A number of songs from Evil Dead: The Musical could qualify, but "It's Time" takes the cake. With over-the-top lines like "Tonight (Kick you square,) you will die (in the balls) by the saw or the gun!" and "When danger calls, you must the balls of an ox, or a bear, or any large mammal~!" It's a step away from parodying this trope.
When A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was struggling with its out-of-town tryouts, Sondheim was called upon to replace the opening number "Love is in the Air" with something that better fit the farcical tone of the show. The result, "Comedy Tonight", helped save the show and is one of the most infectious introductions a musical could ask for.
The entire point of Assassins seems to be to give these to people who really don't deserve them. The Ballads of Booth, Guiteau, and Czolgosz have some SERIOUS Draco in Leather Pants potential. "Ballad of Booth" is particularly amazing, as for one brief moment, you actually pity John Wilkes Booth And then The Balladeer sings again and brings you back to your senses.
Though the plot has some issues, and the show was quite terribly received when it first opened, Anyone Can Whistle gave us some wonderful songs, such as "There Won't Be Trumpets", "Anyone Can Whistle", "A Parade in Town", "Everybody Says Don't", and the epic Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number, "Simple", which is anything but.
Into the Woods - "Last Midnight", a whole bunch of other stuff that qualifies for Tear Jerker. "Agony" is a Funny Moment for the first act, but then the reprise in the second act is even funnier.
"I'm Alive". Brilliant, gorgeous, and scary as hell.
"Aftershocks" is one of the creepier songs on Broadway, and one of the most captivating. Actually, anything sung by Gabe deserves a mention, since Gabe is incredibly sexy. Every note he sings is Made of Win.
"Perfect for You", or any song with Henry for that matter is bound to be a Heartwarming Moment.
"I Miss the Mountains" has gotten standing ovations at numerous performances.
The finale, "Light", is pretty much the entire point of the show. That no matter how dark and depressing life can get, there's still light, there's still hope. It also has one of the strongest, heartwarming, tearjerking, and for those with mental illness, inspiring lines in the show:
And you find a way to survive/And you find out you don't have to be happy at all/To be happy you're alive
The very first number, "Just Another Day", is enough to let you know what you're in for. The four-part counterpoint at the end is powerful, and enough to drive you to tears.
If the title track, "O", doesn't move you to tears of joy and give you shivers, you have no soul.
"Simcha" (Russian swings) may be the happiest piece of music ever.
Although the song known in O as "Debbie" isn't on the show's CD, it CAN be heard on the CD soundtrack of Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man; it's the song of the same title (albeit with English lyrics).
The first show to use previously extant music was LOVE — since it's the music of The Beatles, the show serves it, not the other way around. And it was remixed especially for the show. Who knew that "Strawberry Fields", "Penny Lane", "In My Life", and "Hello Goodbye" could be combined into a coherent whole? Or, for that matter, "Drive My Car", "What You're Doing", and "The Word"?
Amaluna has its main theme, "Come Together" (aka "Magic Ceremony"), which gets everyone in the audience clapping, no, pounding their palms along to the beat during its finale reprise, the Chinese pole song ("Creature of Light"), the first straps number ("Tempest"), the waterbowl number ("Hope" and "O Ma Lay"), the uneven bars theme ("Fly Around")... Actually, the whole show. (Again!)
Nearly all of the soundtrack to Volta qualifies, but highlights include:
The techno-rock tune during the Otaku Double Dutchers' opening act, which unfortunately did not get a soundtrack release.
"Globetrotters", sadly not available on the soundtrack album, is a punchy industrial hip-hop track, originally used for the trial bike act during the show's Canadian run, then repurposed for the baton juggling act later in the US tour.
"Battle of the Man", an Orchestral Bombing piece played in the Hall of Equals, where a group of Asian drummers are suspended from the rafters while either a baton twirler or an aerial strap duo perform and Waz is initiated into the Freespirits tribe.
Crystal is their first non-artist-specific show to use covers of pop hits, which are surprisingly well-executed and integrated into the story. Exhibit A: Ariane Moffatt's rendition of Sia's "Chandelier" during the swinging trapeze number.
The Black Rider ranges from the tragic melancholy of "The Briar and the Rose" to the gleefully diabolical Villain Songs "Just the Right Bullets" and "Flash Pan Hunter". There's also the messed-up instrumental "Oily Night" to go along with a satanic ritual.
Woyzeck kicks off with a chromatic scale that morphs into the terrifyingly excellent "Misery is the River of the World". And then there's the ''three' Villain Songs, "Everything Goes to Hell", "God's Away on Business", and "Starving in the Belly of a Whale". And the instrumental, "Knife Chase", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
"The Writing on the Wall" from Drood is pure Betty Buckley awesome. Final "the wall", anyone? Belted E, a capella. From the same show, "Both Sides of the Coin" is a duet Patter Song with a chorus that is nigh incomprehensible, which is then done at double speed at the very end.
The Book of Mormon: "Hello! My name is Elder Price, and I would like to share with you the most amazing book!"
The Phantom of the Opera's signature organ chords (whether lifted from Pink Floyd or not, it is still awesome). Also the five-chord progression that concludes "Music of the Night" and later the show itself.
Christine's cadenza at the end of the title song. Even when it sounds like she's singing her vocal cord out, she goes even HIGHER on the next go at the melody, ending in a high E that sounds like a scream.
The huge "BEEE!" and ethereal "soar" also from "Music of the Night" certainly deserve recognition.
"Notes I", "Notes II", "Prima Donna", and the "Point of No Return" are also exceptional standouts.
"You will curse the day you did not doooooooo all that the Phantom asked of youuuuuuuu!!" And using that single line to transition seamlessly from the tune of Christine and Raoul's love theme to a crashing rendition of the Phantom's theme.
In the film's cut edition, Gerard Butler's Phantom sings a song called "No One Would Listen" to the same tune as "Learn to be Lonely". Say what you may of the film and Butler's singing skills, but that man sold the song like Billy Mays sold Oxiclean.
"One Day More" vindicates all the earlier, simpler songs in the musical by having them play at the same time. Why was the melody of "Master of the House" so simple and straightforward? So that it would work as counterpoint with "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Look Down"!
Not to mention Valjean's belting of "One Day More!" as each part comes together near the end. Then the entire cast comes together again to sing the final lines in unison. There's a reason it's one of the most famous Act I finales in musical theater.
"Morgen Schon", the German translation of "One Day More" on the Viennese cast recording, may be even more gorgeous than any English recording.
The reprise of "Do You Hear the People Sing" in the 10th Anniversary Concert. Seventeen Valjeans singing in their native languages. There's Awesome Music and a Moment of Awesome in one. The one in the regular show isn't anything to sneeze at either.
Stars is knock-you-backwards amazing. The staging - perfect! The melody - beautiful! And the lyrics! How anyone can perfectly show all sides of a character as complex as Javert in about three minutes defies description. It takes real talent to show how someone is a submissive servant of justice, a shining-with-self-righteous-zealotry Knight Templar, a Determinator hunter of that darn fugitive who keeps slipping through his fingers, and a Well-Intentioned Extremist who truly wants to do what's right but just goes way, way too far just through one song. And applause for the brilliantly chosen symbolism and imagery.
"I Dreamed A Dream". Angst has never sounded so fucking awesome.
Master Of The House is insanely catchy, funny, is the most cheerful song in the musical despite being a villain song and is just a whole lot of fun.
"Bring Him Home". Especially if the singer switches to a faint falsetto for the last two notes.
Every single note Enjolras sings. He even makes dying at the barricades sound AWESOME.
The transition from the end of 'Waltz of Treachery' into 'Look Down'. The shift in tone of the scene is so incredibly effective and spine-chilling.
Same with the very short theme playing when Valjean lifts the cart off Monsieur Fauchelevent in 'The Runaway Cart'.
Man of La Mancha is often erroneously referred to as a one-song show. It's not, really, it's just that "The Impossible Dream" is so damn good.
And once you've heard Joan Diener's cover of "Aldonza" on the French cover, with Jacques Brel, you will be riveted to your seat, goosebumps all over you, and you will never consider Man of La Mancha to be a one-song show again.
"Dulcinea" is a gorgeous ballad that is abruptly turned into a raucous, rollicking chorus number.
Watch "I, Don Quixote" performed by a talented actor, and you will stand up and cheer.
Riff Raff's entrance in the finale, where he kicks in the door. Best part of the film.
So many pieces qualify that you can make a case for including the whole show. "Science Fiction (Double Feature)", "Dammit Janet", "There's A Light", "The Time Warp", "Sweet Transvestite", "The Sword of Damocles", "I Can Make You A Man", "Hot Patootie", "Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me" and "Eddie" are consecutive songs and all very much worthy of being here.
"Find Your Grail" is so incredibly, unbelievably, and intentionally cheesy that it wraps back around to awesome.
You Won't Succeed On Broadway If You Don't Have Any Jews! Well, saying that you're Jewish isn't really the sort of thing you say to a heavily armed Christian...
Of all the assorted Cut Songs that Little Shop of Horrors produced, "The Worse He Treats Me" is the one with the most understandable reason for cutting; it completely mischaracterizes the female lead, is disturbing, and doesn't really fit in anywhere. It's STILL Awesome Music.
"Skid Row" is one of the catchiest and one of the most motivating songs in musical theatre, up there with "One Day More" and "Do you Hear the People Sing" from Les Misérables. It's just stunning, and the crescendo that happens before Seymour's part (which is extremely catchy) makes that segment even better.
Though it was written for the movie, "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" is occasionally readded to the show, and it's DEFINITELY this. The best part, though, is the end of the song, which wasn't present in the movie, as Audrey II eats Seymour. The Cut Song that it replaced, "Bad", is also pretty awesome.
And "Sominex" (the last song before things start falling apart), and "Suppertime II" (when things DO start falling apart). Also "Somewhere That's Green (Reprise)", one of the best examples of Tear Jerker ever.
Finale B. Not only is it an amazing medley of major themes from the rest of the musical, if you listen close, even to the recording or movie version, you can hear Angel's voice. On the stage version, Angel comes back out onstage. There's something ridiculously awesome about it. In the alternate ending for the film, you also see Angel - the screen cuts back to the opening visual, with all of them singing into microphones onstage, and near the end of the song she walks out and joins them.
The moment when Pilate finally condemns Jesus to death ("Die if you want to, you innocent puppet") and then the orchestra comes in with the beginning of the title song is quite possibly the high point of Andrew Lloyd Webber's career.
Say what you will about the Narm, but Lord of the Dance/Feet of Flames has some freaking awesome music. See: "Cry of the Celts", "Planet Ireland".
"Memory" from Cats. Grizabella's entire subplot is that she left the Jellicle tribe to be famous and acted like a total Jerkass. So, naturally, when she comes back, the cats don't want any part of her. "Memory" is her saying that she wants the old days back and that she was sorry for being a bitch in the most awesome way possible.
Hair has many, many awesome songs, some very short and sung in quick succession, but to name a few:
"I Got Life", an upbeat number in which the main character tries to explain to his parents that he doesn't need much, so long as he's got life. By listing off all of his body parts in rapid succession. It's more awesome than it sounds.
"Hair", the title song, where the hippies explain their long-haired way of life.
Tick, Tick... Boom! is all the proof we need that Jonathan Larson was more than just the guy who wrote RENT.
"Come to Your Senses", especially that very long ending note.
"Therapy" starts out fairly measured but quickly turns into a Patter Song duet with counterpoint and is a Funny Moment.
The finale "Louder Than Words" is absolutely one of the best examples of what a Moment of Awesome should be.
Kristina (aka Kristina from DuvemÃ¥la) has a lot of good music, but few things can beat "Gold Can Turn To Sand". In the original Swedish version, Kristina's "You Have To Be There" is one of the best songs from any musical ever. Unfortunately the English translation is poor, repetitive and has little of the original lyric's emotion and angst.
"Touch Me" also has some incredible moments, especially the buildup to the climax. "Consume my wine, consume my mind..."
"I Believe" which is two minutes of non-stop harmony.
And "Totally Fucked" is roughly three minutes and fifteen seconds of pure cathartic awesomeness.
"Those You've Known" is the climax of the entire plot and is hauntingly beautiful. The same goes for the live performance of "The Dark I Know Well".
"The Dark I Know Well" is kind of Nightmare Fuel, but it is amazing and powerful, painful and haunting.
The German incarnation of Spring Awakening is also a powerful experience, with the almost ethereal version of "Whispering" as "Hör nür hin".
"The Song Of Purple Summer" is both a showstopper and the end of the show.
The Russian Dance from The Nutcracker Suite, with the distinction of being Awesome Music in a ballet!
In Béla Bartók's one-act opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle, the opening of the fifth door reveals the full extent of Bluebeard's wealth as a landowner. The accompanying power chords are so overwhelmingly awesome.
Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera gave us "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" ("The Ballad of Mack the Knife"), but "Zuhälterballade" ("Pimp's Ballad") is also awesome. What a beautiful, slow tango. They had some amazing music in their works. All you have to do is get past the rather depressing stories. Or enjoy them together, as you really should.
"Ireland" and its reprise. Humor, a touch of pathos, and an actress with a big voice!
"So Much Better" is basically pure, gleeful, triumph and personal achievement expressed in song.
"Legally Blonde" is a song of such shocking pain, sorrow, loss of self-worth, and in the end solidarity that it takes you by surprise after all the peppy, fun, upbeat numbers that came before. But then when Elle gets her Heroic Second Wind and Vivienne comes in on the Reprise...sheer win.
"Take It Like is A Man" hilarious and heartwarming.
Emmett What is this place? Elle It's called... A department store. Emmett It's beautiful...
And the frantic, pounding "Why Did I Listen To That Man" where everything goes wrong.
The Addams Family has some fantastic songs ("When You're An Addams", "Happy/Sad", and "Move Toward the Darkness", among many others), but the crown has to go to Alice's "Waiting", which is a scathing, hurting, vicious strike back at her neglectful husband, and it stops the show cold.
The student production Me and My Dick has a few seriously great songs. The Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number "Ready To Go" comes to mind, as does the epically adorable "Even Though". "There Ain't Nothing Like A Dick" is amazing too. Pretty good showing for a musical about walking and talking genitalia, eh?
From A Very Potter Senior Year: "I'm Just a Sidekick" definitely qualifies, as well as "Everything Ends", "When I Was", "This is the End", "A Very Potter Senior Year", "When You Have to Go All the Way Home"... dang it, these kids are talented. The reprise of "Back To Hogwarts" counts as well.
The song "You're the Top" is one HELL of a belt fest for Sutton Foster and Colin Donnell and they pull it off PERFECTLY. Imagine a song that's the complete OPPOSITE of "Anything you can do, I can do better."
The title song "Anything Goes" gets special mention for having some stand out tap-choreography.
13 brings us "Brand New You", which may well be the best song of the musical. All of Lucy's songs are quite nice, too.
And speaking of Marion Cotillard, the sadness and neglect implicit in "My Husband Makes Movies" comes to a crescendo of bitterness and thoroughly justified rage in "Take It All". Her character's suffering at the hands of her cheating husband, who only knows how to take and not to give, is expressed via a fantasy cabaret scene in which her husband sits and watches as she performs for a club full of men who tear her clothes off. Intense, poignant scene with awesome music to boot.
Obvious, but "Into The Fire" is worth including on the list. And then there's "The Riddle": "Every Judas once loved a Jesus/ But finally, treason will seize us". DAMN. It helps when one of the singers is Terrence Mann, of course.
Speaking of Terrence Mann, "Falcon In The Dive" is amazing and "Where's The Girl" just sends shivers down your spine
"The Creation of Man" is such a Funny Moment that it's impossible not to crack up, it's so wonderfully ridiculous. In a fairly serious show, too.
Seussical's "Alone in the Universe" is pretty powerful, in particular when Horton and Jojo are both singing the chorus together- "I have wings, and I can fly, around the moon and far beyond the sky!"
Children of Eden is Stephen Schwartz's less-loved show, but it's got a couple great numbers.
"Spark of Creation", "The Hardest Part of Love", and "Lost In The Wilderness" are all excellent, but the clinchers are the A Capella harmonies in the Act One Finale and title song "Children of Eden" and Act Two Finale, "In the Beginning". If you do not leave the theatre sobbing and/or amazed at the talented cast, someone is doing their job horribly, horribly wrong.
"Stranger To The Rain". If you were wondering why Japeth loves Yonah, this song shows just how amazing she is, race of Cain or not.
And "Let There Be" must be mentioned as it's an amazing opening number and sets the tone perfectly.
"Keys/It's Alright" from Passing Strange. It starts as a ballady number, in which the main character, Youth — who's on his finding-myself world journey - has just arrived in Amsterdam and needs a place to stay, and a new friend simply hands him her house keys and says she can stay with him — and he is understandably touched. It builds into a huge explosive celebration of hope and optimism and "everything's gonna be alright", with the narrator bringing Youth's artist heroes into the song to encourage him as well:
"When a Foeman Bares His Steel" (AKA the Policemen's Song). The song is separated into three parts: the first segment involves the Sergeant motivating himself and his crew as they are about to enter combat with the pirates despite their fear. The second segment involves Mabel and her sisters unwittingly crushing this optimism entirely, giving us the immortal line "Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die". The last bit involves the captain trying to get his terrified men back in order and to march on, only for all of them to keep trying to run away. The entire thing is just plain funny, and it's pretty catchy too.
"Real Big News", Craig the reporter's soulful anthem to the big news of Leo Frank's case that could save his writing career.
"How Can I Call This Home?", Leo Frank's plaintive worries about being a Northerner in the South.
"There Is A Fountain/It Don't Make Sense", a gorgeous and extremely powerful song about grief as Mary's family and friends mourn her Special shout-out to Frankie's achingly simple yet heartbreaking solo lyrics.
"You Don't Know This Man", Lucille Frank's epic verbal smackdown of reporters trying to accuse her husband of terrible acts.
"All The Wasted Time", a sweeping love ballad between Leo and Lucille, as they reaffirm their love for one another after years of distance, despite all the tragedy of their circumstances.
"That's What He Said", Jim Conley's gospel-heavy number during Leo's trial, one of the most Epic Rocking court testimonies ever given.
"This Is Not Over Yet", the biggest Hope Spot in the musical, with a very excited Leo and Lucille duet and lightning-fast piano accompaniment.
The 2013 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has lots of delightful songs that can stand alongside those of the two famous film adaptations, even as its use of the 1971 film's "Pure Imagination" as Climactic Music is (or was; it was moved to an earlier scene in later productions) a true Heartwarming Moment.
"Don't'cha Pinch Me Charlie" is a great Crowd Song as everyone celebrates Charlie Bucket's Golden Ticket find.
The song that follows that — and closes out Act One — manages to be a solo turn that feels much bigger than a Crowd Song. "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" starts with a clever variant on Willy Wonka's entrance in the 1971 version and goes on to reveal every facet of the character — the whimsicality, philosophy, and even creepiness — in less than five minutes. Pair this tune with amazing orchestrations, and then add Douglas Hodge's vocal on the Original London Cast Recording, and you will believe.
Matilda gives us "Revolting Children", the kickass Crowd Song as the children begin to stand up to Trunchbull. And "Naughty" reminding us all that little does not equal weak.
The revival of the musical version of Carrie has some awesome songs to balance the Camp. Pretty much anything sung by Margaret is bound to be amazing, especially "When There's No One" and her part of "Evening Prayers." The actress playing Carrie is no slouch herself; just listen to "The Destruction."
Heathers. The entire damn thing. But a few standouts:
"Dead Girl Walking" is one of the best Intercourse with You songs to ever grace the stage, and it's just a great song in general, being fun, sexy, amusing, and even tender and sweet in some parts.
"Our Love is God." Perfect closer to the first act, starting off heartwarming and ending terrifying.
"Meant to Be Yours," when performed correctly... which the actor on the official soundtrack does.
Pretty much all of "Seventeen," but especially JD and Veronica's harmony on the lines: "Let us be seventeen, if we've still got the right!" "So, what's it gonna be? I wanna be with you..." "Wanna be with you..." "Wanna be with you, tonight!"
"Candy Store" is an awesome girl power anthem, if more on the bitchy side of girl power. But the three-part harmonies in the second chorus are quite literally to die for.
Changing my Major, a song depicting the main character Allison's sexual awakening as a lesbian. Even if it's a slow song, The message that it conveys to the audience about what it actually feels like to sexually awaken for some people whether it be the mixed emotions of joy and fear. Allison, who's only 20 during the song, was so scared and bottled up all her feelings about what gender she really shows attraction towards. And how flipping ecstatic she is after her first time with her roommate. The feelings she has when she figures out she's not alone. The shear joy, unsureness, and overall satisfaction with herself is truely what makes this song so kickass, especially for LGBT+ theatre fans.
Ring of Keys, as well as being an amazing song, was a showstopper at the 2015 Tony Awards. That's right, a twelve year old girl was a Tony awards show stopper. Bad. Ass.
"Maps" is a somber song sung by Regular Allison about how geographically small her Dad's life is since besides travelling to Munich with Helen, most of his life was spent in Beach Creek, Pennsylvania.
"Stick it to the Man" is a song about Dewey teaching the kids of Horace Green about how unfair the world is- adding a little more rock to the famous "Man" speech from the film
"You're In The Band" is awesome because not only is the song good as Dewey forms the student into a rock band, but all the little solos the kids do are actually the child actors playing their instruments.
"When I Climb To The Top Of Mount Rock" is a KILLER opening number about Dewey and his rock star dreams.
"Where Did Rock Go?" is sung by Principal Rosalie Mullins about how the pressure placed on her as a principal of an expensive prep school has made her repress her old, carefree, rock-and-roll-filled self, and that she wants it back. It's a gorgeous song.
"Teacher's Pet", in which all the kids play the instruments and do all their own solos.
42nd Street, despite being an older musical, really does have some great songs.
"We're in the Money" is a song within the musical's musical The Pretty Lady. With the right tap choreography, it can be a show stopper. In fact, it IS considered a historical showstopper in Broadway.
"Lullaby of Broadway" is a crowd rallying song devoted to getting lead protagonist Peggy Saywer to replace Dorothy Brock in the show's musical.
The Fantasticks didn't just enjoy an off-Broadway run of over four decades because of its modest production costs; it also has some outstanding songs.
The opening number, "Try to Remember", sets the nostalgic yet self-aware tone. We know we're entering a world of fantasy, but through it, we may learn something about ourselves, and should reflect on our own lives and loves as we watch the events on stage. For added awesome, listen to a rendition by the original El Gallo,Jerry Orbach.
The young lovers, Luisa and Matt, each enter with a song that establishes their characters immediately. Luisa's "Much More" is an "I Want" Song that portrays her as a girl with big dreams who has read a few too many romance novels, while Matt's "Metaphor", less an "I Am" Song than a "You Are" Song, is full of hilarious Purple Prose as he goes over the top in finding the right way to tell a swooning Luisa how loving her makes him feel.
"It Depends on What You Pay" may have problems with increasing Values Dissonance over its casual use of the word "rape" as a (largely archaic) synonym for "abduction", leading various productions to edit the lyrics accordingly, but it's still a showstopper par excellence.
"Soon It's Gonna Rain" is a charming love duet/dance sequence for Matt and Luisa, and a nice island of calm between El Gallo and his past-their-prime actors, Henry and Mortimer, making their plans for Luisa's fake abduction and then carrying them out.
After Matt and Luisa fall out at the beginning of Act II, each gets a spectacular duet with El Gallo.
Matt's is "I Can See It", in which his idealistic view of a world of adventure and excitement contrasts with El Gallo's more cynical view of a world of schemers and misery; it receives a Dark Reprise when he returns from his adventures a sadder and wiser man and tries to stop El Gallo from breaking Luisa's heart.
Luisa's is "Round and Round", in which El Gallo takes her on a fantasy journey, the music gradually building in intensity (with a series of upward key changes) as they "tour" Venice, Greece, and India, in each place seeing Henry and Mortimer beating the stuffing out of a hapless Matt (not that El Gallo lets Luisa process these scenes).
Westeros: An American Musical: When a play's songs are all parodies of songs from Hamilton, which has its own set of entries for the trope, it has a head start in having good music. The music is also frequently quite fitting for whichever part of the story is being told, which can make the new lyrics memorable in their own right.
A Chorus Line won a double armload of Tonys and a Pulitzer and set a (since broken) record for longest run on Broadway for many reasons, one of which is its awesome score.
A Minsky Pickup and choreographer Zach yelling "AGAIN!" cues the outstanding opening number, "I Hope I Get It". As well as introducing multiple Recurring Riffs, the song sets the tone of the musical as the dancers express their anxiety over the chorus line audition; several of them mention that they are desperate for work, any work, while they all angst over mistakes in the various dance combinations and are convinced they've already blown their chances. But eventually, seventeen of them are chosen for the next phase of the audition, and the "I really need this job" melody takes centre stage, now sounding much more hopeful.
"At the Ballet" sees Sheila, Maggie, and Bebe reminiscing over their unhappy childhoods, and how ballet allowed them to escape into a world away from parents who were some combination of emotionally abusive, absent, or serially adulterous. Maggie in particular gets to strut her stuff as a singer; if she really nails the high E, the applause is always thunderous.
"Montage" (AKA "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love") gives us a series of rapid-fire character portraits of every dancer except Paul (who instead gets an extended monologue about three-quarters of the way through the play) in a masterpiece of counterpoint and vocal back-and-forth, with the spotlight shining for just long enough on each dancer to give us an idea of who they are and what drives them.
"Dance: Ten; Looks: Three", AKA "Tits and Ass", is the play's comedy highlight, as Val proudly boasts about how much better her career and sex life have been since she had surgery on her... well, the clue is in the title.
"One" may be deliberately stylistically at odds with the rest of the score, as it is the only number intended for the Show Within a Show, and it may reduce the wonderfully unique individual dancers we have come to know over two hours to interchangeable smiling faces in identical shiny gold suits and hats, but it's such a high-energy number that it's hard to resist its charm as the chorus members talk up how the (never seen) female lead lights up a room from the moment she walks into it, especially when the cast gathers on stage for the finale to show us how talented they really are.
"What I Did for Love" sees the dancers, rattled by Paul's aggravation of a potential Career-Ending Injury, dodging the question of what they will do with their lives when they can no longer dance. Instead, they focus on the hard work and sacrifice they have undertaken, all for the love of dancing, once again shining a light on how all of the dancers on a stage, even the anonymous chorus members, have their own stories to tell about how hard they have worked to be where they are.
"You Are Not Like the Others", the Villain Love Song of Menners Jr. The tender music of the reprises, which embodies his longing for Assol and for the world of hope, purity and beauty that she represents, is just gorgeous. No wonder it makes fans swoon.
"Don't You Forget About Me" is a fun callback to the film's iconic usage of the song, and the loud synth track is exciting every time.
"Danger Zone" is best known for its use in Top Gun. The adrenaline-fueled lyrics and guitar riffs are awesome, but its also wonderful in a meta sense. The characters singing, Andrew and Bender, have belligerent sexual tension buried deep beneath their performative masculinity, much like the homoerotic subtext throughout Top Gun.
"I Know I Have A Heart" is an amazing, powerful, classically-ALW power ballad with some absolutely gut-wrenching lyrics.
"Only You, Lonely You" is a wistful, plaintive, heartwarming love song destined to be sung by every wide-eyed Tenor Boy at every high school theatre audition. Bonus points for being just about the only song in the whole show without a single element of tongue-in-cheek lampshade hanging.