't need this double shade, but you also don't need to write a musical about the book of Genesis that includes a whole number that is just a list of animal species! It may be basic to like this song, but that's not the point of this list. The point of this list is to appreciate when Darius De Haas flips up the octave at the end and keeps going until he joins Beyonce in gay key change heaven.
- •HONORABLE MENTION: "Just Another Day" from Next to Normal (2008)Aaron Tveit sings this song shirtless.