"Once in every show
There comes a song like this
It starts off soft and low
And ends up with a kiss.
Oh, where is the song that goes like this?"
—"The Song That Goes Like This," Spamalot
In musicals, the leads often sing a love duet towards the end of the second act. It's the moment right before they end up Happily Ever After
or part in bittersweet fashion. It may be an original song or a reprise. More common in older musicals, this song is usually sweet, sentimental, and often includes a kiss at the end.
Most of the time, you can identify one of these just from the playbill, by the fact that the leads sing a duet
towards the end.
- "Two Hearts" from the Lexx musical, "Brigadoom." Subverted in that their reconciliation in the song is followed by a doomed Last Stand in defense of their planet, with a reprise of the love duet that ends, "It's a good way to die."
- My Little Town. A duet of "I'll Cover You"(Reprise) goes to Art and Maya when they get together the first time.
- "Let us sleep now" from Benjamin Britten's War Requiem is effectively a homoerotic final love duet, though the accompanying chorus, "In paradisum," is really what gives it a transcendental quality.
- "Another Heart Calls" by The All-American Rejects featuring The Pierces is a duet between the two singers about a failed romance.
- Most of these are played straight:
- "Till There Was You" from The Music Man.
- "It Only Takes A Moment" from Hello, Dolly!.
- "You Rule My World (Reprise)" from The Full Monty.
- "They Were You" from The Fantasticks.
- "I'm Your Girl" from Me And Juliet.
- "How Deep Is Your Love" from Saturday Night Fever.
- "Til Him" from The Producers, however, is a subversion - it's about their guy love.
- The quote, from Monty Python's Spamalot, isn't a Final Love Duet, but its reprise — "Twice In Every Show"" is.
- "Perfect Strangers" from Drood - the audience chooses the pair that will sing it.
- "Fine Fine Line (Reprise)" from Avenue Q is a very short version.
- Some may argue that "For Good" from Wicked fulfills this trope, since the relationship between G(a)linda and Elphaba appears to be more important than Elphaba's relationship with Fiyero (and their duet, "As Long As You're Mine", comes close to the beginning of the second act.)
- "In Whatever Time We Have" from Children Of Eden, which is also final in that it's about staying together in the time they have before God wipes out the earth with a flood.
- The reprise of "Somewhere" in West Side Story.
- Subverted in almost all versions of Chess with "You and I" (Dark Reprise).
- The reprise of "Send in the Clowns" as sung by Fredrik and Desiree at the end of A Little Night Music.
- Heartbreakingly subverted in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney join for a final duet to the tune of "A Little Priest"... as he waltzes her into her oven.
- From Urinetown, "We're Not Sorry (Reprise)," sung by Cladwell and Pennywise. Subverted in that this is as Cladwell goes to be thrown off a building
- Opera example: in the fourth act of La bohème, Rodolfo and the dying Mimi have a few minutes by themselves to sing a Final Love Duet. Its reminiscences of the first meeting scene and abrupt ending are arguably even more tear-jerking than her actual death.
- "With So Little To Be Sure Of" from Anyone Can Whistle.
- "From This Day On" from Brigadoon.
- "Let Love Grow" from 9 to 5: The Musical
- "Bare" from the musical... well Bare.
- "Not Alone" from A Very Potter Musical, with a twist: on the last third of the song, Harry and Ginny are joined by Ron and Hermione, making the song about friendship as well as romantic love.
- The reprise with Voldemort and Quirrell plays this straight, however. And it actually is the final song of the show, even.
- The Reprise of "Always Only You" from Once Upon A Time In New Jersey. The first time is a partial subversion.
- The Phantom of the Opera provides a heartbreaking twist: Christine and Raoul sing a reprise of "All I Ask of You," but the focus of the scene is on the Phantom, now alone and devastated after letting them go free.
- In the Heights has two, "Champaigne" for Usnavi and Vanessa and "When the Sun Goes Down" for Nina and Benny.
- "Forbidden Love" from Zombie Prom.
- "All the Wasted Time" from Parade.
- The Wedding Singer musical somehow manages to have three for the same couple. Robbie and Julia sing "If I Told You", "If I Told You (Reprise)" and the actual final duet, which is "Grow Old With You".
- The heartbreaking "A Little Fall of Rain" from Les Misérables, where Eponine lies dying in Marius' arms. After which, Marius happily runs off with Cosette.
- Rose and Sam's final duet in Street Scene, which reprises portions of their earlier "We'll Go Away Together" and "Remember That I Care," is another example of the heartbreaking type.
- "Yesterday I Loved You" for the Beta Couple in Once Upon a Mattress.
- "Suddenly Seymour" in Little Shopof Horrors and its movie adaptation.
- "Second" from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee definitely has some aspect of this going on Olive and Barfee debate who will throw the bee for the other one to win.. Seriously, just ask the fanon.
- Aida features a heartbreaking reprise of "Enchantment Passing Through" for Aida and Radames as they take their final breaths.
- "Inside Your Heart" from Bat Boy The Musical.
- The "One Alone" reprise from The Desert Song. It starts out as a solo outlining the hero's ideas on "Eastern vs Western Love" and becomes a Leitmotif, finally becoming the last duet between the hero and heroine.
- Hey #3/Perfect for You from Next to Normal.
- The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, in some productions, moves the Crane Duet to the spot where Jimmy is awaiting execution.
- "Life Plus 99 Years/Finale" from Thrill Me is a mildly creepy duet between Richard and Nathan where Nathan sings about how now they'll never be apart. Ever.
- In Heathers, Veronica and J.D. sing reprises of all their love duets throughout the climax. "Dead Girl Walking" gets a whole song for its reprise, and a lot of the lyrics take on a very different, more deadly feel. "I Am Damaged" reprises both "Seventeen" and "Our Love is God." And it ends with J.D. blowing himself up to save Veronica.
- The reprise of "If Only" from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Unlike the previous unrequited version between Black Canary and Music Meister, this version declares the love between Black Canary and Green Arrow.
Definitely not played straight:
- "Draussen ist Freiheit (Reprise) from Tanz Der Vampire. It sure sounds like a traditional example of this trope, until Sarah starts singing in a more guttural voice after she falls and Alfred pulls her up again... and then she turns around and has fangs... and then bites Alfred.