10 Under Appreciated Musical Theatre Songs
I am a huge fan of shows that are a bit quirky, slightly off the musical theatre beaten track or for reasons unknown to me, underappreciated. I therefore thought I would put together a post on my top 10 underrated musical theatre songs. I have tried to be strict and only include songs from shows that have not been on the West End or if they have been were only there for a mater of months.
1) Once on This Island – Waiting For Life
I first discovered this show through BTA when this put it on at Southwark Playhouse in 2019. For those of you that don’t know Once on This Island it ran for 4 months on the West End back in 1994 and tells of a peasant girl on a tropical island who uses the power of love to bring people together from different social classes.
I was gobsmacked at the whole performance (Read my review here) but it was this song that really stood out for me. Ti Moune sings it as she prays to the gods to let her find her purpose.
2) Bonnie & Clyde – Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad
Bonnie & Clyde has yet to make it to the West End and only played on Broadway for 4 weeks. I saw a semi staged version at the Other Palace where I fell in love with the score. The musical tells of the ill-fated lovers who achieved noteraity during the Great Depression. Dyin Ain’t So Bad is sung by Bonnie who is declaring the with Clyde she is living her life to the fullest.
3) Murder Ballad – Murder Ballad
Murder Ballad is a rocky musical which played at the Arts Theatre for 2 months in 2016 and starred Kerry Ellis, Ramin Karimloo, Norman Bowman and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (read my review of this production here). It is a dark musical which tells of Sara’s affair with Tom and the fall out from it. This number opens the show and sets the scene for what is about to unfold.
4) 35MM: A Musical Exhibition – The Ballad of Sara Berry
35MM: A Musical Exhibition is a song cycle based around a series of 15 photographs. I saw this in 201 at St James Theatre (as it was then). Whilst I didn’t adore the show itself (review here) when I went back and listened to the Original cast recording there were some gems that I found really grew on me, The Ballad of Sara Berry was one of them as I loved the storytelling through song.
5) Carrie – In
I have never seen Carrie and if any producers are reading this can you please change this, thank you! In 1988 it was on Broadway but the closest it has made it to the West End was a 2015 production at Southwark Playhouse. ‘In’ opens the show but I love so many numbers from this show.
6)The Toxic Avenger – Hot Toxic Love
The Toxic Avenger is hilarious. It is a rock musical which is based on the film of the same name and tells how an unexpected hero fights to save New Jersey. The show played for 2 months at The Arts Theatre (read the review here). Hot Toxic Love is sung by our hero Toxie and his love interest, Sarah, a blind resident of New Jersey as they declare their feelings for each other.
7) Pirate Queen – Woman
The Pirate Queen is by Boublil and Schonberg of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon fame but this show often gets forgotten about. The show ran on Broadway for less than 3 months and earlier this year had a one night concert for charity. Woman is sung by Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen herself as she vents her frustration after she is told to leave the ship because of her sex.
8) Violet – Let It Sing
Violet tells of a young disfigured woman who embarks on a journey to be healed. It ran at Charing Cross Theatre for 3 months in 2019 (read the review here). Let It Sing is sung by Flick, one of the men that Violet meets on her travels who suggests that she could heal herself rather than seeking the help of the Preacher.
9) Big Fish – Time Stops
The musical Big Fish follows a very similar plot to the 2003 movie. It tells of Edward Bloom and his relationship with his son Will, who is struggling to believe is fathers incredible tales. Big Fish has been on in London once in 2017 at The Other Palace. Time Stops is sung by a Young Edward when he first sees Sandra, his wife to be.
10) Taboo – Il Adore
Taboo has played London a few times, it played in the West End for a short run in 2002 then again in Brixton in 2012 which is the production I saw twice I loved it so much. The show is based on the New Romantic scene and Boy George’s career.
Il Adore is sung by Big Sue who was Leigh Bowrey”s assistant after he dies from AIDS.
What do you think of these songs? Did you know them all or are there some songs that I’ve missed? I love discovering new musical theatre gems so do comment with your favourites!
List by Sarah McPartlan and Michael Flanagan