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Top Show-Stopping Numbers on Broadway this Season

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |


The songs – and dances – that bring the house down

After the final curtain comes down, all any theatergoer is left with are his or her memories of the magic that came alive on stage. The most memorable and transcendent moment during any Broadway musical is a show-stopping number. That song you find yourself singing in the days to come, or a number that brings together music and dance in a way that makes your jaw drop and linger there – this is what we call “show-stopping!” Broadway is full of these numbers, but here’s our top 8 this season.

Caissie Levy as Elsa in 'Frozen' on Broadway (Photo: Deen van Meer)

Caissie Levy as Elsa in 'Frozen' on Broadway (Photo: Deen van Meer)

“Let it Go,” Frozen The Broadway Musical

“Let it Go” was a smash hit when it premiered in the original movie version of Frozen, but the Broadway production has taken it to another level entirely. As Queen Elsa, Cassie Levy brings this powerhouse song to life in a way that absolutely needs to be experienced. The strength of her voice will make your jaw drop and your eyes water. Levy is a force of nature that Frozen fans of all ages need to hear.

“Mama Will Provide,” Once On This Island

In this 90-minute, one-act musical experience, we follow Ti Moune on her journey to prove that love is stronger than death. On her journey, she receives help from the Gods of the Island. In this number, Ti Moune meets Asaka, Mother of the Earth. Asaka, played by Alex Newell, guides Ti Moune (Haley Kilgore) to her love, Daniel. Alex essentially belts his face off during this show-stopping spectacle. His voice will shake you to the core and help you understand, in the lyrics of Once On This Island, “why we tell the story.”

“Friend Like Me,” Aladdin

In the first act of Aladdin, the audience is given the opportunity to get accustomed to the land of Agrabah until Aladdin journeys into a mysterious cave. In this cave, he finds a lamp that will change his life forever, as he soon meets the Genie that inhabits it. Al’s fast-talking, high energy, larger-than-life companion performs a little number called “Friend Like Me.” This song has everything you could wish for in a Broadway show. From a Disney medley to a tap dance break and even special effects, “Friend Like Me” is a veritable masterclass in show-stopping stagecraft.

“Daddy Knows Best,” SpongeBob SquarePants, The Broadway Musical

Sometimes an actor receives material so perfectly suited for their talents that they transform it into something much bigger than it was initially intended to be, and I think that’s what Jai’Len Josey did with “Daddy Knows Best.” This number was likely not originally written to be a show-stopper, but Jai’Len brings the house down night after night as Pearl, who in this song is pleading for Mr. Krabs, her father, to listen to her. Jai’Len sings notes audience members likely didn’t even know existed, not just blowing the roof off the theatre but launching it straight into the atmosphere.

“No Good Deed,” Wicked

While “Defying Gravity” is often heralded as the best song in Wicked, “No Good Deed” is the number that solidifies Elphaba’s identity. From this point on, we know exactly who this character is and what she stands for. While “Defying Gravity” may culminate in Elphaba soaring above the audience and her own castmates, “No Good Deed” is the moment that leaves you incredulous, making it one of the most perfect songs in the musical theater canon.

“World Burn,” Mean Girls

Most show-stopping numbers involve an ensemble, but this one is unlike any other on Broadway. Before this song, tension among the characters has grown so thick you could cut it with a knife. Then, at its peak, Taylor Louderman enters as Regina George and delivers one of the best performances on Broadway today. Taylor owns the stage unlike any other performer, and demands not only your attention but also your admiration. When she sings “World Burn” you can feel time stop, and nothing else matters but her performance.

“Yorktown,” Hamilton

This number truly speaks for itself. Without fail, eight shows a week, “Yorktown” is one of the best-staged numbers on Broadway. The movement is so unique to the show, and Hamilton has one of the hardest working ensembles on Broadway today, because there is nothing easy about this song. This is a performance that is standing ovation-worthy every night and every matinee.

“Circle of Life,” Disney’s The Lion King

Lion King’s show-stopping number happens to fall at the beginning of the show. “Circle of Life” isn’t just a normal opening number. It brings you into the world of the show in ways that impact your emotions in the blink of an eye. As soon as the first chord strikes, and Rafiki shows up, you’re already crying. “Circle of Life” is one of the few experiences in a theater that will immediately bring you to tears just by seeing it.

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