It’s the end of 2016 and so I thought that I would talk about some of my favorite “finale” songs from musicals today. There are so many different types of finales and so it should be interesting to see what type of finale I like best. Spoilers lie ahead so proceed at your own risk!
- “Alle fragen sind gestellt / Der Schleier Fällt” aus Elisabeth
- In my opinion, this finale is really split into two parts. The part where Franz Joseph has his “dream” and der Tod taunts him and reveals his plan to kill Sisi and finally win her over to his side. Then, there’s “Der Schleier Fällt” where Sisi is dead and reunited with der Tod. It’s a really sweet moment and really makes me cry. It’s flaw? In some productions, the ending is a bit abrupt. Throughout the whole show we’re supposed to believe that, to at least a certain extent, der Tod loves Sisi and that Sisi loves him too. And then, he just kind of leaves her there. The ending that I prefer is the ending where der Tod carries Sisi off into the afterlife. I just feel like it gives more satisfaction to the viewer that way.
- But, despite its sometimes flawed ending (depending on the production), Elisabeth demonsrates a perfect example of an intense, bittersweet ending.
- “Finale / Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Misérables
- This is one of the most heartrending endings to a musical that I have ever seen. Jean Valjean is dying and he sings a reprise of “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Bring Him Home”, and hints at a reprise of “At the End of the Day”. This scene alone is beautiful and able to move me to tears. And then, there’s the part where Valjean dies and then the line that gets me every time. If I’m not crying yet, then this line always gets to me: “And remember, the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God”. Finally, we see everyone back on the barricade. Everyone (with the exception of Javert and the Thenardiers). And it’s beautiful. They sing a reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and then the show’s over. It’s definitely one of the best finales ever.
- “Final Lair / Down Once More / Track Down This Murderer” from The Phantom of the Opera
- Another good example of an intense ending to a musical, The Phantom of the Opera‘s “Final Lair / Down Once More / Track Down This Murderer” scene is one of the most exciting scenes I have ever seen played out in musical theatre. Complete with pyro effects and beautiful vocal and musical arrangements, The Phantom of the Opera finishes its story with an exciting crescendo in “Final Lair / Down Once More / Track Down This Murderer”. As is always the case with The Phantom of the Opera, the sets and costumes are absolutely stunning. Overall a very beautifully done ending.
- “End Duet / Transformation / Beauty and the Beast (reprise)” from Beauty and the Beast
- As a child, this finale always blew my mind. It still does today, if I’m to be 100% honest. This is the scene where the beast “dies” but then transforms into the prince. Personally, this scene always gets the tears out of me and I absolutely love this scene both on stage and in the movie. But what the movie lacks but the stage has is the even more magnificent ending. Belle and the prince (I think that his name is Prince Adam?) sing a duet. If you’ve never heard this duet, you should definitely look it up. It’s really, really sweet.
- “Light at the End of the Tunnel” from Starlight Express
- This ending is a little different than all of the others that I’ve talked about in that it is just super… happy. Happy and upbeat. There isn’t a sad bone in this finale and you know, it’s kind of nice. As a person who tends to gravitate more towards bittersweet storylines, this is a nice change for me. “Light at the End of the Tunnel” is a super fun song to see performed on stage because all of the actors are skating around the tracks whilst singing. And, for the first time in the show, there isn’t any aggressiveness, bullying, or sadness in such a scene with everyone skating about.
- “No One Mourns the Wicked (reprise)” from Wicked
- This song is actually a pretty sad, devastating song because we’re looking at the ending from Galinda’s view. She thinks that her friend is dead and she’s mourning for her whilst everyone else celebrates. As the audience, though, we know that Elphie and Fiyero are alive so there’s consolation in that. I think that the ending of Wicked is beautifully done and touching just like the rest of the show.
So, that’s it for today (and for 2016)! I look forward to what comes in 2017 and wish you all a happy new year! What’s your favorite finale from a musical?