Staff Picks: Our Favorite Spooky Showtunes
The news may feel like we’re all doomed these days. But, as these spooky showtunes tell us, things definitely could be worse. Join us as we get into the Halloween spirit by cranking these songs up loud and scaring all your neighbors.
Here are some of the TodayTix staff’s favorite Halloween-themed showtunes. They’re perfect for jamming out to until October 31.
“No Good Deed,” Wicked
Suzy, Marketing Team
I mean, is there a better spooky song about a curse that also has a moral message? “No Good Deed” is low-key the best screlty song in Wicked, and I love that the story is about protecting a friend at all costs as well as exploring the complicated and manipulative nature of what is “good.” Feels topical for too many reasons.
“All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons,” Evil Dead: the Musical
Quinn, Operations Team
I am a huge scary movie fan! If you’ve never seen The Evil Dead, it’s exactly what you think of when you think classic 1980’s scary movie; teens go to a secluded cabin in the woods, find a book that brings back the dead, they read the book against their better judgement bringing the dead back to life, and it snowballs from there. Evil Dead: the Musical is a fantastic parody of all of the old scary movie tropes. This song in particular is #IMO one of the most unappreciated songs in musical theatre.
“Die Vampire, Die!” [Title of Show]
Courtney, Merchandising Team
Is there anything more terrifying than putting a piece of yourself into a creation and then having to share it with the world, opening yourself to criticism? This song teaches you about the various types of vampires: pygmy vampires, air freshener vampires (hi, Grandma), and vampires of despair, then offers us all a sweet little mantra to banish those negative thoughts…DIE VAMPIRE, DIE!
“Pulled,” The Addams Family
Ali, Accounts Team
This catchy jam is about Wednesday Addams’ predicament of experiencing joy (she’s falling in love with her boyfriend Lucas) and what that means for her normally gloomy personality. She belts out her dilemma while torturing her brother Pugsley on a rack, which is just a beautiful juxtaposition. This song also has one of my all-time favorite patter sections of a non-Sondheim musical:
“Puppy dogs with droopy faces, Unicorns with dancing mice, Sunrise in wide open spaces, Disney World, I’ll go there twice! Butterflies and picnic lunches, Bunches of chrysanthemums, Lollipops and pillow fights and Christmas eve, Sugar plums! String quartets and Chia Pets, And afternoon banana splits, Angels watching as I sleep, And Liberace’s Greatest Hits!”
“The Ballad of Sara Berry,” 35mm: A Musical Exhibition
Jess, Tech Team
Sara Berry was just a popular girl, who wanted to be prom queen really badly, so she simply killed her competition…literally. Really it’s about a girl who drives herself to insanity trying to be better than everyone in her high school and live up to expectations and really it’s a little sad. But the bridge into the last chorus and the repeating “Check Sara, Choose Sara, Vote for Sara Berry” at the end solidify the song as something very sinister.
“Epiphany,” Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Zach, Tech Team
Is it too on the nose to pick a Sweeney number for the spooky showtunes challenge? Who cares! I’m here to talk about one thing and one thing only, and that thing is—say it with me—famous orchestrator Jonathan Tunick!!!! (Hold for raucous applause.) As soon as you hear that first low BWAAAAA you immediately know you’re in for an absolutely manic 3 minutes and 17 seconds that will ultimately culminate in the titular character’s very chill and normal realization that everyone deserves to die.
The music reflects the chaotic energy of Sweeney’s mind, jolting between sweeping lamentation and a sort of jagged, dissonant hammering. When Sweeney turns to point his razor at the audience I will never not get a whole lotta chills down my spine (specifically looking at you, Barrow Street Theatre production in 2017 wherein Norm Lewis leapt on my table and looked directly into my soul whilst saying the words “Welcome to the grave”). SPOOKY.
“Temper, Temper,” Mary Poppins
Geri, Partnerships Team
How many musical theater songs can say they got cut from a show, several years into its Broadway run, because they are simply too scary? I can’t think of any besides “Temper, Temper,” which was one of my favorite songs in the all-around wonderful stage adaptation of Mary Poppins. In the song, toys come to life to teach the kids about the danger of losing your temper, and they are spooked into behaving better. We could all use such a lesson! Though it was cut and replaced with a different song late into the show’s Broadway run, you can still listen to the scandalously scary tune on the cast recording.
“In,” Carrie The Musical (2012 Revival)
Michael, Operations Team
Carrie the Musical is full of spooky songs, but I think the opening number “In” from the 2012 revival with Molly Ranson and Marin Mazzie does an incredible job welcoming the audience into the modernized version of this well-known story. Powerhouse vocal arrangements by AnnMarie Milazzo foreshadow the arcs of every character, and emphasize how scary it is to be a teenager every day (even before you realize someone at your school is telekinetic.)