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Dark Reprise / Theatre

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Dark Reprises in theatre.

Dark Reprises

  • Dear Evan Hansen:
    • A part of "Waving Through a Window" is sung again in "Words Fail". It's also notable for being a sadder reprise of a song that wasn't exactly happy to begin with. To elaborate, when Evan sings the lyrics ♫ I've learned to slam on the brake / Before I even turn the key / Before I make the mistake / Before I lead with the worst of me. ♫, he is in utter acceptance of what is social anxiety has caused him to become. The second time these same lyrics are reprised, it conveys the utter frustration and anger that he feels towards himself, as he has screwed over his original and surrogate family with the single lie he has maintained.
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    • Played straight with "You Will Be Found". The song initially conveys the message that if one is lost, they can be helped upon by others. The next time it's sang, it represents the abuse that the Murphys have received from social media, as they believe the Murphys didn't care about their son enough.
  • Spies Are Forever: The opening title track has two dark reprises. First, in the second song "The Coldest Goodbye" after Curt leaves an injured Owen behind in the exploding facility, and second following "One Step Ahead" as Owen is revealed as the villain and prepares to kill Curt. This is not including the recurring instrumental of "Spies Are Forever" whenever Curt grieves for Owen. Dark reprises of "Spies are Forever", "Somebody's Got To Do It" and "Spy Again" also feature in "The Torture Tango".
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  • The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals: "Inevitable" features dark reprises of almost every song in the entire musical.
  • Little Shop of Horrors:
    • "Somewhere That's Green" is a song with some of the same lyrics is first about dreaming of a bright future with Seymour, and then about begging Seymour to feed her to a man-eating plant. This is made even more twisted because of her reasoning (she says she wants Seymour to take care of her as part of Audrey II), and by the fact that the original song was a daydream, only mentioning plants in passing as she describes her ideal life with Seymour. In the Dark Reprise, the plant's all that's left of Audrey's hopes and dreams.
    • "Act 1 Finale" contains some lyrics and melody from "Prologue/Little Shop of Horrors", but in a more sinister tone and playing behind the maniacal laughter of a man-eating plant.
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    • The opening notes to "Don't Feed The Plants" are the same as the opening notes to the "Prologue". Additionally, the penultimate line would be a reprise of the Cut Song "We'll Have Tomorrow", were it not cut, and there are very subtle reprises of "Feed Me" and "Somewhere That's Green" throughout the song.
    • Averted with "Suppertime II". Sure, it's dark, but it's debatable whether it's actually any darker than the first "Suppertime".
    • "Sudden Changes", a brief solo Seymour has just before "Feed Me", is the same as the opening to "Somewhere That's Green". It's lighter than "Somewhere That's Green"'s reprise, but is darker than the initial "Somewhere That's Green". This makes it appropriate that it comes between the two.
    • "Downtown" is already a depressing song, but an instrumental version of it plays after Audrey dies and it's more depressing by far.
      • In the demo version, the same effect would have been had by playing an instrumental version of "We'll Have Tomorrow" after Audrey is killed. The difference is that while "Downtown" is already a depressing song, "We'll Have Tomorrow" would have been MADE a depressing song through its association with Audrey's death. The reason for the change is almost certainly the original version of "We'll Have Tomorrow" being cut.
      • In German productions, Seymour sings a Dark Reprise of "Suddenly Seymour" instead. "Suddenly Seymour" was originally a romantic duet between Seymour and Audrey, so Seymour singing it alone in that depressing voice is just... depressing. All versions of this scene are depressing.
    • Though cut out of many productions, an downbeat instrumental version of "Mushnik and Son" plays after Mushnik is killed.
    • Also noteworthy is "The Meek Shall Inherit", which starts cheerful and gradually shifts into a dark echo of its earlier verses. By the time the final "you know the meek are gonna get what's coming to 'em by and by..." rolls around, it's downright ominous.
      • A cut song from the demo version would be a genuine dark reprise to "The Meek Shall Inherit". It would have been sung by Patrick Martin, on how he intends to sell the plants across the world.
    • Also in the demo version, halfway through "Now (It's Just The Gas)", Orin and Seymour would have sung a modified version of Seymour's opening verse as a duet. Whereas Seymour's verse is about how he wants to kill Orin but can't, the verse Orin and Seymour sung together would have been Orin pleading for his life and swearing to reform while Seymour decides he can't bring himself to save Orin.
    • "Bigger Than Hula Hoops" uses the same underscore as "Da Doo". "Da Doo" is a cheerful song about how Seymour found Audrey II, "Bigger Than Hula Hoops" is a violent fight between Seymour and Audrey II.
  • "I have a song to sing, O!" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard. The first rendition is a sentimental ballad; due to the change of context, its reprise at the end is painfully heartbreaking. There is but one change in the text: the line "Who loved her lord and laughed aloud" turns into "Who loved her lord and dropped a tear" because the actress playing Elsie in the premiere thought that the straight repeat was too cruel. Sir Gilbert agreed.
  • The 2017-version of Portal 2: The Unauthorized Musical features two versions of the song "Suddenly Wheatley"note . The first is a duet between Wheatley and Chell where they sing about how they've finally found a friend in the other and how they're going to defeat GLaDOS and escape to the surface together. The reprise takes place after Wheatley's Face–Heel Turn, and is a solo-piece sung by Wheatley in which he triumphantly sings about how he's going to murder the weakened Chell by blowing her up.
  • Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds song "Brave New World" relates the Utopian dreams of The Artilleryman, who thinks the alien invasion is a opportunity to throw away the hated modern world and build an underground utopia. The music is a heart-rousing soundtrack to any — every glorious revolution. The Journalist punctures this in deadpan narration: The Artilleryman has a tunnel ten feet long and outside tripods are moving. The song is reprised, with a maudlin tone that now belies the words, and the discordant interpretation of the music gives the impression of a drunken, foolish dreamer, sitting in a cellar singing to himself as the world goes to hell outside.
    • Of course, if you complete the game as the Martians, it's implied he wouldn't have failed so hard if he had got a few people to help him... Oh look, he did!
    • The song "The Spirit Of Man" combines this with the Sarcastic Echo - whilst the embittered, broken and deranged Parson Nathaniel's verses deal with his disillusionment with the sins of those around him, and his delusional belief that the invading Martians are 'demons' sent by Satan to wipe out humanity, his wife Beth's chorus is an optimistic, hopeful exhortation to the finest and noblest elements of human nature within 'the spirit of man'. Then a Martian craft crash-lands on the house in which the characters are sheltering, Beth is crushed under the rubble and Nathaniel takes over her chorus, the lyrics now altered to reflect his bitter, defeatist worldview.
    • "The Eve of the War" and "The Fighting Machine" are also reprised on several occasions (usually to accompany situations of impending doom), but the example that fits this trope best is the start of Dead London, which features a slow, somber repeat of the Fighting Machine main riff. Jeff Wayne likes this trope.
  • Wicked:
    • Near the end of Wicked, the beginning of "No One Mourns The Wicked," the play's first song, sung by the Ozians rejoicing over the Witch's death, is heard again - except now we've gotten to know her as a sympathetic, even tragic, character. It also superimposes the last refrain of "For Good". Earlier, right after Elphaba's "melting", a sad instrumental of "For Good" plays.
    • Wicked is in love with this trope. The riff which accompanies the lyrics "Unlimited/My future is unlimited" in "The Wizard and I" is heard three times more throughout the musical, in "Defying Gravity" ("Unlimited/Together we're unlimited"), at one point in the full version of "No Good Deed" ("Unlimited/The damage is unlimited"), and finally at the beginning of "For Good" ("Limited/Just look at me, I'm limited").
    • Also, "I'm Not That Girl" - same words, different character singing it.
    • Additionally, the recurring lyrics about Elphaba regarding "a celebration throughout Oz that's all to do with me/you" are inverted from their intention when Elphaba's death is celebrated at the end of Act II. Or Fiyero's "Life's more painless for the brainless" line...
    • And, in a very nice touch that most people don't realize until they watch the show at least a second time, almost every line Glinda sings in the opening number serves as its own Dark Reprise.
    • In "Dancing Through Life", Boq tries to, but can't bring himself to tell Nessa about his feelings for Glinda. Nessa tells him:
    We deserve each other
    Don't you see this is our chance?
    We deserve each other, don't we Boq?
    • In "Wicked Witch of the East", Boq finally sings to Nessa about his feelings for Glinda with the same melody as before. Nessa reacts badly this, accidentally botching a spell to force him fall in love with her, destroying his heart instead. She then realises how evil she has become without realising it, singing:
    Alone and loveless here
    With just the girl in the mirror
    Just her and me, the Wicked Witch of the East
    We deserve each other
    • Also, there is a part where Boq sings to Nessa in Dancing through Life
    Listen Nessa, oh Nessa
    I've got something to confess
    A reason why, well
    Why I asked you here tonight
    Now I know it isn't fair...
    • Then later, after Boq learns Nessa's shoes were charmed so she could walk
    Nessa, Uh Nessa,
    Surely now I'll matter less to you
    And you won't mind me leaving here tonight...
    • "No Good Deed (Goes Unpunished)" is immediately followed by a darker reprise, in the form of "March of the Witch Hunters": "Wickedness must be punished", etc.
  • At the beginning of Ragtime's second act, Coalhouse manages to reprise both "Wheels of a Dream" and "The Prologue" (and also "Your Daddy's Son," but that was rather dark already) while spiraling into homicidal madness. It's very effective.
    • There's also "Two men meeting / for a moment / in the darkness..." The first time two complete strangers salute each others' courage in a rousing anthem of what America should be. The second, two men join in embracing their anger at America and blowing things up.
  • "Bewitched" from Pal Joey ("Wise at last / My eyes at last / Are cutting you down to your size at last")
  • The Bittersweet Ending of Camelot includes a reprise of the title song, with the lyrics now referring to Camelot in the past tense.
  • The musical Titanic ends with a reprise of earlier songs about how amazing the ship is. As the ship has now sunk, the lyrics become ironic. (e.g. "I Must Get on that Ship" is reprised to mean the lifeboats instead of Titanic)
    • It also works the lyrics of "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive" which are made tragic by the circumstances. This song has more to do with the personal stories of the singers.
    • Also notable is the reprise of "To Be a Captain", which is simply tragic rather than ironic. While the song was originally Smith reminiscing about the importance of the captain, the reprise is sung by Etches in prayer; although the lyrics are the same, the titular captain is no longer Smith, but instead God.
    • While the full song does not appear in the show, the musicians are heard playing a slow song called "Autumn" in Act I. In Act II, after Mr Andrews is literally driven insane by his predicament, his last lines are: "Autumn... shall we all meet in the autumn... shall we all meet... in the autumn..."
      • "Autumn" was a commonly-played tune on the actual Titanic's voyage- and in an uncommon Real Life example, the musicians also played it while the ship was sinking.
      • It is still a matter of some debate whether the song played was the 'Autumn' version of the hymn or the 'Nearer My God To Thee' version.
  • The musical The Nightmare of Zaoldyeck, from the Hunter x Hunter Expanded Universe, has the song "Passionless Puppet of Darkness". It's the darkest song you ever heard. Or at least it was until seeing the reprise. Same lyrics, but... The first one is sung by Illumi, the second by a duet of Illumi and switchflipped!Killua.
  • Man of La Mancha has a song "Little Bird, Little Bird", which is first sung by a group of men attempting to flirt with Aldonza, the tavern wench whom Don Quixote imagines to be a noble lady. Much later in the story, while singing the same song, they rape her.
    • In the same musical, the song "Dulcinea" has two dark reprises. Directly after Don Quixote sings it to Aldonza, the muleteers (same group of men from the above example) sing the chorus mockingly. Later, when Don Quixote is dying and has renounced his dreams, Aldonza sings a version with slightly different lyrics back to him, begging him to make her feel like someone with self-worth and dignity again.
  • Similarly, in the Jekyll & Hyde musical, the song "Sympathy, Tenderness" is sung once in each act: in the first, it is sung by the prostitute Lucy as she reflects on the kindness Dr. Jekyll has shown her; in the second act, it's sung by Hyde as he rapes and murders her.
    • The Crowd Song "Facade" gets four reprises, two of which are much darker than the original song already is.
    • Not to mention, "Lost in the Darkness" is first sung by Jekyll to his father, who is mentally ill. In the latter part of the musical, after he's realized how much control Hyde has over him, he sings it to himself; using the exact same words.
    • The climax of Alive, where Hyde sings about his newly transformed self, is reprised at the climax of Confrontation, where Hyde tells Jekyll that the two of him will never be free of one another.
    • Likewise, in the 1941 film, Ivy first sings "See Me Dance the Polka" in a cheery production number; later, Hyde forces her to sing it as he strangles her.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, nearly every song in this show has a Dark Reprise, even though most of them are dark to begin with:
    • "A Barber and His Wife": First sung by Todd as he remembers his lost love, then sung by Mrs. Lovett, who doesn't hold the wife in as high regard. It gets a final reprise at the end, when Sweeney bitterly looks back on where his quest for revenge has left him.
    • Pirelli brags about his skill at shaving in his first song. He reprises it to brag about his blackmailing of Todd, just before Sweeney attacks and kills him.
    • Anthony's soaring ballad "Johanna" from midway through Act I has two pseudo-reprises, songs that are musically distinct, but still called "Johanna," and with the word "Johanna" as a central element:
      • Sweeney's version at the top of act II, with Anthony joining in to reprise his own version of the song. Sweeney sings it as he cuts people's throats and shunts their corpses into a bakery. Sweeney's version is an exercise in complacency, an emotionally repressed farewell to his daughter in which he states that he's so involved in his murdering and goal of ultimate revenge that he's stopped caring about her.
      • The Judge's version was cut from the final production. Just like Anthony, the Judge sings about lusting after Johanna and watching her from the shadows. Unlike Anthony, he's supposed to be a father-figure to Johanna, and he's singing while masochistically flogging himself. Some snatches of this song appear during the final sequence during the reprise of "Pretty Women" that leads to Sweeney's final vengeance.
    • Toby sings an innocent song of devotion to Mrs Lovett called "Not While I'm Around", in which he promises to never let her come to harm. Later, Mrs Lovett sings a section of the same song... while looking for Toby to hand him over to Sweeney to be killed. Even better - Mrs. Lovett's first Dark Reprise of "Not While I'm Around" actually comes right in the middle of Toby's version, complete with an off-key violin screeching under her vocals to set it apart from the rest.
    • Sweeney's songs in general are always dark, but at least Mrs. Lovett is singing along in most of them. In the final one, Sweeney Todd begins singing a falsely jaunty tune ("The history of the world, my pet...") — a reprise of part of "A Little Priest" — while maniacally waltzing with a visibly terrified Mrs. Lovett, who intersperses his lyrics by frantically begging for his forgiveness.
      • "Poor Thing," which was already dark as hell to begin with, gets an even darker reprise when Mrs. Lovett reveals what actually happened to Lucy when she took the poison following her rape, and that Mrs. Lovett had kept this from him because she had wanted him for herself.
      • Part of Mrs. Lovett's part is "By the sea, Mr. Todd, we'll be comfy-cozy, by the sea, Mr. Todd, where there's no one nosy," a reprise of her earlier song "By The Sea," where she had described getting away from London and marrying Sweeney.
  • In the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, the Beast acknowledges that Belle is his last chance when he sings "If I Can't Love Her," then reprises it bitterly when convinced that his chance has been lost.
    • "How Long Must This Go On" includes a minor-key version of Maurice's leitmotif, which also appears in the number "Home" when Belle says goodbye to her father, as well as "If I Can't Love Her".
    • When the Beast is dying in Belle's arms, she sings a dark reprise of "Home".
  • In the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel:
    • Chauvelin sings "Where's The Girl?" as a love song to Marguerite, then later renounces her in a snarling reprise.
    • Shortly after "When I Look at You", it is repeated by a second character with exactly the same lyrics.
    • A reprise of Madame Guillotine. While hard to make darker, it is a declaration of determination to hunt by Chauvelin and is in some cases referred to as The Riddle: Part 1. While not on most albums, it's on the German cast album as "Das Verwirrspiel: Teil 1"
  • In Of Thee I Sing, President Wintergreen and his wife Mary dismiss the concerns of reporters by singing "Who Cares?" They sing a Dark Reprise when those concerns have escalated to the point where his impeachment is imminent. The preceding scene has Diana singing a personal reprise of "Because, Because," which with new lyrics becomes accusatory rather than "sweet and sunny."
  • In Show Boat, as Ravenal abandons his family, he sings the same song to his daughter that he sang when he first met her mother: "Only make believe I love you..."
  • The musical Aida is full of this. "How I Know You", "My Strongest Suit", "Elaborate Lives"...
  • Used a lot in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.
    • The Phantom of the Opera:
      • Most notable in the songs 'All I Ask of You' (Raoul asking Christine to love him always), then the Phantom singing its tragic reprise about his love for her. Of course, love turns him evil, as shown by the dark reprise.
      • This is seen again at the start of Act II in Masquerade, a sinister version of the melody plays as Madame Giry recounts the Phantom's past.
      • Raoul's part in Twisted Every Way sounds the same as Prima Donna since Christine is integral to the plan to get rid of the Phantom once and for all.
    • Jesus Christ Superstar:
      • "The Temple" is reprised later as "The Lepers".
      • A part of "Everything's Alright" becomes a prelude to "I Don't Know How to Love Him", sung by Mary Magdalene.
      • "What's the Buzz?" is reprised when Jesus is arrested.
      • Jesus's trial scene features a dark reprise of Hosanna. His scourging is the same melody as "Heaven On Their Minds" but it becomes crazed as the scourging goes on.
      • A more subtle version: "Peter's Denial" uses the same musical and vocal melodies as "Strange Thing Mystifying".
      • "Judas' Death" has three: one for "Blood Money / Damned for All Time" (as he realizes the gravity of what he's done and starts to lose his mind), one for "I Don't Know How to Love Him" (as he desperately tries to rationalize his actions), and one for "Heaven On Their Minds" (as he kills himself).
    • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
      • Early in the musical, Joseph happily sings of his dreams, which seem to foretell that someday he'll rule over his brothers. Near the end, after his rise to power, he reprises the verses as his starving brothers finally fulfill the prophecy by groveling at his feet, begging him to save them - this leads into the dark "Grovel, Grovel".
      • In most recent productions, Joseph first sings the song Any Dream Will Do brightly and cheerfully at the beginning of the show; then, at the end, he reprises it more gently and reflectively as he reunites with his elderly father. This is only a semi-example of this trope, though, since (a) the reprise isn't really dark, just less chipper than the first version, and (b) originally the song was only sung at the end – Webber only added the earlier rendition for the 1991 revival
    • The Likes of Us, the first ever Webber/Rice musical, has an upbeat love song called "Love is Here", which admittedly doesn't actually have any reason for being there. It is reprised in a slower tempo later, as the two lovers are breaking up.
    • In Evita, when Peron becomes president, Eva sings to the people the song Don't cry for me Argentina as an acknowledgement that while she is high in power, she is still among the people. Near the end, the dark reprise of this song when Eva makes her final speech to the people before she dies.
      • While an excited Eva sings "Rainbow High" during her glam up for the tour, her dressers sing: "Eyes, hair, mouth, figure / Dress, voice, style, movement...", the dark reprise is the end of "Lament", where the embalmers sing "Eyes, mouth, hair, image / All must be preserved...".
    • The musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard is 50% Dark Reprises.
      • Special mention goes to "Surrender," which is sung four times over the course of the show, getting darker each time. The first version is somewhat dark (albeit amusingly so), as it's about Norma mourning the passing of her pet chimp. In the second act, DeMille sings his own version as he sadly reflects on the death of the Silent Age of cinema and how Norma has essentially become a hopeless case. The third version is sung by Max, as he informs Joe that the two of them are the only thing between Norma and suicide, and Norma once again sings the last version, as she, now completely insane, reflects on her murder of Joe.
      • "A Little Suffering" doesn't seem all that much darker than "The Lady's Paying" at first glance, until the Fridge Logic hits you and you realize that the audience known Norma's goal is a hopeless one, but Norma herself doesn't.
      • Only two songs in the entire play escape this trope: "Girl Meets Boy" does get a reprise, but if anything it's lighter than the original song, while "This Time Next Year" is the only number in the production to be sung only once.
      • The play's final scene is particularly impressive, as it manages to work in Dark Reprises of "Too Much In Love To Care," "Sunset Boulevard" (already plenty dark, and itself a Dark Reprise of the purely instrumental "Car Chase"), "Let's Have Lunch," "The Greatest Star Of All," the aforementioned "Surrender," and "With One Look," in addition to snippets of "New Ways To Dream," "As If We Never Said Goodbye," "The Perfect Year," and "Salome," as well.
  • "The Beauty Is" from The Light in the Piazza: first sung by Clara, expressing hope and excitement at the possibility of finding love and happiness. The song is reprised by her mother, Margaret, who fears that Clara may never find love and happiness (due to her mental disability) and Margaret's guilt over her own culpability.
  • Firebringer: "Backfire" as a dark reprise of "What If?". On a less serious note, "Ouch My Butt!" serves as a comically dark reprise of "Fire".
  • Reefer Madness (the musical adaptation, of course) uses this straight with "Romeo and Juliet", where Jimmy and Mary compare their love to that of Romeo and Juliet, but neither knows the ending. It is reprised later as Mary dies, fulfilling the Romeo and Juliet parallels.
  • Into the Woods repeatedly reprises the title number, one of which is a bona fide Dark Reprise. The first time the song is sung (as part of the sprawling opening number), the characters are off to make their wishes come true in the woods. The Act II reprises the tune, as the characters realize that getting their wishes had unintended consequences, and they must return to the woods to do some major damage control.
    • Also happens with the duet "Agony": in Act I, two royal brothers are each singing about a woman they have fallen for, ending with "I must have her to wife." They reprise the number in Act II... talking about two different women. After justifying their infidelity, they end with "Ah well, back to my wife." Funny, but darker as well.
    • Into the Woods also provides a rare inversion of this trope. In "Stay With Me", the Witch berates Rapunzel for disobeying her, singing, "What did I clearly say? Children must listen!" Later, in "Witch's Lament", she mourns Rapunzel's death: "No matter what you say, children won't listen." Finally, the song becomes the finale "Children Will Listen"—which, although not exactly cheery, is certainly much less bitter and resentful.
  • The Wicker Man (musical version) starts with Sgt. Howie singing a musical version of the 23rd Psalm along with the rest of his church congregation. At the end, he sings it again in a more defiant/terrified tone, while being burnt to death in the eponymous Wicker Man.
  • Cabaret
    • "Wilkommen" first appears as an upbeat opening number but closes the show on a sinister note as the cast sings a discordant version surrounded by Nazi regalia. "Wilkommen" gets even darker in the revival version, when the Emcee takes off his treachcoat to reveal a concentration camp uniform with a Star of David and a pink triangle, implying that he was taken away for being Jewish, as well as homosexual. Some productions even show him walking into what could be the gates of the concentration camp - or even into a gas chamber.
    • "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" could also be considered an example of this trope. Depending on what the director chooses to do, the cabaret dancers sometimes sing it early on while everything's still going well, as a happy, hopeful anthem. It is later sung again as a Nazi propaganda song.
    • "Married" also qualifies. Not that the words are changed, but in the reprise the song is interrupted by a brick being thrown through the window of Herr Schultz's shop, because he is Jewish. This causes Fraulein Schneider to realize she can't marry him.
  • Oliver!:
    • "Reviewing The Situation" is first sung by Fagin as he tries and fails to convince himself to abandon his criminal ways, later reprised with the Artful Dodger as they pledge their dedication to a life of crime.
    • The original version has Fagin realizing at the end of each verse that the situation he's imagining is actually unimaginable, so it's debatable how "dark" the reprise is, given that Fagin and Dodger both seem genuinely happy about the prospect:
    Together till our dying day / The living proof that crime can pay
    • And also, this is only true in the movie, as in the stage version, this revelation never existed, and he does straighten up his life after all.
    • "It's a Fine Life" may be an even better example of this trope. It's first sung by Nancy and Bet as a relatively cheerful song, but is later reprised by Nancy, Bill Sikes, Fagin, and Dodger in a more sarcastic and dark manner.
      • When you look at Bill's treatment of Nancy, the original becomes pretty dark on its own: "Though you sometimes do come by/The occasional black eye/You can always cover one/'Till he blacks the other one/But you don't dare cry!"
      • In the original version (and subsequently mounted productions of the show) the orchestration, similar in tone to the rowdy, cheerful way it was sung earlier, gives this moment in the show a severe case of Lyrical Dissonance. The Cameron Mackintosh revival, mounted in the West End in 1994 and 2008, remedied this unfortunate imbalance, thanks largely to orchestrator Bill Brohn and arranger Chris Walker.
    • "As Long As He Needs Me" is another example: the first time Nancy sings it to demonstrate how she won't give up Bill despite his abuse, the second is right before Bill decides he doesn't need her anymore - and murders her in cold blood.
  • In the final scene of West Side Story, Tony, believing Maria to have been murdered, goes out and gets himself shot, and only then sees Maria. They start to sing a Dark Reprise of "Somewhere", but he dies in the middle.
    • The same is picked up instrumentally by the orchestra as Tony's body is carried off, which this writer argues are some of the most heart-wrenching final chords to come out of Broadway.
      • In addition, Tony & Maria's "I Want" Song "Tonight" is twisted later when the Jets and Sharks sing a variant of this about how Bernardo and Riff's knife fight will end their rivalry.
  • Kismet ends with a Dark Reprise of "Sands Of Time," as the characters vanish one by one from the stage.
  • "If I Loved You" in Carousel is first sung early in Act I, as Julie and Billy flirt with each other by offering romantic hypotheticals, denying their attraction even as they submit to it. Near the end of Act II, a now-dead Billy uses largely the same words to lament that he could never truly admit his feelings to Julie or to himself while he had the chance. (This reprise was added during the show's New Haven tryout; Rodgers and Hammerstein were pleased to see that it boosted sheet music sales of the song.)
  • "I'll Cover You" from RENT. First sung as an inspiring tenor/baritone duet by Angel and Collins as they realize they've fallen in love. Later at Angel's funeral, Collins sings alone in a slow and pained bass-baritone to gospel-like piano chords. To add to the effect, Joanne and Maureen replace Angel in the chorus as the rest of the cast backs them up with "Seasons of Love," and a HUGE suspended harmony at the end adds to the dark nature of the reprise.
    • "I Should Tell You" has a rather abbreviated Dark Reprise right before the finale ("Finale A/Your Eyes"), where Roger and Mimi repeat the song as Mimi is dying - or so they think.
    • Also in the finale, just before "Your Eyes," Roger reprises the beginning of "Another Day," singing "Who do you think you are leaving me alone with my guitar."
    • In the Broadway version, Mimi repeats some of the lyrics from 'Light My Candle' in the finale.
    • Where "Seasons of Love" uses the optimistic lines "How do you measure, measure a year?" and "How do you measure a year in the life?" the reprise "Seasons of Love B," from later on in Act II, has the darker "How do you figure a last year on earth?"
  • In Grease, the song "Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee" is an early song mocking the main character, Sandy, for being a goody-goody. It has a reprise sung by Sandy towards the end, where she decides to stop being a nice girl and becomes a leather-clad "bad girl" to win back her man.
  • Early in She Loves Me, the protagonist's boss, Mr. Marazak, sings "Days Gone By," in which he reminisces about his freewheeling days as a young man and meeting his wife. Later, after he finds out his wife has been cheating on him, he sings the song again, with identical lyrics, which take on a much more poignant meaning.
  • "The Destruction" from "Carrie: the Musical" is a string of Dark Reprises. After the bucket of pigs' blood ruins her night, the titular character recites the Lord's Prayer as she does in times of stress before plunging into a bass-heavy emotional explosion comprising bits from "Carrie", her zealous mother's rantings from "And Eve Was Weak", lines about how happy Tommy makes her, her hope that she and Tommy are both "Dreamers in Disguise", more of her mother's rantings about how "they will break your heart", and finally a reprise of "Carrie"'s first verses. "Doesn't anybody ever get it right? Doesn't anybody think that I hear?" Then she kills everybody.
  • One of the three couples in Baby is barren, and trying desperately to conceive. The wife, Pam, tries to cheer up her husband, Nick, describing their rigorous (and restrictive) sex schedule in pleasant terms in "Romance." The song gets reprised twice, getting increasingly ironic and agitated, until they get fed up and decide to stop trying.
  • Les Misérables.
    • "Look Down" shows up three times, all of which are dark to some degree. The first two times are about how nobody cares about the troubles of others (the prison labor gang in the first appearance and the residents of Paris' slums in the second). The final time is Valjean forcing Javert to take notice of the seriously wounded Marius and put his pursuit on hold for an hour or so so that Valjean can get the injured man to a doctor.
    • "Valjean On Parole" (Freedom is mine...) is reprised as "Fantine's Death", "On My Own", and "Valjean's Death".
    • "I Dreamed A Dream" is reprised as a Distant Duet between Valjean and Javert after Fantine dies, and again by Valjean as he informs the Thénardiers and Cosette of Fantine's death.
    • Cosette's "Castle On A Cloud" gets reprised on "Attack on the Rue Plumet" as Valjean contemplates leaving France with her.
    • The end of the arrest themes (honest work, just reward/that's the way to please The Lord and he will bend, he will break/this time there'll be no mistake) is reprised when Javert is caught as a spy (take this man bring him through/there is work we have to do).
    • "Eponine's Errand" (Marius asks her to find where Cosette lives) is reprised as "A Little Fall of Rain" aka "Eponine's Death". A sad version of the overture then plays when the students lament her death.
    • "Drink With Me", a nostalgic song by the students, is reprised as they realize that their situation is hopeless and they are all going to die.
    • "Little People", sung by Gavroche as he reveals Javert as a spy, is reprised at his death.
    • "The First Attack" is Enjolras' Shut Up, Hannibal! song. It's reprise "The Final Battle" is his Defiant to the End song.
    • In the 2012 film, Gavroche reprises "Do You Hear the People Sing" to inspire the revolutionaries, but it's not exactly the rousing revolutionary anthem it was earlier.
    • "Red and Black", the song of the revolutionaries, and "Bring Him Home" are reprised as they die at the barricades.
    • "What Have I Done?" aka "Valjean's Soliloquy" is reprised as "Javert's Soliloquy". In both cases the soloist has had his ideas of morality shattered by an act of kindness, but Valjean turns over a new leaf ("Jean Valjean is nothing now: another story must begin!") and Javert jumps into the Seine ("There is nowhere I can turn...there is no way to go on!").
      • Furthermore, the lyrics of "Javert's Soliloquy" ("I am reaching, but I fall/And the stars are black and cold.") contain a bitter call-back to his Villain Song, "Stars". The stars were once a comforting reminder of order and justice, but now he has nothing.
    • "Lovely Ladies" is a darkly upbeat song celebrating the prostitutes, reprised as "Turning" when the women mourn the revolutionaries ("What's the use in praying when there's nobody who hears?...Nothing changes, nothing ever will.")
    • The Bishop' leitmotif is reprised as the prelude of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" (Marius having massive Survivor Guilt).
    • The "A Heart Full of Love" reprise is about Cosette encouraging Marius but she doesn't know Valjean is planning to leave.
    • "Who Am I?" is reprised when Valjean makes Marius promise not to tell Cosette he is leaving.
    • "Bring Him Home", Valjean's impassioned prayer for God to save Marius, is reprised right before his own death. An instrumental is also played as the dust from the final battle settles over the dead students and Valjean saves Marius and takes him into the sewers in an ironic yet meaningful reprise: in the end, his prayer went unanswered, as God could not save them, but Valjean can still save Marius.
    • "Master of the House", the show's only comic relief song, returns at Marius's wedding, when the Thenardiers reveal that they are not only still alive, but profiting off the dead revolutionaries (some of whom are their dead son and daughter). The tune itself is as bouncy and happy as ever, but the lyrics are seriously depressing.
  • Spring Awakening:
    • Melchior sings the line "You watch me, just watch me - I'm calling, and one day all will know" twice: once early on in the song "All That's Known", and once as a Dark Reprise in the song "Those You've Known".
    • Wendla opens the show with the soft, lullaby-like song "Mama Who Bore Me." At the end of the first scene, in which her mother lies to her about the nature of reproduction, Wendla is joined by the other girls for "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)", an angry rock version of the song.
      • In at least one production, there is a second reprise of "Mama Who Bore Me" in act two, where it becomes Wendla's abortion and death song.
    • Another example of this trope is the reprise of "The Word of Your Body", which is originally sung by Wendla and Melchior as a fearful song of their ignorance of their newfound sexual urges. It is then reprised twice:
      • First, it is echoed ironically (and much more literally) by Georg and Otto after the scene where Melchior beats Wendla.
      • When Hanschen takes over the song, it becomes much darker and more perverted, as we're made to see Hanschen as a rather slimy, controlling individual.
  • The Off Broadway musical The Last Five Years features something of a Light Reprise, since Cathy's songs start from the time of her divorce from Jamie to the beginning of their relationship - she rebukes Jamie for being self centered and obsessed with his career in "See I'm Smiling", while later in the play she uses similar language to her rebuke when describing how much she loves and wants to be with him in "I Can Do Better Than That" ("I want you and you and nothing but you/miles and piles of you").
    • A beautiful waltz is played at intervals all the way through, including at their wedding - and then is revealed to be the tune of the song Jamie sings as he leaves her.
  • Every key song in "Children of Eden" has at least one poignant reprise or more, because of the theme of history repeating itself and second chances.
    • "Spark of Creation" Eve's big "I Want" Song, is later reprised as a fear that she has passed the fiery spirit that led to the fall of humanity to her son Cain. At the climax, when Noah is no longer sure what God wants him to do, his wife sings a reprise telling him to use his God-given brain to decide for himself.
    • "That's What It Means to be a Father", Father's song about his love for his children, is darkly reprised by Cain as he accuses Adam of crushing his spirit, then by Father again after he wipes out humanity with the flood.
    • Also, the "Without form, void, darkness" from before God creates the universe is sung again after the earth is destroyed with the flood.
    • The big love song "In Whatever Time We Have", about Yonah and Japheth staying together even though she is not allowed on the ark is later sung by the entire family, swearing to stay together even if it means the flood will never stop.
    • "Oh Father, please don't make me choose, either way it's more than I can bear to lose" is repeated three times, first by Adam to Father, then Abel to Adam, then Noah to Father at the end.
  • Heathers has several
    • "Shine A Light" is a bouncy gospel-style number about how teens shouldn't commit suicide. However misguided it may be, it has good intentions. The reprise is Heather Duke egging on Heather McNamara to commit suicide.
    • "Dead Girl Walking". In the original, Veronica is referring to Heather Chandler promising to destroy her social status. In the reprise, she is referring to being prepared to literally die to stop JD from blowing up the school.
    • And last but not least we have "I Am Damaged", which manages to combine "Seventeen" and "Our Love Is God", both already relatively dark songs, as JD commits suicide by blowing himself up with the bomb he made, saving Veronica and the school.
  • Barnum has a few:
    • "Love Makes Such Fools of Us All" is reprised by Jenny Lind as Barnum decides to return to his wife Chairy rather than try to pursue her.
    • "The Colors of My Life", the "I Want" Song for both Barnum and Chairy which is initially sung in two parts (hers commenting on his) is reprised as a duet for the couple before Chairy dies.
    • The show closes with a wistful closing reprise of "There's a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute" as Barnum mourns how the great eccentricities and "humbugs" of the past - which he built his career on - are now forgotten.
  • Hair has "Manchester, England," Claude's cheeky "I Am" Song, a verse of which appears in "The Flesh Failures" by his ghost after he's been killed in Vietnam. Even worse in the film, where the person wailing "Claude, that's me, that's me"... isn't actually him.
  • Kurt Weill was fond of this trope. A very nice example can be heard in the final three songs of The Seven Deadly Sins, which summarize the previous parts both in melody and in lyrics.
    • More famously, the final song of the Threepenny Opera, which echoes the opening song Mack The Knife. "For some are in the darkness, and others are in the light. And we see the ones in the light. The ones in the darkness, we don't see." Although the song is left out in a staggering number of productions, it's one of the most quoted poems in German literature.
  • Papa Ge's version of Ti Moune's dreamy "Forever Yours" at the climax of Once On This Island. The original is about belonging to her lover (and his belonging to her); the reprise is about belonging to Papa Ge, the god of Death.
  • Next to Normal has "It's Gonna Be Good", a bouncy, silly song in act one about Dan's excitement for dinner with the family. The reprise in act two comes after Diana has recovered from amnesia and remembered their son is dead, and she insists on knowing his name, while Dan tries to ignore her and get her out of the house and to the doctor.
    • Also, "I'm Alive", while very dark in substance in its initial iteration, becomes even more overwhelmingly vicious halfway through its reprise — Gabe becomes very vehement in tone and word choice as he reasserts his control over Diana.
    • Although "I Am The One" isn't exactly happy, musically it's very upbeat and energetic, and includes Dan's reassurances to Diana that he'll stay by her side through her manic depression and he "won't walk away" - contrasting severely with its Dark Reprise, when Diana leaves him: "I am the one who loved you // I am the one who stayed // I am the one and you walked away..." Later in the reprise, Gabe pushes his father to accept his death by saying his name aloud.
  • Drood: While "Moonfall" is already an extremely creepy song, the duet reprise takes it to Phantom-esque proportions, resulting in a darkly operatic number to rival any other.
  • Assassins manages to take an already dark song (the opening song, "Everybody's Got the Right") and make it even darker for the finale. In the opening number, the subject is grim, but the words and music are perky and introduces all the characters. The finale, after seeing all of the assassins in their respective attempts, also ends with the assassins aiming their guns and firing at the audience.
  • In the much rewritten musical Martin Guerre, 'Live With Someone You Love' starts out as a beautiful love song, and doubles as Arnaud's "I Am" Song, and is reprised by Bertrande and Martin when Arnaud dies. Also, "I'm Martin Guerre" gets one when Arnaud sings it in the courtroom when he pretends to be Martin. Not exactly dark, but still a bit on the creepy side.
    • In the rewritten version Martin gets a dark reprise of 'Without You As A Friend' during 'Why,' including the line ' so it seems we have come to the end/i'll live my life/without you as a friend.'
  • "Let Me Entertain You" in Gypsy has a whole different meaning depending on whether June or Gypsy is singing it.
    • "Rose's Turn" is a whole medley of dark reprises: "Here she is, boys!" quotes the Newsboys' intro of Baby June, then segues into bitter parodies of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Some People," grabs a snippet of the "strip" music from the overture, and even mocks "Mr. Goldstone." The "Mama's talkin' loud" section sounds like new material but it's actually a distortion of a section of "Small World" called "Mama's talking soft" that was cut before the show opened. The darkest reprise of all is when "Everything's coming up roses for you and for me" morphs into "Everything's coming up Rose... this time for me!" In the original version of the show, Rose also has a more traditional dark reprise a couple of scenes earlier. When Herbie walks out on her for the last time, she screams, "You go to hell!" then breaks down for a tearful half-chorus of the song she sang at their first meeting, "Small World."
  • Little Johnny Jones by George M. Cohen has the upbeat patriotic number "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Toward the end of the first act, when Johnny is framed for throwing the English Derby, he sings a slower, sadder version of the song as he deals with being disgraced. This scene is also enacted in James Cagney's Cohen biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy.
  • In Ordinary Days, the song "Life Story" is about Warren finding letters and photographs that people have lost and thinking about the lives of the people who lost them. The reprise of the song is about Warren realizing how meaningless his actions in New York have been.
  • Though not to be found in the Broadway soundtrack of the not-so-known musical Rags, the song "If We Never Meet Again" gets one of these - first sung by Rebecca Hershkowitz and Bella Cohen during the boat ride to America, then reprised by Rebecca after Bella dies in a sweatshop fire.
  • The Sera Myu has one: Orleans No Sei senshi is a song sung by Inner Senshi (Sans Mars) and Hotaru duing a mock battle. The first verse is later sung in a much darker form, Orleans no Sei Senshi ~ Uranus - Neptune no Uragiri (Holy Soldier's of Orleans ~ Uranus and Neptune's Betryal) The song title alone should tell you what's happening at this time. except it's all ploy to kill Galaxia. Like the similar scene in the anime it fails The song is reprised in an altered form by all the senshi as La Fatalité Sei Senshi which itself is a lighter reprise and (longer version of) Oitsumerarete. Confused yet?
  • Near the start of the trip, the characters in Cannibal! The Musical sing "That's All I'm Asking For," listing the things they're looking for in life. Near the end of the movie, they sing it again, but as they're all half-starved, all they want is some food, and they barely have the energy to sing at all.
  • In the beginning of Fiddler on the Roof, the citizens of Anatevka sing about their traditions and customs, explaining how they base their entire lives around them, and love doing so, in the upbeat "Tradition". Later in the musical, when Tevye disowns his own daughter, the main line of "Tradition" is sung by the ensemble in a much darker and more dramatic tone, showing that tradition is tearing the family apart.
  • In The Wedding Singer musical, this is done with the song "Someday". The original is about how Julia can't wait to be married and is hopelessly romantic. The reprise shows that, as her wedding to Glen approaches, she's beginning to have doubts if Glen is the right guy (because she's falling for Robbie). Also done with "If I Told You", where Robbie and Julia ask themselves what might happen if they share their true feelings (they can't hear each other, of course), and the reprise has them singing the same thing, except this time expressing their regret of not telling each other as Julia flies to Las Vegas to marry Glen.
  • In Jersey Boys, Frankie sings " My Eyes Adored You" to his daughter Francine. It is later reprised after he buries her.
  • In Chess, Florence and Anatoly's romantic duet "You and I" is at least cautiously optimistic about the future of their relationship. The reprise at the end of the show when Anatoly leaves Florence to go back to Russia is... less so.
  • Vanities: A (New) Musical reprises "I Can't Imagine" as "The Argument" in Scene 3, with a more frantic tempo and the lyrics changed to a drunken Counterpoint Duet between Joanne and Mary. Just prior to that, the second reprise of "An Organized Life" has a more somber tone than the previous versions, turning the previously peppy and optimistic tune into a BSoD Song.
  • The song "Mama, wo bist du?" from Elisabeth is already sad, until Der Tod (Death) comes to comfort Rudolf and tells him he will always be close by. Later in the play, after Rudolf has killed himself, Elisabeth sings a reprise that begins " Rudolf, wo bist du?" and only becomes sadder thereafter, ending in her begging for Death to release her. He does not oblige, but bitterly reprises a brief song of hers from earlier.
    • Special mention must go to "Boote in der Nacht", a full-length ballad in which the by now old and bitter Elisabeth and Franz Joseph conclude that they were never meant to be together, set to the same melody as the standard love song they sang to each other as starry-eyed teenagers.
  • In How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, J. Pierrepont Finch (F-I-N-C-H) sings "I Believe In You" to himself as a way to keep his confidence up on the eve of making it big. Later, after it all comes crashing down, his Love Interest, Rosemary, sings the same words to him in an attempt to reassure him although he's already been dragged away to face the music. The tone of the song is only slightly different (it's a touch more desperate), but the situation is worlds from what it was before.
  • Early in Annie, Annie sings "Maybe", dreaming of finding her loving parents who will take her away from the cruel orphanage. It is heartbreakingly reprised near the end, when Annie's "parents" have shown up to take her away from Daddy Warbucks, and she tries to convince herself that life with them will be better than it was with Warbucks. In the 1982 film, Daddy Warbucks also sings a reprise of the same song, trying to convince himself that he'll forget about Annie in time. ("And maybe I'll forget/How much she meant to me/And how she was almost my baby/Maybe.")
  • In the David Essex musical "Mutiny!" based on the Mutiny on the Bounty , early on there is a jolly piece Friends between Bligh and Fletcher Christian. During the titular mutiny, parts of it are reprised as their friendship is torn apart.
  • The Drowsy Chaperone uses this in two different songs. Act I ends on a depressing rendition of the "Wedding Bells" motif, and Act II picks up with "The Bride's Lament", which borrows fragments from the far-more-lighthearted "Show Off".
  • "The World's Greatest Dad (Reprise)" from Elf: The Musical; after Walter rebuffs Buddy at the end of the first act.
  • My Own Little Corner from Rogers and Hammerstiens Cinderella has one of these. The first time it is sung it is an upbeat song about dreams and hope, but in the reprise, she was singing it as she was heartbroken and HAD no hope (As she sung it after her stepfamily left for the ball). It ended with her crying and running off stage.
  • "Hang On" from Flashdance: The Musical, the main couple's temporary Break-Up Song, reprises parts of "Just Out of Reach", "Here and Now", and "Enough". Following that is "Let Go", a dark reprise of "Hannah's Answer" sung by Alex upon learning of Hannah's death.
  • Pippin has "Corner of the Sky", which starts out as an idealistic "I Want" song, then gets repeated with increasing desperation after more and more of Pippin's attempts at finding meaning in life prove worthless. It culminates with the other players singing his own words back to him to encourage him to burn himself to death, and some productions take this even further by including the newer (and more popular) ending in which although Pippin decides to ignore the players and live a mundane life, Theo is left alone onstage and sings a verse of Corner of the Sky a cappella, followed by the players returning and singing the opening of Magic To Do, then blackout.
  • In the musical of Secondhand Lions, the present-day Hub reprises "You Have Brought Me Love" alongside a ghost/vision of his deceased lover Samira (originally named Jasmine in the film).
  • Lestat has two of them; one in each act, one for each of Lestat's Love Interests. Neither of the original songs is exactly cheery, but they're both much darker in their (brief) reprises.
    • Right Before My Eyes is Lestat's inner monologue as he tries to decide whether or not to make Nicolas into a vampire. It's mostly him waxing poetical about Niki's beauty and how wonderful it would be to be "princes of the moon" together. Its reprise comes at the end of the act after Niki has died, and is much more bleak, essentially consisting of begging God to take Niki to Heaven and apologising for not being strong enough to protect him.
    • Embrace It comes after he's made Louis a vampire, and is trying to convince him to enjoy his new life and forget about his moral qualms. Louis sings a brief reprise that verges on the Sarcastic Echo version of the trope (though it's more a Bitter and Broken Echo) after their daughter has been killed and he's determined to leave Lestat, telling him to "embrace" the fact that it's over.
  • In Twice Charmed, "In A Moment" gets one. The first version is cheerful and hopeful as Cinderella and the Prince sing about meeting each other, while the second is sung by the villains as they shatter Cinderella's dreams in a moment.
  • Pokémon Live! had Giovanni sing dark reprises of both "You and Me and Pokemon" and "Everything Changes" during his Evil Gloating (and that's in addition to his own Villain Song).
  • The stage adaptation of Mary Poppins has several; notably Mr. Bank's "Good for Nothing", a reprise of "Cherry Tree Lane", which is followed by Mrs. Banks singing "Being Mrs. Banks (Reprise)"; and at the end, before she leaves for good, Mary's short reprise of "A Spoonful of Sugar".
  • In Matilda:
    • In the coda of "Miracle", Matilda sings about how her Abusive Parents, rather than considering her a miracle like the other children, think she is a "lousy little worm" and that "kids like her should be against the law".
    • Matilda and her classmates darkly reprise "Miracle" in the first part of "School Song" as they enter the foreboding gates of Crunchem Hall. Further reprises followed by screams are heard in the bridge section of the song.
    • "Pathetic" has a dark reprise as "This Little Girl" when Mrs. Wormwood denies Miss Honey's request to place Matilda in an advanced class.
    • Miss Honey's verse of "When I Grow Up" has her sing about the fears she has to fight to be a grown-up, followed by a Last Chorus Slow-Down Counterpoint Duet with Matilda's "Naughty" song.
    • The last verse of "My House" reprises "I'm Here" in counterpoint as Matilda and Miss Honey realize that the Escapologist was the latter's father.
    • The intro of the Cut Song "Perhaps a Child", intended to be played/sung when The Mafiya confront the Wormwoods, is a minor instrumental version of The Trunchbull's Villain Song, "The Hammer".
  • La Cage aux folles does this with its opening chorus "We Are What We Are" turned around into the bitter solo "I Am What I Am". Interestingly, the reprise here is the Signature Scene of the whole show, so Tropes Are Not Bad indeed.
  • The Rocky Horror Show opens with upbeat "Science Fiction Double Feature" about 50s science fiction films and ends with the more mournful "Science Fiction Double Feature - reprise" on the fates of the characters in the play. The most common movie print instead substitutes a replay of "The Time Warp".
  • Absolutely fucking everywhere in Hamilton. To name just a few:
    • Wait For It is Aaron Burr's perhaps not hopeful, but at least optimistic song establishing his character, his motivations, and his tendency to take things as they come. When it's repeated at the end of The World Was Wide Enough, Burr solemnly sings about how he has destroyed his life and his legacy by shooting Hamilton in one sole impulsive act.
    • Hamilton's motif of "I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory..." is first spoken in My Shot, establishing him as a bold, determined revolutionary. Though it's repeated several times throughout the show, it doesn't truly become a dark reprise until he sings it as he dies.
    • A lot of the dialogue in Helpless gets a dark reprise in the very next song, Satisfied, when we're shown the same love scene from the point of view of the girl who ended up heartbroken.
    • Though the actual reprise of The Story of Tonight is quite cheerful and lightheaded, the Laurens' Interlude, which shows Hamilton being informed of Laurens' death, borrows it's words and medley from the song. It gets even darker when it's the last words Hamilton says before he gets shot.
    • Though the first iteration of Ten Duel Commandments isn't exactly cheery, when it's reprised at the beginning of The World Was Wide Enough, it's just devastating.
    I had only one thought before the slaughter:
    This man will not make an orphan of my daughter.
    • Alexander Hamilton's central violin riff and opening rap ("how does a bastard, orphan etc etc") is reprised many times during the show, but it gets dark half the times it does. First in A Winter's Ball, when Burr is jealous of Hamilton's appointment as Washington's assistant, then in What'd I Miss when Burr introduces the new tense political climate, followed by The Adams Administration, when Hamilton is fired and begins to enter free-fall, and finally in Your Obedient Servant when Burr is enraged by Hamilton's intentional sabotage of his presidential aspirations. Pretty much the only time it isn't dark is Guns and Ships.
    • Although it uses the same cheery music in all three appearances, You'll Be Back and it's subsequent reprises get darker and darker as the show progresses. In You'll Be Back, George III sings about how he's confident that the colonies will come crawling back. What Comes Next shows a broken-hearted George warning the Americans that leading is a lot harder than fighting. The final reprise, I Know Him shows George (who, in real life, was at least partially mad by this point in history) gleefully awaiting the political carnage he knows will follow Adams's election (and oh boy, does it).
    • Blow Us All Away, the song in which Hamilton's son Philip gets shot, repeats a lot of lyrics from My Shot. Phillip is the same age as Hamilton was at the start of the play and is just as restless and eager to fight as his father was, and it gets him killed. The song title (and a small bit in the beginning) come from Dear Theodosia, when Hamilton tells a baby Philip that someday he will "blow us all away".
    • Stay Alive (Reprise), the song in which Hamilton's son Philip dies is a reprise of Act I's Stay Alive, in which Hamilton's wife Eliza hopes Hamilton will come home alive so he will get a chance to meet his son, the aforementioned Philip. It also mentions and reprises Eliza and Philip's piano lessons from Take a Break, which is already heartbreaking enough until Philip dies on the note he used to change as a child.
    • Eliza asks Hamilton to "let [her] be a part of the narrative" in That Would Be Enough. In Burn, after Hamilton's affair comes to light, she declares that she is "erasing herself from the narrative". Subverted to be hopeful again in Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story, when she "puts herself back in the narrative".
    • Non-Stop first introduces the idea that Hamilton writes "like he's running out of time". It's last iterated in Best of Wives and Best of Women when, while he's writing a note to Eliza in case he dies in his duel with Burr, Eliza asks, one last time, why he writes like he's running out of time.
    • There is a tender piano piece played at the end of "That Would Be Enough", where Eliza convinces Hamilton to stay home with her so he can meet their son when he is born. The same piano piece is the main theme of "It's Quiet Uptown", which depicts Hamilton and Eliza's utter despair, grief, and attempt to reconcile after Phillip's death at age 19. The piece reappears one last time in Best of Wives and Best of Women, where Eliza tiredly and halfheartedly tries to convince Hamilton to come back to bed. While it's perfectly innocuous to Eliza, it's devastating to Hamilton and the audience, who know that Hamilton is about to die in the duel between him and Aaron Burr. note 
    • The Room Where It Happens is Burr's song about wanting to be on the inside of American politics, rather watching from the outside. When he loses the presidential election due to a lack of endorsement from Hamilton, Burr ominously declares that Hamilton has kept him "from the room where it happens for the last time."
    • The Off-Broadway production included a dark reprise of Dear Theodosia, Burr and Hamilton's song in which they sing of how much they love and cherish their newborn children, in which Burr tells his daughter that her mother has died.
    • The cut song One Last Ride Reprise has the nation mourning the death of George Washington, and, obviously, it uses lyrics and chords from One Last Ride, the original draft of One Last Time. It also makes sad mentions to Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) with the phrase, "The world turns upside down..." and to What'd I Miss? with the phrase, "He's been at your service for so long..."
  • The musical adaption of Fun Home has a bunch of these.
    • The start of the song "Days and Days" has Helen reciting a line from "Welcome to our house on Maple Avenue."
    • Allison recalls a line from "Party Dress" in the song "Telephone Wire."
    Young Allison in Party Dress: I Despise this dress!/ What's the matter with boy shirts and pants/This dress makes me feel like a clown,/I HATE IT!
    Regular Allison in Telephone Wire: Since like, 5 I guess!/I prefer to wear boy shirts and pants!/I felt absurd in a dress!/I REALLY TRIED TO DENY MY FEELINGS FOR GIRLS!
    • Bruce semi-recites a line in "Edges of the World." that Middle!Allison says in "Changing my Major".
    Medium Allison: Am I falling into nothingness?/Or Flying into something so sublime?/I don't know.../ BUT I'M CHANGING MY MAJOR TO JOAN!
    Bruce Bechdel: And I'm falling into nothingness/Or flying into something so sublime./And I'm A man I don't know./Who am I now?/Where do I go?/I can't go back...
    • In the finale song "Flying Away" Middle!Allison echoes a line said by Regular!Allison from Telephone Wire. The saddest thing about it is in Telephone Wire, Regular!Allison took the place of Middle!Allison because the whole scene is the memory Allison recalls of the last drive with her father Bruce before his suicide.
    Regular Allison in Telephone Wire: So how does it feel to know that you and I are both-!
    Middle Allison in Flying Away: At the light.../How does it feel to know?
    • The start of the finale begins with Regular Allison reprising the whole musical's beginning line.
  • Newsies
    • Although not in the film version, the stage musical features a dark reprise of "The Bottom Line" in which after its revealed that Katherine is Joe Pulitzer's daughter and that to separate Katherine and Jack he provides an ultimatum to either leave or make the rest of the newsies suffer. He's quoted as saying "You have no family, but you can't have mine." Yikes.
    • Jack's reprise of Santa Fe at the end of act one isn't very happy either.
  • The stage version of The Little Mermaid includes the following dark reprises:
    • In the Broadway production, Triton reprised "The World Above" just before destroying Ariel's human artifact collection. The revised production replaces this with two "preprises" of "If Only"; the first sung by Triton while reminiscing about his late wife, the second by Ariel after Triton destroys her grotto.
    • "Sweet Child" originally had a reprise when Flotsam and Jetsam interrupt Ariel and Eric's Almost Kiss moment, but like the aforementioned "The World Above(Reprise)", this was dropped when Glenn Casale revamped the production.
    • Eric and Triton's parts of "If Only" reprise the melody of "Her Voice" in a more desperate context.
    • When Triton takes Ariel's place as Ursula's slave, Ursula has a Villanous Triumphant Reprise of "Poor Unfortunate Souls". She was also planned to sing a different reprise when transforming into "Vanessa", whose scene was replaced by "The Contest"; as well her own reprise of "Her Voice".
    • "If Only" has a bittersweet reprise by Triton (later a duet with Ariel) as he bids farewell to his daughter at her wedding to Eric. The pre-Broadway demo tape had the still-mute Ariel reprise it instead as an Inner Monologue lamenting her inability to say goodbye, before suddenly regaining her voice, leading into "Part Of Your World"'s Triumphant Reprise.
  • While The Book of Mormon is not exactly known for emotional scenes, it does feature some small but poignant examples:
    • Nabalungi sings a dark reprise of "Hasa Diga Eebowai" after she finds out she's not going to Salt Lake City. The original was arguably just as dark, but had a least a cheery tune and energetic dancing. Here, it's just her on a dimmed stage singing about being heartbroken.
    • Elder Cunningham sings a short reprise of "I Am Here For You" after Elder Price leaves him behind. It's almost the same as the original except for the last line, and that really makes all the difference.
    • Elder Price gets his own with "Orlando (Reprise)". While it's sort of played for laughs the song is really about him having his faith destroyed after clinging and adhering to it his whole life.
  • The song "How 'Bout A Dance" is musically played several times in Bonnie and Clyde, including in its overture, but is first sung when Bonnie and Clyde first meet and he asks her to sing a song for him. At the end of the show, when Bonnie and Clyde are driving, the show ends with Bonnie singing the last line, "You'll lose the blues, and you may lose your heart." This is implied to be when they die.
  • At the end of Act 1 of Honk!, Ugly and Ida sing a sad, dark reprise of "Hold Your Head Up High" while separated from each other.
  • Finale begins with the triumphant "Today is the Day," about how everyone in the cast is going to have a good day. This song is reprised in "Finally," the finale, when the world is ending, along with many other character's musical motifs. "Today is the Day" no longer means "Today is the day that my life gets better," it now means "Today is the day that we die."
  • In The Will Rogers Follies "I've Got You," sung by Betty Blake during the first-act wedding scene, becomes "Without You," sung when Will goes off to take the flight which caused his death.
  • Romy and Michele's High School Reunion: The Musical concludes the "Get a Life" number with the ensemble mocking Romy and Michele for their failed attempts to obtain jobs and boyfriends over the past two weeks.
  • In the musical adaptation of the first book in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lightning Thief, Luke sings a dark reprise of "Good Kid" in "The Last Day of Summer."
    Luke: It doesn't pay to be a good kid, / A good kid, a good son
  • City of Angels: Bobbi's second-act reprise of her song "With Ev'ry Breath I Take" as a duet with Stone ("What is a nice kid like you, et cetera?") fits this trope storywise. The song doesn't really sound darker than its first incarnation, in which it was already a heavy-hearted minor-key Torch Song.
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has “Woe Is Me”. The original song is about Logainne’s aspirations to win the bee and her life in general, cheerfully asking America to love her. In the reprise, she just lost the bee and is devastated, tearfully calling herself a loser and asking America to still love her, even though she understands if they don’t.
  • Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier: An extended flashback shows Ja'far singing "Follow the Golden Rule" just before he starts his job as assistant vizier to the Magic Kingdom. Then he bumps into the actual vizier, who along with his clique sings "Follow the Gold and Rule", the start of a long slide downwards for Ja'far.
  • The reprise of "La donna e mobile" near the end of Rigoletto; it's the moment when Rigoletto realizes the Duke is alive...
  • A choral reprise of the Toreador Song is sung in a darker tone while Don José kills Carmen.
  • In the operas of Richard Wagner:
    • The Ring of the Nibelung: A lot of Siegfried's and the Wälsung's motifs have a dark reprise in the "Funeral March". Also, the Immolation Scene does this to a lot of main motifs.
    • Tristan and Isolde: The "Liebestod" tune was already heard in the love duet.
  • Turandot: The Executioner Chorus' motif has a reprise in Liu's torture scene.
  • La Bohème: The final act of this opera is full of this trope. As Rodolfo and the dying Mimí reminisce about their first meeting, they sing the same music they did when it actually occurred, and Mimí sings brief reprises both of her own Act I aria and Rodolfo's. The orchestra also reprises Rodolfo's aria during Mimí's last moments, only to cut it short with the somber chord that signifies her death, and then offers a slow, aching reprise of her own aria as the other characters start to realize what's happened. There's also an example confined to the final act alone. At the beginning of their last duet, Mimi informs Rodolfo that she was only pretending to sleep in order to be alone with him; the tune she uses recurs with dark irony at the end of the act when Rodolfo realizes that Mimi has died.
  • La Traviata: At the opening of the last act, as a dying Violetta reads the letter from Alfredo's father, the orchestra brings the melody from their love song from the first act ("Di quell'amor, quell'amor ch'è palpito...").
  • Madama Butterfly: Butterfly's delicate theme, used previously in her entrance and the love duet, is played slowly in a minor key as she commits suicide in the final act.
  • Numerous instances in Billy Budd:
    • A sea shanty is repeatedly heard as a work song, but the tune returns in a threatening, wordless chorus at the end.
    • This is more a homage, but in one scene, Claggart has a motif very similar to that of the Grand Inquisitor.
    • Vere sings a motif that Claggart had first.
    • Billy has a foreshadowing of his big solo in an earlier duet.
    • Not to mention the Epilogue is a maybe even darker counterpart of the Prologue.
  • There are a few in Frozen (2018):
    • Hans of the Southern Isles first gets a Triumphant Reprise at the end of Act 1, but after he reveals he never loved Anna, he gets another quick one:
    Hans: Once I kill Elsa, and give you this ring, I am King Hans of Arendelle.
    • After Anna freezes, Elsa weeps over her and sings a short reprise of Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?
    Elsa: This is what I feared, this is why I shut you out so long ago. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. Look at what I've done to you.

Sarcastic Echoes

  • Numerous examples can be found in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan:
    • "The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring" from The Mikado.
    • "Happily Coupled are We" from Ruddigore; though Rose's verse was cut in several of the D'Oyly Carte revivals, thus adding the Second Verse Curse to the curse upon the Murgatroyds.
    • The second act of The Yeomen of the Guard is full of this kind of song (as well as the other kind of Dark Reprise, for which see below).
    • "Never Mind the Why and Wherefore" has a sarcastic echo sung in the middle of the song it is echoing. Sir Joseph and Captain Corcoran sing about how great Sir Joseph's marriage to Josephine will be while Josephine sings about how great her marriage to Ralph will be.
  • "America" from West Side Story.
  • "Master of the House" from Les Misérables. Two verses of a character glorifying his own wicked ways, and in the last verse his wife comes in and insists that he's just a petty crook.
  • The character of Che is a constant sarcastic echo to the title character in Evita. It's never certain whether he's adding his own acerbic commentary... or voicing the cynical and darker subtext that Evita herself hides behind her upbeat words. "Goodnight and Thank You" showcases this best. "High Flying, Adored," reverses this sequence, with Che's grim assessment of Eva's fortunes making the main part of the song, while being undermined by Eva's euphoric attitude.
    • His opening act, "Oh What a Circus", manages to be an ahead-of-time sarcastic echo of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". One wonders whether first-time audiences (before the latter song became famous by itself) quite got the nuances of that ...
      • Don't Cry For Me Argentina gets a more traditional Dark reprise, when Eva sings the melody during her last broadcast with the words 'Don't cry for me, Argentina/The truth is i shall not leave you/ Though it may get harder/for you to see me/ I'm Argentina/ and always will be.'
  • "You Must Meet My Wife" from A Little Night Music.
  • "Baby, Dream Your Dream" from Sweet Charity. Starts out with Nikki and Helene mocking Charity's optimism, but then they reveal that they would love to have someon to love them.
  • The Act II version "Not a Day Goes By" from Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, in which Frank and Beth sing of their love for each other while their words are echoed by Mary, who is secretly in love with Frank. Of course, the Act I version of the song - which Beth sings bitterly to Frank after their divorce - is also a Dark Reprise despite coming first, since the action of the play moves backwards.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has this in the first major duet after the opening number. "There's No Place Like London" opens with Anthony singing that he's sailed the world and beheld its wonders, but "there's no place like London." Sweeney jumps in, saying that he too has sailed the world, and agreeing that "there's no place like London."
  • Candide:
    • "O Happy We" may be an unintentional invocation of this trope, as Candide and Cunegonde talk past each other obliviously as they discuss their radically different images of married life. (Some versions of this show gave this song an actual Dark Reprise after the sack of Westphalia.)
    • The second half of "Martin's Laughing Song" is a pessimistic reprise of "The Best Of All Possible Worlds."
  • In Chicago, Roxie's song "Funny Honey" suddenly turns spiteful when her husband Amos fails to maintain an alibi for the murder she committed.
  • "All for the Best" in Godspell has Jesus sing the first verse to say that the suffering one goes through in life is "all for the best" in heaven. Judas then says that anything of any value is "all for the best" people.
  • "Alma Mater" in Grease.
  • "I Can See It" from The Fantasticks is both a Sarcastic Echo and a Dark Reprise: Matt sings a straightforward "I Want" Song about seeing the world while El Gallo sings asides about what a dreadful place the world can be. Later, as El Gallo seduces Matt's sweetheart Luisa, the two men switch parts.
  • In Mary Poppins: The Musical, when Mary confronts her Evil Counterpart Miss Andrew, they alternate between their respective songs "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Brimstone and Treacle".
  • A darkly funny in-joke version of this trope occurs in Don Giovanni. As the Don enjoys his last meal before he's dragged to hell, the orchestra strikes up a rendition of the aria "Non piu andrai" from The Marriage of Figaro. In its original context, this aria has Figaro telling the army-bound Cherubino that his days of fun and flirting are over. In light of Giovanni's pending fate, which the opera's original audience would have known full well, those unsung lyrics take on a dark new meaning.


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