Thursday, May 2, 2013

The 100 Greatest Broadway Songs - Part II


SONG #99
"Big Spender"
from Sweet Charity
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
sung by Nickie, Helene & the Dance Hall Girls
Director Bob Fosse had one of the most recognizable signature styles out of all the great Broadway Choreographers.  And this is one of his most famous show-stoppers.  With the microscopic movements and the fact that each one of the girls is their own character, Fosse made audiences see both the sensual side and the dark side of the seedy Dance Hall where the title character is employed.  Add to that the jazzy Cy Coleman vamp and the ironic vernacular of Dorothy Fields' lyrics, it is no wonder that this is one of Fosse's most significant Musical numbers.

SONG #98
"I Am What I Am"
from La Cage Aux Folles
Music & Lyrics by Jerry Herman
sung by Albin (or Zaza)
By the mid-1980s, the Broadway Musical had been changed so much by the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and many more that there were very few "traditional-styled" shows being successful at that time.  Enter La Cage Aux Folles, which is a Musical-Comedy with a traditional score and big splashy numbers with gorgeous costumes.  It does, however, feature one non-traditional aspect.  Even though it is a love story (the typical plot for a Musical-Comedy!), the leading characters (being the lovers) are two men (one being a drag queen).  It was the first majorly successful Broadway Musical to feature a homosexual leading couple.  And this song has become the show's mantra.  It is the drag queen standing defiantly before everyone (both the other characters and the audience) saying he will never deny who he is for anybody or any reason.  It has become an anthem within the Gay community.

The next post will feature a few more from the Countdown (including the first of 12 songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein!).

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