- In Glengarry Glen Ross, Williamson suddenly realizes, thanks to a very long "The Reason You Suck" Speech by Levene, who robbed the office: none other than Levene himself. Levene called Williamson out on a lie about cashing Lingk's check, which Levene only could have known if he'd robbed the office, since it was the one time in Williamson's career that he didn't take the checks down to the bank. Williamson later confronts the thief, and asks him a very simple question: "How did you know I made it all up?"
- In Ayn Rand's play Night of January 16th, Karen Andre, accused of murdering Bjorn Faulkner, is nearing the end of her testimony, when the Surprise Witness barges into the courtroom. Karen frantically tries to prevent him from saying anything, but he tells her, "Your sacrifice is useless: Bjorn Faulkner is dead." Karen faints from this revelation, and the curtain falls on the second act.
- From Wicked: 'You have no real power,' as well as a wham moment when Glinda shows the Wizard Elphaba's keepsake, identifying him as her father, moments after having had her murdered.
- Another one takes place at the end, at the site where Elphaba made her last stand. The Scarecrow comes on stage, knocks on the floor, and says two words: "It worked!" Elphaba, alive and well, comes up through a trap door and reunites with her beloved Fiyero before they make plans to flee Oz.
- In Urinetown, Little Sally asks Officer Lockstock what Urinetown is like. In the interest of maintaining dramatic tension, Lockstock tries to avoid answering the question, telling her "Look, its power depends on mystery. I can't just blurt it out, like 'There is no Urinetown! We just kill people!'"
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends with a Wham Song, the Triumphant Reprise of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen". The reprise reveals first that the tramp at the dump whom Charlie befriended was Willy Wonka in disguise which means he rigged his own Golden Ticket contest and was secretly on the boy's side all along, and second that Mr. Wonka's retiring from running the factory so he can pursue new dreams in the audience's world, which he can travel to, and does simply by way of an Imagination-Based Superpower. While hints to the first revelation are there for viewers, the second revelation is a definite surprise.
- Spring Awakening: Frau Bergman speaking to Wendla after taking her to the doctor, "You're going to have a child." Another example is when Melchior is waiting for Wendla in the church graveyard, "My God, all these little tombs... And here, a fresh one... Here Rests in God, Wendla Berg- No?! Born the.. Died- ?! Of anemia??"
- Dear Evan Hansen: Directly after Good For You, Evan has a "confrontation" with "Connor" (really just a manifestation of himself) in which Evan wants to tell the truth about what he's done, and "Connor" talks him out of it. This results in an altercation in which "Connor" repeatedly asks Evan how he broke his arm, culminating in this:
- Hamilton is practically a Wham Show, but a notable line is in "The World Was Wide Enough," said by Burr pre-duel:"I had only one thought before the slaughter: this man will not make an orphan of my daughter.
- "Jefferson has my vote!" in "The Election of 1800," spoken by Jefferson's long-time enemy, Alexander Hamilton, over his friend Aaron Burr. This sets off the chain of letters to their Duel to the Death.note
- If you don't know the show going in, then Burr's line "And me? I'm the damn fool who shot him" at the end of the opening song certainly qualifies (the fact that the narrator is Aaron Burr isn't revealed until this point — it's something of a First Song Twist).
- In "Tomorrow There'll Be More Of Us":Alexander: "It's [a letter] from John Laurens. I'll read it later."Eliza: "No. It's from his father.Alexander: "His father?"
- Ragtime: The end of the song "He Wanted To Say." Mother's Younger Brother wants to join with a Face-Heel Turned Coalhouse, and most of the song is the things the men want to say to each other (Mother's Younger Brother wants to fight for the same reasons Coalhouse does, Coalhouse knows Mother's Younger Brother has no idea of the animosity he has experienced because of his race). However:Emma Goldman: But all he said was...Mother's Younger Brother: I know how to blow things up!
- Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812: At the end of Act 1, the moment when Natasha finally decides between her betrothed and the man she is having an affair with.
- To a lesser extent, one of Dolokov's lines about Anatole right before the duel.
- In Les Misérables:
- When the priest is super supportive of ValjeanPolice: You maintain he made a present of this silver—
Priest: That is right.
- The moment in "Drink With Me" when the audience (and the students) realizes exactly what is going to happen to this revolution:Grantaire: Drink with me to days gone by
Can it be you fear to die?
Will the world remember you when you fall
Can it be your death means nothing at all?
- Similarly, the scene after Eponine dies, where the revolutionaries seem to realize what's happening and tell all the women and people with families to leave.
- From Javert's SuicideBut granting me my life today, this man has killed me even so!
- When the priest is super supportive of Valjean
- In the Heights: "Let everybody know: Abuela Claudia passed away at noon today." It's quite the Mood Whiplash.
- A more minor example: after "96,000" explored what each of the characters would do with the winning lottery ticket, "Pacencia and Fe" revealed who won (Abuela Claudia) with a single line: "What shall I do with this winning ticket?"
- In The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Trinity Moses's spoken line demanding that Jimmy pay for his drinks is not only a turning point in its immediate context, rudely interrupting Jimmy's drunken fantasy of sailing to Alaska, but, since it turns out Jimmy doesn't have the money, it also leads directly to his arrest, show trial and execution.
- Next to Normal: At the end of the song "It's Gonna Be Good", Gabe casually walks off the set right before his family, along with his sister's new boyfriend, are supossed to be having dinner. A few seconds later, it's revealed that Gabe was never sitting there at all.Henry: I didn't know you had a brother.
Natalie: I don't. He died before I was born.
Natalie: Wow, you look great.Diana: Oh, well, thank you. And who are you?
- Natalie is Diana's daughter. Diana has started another treatment for her mental illness, and we're led to believe she may be getting better. Near the beginning of Act 2, it's revealed that Diana's memory has gotten worse.
Dan: Can't you just leave me alone?Gabe: I know you know who I am.Dan: Why didn't you go with her?
- After the birthday cake scene revealed Gabe is a ghost that only Diana sees, we are led to believe that only Diana can see or hear him. After Diana leaves, her husband Dan suffers a breakdown and it is revealed that Dan can also see Gabe.
- Boston Marriage by David Mamet: The play begins with Anna and Claire, best friends, exchanging news. Anna has become the mistress of a wealthy man who showers her with money and gifts, including an emerald necklace that has been in his family for generations; Claire has fallen in love with a young lady who will be calling shortly for an assignation. At the end of the first act, the young lady arrives, is greeted by both women, and goes off with Claire — only for Claire to return almost immediately to announce an unforeseen complication with drastic consequences for both of them:Claire: She asks why you are wearing her mother's necklace.
- From Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
Sweeney Todd: There's a hole in the world like a great black pit and it's filled with people who are filled with shit and the vermin of the world inhabit it... But not for long! THEY ALL DESERVE TO DIE!
- At the end of Act 1, Judge Turpin eludes Sweeney's revenge due to a Contrived Coincidence, and we witness the exact moment the barber turns from an Anti-Hero to a Villain Protagonist:
Sweeney Todd: ...you knew she lived. From the moment I came into your shop, YOU KNEW MY LUCY LIVED!
- Toward the end, Sweeney kills the mysterious mentally ill woman who has been irritating the cast for most of the show. Then he gets a good look at her face for the first time:
- Immediately afterward, there's Mrs. Lovett's desperate attempt to invoke Exact Words to spare herself, proving just how deeply self-serving she really is: "No, no, not lied at all! No, I never lied! Said she took the poison—she did—never said that she died!"
- In Assassins, "The Ballad of Booth" frames John Wilkes Booth as having a legitimate grievance against Abraham Lincoln. Then, as the song dips more into Motive Rant territory, it all changes with a single word that shows why Booth is really angry at the President: "How the Union can never recover from that vulgar, high and mighty NIGGER-LOVER!"
- The majority of Ebenezer is built up as a story Dickens tells Scrooge to get him to realize the truth about his past. Then it's revealed Scrooge knew it from the start.Scrooge: You must think me a simpleton, sir. Don't you think I've known about everything from the start? Don't you think I've known about Marley's motives all along?
Emcee: "But if you could see her through my eyes, she wouldn't look Jewish at all!
- From an otherwise comic song about a man falling in love with a monkey:
- The Act 1 finale, reprising "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," where nearly every guest at the engagement party for a Goyim woman and a Jewish man begins singing along - they're all either Nazis or sympathetic to the cause.
- Julius Caesar has this gem from Brutus, which clues Caesar in too late that things are about to end violently for him. For context, in Shakespeare's time, "thou" is used in the familiar and never used to properly address your superiors, who were properly addressed as "you"Brutus: I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar!
- In The Mousetrap, there is such a line near the end. In keeping with the tradition of not revealing the play's ending, however, the line is presented here (as it is on the play's page) without context."The police don't."
- The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals focuses on a Hive Mind slowly taking over the town of Hatchetfield and forcing everyone to sing and act as if they're in a musical, with the protagonist Paul (the titular guy who doesn't like musicals) trying to thwart the invasion with some friends. There are three big ones.
- First, when Professor Higgins, who had been sheltering the gang from the hive, abruptly knocks out Emma and Ted, ties them to chairs, and reveals his true loyalties.
- Then, when the Eleven O'Clock Number, "Let It Out," happens, with Paul going to blow up the meteor that brought the invasion to Earth. Bear in mind, up until now, Paul is the only character who has not sung a single note in the entire show, and has been consistently Above the Influence. Until he gets too close to the source of the apotheosis...The Hive: [singing] Just let it out, let it out, let it out—
Paul: [absolutely belting] NEVER! [he gasps and claps a hand over his mouth, while the live audience audibly loses their shit]
- And finally, an utterly cruel one, after the hive has been blown up, stopping the infection from spreading outside of Hatchetfield, but killing Paul. Emma is heartbroken, getting ready to enter her new life—but then, suddenly, Paul shows up! He survived! The world is saved! He and Emma can run off together and live happily ever after! The two embrace, and it's utterly heartwarming, until...Paul: [singing] Emma... I'm sorry... You lost...
- Heathers: In the Act 1 finale, lead character Veronica Sawyer realizes to her horror just what her boyfriend JD's master plan for the popular kids of Westerberg High is after she witnesses him shoot Jerk Jock Ram Sweeney with what he claims is a tranquilizer gun:
- Be More Chill:
Jeremy: Optic nerve blocking, on.
- Act I ends with Jeremy learning the SQUIP was controlling Jeremy's optic nerves to block Michael from Jeremy's field of vision so Jeremy could focus on his new, cooler friends. It then gives Jeremy the choice between his best friend and his new popularity. After some singing, Jeremy coldly seals his fate:
Jeremy: Get out of my way. [walks away] Loser.
- Later, Michael confronts Jeremy to warn him about the SQUIP, but Jeremy brutally rejects his warnings on the assumption Michael's just jealous, and leaves him with a brutal line seemingly cutting him off for good.
Wham Line / Theatre