Musical theater anti-love songs to sing this Valentine’s Day
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it may feel as though you’re the only single person in the world. Rest assured, you’re definitely not alone. Even if you still think so, there’s a musical theater song to accompany any emotion.
Whether you’ve had your heart broken, swearing off relationships or just feeling blue, these anti-love songs are perfect to belt out this February 14.
“I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked
“He could be that boy, I’m not that girl”
As soon as Elphaba and Glinda are paired as roommates, the pair don’t quite hit it off. But, as they learn more about one another, they become inseparable. That’s until Glinda’s boyfriend, Fiyero enters the scene. Elphaba falls in love with this handsome Ozian, knowing feelings will never be mutual. Agonizing over her singlehood, Elphaba knows deep down she will never be that girl.
“Burn” from Hamilton
“You and your words, obsessed with your legacy”
When Eliza learns of Alexander Hamilton’s unfaithful behavior, she’s stunned. Struggling to take it all in, she decides to metaphorically rip up their hopes and dreams, leaving them to burn away. All that remains are the few embers; now discarded remnants of a failed marriage. But, as Eliza sings “You forfeit all rights to my heart, you forfeit the place in our bed,” it’s clear their relationship is tainted forevermore.
“There’s a Fine Fine Line” from Avenue Q
“there’s a fine, fine line between a lover and a friend”
Just because puppets take center stage, life lessons in Avenue Q shouldn’t be dismissed. In the first act, Princeton and Kate hit it off immediately, with Kate Monster falling in love with her new neighbor. Their path to true love isn’t smooth, and when Princeton says he doesn’t want to get married, Kate calls the whole thing off. In this powerful Act One closer, Kate Monster sings her heartbreak out, confused as to how she even fell in love in the first place. After all, “There’s a fine, fine line, between love and a waste of time.”
“Serious” from Legally Blonde
“What? You’re breaking up with me? I thought you were proposing”
At the start of this musical number, it seems as if Warner and Elle are destined to be together. Their future plans seem watertight — Warner will become a senator, Elle Woods to be his doting wife. But, all is not as it seems. Mid-song, Warner tells Elle that they need to break up, putting career gains before a relationship. Although Warner and Elle split, it’s the motivation for Elle to go to Harvard, become a lawyer and change the world, one shade of pink at a time.
“I Say No” from Heathers
“You need help I can’t provide, I’m not Bonnie, You’re not Clyde”
Veronica’s frustration towards J.D’s behavior comes out in ballad form in Heathers. Venting about her recent life choices, Veronica breaks up with J.D, struggling to deal with his troubled outlook on life. Instead, Veronica wants to return to her previous life, saying no to everything. Added into the West End production of Heathers, did you know that Carrie Hope Fletcher was the first person to ever sing “I Say No”?
“Dogfight” from Dogfight
“They’re the dogs, no they’re the slimes, who hurt nice girls for real nice times.”
Not so much a breakup song but a hateful ode against all men, Marcy informs Rose how the Marines have been judging the women. Instead than seeing her boyfriend as her savior, Rose begins to realize his true colors. But, rather than sitting around and doing nothing about it, Rose stands up for herself. As she sings, “you can’t give in and you can’t play dumb, when you get thick skin, then you’re quick to numb,” a thought that inevitably changes her life outlook.
“I Hate Men” from Kiss Me, Kate
“I hate men. I can’t abide ’em even now and then.”
Nowadays, not getting married is pretty common. But, in previous centuries, being wed was part and parcel of being an adult. Learning of suitors who want to marry her, Kate’s had enough with the opposite sex. So much so, she hates men, finding them intolerable at the best of times. Kate can’t trust them, singing “If thou shouldst wed a businessman, be wary, oh, be wary. He’ll tell you he’s detained in town on business necessary.”
“Forget About the Boy” from Thoroughly Modern Millie
“Now that me and mister wrong are through, I’ll find myself another beau”
Breaking up with someone doesn’t mean you sever ties straight away. At the start of Act Two, Millie can’t stop thinking about her past flame, Jimmy. Dreaming of him whenever she can, she’s brought back down to Earth by her colleagues, telling her to just “Forget About the Boy” and brush her memories aside. There’s also a tap dance break in the middle of the musical number, which is exactly how every relationship decision should be made.
“I’d Rather Be Me” from Mean Girls
“Raise your right finger and solemnly swear, whatever they say about me I don’t care”
The Plastics may rule the school, but they don’t rule the students’ minds. Teaching the girls to stand up for themselves, Janis shares her mantra, focusing on being independent and staying true to herself. Like plenty of high school situations, it seems as if Janis is the weird one, with others judging her. By the end of the musical number, groups have rallied around her in support.
“Still Hurting” from The Last Five Years
“What about lies, Jamie? What about things that you swore to be true?”
The two-person musical sees each character’s arc unfold in different ways. For Cathy, her story starts with her marriage to Jamie ending, as told in the opening scene with “Still Hurting.” Asking where her relationship went wrong, Cathy laments over her life choices, angry that Jamie has caused her such hurt. In the musical, we’re not sure what Jamie’s done yet to upset her, stories which eventually unfold as the musical progresses.
“I’m Gonna Wash That Man Outta My Hair” from South Pacific
“I went to wash that man right outa my hair and sent him on his way.”
Arguably the stand-out song from South Pacific, Nellie Forbush sings this little ditty to herself in the shower, trying to clean her past lover away. Scrubbing him away proves difficult though; as soon as they see each other, she accepts his relationship offer. If you’re trying to rid yourself of an ex-lover, this song’s now become somewhat of an anthem. Did you know this song has become so popular that it’s been used in hair advertisements?
“Knowing When to Leave” from Promises Promises
“Go while the going is good, knowing when to leave may be the smartest thing anyone can learn.”
If you’re ending a relationship, don’t get too attached to the has-beens. That’s what Fran is repeatedly telling herself in this Promises Promises number, but knows deep down that she can’t leave if she’s feeling good. Eventually, Fran is in a state of despair, with nowhere to go and nobody to turn to. After all, “if he’s wrong there’s are heartaches and tears you must face” and Fran certainly has to face a broken heart.
“People Will Say We’re In Love” from Oklahoma!
“Don’t throw bouquets at me, don’t please my folks too much”
At first, farm girl Laurey doesn’t see much romantic potential with Curly, a local cowboy. Even though they’re friends, that’s all it could be in Laurey’s eyes. So much so, Laurey wants Curly to stop any behavior that could be deemed flirtatious by the local community. As the farmers and cowboys come closer together, eventually forming the midwestern state, Laurey accepts Curly’s marriage proposal. By the end, they’re screaming “Let people say we’re in love”.
“There Are Worse Things I Could Do” from Grease
“I could stay home every night, wait around for Mr. Right”
At first, it seems like nothing can get past Rizzo. The strongest Pink Lady of the pack, she rarely shows her emotion and tries to keep cool in every situation. But, in this tender moment, Rizzo shares her vulnerability, feeling alone from the rest of the world. Fearing she’s pregnant too, Rizzo thinks about where it’s all gone wrong for her… even though she’s still in high school.
“When We Are Wed” from Once On This Island
“My dear Mademoiselle, I have something to say, something I fear was left unsaid”
Throughout Once On This Island, Ti Moune and Daniel Beauxhomme form a beautiful friendship. Granted, they’re from different classes; their social statuses are likely to keep them apart. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t support each other when they can. However, when Ti Moune learns Daniel is to marry a fellow grand homme, she can’t believe her ears. Imagine learning that your close confidant is to marry someone else? Gutting.