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Superfluous Solo
Where a character in a musical or opera who otherwise doesn't get a spot by himself has a solo number that adds nothing to the show other than giving him a moment in the spotlight. Liable to be cut in theatrical productions where the performer doesn't demand its retention.

Characters who get other solos don't count as examples.


Examples:

  • "Bianca" was written into Kiss Me Kate at a late stage largely because Harold Lang needed to show off his tap dancing; in the score, Bill otherwise has one line to sing in the tag of "Why Can't You Behave?" and is part of the "Tom, Dick Or Harry" trio.
  • Parodied in The Abduction of Figaro, where Schleporello, who is supposed to play Silent Partner to Donald Giovanni, executes a Hostile Show Takeover so his whiny voice can get an aria to sing.
  • The 1994 Broadway revival of Show Boat reassigned "Why Do I Love You?" to Parthy, who had to sing if played by Elaine Stritch. Parthy sings it to Magnolia's newborn daughter; that the song was originally a boy/girl duet is poorly camouflaged.
  • The Drowsy Chaperone pokes fun at this with "As We Stumble Along" (the iconic song of the show), shoehorned into the Show Within a Show to appease the Patti LuPone-esque diva.
  • When Frank Sinatra played Nathan Detroit in the movie version of Guys and Dolls, it was not enough for him to be half of the "Sue Me" duet and add his voice to the title number (which might have happened in the original production if Sam Levene hadn't been a non-singer). Therefore, the rather bland Movie Bonus Song "Adelaide" was written for him.
  • The song "The Morning Report" in The Lion King; it's blatantly there just to give Zazu more singing time, and is little more than a Hurricane of Puns. To add insult to injury, Zazu doesn't even get to finish the song - Simba butts in and finishes it, for him, completely invalidating the reason for giving him the song to sing, in the first place.
  • In the Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog musical commentary, Commentary! The Musical, a chorus member buys herself a solo, too bad Neil Patrick Harris outbid her.
  • "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" from the stage production of Evita, sung by Juan Peron's lover prior to Evita, who has no real role in the play other than to be unceremoniously kicked out by Evita. (In the movie, the song is sung by Evita herself.)
  • In the fourth act of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro, Marcellina and Basilio each have an aria. These arias are often omitted.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan have a couple of these. "Come, Mighty Must" from Princess Ida, often considered to be the worst song in the show (all the worse as it falls in the midst of some of the best music they ever wrote) is probably the biggest example.
    • Most of the others are good enough that the musical director needs no prompting to leave them in, "When All Night Long" in Iolanthe is far too much fun to leave out even if the character who sings it spends most of his stage time as scenery.
      • Arguably an inversion, the character only really exists to sing that song (and provide a husband for the Fairy Queen).
  • The Jester's number "Very Soft Shoes" in Once Upon a Mattress usually allows for a cool dance break, but nothing more.
  • "Close Every Door To Me" in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Joseph's the star, so they have to give him a big solo number, but it noticeably slows the pace of the show down.
  • In The Rocky Horror Show, Brad's song "Once In A While" originally existed solely because Brad was the only major character without his own song. Not all productions included it, as it was often considered the weakest in the show; it was also cut from the film.
  • Lampshaded in Spamalot with "Whatever Happened To My Part", a song the Lady of the Lake sings about not having a song in Act Two, and nothing to do at all since midway through Act One.
  • Really the only explanation for "Shipoopi" in The Music Man, The song appears to just be an excuse for Marcellus to sing and dance (in-story, it serves as a distraction, but the song itself is still bizarre).
  • "Too Many Tomorrows" in Sweet Charity is very likely one of these. The minor character Vittorio inexplicably has this long, slow, boring solo right after Charity's dazzling showstopper “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” It has nothing to do with the plot, and he sings it to a thoroughly unimportant character. Notably, this song was removed from the movie.

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