If you happen to have a soft spot for musical theater—or if you haven't gotten to New York this year—one of the best things about the Tonys (which are on Sunday!) is the chance to see live performances, albeit on CBS, from the nominated shows. These aren't equivalent to the performances at, say, last year's Oscars, which felt forced and out of place. No, this is what the whole damn thing is about! And this year there's a lot to be excited about. So, without further ado, here are some songs you really should get to know.
Matilda: "Naughty"/"When I Grow Up"
Matilda, the delightful, highly-praised British musical based on the Roald Dahl classic, has been through this before in Britain, taking top honors at the Olivier Awards in 2012. Four little girls play the title role, and at the Oliviers each got to shine as they sang the song "Naughty." The first-act number is about Matilda's acts of rebellion against her terrible parents. Though obviously sung by only one girl in the show, at the Oliviers each actress got a chance to sing.
Another song to look out for: the second act's "When I Grow Up," which puts its ensemble on swings.
Kinky Boots: "Everybody Say Yeah"/"Raise You Up/Just Be"
We think you probably should know the second act's closer, "Everybody Say Yeah," from this Cyndi Lauper scored heart-warmer about a young British factory owner and the drag queen that helps save his business. You won't see it in the video below, but the number includes some impressive choreography from director Jerry Mitchell, who has the actors walking on conveyer belts. (You can hear him talk about how hard that was at the New York Times.) The song features the two nominated leads Charlie (Stark Sands) and Lola (Billy Porter) getting excited about the new boots they just created. Stay tuned to the video for the final number of the show, since who wouldn't want to show off the costumes (and legs) of Lola's backups?
Bring it On: "It's All Happening"
The cast of Bring it On—yes, it's based on that Bring it On—might want to show off a number that highlights their pop-inflected soundtrack and flashy high-flying moves like "It's All Happening."
A Christmas Story: "Ralphie to the Rescue"
Though there's not a chance that this holiday show will walk away with the big prize, give a listen to "Ralphie to the Rescue" a number that brings together the company in the main character's western fantasy.
Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella: "Impossible"/"Ten Minutes Ago"
Though technically counted as a revival, this is the first time this show has ever being on Broadway. It was conceived by Rogers and Hammerstein as a television movie for Julie Andrews in 1957. There were two following television iterations, including one starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. In its current iteration, the show has a re-imagined book from Douglas Carter Beane, but the music remains the original, wonderful Rogers and Hammerstein. The cast combined the two numbers mentioned above—the first a duet between Cinderella and her godmother and the second a duet between Cinderella and her prince—on Letterman.
Pippin: "Magic to Do"/"Corner of the Sky"
Pippin has been on the Tony stage in 1973, the same year its legendary original director Bob Fosse won a Tony, Emmy, and Oscar. We don't doubt that the revival might also trot out the famous opening number, "Magic to Do," which introduces its company of players that will act out the tale of Charlemagne's son. In the revival, the show is conceived as a circus so the song features plenty of acrobatics. Also, brush up on "Corner of the Sky," a solo for the show's lead.
Come on. You probably know the numbers from this show already. Here's the latest Annie singing "Tomorrow."
The Mystery of Edwin Drood: "There You Are"
When this whodunnit based on an unfinished Dickens novel was at the Tonys in 1986 the cast performed "There You Are." Who is to say they won't do it again, featuring Jim Norton as the show's narrator? Fast forward to the 38 second mark to get a taste.