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The Eleven O'Clock Number
So you're almost at the end of the show, and things are looking very uncertain but you know the show's about to end. That's when you know this trope is about to kick in. The Eleven O'Clock Number is a song in a musical placed near the end of the second act, before the plot's loose ends are tied up. The song usually represents an emotional turning point or revelation for the main character(s) and is almost always the last number in the show that isn't a reprise of an earlier song or the absolute final song. The term is a holdover from the days when all musicals started at 8:30 PM and had to have a climactic song around 11:00, because it was preferable to have audiences out shortly afterwards.

Largely a Theater trope. Seen in musicals and works that follow the musical format, as well as the odd Concept Album. Compare and contrast Climactic Music.

Examples:

  • "Champagne" and "When The Sun Goes Down" from In the Heights.
  • "No More" and "No One Is Alone" of Into the Woods fame both have elements of this.
  • "Freak Flag" from Shrek.
  • "Being Alive" from Company
  • "Move On" from Sunday In The Park With George.
  • "If He Walked Into My Life" from Mame.
  • "Memory" from Cats.
  • "Confrontation" from Jekyll&Hyde.
  • "The Point of No Return" from The Phantom of the Opera.
    • In the sequel Love Never Dies, this is the title song's function.
  • "No Good Deed," "March Of The Witch Hunters," and "For Good" from Wicked. Notable for all taking place within moments of each other.
  • Rose Tint My World or "I'm Going Home".
  • "When It Ends" from Michael John La Chiusa's The Wild Party.
  • "Once We Were Kings" from The Musical of Billy Elliot.
  • "Something To Sing About" from the "Once More With Feeling" episode of Buffy.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has "I Didn't Know I'd Love You So Much".
  • "Back To Before" from Ragtime.
  • "An Eleven O'Clock Song" from Ankles Aweigh.
  • "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy.
  • "From This Day On" from Brigadoon.
  • "I'm Going Back" from Bells Are Ringing.
  • "Those Were The Good Old Days" and "Two Lost Souls" from Damn Yankees.
  • "With So Little To Be Sure Of" from Anyone Can Whistle.
  • "No One Has Ever Loved Me" from Passion.
  • "Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat" from Guys and Dolls.
  • "What I Did For Love" from A Chorus Line.
  • "Fifty Percent" from Ballroom.
  • "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun.
  • "Guenivere" from Camelot.
  • "Oklahoma!" from Oklahoma!.
  • Show Boat originally had an 11:00 song to show off Magnolia's daughter, Kim (here played by the same actress as Magnolia) in a 1920s-type production number. The original 11:00 song, "It's Getting Hotter in the North" (based on Magnolia's Leitmotif), was cut and replaced by a reprise of "Why Do I Love You" with impersonations and a jazz dance. The London production used an entirely new 11:00 song, "Dance Away The Night." The 1936 film version built up an elaborate production number around the Movie Bonus Song "Gallivantin' Around," which fell victim to editing before it was released. The 1946 Broadway revival used yet another newly written song, "Nobody Else But Me," but dropped the number without replacement when it went on tour. The 1994 Broadway revival replaced it with a dance number, "Kim's Charleston."
  • "Get Out and Stay Out" from 9 to 5: The Musical
  • "The I Love You Song" from The25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" from Stop The World — I Want To Get Off.
  • "Your Eyes" from Rent is technically the Eleven O'Clock Number, but something must be said for "What You Own".
  • "Without Love" from Hairspray
    • According to the creators, the Eleven O'Clock Number for Hairspray is "I Know Where I've Been".
  • "Listen" from the film version of Dreamgirls. Perhaps "I Miss You Old Friend" from the original musical.
    • It's in the stage version as well, but that's not the eleven o'clock number, and for that matter, neither is "I Miss You Old Friend." Everyone knows it's "One Night Only."
  • "Till There Was You"" from The Music Man
  • "I Confess" from Footloose
  • "Maybe (Next to Normal)" and "So Anyway" could both fit this in Next To Normal.
  • "The American Dream" from Miss Saigon.
  • "If That's What It Is" from 13
  • Mozart L'Opera Rock has "Victime de ma victoire", which is interestingly a song addressing the emotional turning point of the villain.
  • From the Disney movie Enchanted there's the song "So Close".
  • "We're Not Sorry" from Urinetown, though the turning point is more for the ensemble and ingenue than for the hero. Hard to have an epiphany when you died two songs ago.
  • Legally Blonde The Musical has "Legally Blonde", that fits the role even if it's a reprise.
    • There's also "Legally Blonde Remix"
  • "I Believe" In The Book of Mormon could technically be this, even though it isn't near the end of the musical.
  • Many Verdi operas have one of these, such as "D'amor sull'ali rosee" from Il trovatore and "Tu che le vanità" from Don Carlo. Soprano Leontyne Price was famous for nailing these after the rest of the cast had tired.
  • "The Meek Shall Inherit" from Little Shop of Horrors.
  • "All The Wasted Time" from Parade.
  • "Reviewing the Situation" from Oliver!.
  • "Bet On It" from High School Musical 2?
    • "Everyday" would be most accurate.
  • "How Could I Ever Know?" from The Secret Garden.
    • Or "Hold On" or "Race You To the Top."
  • "Funny" from City of Angels fits, albeit a little snugly.
  • "Be On Your Own" and "I Can't Make This Movie" from 9
  • "I Wish I Could Go Back To College" from Avenue Q.
  • "Brotherhood Of Man" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
  • "Poor Jack" from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
  • "Duel Duet" from Shock Treatment.
  • "Only He" and "Only You" from Starlight Express.
  • "One Of Those Nights" from the musical of Metropolis.
  • The murderer's confessions in Drood.
  • "Within You" from Labyrinth. Technically the Thirteen O'clock Number.
  • "Wrong Note Rag" from Wonderful Town.
  • "So Long, Dearie" from Hello, Dolly!!.
  • "I Guess I'll Miss The Man" from Pippin is an understated version.
  • "Betrayed" from The Producers is not only a classic 11 o'clock number, but also a five-minute, one-man summary of the entire show to that point.
  • "The Show Must Go On" from Moulin Rouge!, which also doubles as The Song Before The Storm. Appropriately, it is both operatic and rather funereal.
  • Stephen Sondheim's Follies has not one but four 11 o'clock numbers, one for each of the principal characters: the comic patter song "Buddy's Blues," the torch ballad "Losing My Mind," the Star Lady turn "The Story of Lucy and Jessie," and, finally, the top-hat-and-tails ditty "Live, Laugh, Love," which features a twist ending: as debonair Ben realizes that the cheery words he's singing are a horrible lie, he repeatedly flubs the lyrics and finally has a breakdown onstage.
  • The concert sequence from The Sound of Music, which has "Edelweiss" in between an elaborate reprise of "Do-Re-Mi" and a plain repetition of "So Long, Farewell."
  • "Hh! Cha Cha!" (sic) from The Cat and the Fiddle, which reused part of the aforementioned "Why Do I Love You" as a countermelody.
  • "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
  • "You're Going to Be Okay" from "My Musical" in Scrubs.
  • "I Will Still Play" from Tripod Versus The Dragon.
  • A Concept Album example: "Blind Curve" from Misplaced Childhood by Marillion.
  • "Someone Like Me" from Doug Live
  • "A Boy Needs a Dog (Reprise)" from the film of Teacher's Pet
  • The "Reprise Remix" from The Fairly Oddparents: School's Out! The Musical
  • "Once and For All" from Newsies.
  • "Step In Time" from Mary Poppins
  • A concept album example: "Stop" from The Wall. In the film, the song serves the same purpose, but it is sung very quietly and a bit hard to discern.
  • "Dyin' Ain't So Bad" from Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie and Clyde.
  • Technically "Wenn ich dein Spiegel wär" in Elisabeth, though the second-act reprise of "Die Schatten werden länger" stands out more.
  • "Die unstillbare Gier" in Tanz der Vampire.
  • Asia's "Heat of the Moment," sung a capella by Cartman and the entire House of Representatives in the South Park episode "Kenny Dies." Singing the song together motivates the representatives into passing stem cell research, Cartman's goal through the episode.
  • "It Won't Be Long" in the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) season finale "Summertime Blues," sung as a farewell song for Blythe leaving over the summer.
  • "Is Anybody There?" from 1776.
  • "All for You" from Seussical.
  • The 2013 West End musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has an original score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, but its Eleven O' Clock Number is an import: "Pure Imagination", the most famous song from the 1971 movie adaptation. The new context has it underscoring the reveal and flight of the Great Glass Elevator and the revelation that Charlie's won the factory.
  • "The Big Bow-Wow" in Snoopy! The Musical.
  • "Always Starting Over" in If/Then
  • A Concept Album example; "This Christmas Day" from Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve and Other Stories", although the argument could be made for "Old City Bar". There are a few other songs in the album following these two, but they're mostly bonus tracks.

Dinner and a ShowScenesEstablishing Character Moment
Death SongMusical Number IndexFanfare
Dream BalletTheaterEverything Has Rhythm
Distant DuetMusic TropesFanfare

alternative title(s): Eleven O Clock Number
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