Irresistible toe-tapping can't-stay-still musical theater numbers?
February 15, 2015 6:07 AM   Subscribe

Last night I came across the Brotherhood of Man musical number performed on the Drew Carey show, and realized it was the perfect video to snap me right out of a funk and make me want to dance around the house (particularly once the full ensemble gets going around 2 minutes in.) Now I want more! I'm looking for more videos of big, bombastic musical numbers that can't help but give me thrills and cheer me up with great dancing. The kind of song that gets even the most cynical person tapping their toes and smiling. Anything Goes is a great example of what I'm thinking of - I also can't resist a giant tap number. Think over the top with jazz hands. Everything a person who hates musical theater can't stand. Don't worry if they seem too obvious - I've only started enjoying musical theater a few years ago, so I've got plenty of catching up to do.
posted by Neely O'Hara to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
A few to start you off:

"Show Off" from The Drowsy Chaperone.
"Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" from Guys and Dolls.
"Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate
posted by firechicago at 6:13 AM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also adding, the generic term for this type of song and dance extravaganza is "11 o'clock number".
posted by firechicago at 6:15 AM on February 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

Gold Diggers of 1933 'We're in the Money'

Busby Berkeley did a lot of these over the top musical dance numbers.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:23 AM on February 15, 2015

I'm very fond of "I Can Cook Too" from "On the Town", but it's hard to find--here's a great version from the latest production's rehearsals.

Another not-well-known number: I Wanna Be a Rockette from the never-produced musical Kicks. (There's also a Gay Men's Chorus of LA Version and a more-intimate one from Jeffrey James Binney.)
posted by Hypatia at 6:26 AM on February 15, 2015

Nowadays, the finale from Chicago
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:28 AM on February 15, 2015

Put On Your Sunday Clothes from Hello, Dolly!
posted by FavourableChicken at 6:32 AM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

I don't know if you'd enjoy all of them, but 'The Drew Carey Show' put on musical numbers fairly regularly.
posted by box at 6:33 AM on February 15, 2015

Yeah, you are going to want the entire New Broadway Cast album of On the Town when it comes out next month. "You've Got Me" is another great one. You might enjoy a couple of songs from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, too.
posted by chaiminda at 6:36 AM on February 15, 2015

Response by poster: firechicago, Show Off is a great example of what I'm looking for!

I had tried searching for 11 o'clock numbers, but also got a lot of stuff like Rose's Turn, which is big and bombastic but definitely not a dance number.

Can't wait to start checking these out!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 6:43 AM on February 15, 2015

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:44 AM on February 15, 2015

Hairspray - You Can't Stop The Beat is a very good example of this, I think.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:46 AM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Fiddler on the Roof - To Life
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:49 AM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

The totally mental "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises.
posted by nicwolff at 7:06 AM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Kinky Boots - Raise You Up
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:37 AM on February 15, 2015

The song itself may be more cynical/double entrende about religion than you're looking for but I absolutely adore The Rhythm of Life from Sweet Charity for Sammy Davis, Jr.'s singing, Bob Fosse's early choreography and the fantastic over the top 60's hippies details such as eyes painted onto hands, a dancer walking through another's long hair like it's a curtain, etc.
posted by beaning at 7:52 AM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

These ones might be a bit obvious, but they are musical numbers that always cheer me up.

Singing in the Rain. It's not a big bombastic number but it cheers me up.

Also "Make 'em Laugh" from the same movie.

Consider Yourself from Oliver Twist. Actually pretty much any song from this cheers me up OomPahPah, Who will Buy? or You've got to Pick a Pocket or 2 also are fun & end up with me singing along at the top of my lungs every time I hear them.

And if you don't mind me slipping in one song not from a musical, my go to cheering up, singing and dancing around the house like a fool & scaring the dogs song is This is the New Year.
posted by wwax at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2015

Just about every song from Pippin.
posted by freshwater at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

While firechicago is absolutely right about "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," I have to offer up this version from the 1992 revival, which I think is superior to the one linked above, and in fact may be a perfectly staged and sung musical number.

And since you enjoyed Drew Carey's version of "Brotherhood of Man," might I suggest that same number from the 1995 Broadway revival of the show it's from - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying - with Matthew Broderick, which plays fast and loose with the orchestration (which I happen to love), and the more traditional but no-less-satisfying version from the 2011 Broadway revival starring Daniel Radcliffe. This performance is introduced by both Matthew Broderick from the previous revival, and by the original J. Pierrepont Finch himself, Robert Morse (alas, no video of his version from Broadway, but here's the number from the movie they made of the original show, with Morse reprising the role).
posted by tzikeh at 9:14 AM on February 15, 2015

A bit different, but still very upbeat, Today 4 U from Rent (starts here in earnest at 1:10). My better half is an epic Broadway nut, and if I didn't mention that the original Broadway cast version is the One True Version, I'd be in a lot of trouble. So that's what I linked to.

Also n-thing Pippin, Kinky Boots.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:19 AM on February 15, 2015

Oh - and for shit and giggles - here's a Superbowl commercial starring the cast of 30 Rock in character (along with some casts of other NBC shows), doing (you guessed it) Brotherhood of Man.
posted by tzikeh at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's a performance of "Jumpin' Jive" from the film Stormy Weather (1943) with Cab Calloway on vocals and the Nicholas Brothers doing a tap routine starting at about 1:30, I just saw it and was blown away by their athleticism. I guess Fred Astaire once called it the greatest movie musical dance sequence he'd ever seen. It's no big ensemble but it's still incredible.

The Barn Raising Dance from 7 Brides for 7 Brothers is an all-time classic ensemble dance number.
posted by JauntyFedora at 9:51 AM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

*sigh* I'm gonna be here all day for this, now...

For turning a simple tune into a huge party (including the audience clapping along!), you can't beat Robert Lindsay and the full cast from Me and My Girl performing The Lambeth Walk.

For unadulterated exuberance of performance that is infectious beyond reason, I think it would be impossible to find a better example than the (dearly departed) Michael Jeter, along with Brent Barrett and the ensemble, performing We'll Take a Glass Together from Grand Hotel. (If you want to see his brief, lovely, and moving acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for that portrayal of Kringelein which was presented literally moments after the number ended, which is why he is not seated but is rather already backstage, click here and fast-forward to 6:40.)

This next one doesn't precisely fit in with your "toe-tapping" description, but in terms of full immersion in the ineffable magic of musical theater to the point that the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, I direct you to The Circle of Life, the opening number of The Lion King. Unfortunately the video is a little washed out, but I've been watching the Tonys for most of my 46 years, and it is extremely, extremely rare for the audience at the Tony Awards to give a standing ovation to any performance from a nominated piece. Try to imagine yourself in this audience, though, and not standing at the end.
posted by tzikeh at 10:02 AM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh my god, how could I have forgotten Run, Freedom, Run from Urinetown?

Ignore the name of the show. Trust me. :)
posted by tzikeh at 10:07 AM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

The link above seems to be broken, so here's The Rhythm of Life.

If you'd rather something less irreverent, here's a youth choir singing a bowdlerized version.
posted by Shmuel510 at 10:35 AM on February 15, 2015

Continuing with the TV theme, I always loved Taxi's Lullaby of Broadway
posted by brbmaroon at 11:39 AM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

A Chorus Line is full of these, especially "One" and "The Music And the Mirror" (but there are a bunch more). It helps that almost every song is dance-themed.

Also a bunch of good material in Gypsy: Everything's Coming Up Roses, All I Need Now is the Girl, Rose's Turn (if you want a bit of darkness mixed in. Edit: I see you mentioned this one already, sorry!).

A bunch of songs from Cabaret should fit the bill. Don't Tell Mama, Mein Herr, and the title song.

The title song from 42nd Street.

You might enjoy "Side By Side" from Company. Also give Follies a try, especially "Live Laugh Love", "Who's That Woman", "The Story of Lucy and Jessie."
posted by beatrice rex at 11:50 AM on February 15, 2015

Get Happy - Judy Garland
All For One - High School Musical 2 (yes, yes, I know...)
What Time Is It - High School Musical 2

I can think of a few more, lemme find them...
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:23 PM on February 15, 2015

I like the version of Age of Aquarius at the end of the 40-Year-Old Virgin. (It shows a couple in bed.)
posted by theredpen at 1:23 PM on February 15, 2015

Ooh and America from West Side Story.
posted by theredpen at 1:33 PM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Little Shop of Horrors! are two to get you started:
Skid Row
Dentist (do not watch if you have a dental phobia, seriously).
I don't usually watch the program or smoke but for some reason Bag of Weed from Family Guy cracks me up and makes me feel like dancing around. The chorus is kind of an earworm though.
posted by BoscosMom at 2:20 PM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can't find good videos of them, but both Shine and Expressing Yourself from Billy Elliot are great for this.

Step to the Rear from How Now Dow Jones might get you marching rather than dancing, but will definitely get you out of a chair.

And since you said not to worry about being too obvious, there's always 76 Trombones from The Music Man.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:55 PM on February 15, 2015

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