The Charm of Musicals
The stage is life for me. When I was a kid, my mother was often involved in community theater and as a teenager, she encouraged me to become involved in it too. I haven't performed much, but I just love watching Broadway shows and singing the songs.
Musicals often take place in the past, and as such often tell about the lost arts of courtship and seduction that have been forgotten by too many today. It's no secret that women go crazy for these. Here is my personal list of favorites.
10. Johanna - Sweeney Todd
This musical could be called a lot of things, but hardly "romantic". But amidst all the horror of the rest of the events of the play is a romantic sub-plot between two characters. The young boy's distant admiration of the object of his desire, Johanna, shows us the innocence of young love.
The savage cruelty of the rest of the play makes the viewer want to believe, that through this love, there is still seen as some good in the world. The pair of young lovers is also kind of a good foil for the evil (but admittedly cooler) couple who are the main characters. In this song, I just personally love the hauntingly beautiful repetition of the name "Johanna"... don't you wish someone would repeat your name seductively like that?
9. Sixteen Going on Seventeen - The Sound of Music
Another song about innocent young love. This duet is cutely flirtatious, but also heartwarming in the purity of love you can see in these characters. The sneaking out, the rain, the gazebo, everything about this scene is so charming as to almost define romance.
This couple really steals the show from the main plot for this number, and it shows that the oldest Von Trapp kid is not a baby anymore.
Some people get all bent out of shape over the "I'll depend on you" thing... because we're so focused on proving our independence. But first of all, no one is completely independent and that is the biggest fiction of modern times, I mean, everyone needs someone. Second, what she means is, count on, rely on, that he will be there for her, and I think that's what love actually means. And let's be honest, you want a man who can be depended on, even if you're an independent girl.
I like this song because she's admitting her vulnerability, and that is something that is difficult to do.
8. Love, I Hear - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Another song about innocent young love, but this time, it is the boy expressing his insecurity. He is baffled about love, and this song perfectly expresses the feeling we get when we get our first crush, that heart-pounding infatuation that feels so intense it feels like it should be labeled a legitimate psychiatric disorder.
This kind of love can be overwhelming, and as we see also when our protagonist sings another song called "I'm Calm", there is little to distinguish sometimes between love and full-on madness. But I think we all would like to go back to that time when love was something new to us, even if it was strange, confusing, or even scary.
7. That Face - The Producers
Another song about a shy person being overwhelmed and afraid at their feelings of love. I like this song because in the course of it, the man, Max, overcomes his shyness and fear of falling in love.
It might seem a little silly and unrealistic, but the spontaneity of it all was exciting to watch. Max is also just a really likeable character because of his shyness and awkwardness and how he learns to become more confident through the course of the story.
6. All Through the Night - Anything Goes
Now, when I was 14 I was an extra in this play. I wore a cute little sailor dress. The man who played Billy, who sings in this song was not only handsome, but had an amazing singing voice, so of course this song sticks out in my mind as seductive, along with other songs from the same play, like "It's De-lovely" and "So Easy to Love". I chose this one, however, because it speaks of a forbidden dream, a nighttime longing, which I find very moving and sexy.
Anyway, Anything Goes is a funny, charming, and very romantic musical and I was very happy to be a part of it. For me, this is the song I think of whenever I think of someone who pines for someone they can't be with.
5. Can You Feel the Love Tonight - The Lion King
I included two Disney musicals on this list, because I love animated movies, and because I really think Disney sets the gold standard for romance and romantic songs. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is about the beautiful reunion of childhood friends.
I was thinking of having "A Whole New World" on here too, since Aladdin has also been made into a Broadway musical. However, in comparing these two Disney love songs, I find I prefer "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." First all, "A Whole New World" is a scene that takes place in the part where Aladdin is being a lying so-and-so. Second, "A Whole New World" seems more like just an ordinary pop ballad. I know that the Elton John version of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is also a pop song, but it seems to have more depth of feeling expressed in it than "A Whole New World", even though the songs, and their purposes in their respective stories, are very similar.
4. A Heart Full of Love & In My Life - Les Misérables
This pair of songs is beautiful but sad, because while we see the start of what might be a great new relationship, we also see the sorrow of Eponine's loss as well. We're reminded that life is seldom fair, but in a bittersweet way, we can also be happy for Cosette and Marius finding each other. Like in Sweeney Todd, the purity of the young romance is a nice sight, given the overall despair and violence of other parts of the play. Cosette and Marius give the audience hope that there is still some good in a world that is full of such, well, misery.
3. Something There - Beauty and the Beast
"New and a bit alarming, who'd have ever thought that this could be?"
I love Beauty and the Beast due to my obvious resemblance to the protagonist, but also because I think that this is one of Disney's finest love stories.
In the Broadway version, it's even cuter that she reads to him when she finds out he never learned to read.
2. As Long as You're Mine - Wicked
An unconventional heroine takes center stage in this musical. I loved the way the love scene between Elphaba and Fiyero was described in the book, but this song is almost as poetic and seductive as the scene in the book.
Later, in the song "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished", a major part of Elphaba's psychological undoing is her self-doubt in the face of the apparent murder of Fiyero, which causes her to question herself.
Their love in the book, I thought was better, however. The book emphasizes how they ended up together largely due to them both being misfits and standing up for each other when bullied, which was very touching.
1. The Music of the Night - Phantom of the Opera
The entire musical Phantom of the Opera is seductive and sexy, but this song tops it all. This is like receiving a sensual oil massage in the form of a song. In the movie, this was an especially beautiful scene, but without any visuals whatsoever, this song would still stand out for its sheer beauty of sound.
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on September 26, 2015:
Hi, Rachael! Like you, I also love Broadway musicals. It seems we have the same taste. From your list, I like listening to "Johanna", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", "A Heart Full of Love & In My Life" and "The Music of the Night".
But my all-time favorite Broadway romantic tune is "Love Song" from Stephen Schwartz's "Pippin". (Ever heard of it?)
Thanks for sharing this hub!
Julie K Henderson on April 21, 2015:
Magnificent article. I am glad you included "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" in this list. "Wicked" is one of my favorite musicals, and I agree "As Long As You're Mine" is a sensational song. Voted up.