The top 10 musical theatre songs you need to listen to
While a musical can have an excellent storyline and a breathtaking set, an anthemic song will make certain productions stand out amongst the rest. There are lots of musical hits, but there are a few timeless musical numbers that everyone needs to listen to. These songs from a wide range of musicals will have you singing to yourself all day long. As well as musical theatre songs, listen to the incredible works of Stephen Sondheim with our guide all about the musical maestro.
Musical theatre songs you’ll enjoy
Hello, Dolly! from Hello, Dolly!
Jerry Herman’s titular song from Hello, Dolly! was first sung by Carol Channing in the 1964 Broadway production, famously covered by Louis Armstrong to promote the show. But, while it features in the musical, it’s Armstrong’s version that was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Don’t miss out on seeing Imelda Staunton in Hello, Dolly! at the Adelphi Theatre next year.
My Shot from Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton makes it clear that he’ll take every opportunity that comes his way in “My Shot”. This song features at the start of Hamilton after he has just met John Laurens, Marquis de Lafayette, Hercules Mulligan and future enemy Aaron Burr. This song dramatises Hamilton’s rapping prowess as well as informing audiences of Hamilton’s background in a five-minute melody.
You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray
As the characters celebrate The Corny Collins Show becoming fully integrated, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” is an all-singing, all-dancing spectacular to round off the musical. It’s a catchy tune that’s guaranteed to get into your head when you listen to it and sums up the cast’s infectious energy throughout the entire show. The song was first performed in the West End by Leanne Jones, who made her West End debut as Tracy Turnblad.
Do You Hear The People Sing? from Les Misérables
Rallying the people of France together, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” is one of the main songs from Les Misérables, performed twice in the show. In France, the song is called “À la volonté du peuple” translating to “the people’s will”. Singing for the right to be free, the song is a call for hope and a better life for future generations. Protest groups have also used this song as an anthem for different causes around the world.
One Day More from Les Misérables
Tying all the storylines together, “One Day More” is a Les Misérables crowd pleaser. Combining melodies that feature in Act 1 from songs such as “Master of the House” and “On My Own”. As the song reaches its climax, most of the cast stand in a triangle and march on the spot, with the French flag flown in the background to symbolise unity and prosperity. Even though the song is over 30 years old, it’s clear it has inspired more recent musical theatre songs, such as “Non Stop” from Hamilton.
The Phantom of the Opera from The Phantom of the Opera
The combination of Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman singing the titular song from The Phantom of the Opera is a musical theatre sensation. However, the song was originally recorded by Steve Harvey and Sarah Brightman, reaching number 7 in the UK charts. When the Phantom asks Christine to sing, her voice has to keep going higher until she has to hit a top E.
Revolting Children from Matilda
The song may be called Revolting Children, but this isn’t a revolting show tune! Sung by the children after they have made Miss Trunchbull run away from their school, it’s a song that calls for revolution. With music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, the lyrics cleverly play on the meaning of “revolting”, whether it’s because the children are rude or they are revolting from the previous authority. It may be a modern musical theatre song on this list, but it stands against older hits.
Stick It To The Man from School of Rock
Andrew Lloyd Webber took the 2003 film School of Rock, adapting it for the stage which made its West End premiere in 2016, subsequently winning an Olivier Award for outstanding achievement in music. In this song, Dewey Finn imparts his wisdom on the children by saying that whenever anything goes wrong, they have to “stick it to the man” and do what they want. You’ll want to turn up the volume and rock out as hard as you can to this song!
No Good Deed from Wicked
No Good Deed is one of the most known show tunes in Wicked alongside”Defying Gravity” and “Dancing Through Life”. Throughout the song, Elphaba expresses her lack of trust to people whom she previously trusted. Angry at how the Wizard of Oz viewed her, she decides in the song that she will never do a good action again and will live up to her title as the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s an enchanting number partly sung in a chant of nonsensical words, adding to the magic.
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from Evita
Featuring twice in the musical Evita, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” is a rousing solo that takes place when she makes a speech from the balcony of the Casa Rosada. It got to the top spot on the UK singles chart in 1977 and also won Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber an Ivor Novello award for the best song musically and lyrically. Elaine Paige originated the role of Evita in the West End, with Patti LuPone performing the role when the show transferred to Broadway in 1979.
Enjoy a night of live entertainment and book your tickets to a West End musical today. You’ll be spoilt for choice with our range of shows that are regularly updated.