Favorite Songs About Unrequited Love From Musicals?

I guess that unrequited love is kind of a big theme in several musicals that I love. And a lot of times, these are some of my favorite songs. So, I thought that I’d make yet another list.

· ON MY OWN from LES MISÉRABLES – Well, what would a list of songs about unrequited love be without “On My Own” on it? In general, I think that Éponine has become a sort of “icon” for unrequited love as she is probably one of the most notable characters of all time to deal with such an emotion. But this song is amazing. Really, really amazing.

· REFLECTION from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – And now, let’s go to another classic symbol of unrequited love: Sydney Carton. Yep, Sydney Carton is probably at around the same place as Éponine on the hypothetical “List of People Think of When They Think of Unrequited Love” list. And let me tell you “Reflection” is a horribly sad song. Seriously. Sydney Carton’s got this “I’m not good enough” complex. And this is literally that complex come to life. And it hurts. I cry every time I listen to it. Sure, I cry during On My Own, but I usually have to be watching the scene to actually cry. I can be just listening to “Reflection” and start bawling. Sure, I’m a pretty emotional person when it comes to music and movies and really any other form of entertainment, but this song is truly heartbreaking. If you’ve never heard this song, go and listen to it. You won’t regret it.

· WEDDING / IF DREAMS CAME TRUE from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – Okay, Sydney again. Did I mention that I love Sydney Carton and this musical in general? If I haven’t, well, now I have. So this song is a little more hopeful than “Reflection”, but it’s still sad. I feel like this is the sort of song that Éponine would sing if she hadn’t died at the barricades and went to Marius and Cosette’s wedding. This is seriously a beautiful song. There are so many things that I want to say about this song but I just don’t really no what more I can say without making this post way longer than it should be.

· I’M NOT THAT GIRL + I’M NOT THAT GIRL REPRISE from WICKED – If someone were to ask me which I thought was sadder, “I’m Not That Girl” or its reprise, I’d probably say that the reprise is sadder. That may be a somewhat controversial, unpopular answer, but hear me out here. When Elphaba sings this song about Fiyero, she has never been led to think that Fiyero really loves her, neither has she actually had a long span of time to really fall in love with him. When G(a)linda sings it in Act II though, she’s thought that Fiyero loves her for a long time and she’s had quite a bit of time to actually fall in love with him (how long this would be is kind of hard to determine but I’m guessing that it has to have been a few years at least). Nonetheless, this song is amazing.

· DER LETZTE TANZ (The Last Dance) from ELISABETH – Am I just finding a reason to mention ELISABETH again? Maybe. Kinda? Sorta? Okay, it’s not entirely that. I’ll admit, this song is kind of a tough call. But der Tod (Death) feels rejected by Sisi… and he’s singing about that… so it counts. Right? It definitely has a different sort of feel to it than the rest of the songs on this list, that’s true. Most of these songs are sad. Not so with der Tod. (He is Death himself, after all…) In fact, here, der Tod is practically telling Sisi “You may have turned your back on me. But not for long.”

· AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME from OLIVER! – Nancy was one of my favorite musical characters when I was a kid and she still is one of my favorites. I’ll admit that this song is not one that I really understood while I was growing up but I love it to death now especially now that I more clearly understand what it means. To me, this song really represents unrequited love (though I guess that that’s kind of up for debate). I think that that will explain my thought process a little more. This song is seriously beautiful though.

· IF I CAN’T LOVE HER + IF I CAN’T LOVE HER REPRISE from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Can I just say that I really hope that this song made it into the new movie that they made? Because I know it’s supposed to be a musical. But I also heard that they decided not to use all of the Broadway songs. Which is a pity because the songs from the stage production are absolutely beautiful. And my favorite would have to be this song. While I’d say that the reprise is stronger in the theme of unrequited love, I think that both can kind of fit the bill here.

· STILL HURTING from THE LAST FIVE YEARS – For the past year, THE LAST FIVE YEARS has been one of my favorite musicals. Well… mostly to listen to. I love to watch the movie, but I usually just listen to it most of the time. And the musical opens with this song. This horribly, heartbreakingly sad song. And this is a brand of unrequited love that’s a little more rare. But it’s still absolutely beautiful.


So, I hope that this list was interesting and that you can relate to some of these on this list or that maybe you have a few new songs that you want to give a try! Anyways, what are some of your favorite songs about unrequited love from musicals? Any that I should give a try?

Ruthie Henshall as Nancy in OLIVER!
Mark Seibert as der Tod (Death) in ELISABETH
Samantha Barks as Éponine in LES MIZ and Nancy in OLIVER!
Sydney Carton and Lucie Manette in A TALE OF TWO CITIES


10 thoughts on “Favorite Songs About Unrequited Love From Musicals?

  1. Ahh, both “On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl”. Love both of those. The thing with “I’m Not That Girl” is that it is sung twice by two different girls and you never would have expected the unrequited love to shift on you like that.

    In “I’m Not That Girl”, Elphaba just realized she loves Fiyero in the scene previously. But than in act two, Fiyero surprises Glinda and breaks up with her after hearing the insulting things people are saying about Elphaba and that was when he realized that he has never loved Glinda in the first place, but instead Elphaba. Crazy shift in Wicked. It took years to fully understand “I’m Not That Girl”, but glad I understand it now.


      1. My favorite musical couple is Fiyero and Elphaba because they are the couple you wouldn’t expect to even exist. You went from “I’m Not That Girl” to “As Long As Your Mine”. That switch is why my favorite love triangle is in Wicked


      2. So glad “I’m Not That Girl” changed the way it did. If it wasn’t for “On My Own” and memorizing the lyrics to that song, I don’t know if I wouldn’t have realized “I’m Not That Girl” was even a heartbreaker

        Wicked is the musical where I can actually understand how the emotions have come from when I was younger to now.


      3. The musical has a deeper meaning to me as well now. The fourth time I saw it, I felt the most vulnerable. I was coming in knowing “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking so I had a better sense of the emotions. This time around, I finally for once found appreciation for “No Good Deed”. I always hated the song and the emotion was always lost, but this time around, I finally began to understand it and the emotion was visible and not lost anymore


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