(above) Kristin Chenoweth singing Home from The Wiz on Glee
Yesterday I put together a playlist of my favorite Broadway songs. I couldn’t believe how many there were. I know the lyrics and tune of every song. As I keep telling everyone I meet, I’ll be fifty this weekend. When I think about the first half century of my life, three things define me: family, books, and music. My family—both of birth and the one my husband and I have created—all wish fervently I didn’t have quite such a deep love for bad 70’s songs and for that oft derided genre: the musical.
When I grew up, musicals were a staple of TV at its best. At least once a year, one of the three networks would show The Sound of Music (1965), Oliver (1968), My Fair Lady (1964), The King and I (1956), South Pacific (1958), Cinderella (1965), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), The Music Man (1957), Funny Girl (1968), The Wizard of Oz (1939), or West Side Story (1961). I watched these musicals over and over. These televised shows were part of life in the 1960’s and 1970’s—each family had, in general, just one TV and, when these shows were on, my siblings and I watched them. When I was twelve, my parents bought the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). I think I played a hundred times—the first song I ever sung in public was (I was just singing it loudly a moment ago!) I Don’t Know How to Love Him. The songs from those shows are the soundtrack of my early years—I didn’t get my own radio until I was 11 and didn’t buy a record of my own until I was 13. (Carole King’s Tapestry.)
I am sure many know lots of the songs on my playlist. Many of the songs from older Broadway shows are still sung today—every child in America can sing Do Re Mi and at least fifty covers of Summertime still sell on iTunes. But I love many of the lesser songs from both these older shows as well as from some newer productions. So, here’s my playlist of Broadway songs that aren’t as well covered and well known.
As Long as He Needs Me from Oliver
Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful from Cinderella
Bali Ha’i from South Pacific
Far from the Home I Love from Fiddler on the Roof
I Have a Love from West Side Story
For Good from Wicked
There are Worse Things I Could Do from Grease
Home from The Wiz
On the Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady
We Kiss in Shadow from The King and I
You Are Woman, I Am Man from Funny Girl
Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins
Till There Was You from The Music Man
Something Good from The Sound of Music
I’ve recently been exposed to several great Broadway songs that I didn’t know of while watching Glee. A few weeks ago, Chris Colfer, he of the truly astonishing voice, sang As if We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard. It took my breath away. What are others I’ve missed? What are your favorite songs from musicals?
- Dabney AAR