‘Melody Monday’: The best songs from musicals you have never seen

Blake Daniel, Hunter Ryan Herlicka, Morgan Karr, Gerard Canonico, and Matt Doyle at Rated RSO performing Mrs. Sharp.

Blake Daniel, Hunter Ryan Herlicka, Morgan Karr, Gerard Canonico, and Matt Doyle at Rated RSO performing Mrs. Sharp.

 

Mondays are the worst. Back to school, back to work, and back to managing responsibilities that were carelessly forgotten over the weekend. Don’t worry, here at StageDoorDish.com, we feel your pain. In fact, we share your bad case of the Mondays. But now there’s a silver lining. Enter “Melody Monday”, a weekly playlist that will have you smiling, dancing and hopefully making your Monday just a little bit brighter.

 

There will always be more musicals than there are theatres. Unfortunately, this allows for minimal exposure of some really great songs to the public. Fortunately, a lot of these musicals record demos before disappearing, and for that, we are eternally grateful. Here’s a sampling of some awesome songs you have never heard before but will never forget.

 

“Mrs. Sharp” from Mrs. Sharp

Music and Lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver

Mrs. Sharp (originally titled Alive at Ten) is based around the illegal, student-teacher sex scandal and murder surrounding Pamela Smart. The musical won three awards: the Richard Rodgers award (2008), the Margo Lion Award for Excellence in Adaption (2007), and the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music for Cast Album. Mrs. Sharp was also recognized by the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop.  This song is performed by five boys, three lamenting their growing desire for their teacher and all five rotating the teenage boy chorus. The song’s harmonies and lyrics are infectious and fit right in with the music of Spring Awakening and Bare.

“Mrs. Sharp” at Rated RSO at Joe’s Pub performed by Blake Daniel (Spring Awakening), Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (A Little Night Music), Morgan Karr (Spring Awakening), Gerard Canonico (Bare, American Idiot), and Matt Doyle (Book of Mormon, War Horse).

 

 

“The Phone Call” from Bromance: the Dudesical

Music and Lyrics by Kyle Ewalt and Michael Walker

“Because every gay needs a wingman.” Bromance has gained some fame in the New York City cabaret scene. The story follows a close-knit group of friends who intake one other as their “bro” on St. Patrick’s Day. The show was performed in a one-night concert version in 2010, starring such Broadway favorites as Adam Chanler-Berat (Next to Normal, Peter and the Starcatcher) and Andrew Durand (Spring Awakening, War Horse). Since then, the songs have been performed by such artists as Adam Kantor (Rent) and Alex Wyse (Bare, Lysistrata Jones, Triassic Parq). The Phone Call is from the perspective of the bro and expresses his eagerness to make friends yet his doubt in calling. It’s the epitome of what we all feel and is yet hilarious, making us laugh at our own actions.

“The Phone Call” performed by Alex Wyse at Behind the Music-Al.

 

“The Answer” from The Black Suits

Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis

The Black Suits is a rock musical that fits in perfectly with the Broadway scene right now. The musical follows a teenage rock band trying to win Battle of the Bands, in their local high school. It explores the transition from high school to adulthood, inevitable loss, young confusion and just how hard it is to grow up. The Black Suits was first introduced at the Public Theatre Workshop (2008) and starred Krysta Rodriguez (Spring Awakening, Smash) and Nick Blaemire (Godspell), and was most recently reprieved at the Barrington Stage Company (2012) with Jason Hite (Bare) and Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect, Book of Mormon Chicago). The Answer is one character’s inability to decide what he wants for his future, relatable to anyone who was eager to grow up and yet unable to decide where they want to be.

Jason Hite performing “The Answer” at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret as a part of the Barrington Stage Company.

 

“My Party Dress” from Henry & Mudge

Music and Lyrics by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk

Henry and Mudge is based off Cynthia Rylant’s book series with the same title. It follows the friendship between Henry Faber and his enormous dog, Mudge, who is bought to ease the move from city life to country life. This musical is obviously targeted towards younger children who can finally see their storybooks come to life on the stage. “My Party Dress” is probably the most known song from the entire musical. Since it’s New York City premiere in 2006, this song has become a very well known audition song as well as been performed by many (inc. Celia Keenan-Bolger, Colleen Ballinger, and Jenni Barber) in cabaret. This song is a little girl’s thoughts put into words and seems all over the place but super catchy and essentially circled around her “comfortable, and satin, and frilly, and lacy, and silky, and perfect, and pink” party dress.

Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) performing “My Party Dress” at Kerrigan & Lowdermilk: Under the Influence at Birdland.

 

“Running” from Hot Mess in Manhattan

Music and Lyrics by Adam Gwon

This musical is everything that New Yorkers feel about their life in the big city and so much more. A young woman is moving into the Big Apple, trying to mimic the life and times of Carrie Bradshaw. But she is faced with her biggest fears of becoming a hot mess in Manhattan. This song is everything that an actor feels trying to make it whether in New York City or elsewhere. The constant feeling that you’re never slowing down and that you’re never stopping and that there’s always somewhere else to be, but loving life to it’s full extent and doing something because you’re in love with it. This song is an actor’s anthem knowing that maybe they’re not always going to have a job and maybe they could find something with more security but also knowing that’s not what would make them happy.

Cait Doyle singing “Running.” 

 

“I’ve Been Waiting” from Girlfriend

Music and Lyrics by Matthew Sweet, Arranged by Todd Almond

Girlfriend is based on Matthew Sweet’s 1991 album entitled Girlfriend. It was first performed at Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage in 2010, and starred Ryder Bach and Jason Hite. The musical is typical of a lot of the musicals we’re seeing nowadays, one nerdy, out teenager in a forbidden love affair with his jock, closeted boyfriend and discovering the limitations of their relationship. Sweet’s alternative rock ballads have been altered in such a way that it creates the perfect two-character chamber musical. “I’ve Been Waiting,” sets the tone for the entire musical, each waiting for each other in different ways, and really relating this relationship to any other high school relationship. It is truly ‘perfect in so many ways.’

The Berkeley Rep’s trailer for Girlfriend

 

“A Reason to Sing and Dance” from Not Exactly Romeo

Music and Lyrics by Paul Fujimoto

Not Exactly Romeo is a story set in our modern day times, and is what you might expect from it’s title, a love story. But more than that, it is about what fame does to us, more specifically fame and the decision of whether love comes out above this fame and fortune in the end. This show has been workshopped and done in concert a few times. Most recently, it was sung in Fujimoto’s concert Not Jewish or Gay, which featured Kara Lindsay (Newsies) and Ben Liebert (Wicked) singing. “A Reason to Sing and Dance” is a real let loose song that you tend to not hear in scores anymore. The song is genuine fun.

Kara Lindsay and Ben Liebert performing “A Reason to Sing and Dance.”

 

Now it’s your turn, readers! What’s your favorite never-seen musical or favorite forgotten song?

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