BitchTapes: Women of the Stage

Deb Jannerson
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Is your knowledge of musical theater limited to the Oscar-winning adaptation of Chicago and the latest episode of Glee? Welcome to this week's BitchTapes, a collection of female-led showtunes that are not about being hopelessly devoted to a man-type character. (Sorry, Eponine.) While this particular list could go on indefinitely—Broadway ladies are awesome like that—here are a few of my favorites. Share yours below! 

1. “Out Tonight” by Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent)

The classic (well, since the '90s) pre-party track.

2. “At the Ballet” by Deidre Goodwin, Alisan Porter and Mara Davi (A Chorus Line)

Three young ladies recall finding their life's passion (and it's not a dude). This version of the song is from the 2006 revival cast, the casting of which was the focus of the wonderfully meta documentary Every Little Step.

3. “Dance of the Robe” by Heather Headley and Ensemble (Aida)

Here's another work-related track for those times when you're not sure you've got what it takes. We believe in you, dear reader!

4. “Here I Am” by Sherie Rene Scott (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)

The Christine character makes her first appearance with this number about the excitement and freeing power of being on vacation. (As a side note, the singer, Sherie Rene Scott, starred in the original cast of Aida as well.)

5. “The Other Hours” by Kelli O'Hara (Thou Shalt Not)

Here's a nice number from a 2001 Harry Connick, Jr-penned play about wondering after someone's interior world. It also hints at valuing one's time alone, a message which isn't conveyed nearly enough, if you ask me.

6. “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me” by Abigale Haness (The Rocky Horror Show)

Although the stage show is notoriously more somber than the cult classic film adaptation, nothing can take the fun out of this song.

7. “Hernando's Hideaway” by Megan Lawrence and Ensemble (The Pajama Game)

Also a seduction tune of sorts—but this one, originally from 1954, seems campy and quaint now.

8. “My Junk” by Lea Michele and Ensemble (Spring Awakening)

I caught the Broadway tour this year and enjoyed watching this number even more than I do listening to it, which is saying something. The male portion of the cast joins in for commentary on puberty in a show which is, I'd say, all about the need for comprehensive sex-ed.

9. “Mama I'm a Big Girl Now” by Marissa Jaret Winokur, Laura Bell Bundy and Kerry Butler (Hairspray)

Love it when teenage girls sing about not being content to just trust authority? Here are three more!

10. “Deadwalking” by L.A. Renigen and H.P. Mendoza (Colma: The Musical)

Okay, I cheated a little: this is from the motion picture soundtrack since the stage show does not have its own. Spunky Maribel is joined by castmate Rodel for a lovely number about how it feels to walk through an enormous graveyard.

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4 Comments Have Been Posted

Bump it with a trumpet...

<P>GYPSY is full of songs sung by women that aren't about "the man." Some People, You Gotta Get a Gimmick, and of course, Rose's Turn!</P>
<P>From a more modern era, Yitzhak (played by a woman playing a man playing a woman) sings "Random Number Generation" in Hedwig &amp; the Angry Inch.&nbsp;</P>
<P>Here's a video of Tyne Daly (one of the best Roses EVER!) singing "Some People" at a Jerry Herman tribute.</P>

"Astonishing" from Little

"Astonishing" from Little Women
"Hell No" from The Color Purple (also "I'm Here" and "The Color Purple")
"Slipping Through My Fingers" from Mamma Mia
"Forgiveness" from Jane Eyre

How about an old classic,

How about an old classic, "America" from West Side Story? It may be a male-female duet, but it's still really telling about the conflict between freedom of choice and oppression structures.

"I Hate the Bus" from

"I Hate the Bus" from Caroline or Change!!

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