Staff Picks: Our Top Musical Theater Duets
It takes two! The TodayTix staff has rounded up some of our favorite musical theater duets. From “Suddenly Seymour” to “For Good,” we break down some of our top songs for duos. So whether you’re isolating with a roommate or significant other, get ready for some epic singalongs with this playlist. (We’re also not opposed to just dominating both parts on your own.)
“Who I’d Be,” Shrek
Suzy, Marketing Team
I bought a ticket to see Shrek on Broadway very early in previews, and I remember just sobbing at the end of this heart-wrenching duet at the end of Act 1 and realizing that “Shrek” had totally subverted all my expectations. Anyone can relate to this feeling of longing for something else and wanting to be accepted for who you are, and Brian d’Arcy James and Sutton Foster are just musical theater magic.
“For Good,” Wicked
Victoria, Product Team
In high school, my best friend and I were in a production of “Wicked” (she played the piano and I was Madame Morrible) so this song was “our song.” We would sing it at each other and try to hit that perfect harmony on “I do believe I’ve been changed for the better.” When we graduated high school, one of the last songs we listened to together before leaving for college was “For Good.” Even now when we’re thousands of miles away from each other, if we hear it we immediately text or call each other, This is a beautiful duet that celebrates true friendship and how the best ones are the ones that grow with you.
“If Momma Was Married,” Gypsy
Tina, Marketing Team
There’s nothing better than sisters, but sisters singing about their troubled relationship with their controlling (yet iconic) mother, complete with Sondheim’s thorough lyrical analyses of her faults AND harmonies that absolutely slap? Sign me up! It’s fun to sing, it’s fun to listen to, and it’s a slightly heartbreaking joy to watch as June and Louise finally bond over the very thing that ultimately breaks them.
“Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer,” Cats
Jess, Tech Team
I had to pick a “Cats” song for one of these lists, and it might as well be the one with a dance I have basically memorized. While this song is a solo in the Original West End and Original Broadway version, they changed it to a duet for the 1998 film and the Broadway revival and I can’t listen to it without Rumpleteazer’s indignant “aaannd Rump-elteazer” around 3:00. Also check out the paired cartwheel that follows shortly after. I’ve always wanted to try that.
“In a World Like This,” A Bronx Tale
Diane, Marketing Team
Alan Menken is the king of Disney, but he’s also the king of duets as proven by “A Bronx Tale’s” charming “In a World Like This.” Let me set the scene: Calogero is from the Italian immigrant neighborhood in the Bronx, Jane is from the African-American neighborhood. It’s the ‘50s. All of this combines to create the tense star-crossed romance between the two. This song is about loving freely, regardless of racial tension or bigotry, or what others expect. If you want a song that will pull at your heartstrings and make you want to dance around your room and celebrate true love, this is it.
“You’re The Top,” Anything Goes
Diane, Marketing Team
Reno Sweeney from “Anything Goes” is undoubtedly one of the best leading roles in the theater. Her ferocity, her confidence, and her sultriness are full-force in “You’re The Top,” the catchy duet with Billy Crocker as they take turns complimenting each other. Cole Porter’s rhyming ability and the pop culture and history references in this song make it a hilarious and iconic hit.
“Sunrise,” In The Heights
Abby, Marketing Team
This duet is a sweetie pie of a song. It’s a simple few minutes amidst a non-stop musical and it’s the tune I find myself singing (to myself) from “In The Heights” the most. “Sunrise” captures the start of a new chapter in Nina and Benny’s relationship; she’s teaching him Spanish and Mandy Gonzalez is teaching me how to cry 30 seconds into Act Two.
“Take Me or Leave Me,” RENT
Geri, Partnerships Team
The worst thing about listening to this song while social distancing is that it’ll really make you miss karaoke bars and your high school cast parties. But the best thing is that you can appreciate just how fierce Idina Menzel and Tracie Thoms are, and who says you can’t bring that karaoke bar energy to your apartment? Just make sure you apologize to your neighbors.
“I Will Never Leave You,” Side Show
Brian, Executive Team
“Move On,” Sunday in the Park with George
Marika, Guest Services
Of all the Sondheim shows, I was over the moon to perform this production at drama school in 2012 so brings back so many memories. This song always makes me feel emotional, like George, everyone goes through times in their lives of not quite believing in themselves or imposter syndrome. The score is beautiful, especially the build, and the words truly resonate. I particularly love this version which was a Broadway transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory because Jenna Russell is a masterclass when it comes to acting through song. My Queen!
“Fit as a Fiddle”, Singin’ in the Rain
Teri, Digital Team
This nostalgic bundle of joy is among my top pick-me-ups. Two showbiz giants with a great sense of humor, in perfect synergy — what’s not to love? It also has an element of the-show-must-go-on resilience — even when you lose your bow…I was really hoping to see the stage version this summer in London, fingers crossed it will still happen.
“Unlikely Lovers,” Falsettos
Zach, Tech Team
If this song were to end after the first half, it would still be a perfectly touching (albeit wry) duet between two men expressing their unlikely love for each other as their future looks increasingly grim. But the second half is where I think it gets truly special, as Marvin and Whizzer’s friends (“the lesbians from next door”) come to visit them in the hospital, transforming the duet into a quartet. It’s a powerful affirmation of the families we choose and the ways in which we show up for each other during crises. The section begins with an effort to distract each other (“Let’s pretend that nothing is awful”) and ends with a round robin of “I love you’s” not just within the two couples, but between all four of the characters — a simple statement of the kind of love that transcends romantic relationships. Unrelatedly if anyone can spare a paper towel I’m all out and there are tears all over my keyboard.
“Unsuspecting Hearts” Carrie
Adam, Product Team
Even though I’ve sadly never seen “Carrie,” who isn’t obsessed with Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner?! I love this gorgeous duet found on their album — the power, the harmonies and the sentiment are just lovely. They need to get back in a show together ASAP!
“Suddenly Seymour,” Little Shop of Horrors
Sam, Guest Services
A beautiful anthem to finding hope where-ever you can, from “Little Shop.” MJ Rodriguez is truly stunning, and it’s shocking we don’t have a cast album. All the wonderful weirdness of Ellen Greene is channelled in a production revived for all the right reasons, this song is true alchemy. I’m singing this one to all my houseplants during quarantine.
“It’s Never That Easy” and “I’ve Been Here Before,” Closer Than Ever
Cory, Operations Team
While the lyricist and composer (Maltby and Shire) have been quoted as saying this is a “bookless book musical,” with songs like these sung simultaneously (starting at 4:31), who needs a book?! This song represents everything right about Off-Broadway musicals. And this rendition featuring Jenn Colella and Marya Grandy at 54 Below is nothing short of perfection.
“If I Loved You” Carousel
Jordan, Partnerships Team
Taken from the bench scene, “If I Loved You” is arguably one of the most iconic duets in musical theatre, and is famously known as one of the first to use song as a tool to advance the plot, in this case, where two characters go from being strangers to potential love interests. It contains beautiful, emotive orchestrations which powerfully mirrors the sentiment of the two characters falling in love. Having witnessed true Broadway stardom in the form of Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry as Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow in the 2018 Broadway revival, this was the stuff of dreams!
“You’re Nothing Without Me,” City of Angels
Nick, Marketing Team
There’s very few male duets out there that I’m a fan of, however the one that gets me every time is Cy Coleman’s (and David Zippel’s brilliant lyrics) end-of-Act-1 showstopper from “City of Angels.” Partly due to the brilliant jazz score (I mean, the final 30 seconds will blow you away) and the underlying message of two characters ultimately not being able to live without each other, is why I’ve had this song (more of an Anthem tbh) on repeat for months!
“Bad Idea,” Waitress
Ali Bloomston, Accounts Team
Ok this song is just about the steamiest thing I have ever seen on Broadway stage. The sexual energy flowing between Jessie Mueller and Drew Gehling is so palpable that in that moment you are convinced it’s actually a very good idea for Jenna to have sex with her married gynecologist. The harmonies in this song are also so beautifully arranged (we’d expect nothing less, Sara Bareilles).
Listen to all our favorite duets with the Spotify playlist below!