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“Time to Dance”: A Tony-Nominated Musical Playlist Featuring 'Hadestown,' 'Tootsie' & More

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |


Blast this Broadway playlist to get ready for the Tony Awards

With Tony Award fever taking over the Broadway community, and theater fans doing all they can to prepare for the big night on June 9th, what better way to get a feel for the musical contenders than by creating a playlist of songs from the nominees? Well, we’ve assembled that compilation for you, and we hope that you find it as entertaining, inspiring and as infectious as we do. From the lively Tootsie to the jazzy Hadestown, the ghostly Beetlejuice and more, here are 12 songs from the scores of this year’s musical nominees that are sure to make you want to dance.

Tony nominee Andre De Shields as Hermes in ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Tony nominee Andre De Shields as Hermes in ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

“What’s Gonna Happen” – Tootsie

David Yazbek won the Tony Award for Best Score in 2018 for The Band’s Visit, and the gifted composer is nominated again this year for Tootsie. Yazbek has a knack for brilliantly capturing comedic neurosis, as he scores again perfectly with the song “What’s Gonna Happen,” sung by a struggling actress named Sandy (Tony nominee Sarah Stiles) who is considering giving up her showbusiness career.

“My Girl” – Ain’t Too Proud

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations is not only a powerhouse show business story of how a group of young black men came together to be a sensational music act of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but it is also overflowing with terrific songs drawn from the band’s myriad hits. One of their most iconic numbers is the breezy “My Girl,” recorded in 1964 for the Motown Record label.

“I Cain’t Say No” – Oklahoma!

Tony nominee Ali Stroker is stopping the show every night in the re-imagined Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma!, singing the saucy character song “I Cain’t Say No.” Stroker plays the libidinous Ado Annie Carnes, a gal who enjoys the company of men. Listen to her raucous, rip-roarin’ take on the beloved number.

“Too Darn Hot” – Kiss Me, Kate!

Bound to put some pep in your step, “Too Darn Hot” is the infectious earworm that becomes an extended dance sequence in the musical Kiss Me, Kate! Composer-lyricist Cole Porter was famous for creating them, and this is one of his finest.

“So In Love” – Kiss Me, Kate!

A classic Cole Porter love song delivered by Kelli O’Hara is the thing that musical theater dreams are made of. Fortunately, some dreams do come true. Kiss Me, Kate!, which is nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, features O’Hara singing the haunting “So In Love,” a timeless torch song that is as potent today as it was when it was written in 1948.

“Way Down Hadestown” – Hadestown

A great opening number that introduces all the players and gives us a sense of the musical’s tone is a composing tradition of musical theater that has been employed in such shows as Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Into the Woods (among many others). This season, composer Anaïs Mitchell has given us “Way Down Hadestown,” led by the god Hermes (Tony nominee Andre De Shields) as he ignites the smoky jazz-blues world of Hadestown.

“I Raise My Cup” – Hadestown

The hit musical Hadestown concludes with the melancholy song of reflection “I Raise My Cup,” sung by Persephone (Tony nominee Amber Gray) as a toast to Orpehus. The Anais Mitchell song is just one of many in a universally terrific score that puts a contemporary spin on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

“Michael in the Bathroom” – Be More Chill

The isolation we all feel at one point or another during our teenage years is palpably captured in the Joe Iconis song “Michael in the Bathroom” from the musical Be More Chill. This number is a standout in the show, which has been nominated for a Tony Award for Best Score. The number is an emotional roller coaster that speaks to us all.

“If I Could Turn Back Time” – The Cher Show

Since December, Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block has been giving an unforgettable performance as pop superstar Cher in the bio-jukebox musical The Cher Show. She embodies the title character with such vigor that audiences actually feel as though they are in the pop star’s presence. Just listen to Block perform one of Cher’s biggest hits, “If I Could Turn Back Time,” and tell us you wouldn’t swear it was Cher herself singing.

“Dead Mom” – Beetlejuice

Though Beetlejuice may be one of Broadway’s funniest new musicals of the season, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t occasionally slow down for a heartfelt moment. In “Dead Mom,” Lydia Deetz (Sophia Anne Caruso) feels alone in her new home, and reaches out to her mom who has passed away. Composer-lyricist Eddie Perfect captures a tender moment amidst the macabre with this number. 

“Changing Lives” – The Prom

The opening number from the musical The Prom is a rollicking good time, an ego-driven pat on the back sung by two actors applauding themselves for the joy they bring the world. The Matthew Sklar/Chad Beguelin song starts the show off with a bang, especially as it is performed with comedic aplomb by Tony nominees Brooks Ashmanskas and Beth Leavel.

“Time to Dance” – The Prom

The perfect song to complete our playlist is the life- and love-affirming “Time to Dance,” the finale of the Broadway musical The Prom. The explosively jubilant number is a celebration of everyone’s right to be who they are, and to dance with whomever makes them happy.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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