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Top 10 Epic Broadway Villain Songs

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Samantha Hines
Script written by Samantha Hines They may be villains but these songs have an irresistible tune! For this list, we’re taking a look at broadway villain songs that we just can’t get out of our heads, sung by the shows antagonist. Though songs making their debut on the silver screen and anti-heroes certainly have their own memorable numbers, we’re only including songs made for the Broadway stage from our favorite undeniably twisted villains. We’ve included songs from shows like Annie, Hamilton, Chicago, Anastasia, Shrek, Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

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Top 10 Broadway Villain songs

For every ballad from the hero of the story, there’s usually an irresistible tune from the bad guy - or gal – we love to hate. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Broadway Villain songs.

For this list, we’re taking a look at those songs that we just can’t get out of our heads, sung by the show’s antagonist. Though tunes making their debut on the silver screen and anti-hero songs sure can be memorable, we’re only including songs made for the Broadway stage from our favorite twisted villains.

#10: The Bottom Line
“Newsies” (2012)

There are villains you can’t help but love, but paper publisher Joseph Pulitzer is one we love to loathe. When he decides to charge the poor children selling his papers more money per hundred, forcing the kids to sell more to make a profit, we’re treated to a shockingly upbeat song about his evil eureka moment. It’s hard to root for a villain this cold and cruel, but with the bouncy music and charming vocals, we can’t help but hum along!

#9: Candy Store
“Heathers” (2014)

In this musical retelling of an 80’s cult-classic film, many would consider JD the main antagonist, but this treacherous trio can’t be denied their spotlight. After all, they’re right there in the title! This is the scene where The Heathers show Veronica their malicious lifestyle, with a realistic portrayal of high school dialogue and perfectly timed choreograph. It’s also a great way to show the audience exactly why we should root against them. These queen bees run Westerburg, and their strong vocals and harmonies have us wanting to join the hive!

#8: Stars
“Les Misérables” (1987)

Not all villains know they’re evil. Javert is the personification of ‘lawful good’. He is the foil for hero Jean Valjean, who, despite good intentions, is an unlawful man on the run. While the recent movie rendition of this song by Russell Crowe left many underwhelmed, others who have lent their voice to this ballad, such as Alfie Boe, and Terrence Mann of the original Broadway cast, more than make up for it with amazing vocals and raw emotion. It gives us a rare intimate glimpse into the mind of an antagonist, and plants the seed to the question leading to the character’s eventual demise; what does it mean to be good?

#7: (The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs
“Hairspray” (2002)

Velma Von Tussle is no one to, well, tussle with. When Tracy and her big hair and personality comes to audition for the Corny Collins show, the producer, Von Tussle, is appalled. In this number, her pageant name becomes a well-earned double entendre with her stories of sleeping her way to the top and not being afraid to play dirty, in every sense of the word. This song begins the battle for inclusion that drives the musical’s plot, and it’s peppered with witty lyrics and dazzling choreography. Much like her name, this woman proves very, very hard to get rid of.

#6: You’ll Be Back
“Hamilton” (2015)

This is King George III’s first number in this critically acclaimed show, and what an entrance he makes! He tells the colonists that distance doesn't mean independence, threatening violence if they do not return to his rule. However comedic, his words light the match of the revolution, making this piece essential to the plot. Although many Kings have conquered this tune, Jonathan Groff wears the original crown, and for good reason! His charisma and over-the-top accent will have you under his rule in the cast recording, no matter how tyrannical it may be!

#5: Little Girls
“Annie” (1977)

Though this story has had many adaptations over the years, one thing remains the same: Miss Hannigan is every kid’s worst nightmare. When the titular orphan is invited to visit a mansion for the holiday season as a form of charity, it ignites a ball of anger inside the faulty caretaker, leading to a particularly twisted, yet somewhat comedic, song that washes away any notion that she may simply be trying her best. We can’t help but wonder if she belongs in the nuthouse after all.

#4: Pretty Women
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (1979)

You could cut the tension in this duet with a knife, or rather, a razor. When the lustful Judge Turpin appears in Sweeney Todd’s barber shop, Todd tries to lull him into a sense of security in order to murder him. While the sinister stylist sends shivers up our spine, Turpin’s cadence in this deceptively upbeat tune outright creeps us out. Sweeney’s melancholy words complement Turpin’s shameless confessions of preying on young women, and we actually can’t help but feel sorry for him. That’s something we thought we’d never say of the homicidal hair clipper.

#3: The Last Midnight

“Into the Woods” (1987)

Here’s a life lesson: when you point a finger, three point back at you. This Grimm tale sweeps over interweaving scenes with plenty of memorable numbers, including a particularly creepy song sung by the Big Bad Wolf himself . However, it’s this song that’s sure to haunt your nightmares. The Witch calls out the play’s heroes, insisting they are anything but. They do bad deeds and claim piety, unwilling to see the harm they cause. The creeping instrumental attests to the gravity of the situation, and at the end, the Witch does what many of us often wish we could do in an argument, and makes an epic exit.

#2: Dentist!

“Little Shop of Horrors” (1982)

This number might make you want to reschedule that next teeth-cleaning appointment. Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s abusive boyfriend and Seymour’s romantic rival, sings this song about the love he has for his chosen profession. But while some people go into the dental business looking to fix people’s teeth, it’s clear that the sadistic Scrivello prefers ripping them right out. Still, rampant cruelty has never sounded this catchy, with a hip-shakin’ rhythm and some angelic harmonies from a chorus of back-up singers. Just don’t think too hard about the lyrics, and you’ll be saying “Ah” right along with Scrivello’s victims…err, patients.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Blood in the Water
“Legally Blonde” (2007)

The Neva Flows
“Anastasia” (2017)

My Name

“Oliver!” (1962)

#1: Cell Block Tango
“Chicago” (1975)

This musical is based on a straight play, and uses its toe-tapping tunes to amp up its satire of the media’s glorification of criminals. Case in point: Cell Block Tango. These vile vixens of the cell block recount with sensual choreography and passionate lyrics how each have mercilessly killed men who abused, cheated, or simply jilted them. Each villainess in the cell has her own side of the story, and a reason to declare ‘not guilty’. This is the perfect shower tune to belt out when Mr. Right turns out to be oh, so wrong.

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