Musicals Thread (Villain Songs)

Welcome! The purpose of this thread is to talk about all things related to the wonderful world of musical theatre. I post a thread with a topic/question for everyone to respond to, but you are always more than welcome to discuss other topics! This is also a great place to mention any new musicals you’ve discovered and/or general recommendations for other musical fans. Heard any good shows lately? Have any theatre news to share? Tell us about it!

This week we have another special thread written by Lydia! She has some super interesting prompts ready to go to keep us talking for several weeks, and I’ve managed to come up with some ideas after a long mental block, so I’m looking forward to chatting about musicals even more with you all this year! As always, if anyone would like to write a special prompt or a feature of any kind for this thread, just let me know.

There are a few ways for a musical to play its villains. Some don’t sing at all, in order to retain their malice and mark them as out of place, opposed to the ways of the world of the show. Others go full comedy mode, cackling and knocking heads in time with the beat. Still others are given the opportunity to seriously say their piece, perhaps struggling against their degenerate impulses or even courting the audience’s sympathy. This approach is especially useful with more nuanced stories and characters, with numbers that might more accurately be called “antagonist songs” or “antihero songs” or “main-character-indulging-in-despicable-behavior songs”. That’s not quite as catchy, though, so with all this in mind I’ll simply ask: What’s your favorite villain song? 

Wicked is built on the notion that who the villain is depends on who’s telling the story, stated nowhere more bluntly than in “Wonderful”. Of course, it can be taken too far – moral relativism is used as an excuse to lie to, accept worship from, and subjugate the population of an entire fantasy realm, and to invite the heroine to join in, promising her the adulation she’s craved from the beginning. The song itself, though, is such a jaunty tune with such snappy rhymes (“few at ease/ambiguities” the pièce de résistance, in my opinion), I can’t judge her too harshly for being tempted.