With many musical inspired villains, it is incredibly difficult to portray a villain as an actually vile and wicked person due to the stagey nature of theatre with the expectation of characters that are based on or portray horror villains such as Carrie. Instead, the villains are often incredibly flamboyant, over-the-top personalities that snatch the audience attentions which is particularly popular in Dinsey films. Due to this fact, the songs the villains are very entertaining and catchy at times. I personally, oftentimes, prefer the villains are they are so wonderfully camp that their songs are very fun to watch and listen to. In no particular order here are ten musical villains whose songs are more iconic that the protagonist counterparts.
I have to say that Ursula from The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite villains of all movies ever. Her quick-with and unique looks make this character stand out right from the start and when you cross this with supernatural powers truly makes her a very iconic character. It has been noted that the character is Ursala was inspired by the legendary drag queen movie star Divine, this means that the character of Ursala is extremely sassy throughout and her song ”Poor Unfortunate Souls” is one of the most iconic songs from a Disney movie. I believe that is the clever combination of the catchy powerful melody and the lyrics that are a critique of male views of women’s roles in social situations that help make the song so iconic! The song and character are perfectly together and overshadows most of the other songs in this musical film. The only other song from this film that contains the energy to match this song is ‘Under The Sea’ but the political undertones of this song really help it stand out and helps make it one of the most iconic songs in the whole film!
The key character in the Rocky Horror Picture Show arrives donned in his transvestite appeal complete with heels and fishnet tights. He encourages an affair between himself and the newlywed Brad and Janet, manipulating human life by creating a creature and questionably treats some of his peers questionably. Not only is Frank a rebellious character who radiate iconic energy but is also a character we warm too despite being the so-called villain in this musical. His crowning moment no doubt is Franks entrance and the wonderful song ”Sweet Transvestite” where he talks about a lack of acceptance from society but being unapologetically himself. This bold message behind the song is so important and watching Frank strut across the stage in his iconic outfit truly helps this song stand out but any person who has seen the musical will say that without a doubt, this is a song they will not forget in a long, long time!
3. Audrey 2
The formidable man-eating plant from The Little show of horrors is one of the most memorable characters due to the fact that it is a MAN-EATING PLANT who sings a song about being hungry! The is nothing more iconic than the deep-voiced plant who sings about wanting food as its just so relatable. If you ask someone about a song from the little shop they will most likely say ”Feed me (git it)” even if they have never seen the musical before which is a true sign of an iconic musical number. Very few people know about ’somewhere that’s green’ or ’downtown’ but will most probably tell you about Feed Me while offering you an impression of the murderous plant himself.
4. Orin Scrivello, D.D.S
Orin is the violent and detestable dentist in The Little Shop Of Horrors. Originally played by Steve Martin in the movie version, Orin deliveries a strangely catchy and entertaining song which is the only other song from Little Shop that non-theatre fans would know of. Singing about his twisted childhood and his love for causing an unreal amount of pain on his victims leads to one of the most iconic songs simply titled ‘Dentist!’ A character that collectively everyone hates, singing an inflicting pain of people for his own pleasure sounds like it shouldn’t work but it absolutely does. Even though everyone is overjoyed when Orin meets his demise by the villain listed above, we can’t help but groove to this celebration of all things cruel.
5. Mother Gothel
Mother Gothel is the mother figure of Rapunzel in the Disney film Tangled. This character is supposed over 200 years old by the time she kidnaps Rapunzel but she looks fantastic for her age! Her song ‘Mother Knows Best’ is a very musical theatre inspired songs warning her ‘daughter’ about all the dangers in the wider outside world. To be honest, apart from this song I would struggle to name another song from Tangled but this one is in all senses of the word Iconic! Whether it’s the subtle comedy underlining the song are the obvious deception involved this song is not only clever but unbelievable catchy and will stay on her head hours after listening to it.
In the introduction of this list, I mentioned the horror film Carrie but in the musical adaptation, it’s even hard to decipher who are the good and who are the bad characters in the show. But most people decide that Chris who creates the plan to drench Carrie in Blood at the prom which in its own sense is an iconic visual. She is your classic class bully who uses throws insults at Carrie throughout and ruins Carrie’s prom night. Her song “the world according to Chris” tells her childhood story as to why she is the way she is. However, this story is not meant to create sympathy towards Chris but rather stating that if you’re not on top of the social structure your not in a good place. The sass and energy in this song help to become insanely catchy but also helps the audience to see from the characters’ perspectives.
We cannot have a list of musical villains without mentioning Javert from Les Miserables. This character is the chief in charge of the hunt for the ‘criminal’ Jean Valjean as he is on the run. It is his memorable song ‘Stars’ that even after 40 years is still being performed on the west end and up and down across events all around the world. This moving and beautiful song has been covered by thousands of people and yet despite the good and sometimes questionable covers, musical theatre fans are still obsessed with this song. The song continues to move audiences and is one of the most overlooked songs in the show (despite the praise it still receives today) which is only exaggerated by the actions the preceding it.
8. King George 3rd
King George delivers one of the most iconic songs appearing in the musical Hamilton. Having never listened to the full soundtrack or seen the show I am fully aware of the song “you’ll be back” which is sang by King George as he lays out how desperate he is to keep the public’s trust and support for him. I have heard numerous covers of this song and each time I am amazed at the lyrics the song possesses. It is somewhat comedic, violent and jovial which again doesn’t sound like it should work but it does! Since it’s release this song has become a musical theatre staple at any sing-a-long which crowds going wild when they hear the iconic introduction. Musical theatre fans and non-fans have no doubt heard of this song and are aware of the character who sings it which yet again is a true sign of an iconic song.
The singing giant crab who sings a song about wanting to be the most glittery Crab around just screams iconic. His song “Shiny” is a chilled back that posses fun and almost summery vibes. I am disappointed that this song has been overshadowed by some of the more popular songs from the Disney film Moana. Tomatoa is a character everyone forgets about in this film but for me is one of the most memorable animated songs in recent years. The camp and flamboyant crab singing about his love of shiny things are incredible and the change of vibes within the songs are so memorable. If you haven’t go have a listen to this song and come back and tell me it isn’t iconic!
10. The ensemble of Cell Block Tango
The whole of the cast of Chicago have questionable ethics and morals with many songs that are extremely iconic but none trumps the musical theatre kids favourite go to the jazz-inspired song “Cell Block Tango.” This song is sung by a group of female prisoners who have each killed their husbands and sing about what led them to do so. The interesting characters involved and seductive vibe of the number really helps this song become a fan favourite despite promoting violence. You would struggle to find a theatre fan who would not want to perform this number (Male or Female) in a massive over-the-top staged production.