Haunting / Eerie Songs From Musical Theatre

Hallo, leute! So, yesterday, as I was listening to “Grizabella, The Glamour Cat”, I started thinking about some of my favorite haunting songs from musical theatre and now I’m writing a post about it! Only criteria is that there has to be something haunting about the song whether that’s melody, lyrics, message, or all of the above! Los geht’s!

· “Grizabella, the Glamour Cat” from CATS – It simply wouldn’t be right to not mention this song when it was the song that inspired this post! Overall, I’d say that CATS is a pretty lighthearted musical. Sure, there are the Macavity scares and the sadder scenes (usually where Grizabella is involved), but overall, it’s a pretty fun, lighthearted show. But… this song? This song is haunting. And it’s almost creepy. I believe that this is the first time that we see Grizabella onstage (right?) and we see all of the Jellicles reject her. The tune of this song is absolutely haunting and so are the message and the lyrics! One of the most haunting lines is probably “You’d really have thought she ought to be dead.”

· “Die Schatten Werden Länger + Die Schatten Werden Länger Reprise” [The Shadows Grow Longer] from ELISABETH – The word “haunting” probably best fits the original song and not so much the reprise. But… the lyrics are essentially the same. The first time it’s sung, it’s got a much more soft, eerie vibe. The reprise is considerably more pumped up. But nonetheless, the lyrics are haunting and well… quite frankly, creepy. Seriously this is Death himself singing this. So… yeah. But I just also really, really love these songs! Definitely one of my favorite haunting songs from musical theatre.

· “Turning” from LES MISÉRABLES – So, when I saw LES MIZ in New York last year in April, I was just left stunned by this scene. The women and children bring out candles—one for each of the students—and leave them out on the streets where they died. And sure, the scene was haunting. But the lyrics too… and the way it’s sung? There’s something about it that I just can’t help but see as haunting.

· “Please Don’t Make Me Love You” / “Lass Mich Dich Nicht Lieben” from DRACULA – I just had to add both the English version and the German version to this list. Both have their really strong points. I feel like the German version does a better job of showing Mina’s agony whereas the English version really does a good job with the lyrics, I think. But… they’re both immensely haunting. I mean… it’s a musical about Dracula. What would you expect? I really can’t quite explain how amazing this song is so… I just recommend you check it out!

· “Once Upon a Dream [Jekyll]” from JEKYLL & HYDE – I’m just starting to realize that there’s three (four-ish) Frank Wildhorn musicals on this list. But… anyways… this is a song that actually got cut from the Broadway production… and I’m still not quite okay with it. This song is essentially Jekyll seeing that the experiment has really gone too far and his regret just seeps through the lyrics. Man. Not only is the weak, diminished way in which Jekyll sings this song just so haunting, but the tune’s also kind of haunting in it’s own way.

· “The Hypnotism” from SVENGALI – I feel like the title kind of describes this one. But… essentially, the tune is very well… hypnotizing almost, but also just eerily haunting and so are the lyrics!

· “Totale Finsternis” [Total Darkness/Eclipse] from TANZ DER VAMPIRE – Wait…? More vampires on this list? Ganz genau! But… in contrast to the song from DRACULA, this song is not pleading. It’s more of an “I-Want-To-Know” type song. But also, it’s got elements of haunting eeriness in the lyrics too, especially when Krolock says “Seibereit, sternkind.” (“Be ready, star child.”)

· “Reflection” from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – I suppose that the general theme of this song isn’t precisely haunting. It deals with something that I think most people grapple with in their lifetimes but of course, on a more extreme level. The melody of this song is immensely haunting and I also think that some of the lyrics are just absolutely chilling.

· “Finale / I Can’t Recall Reprise” from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – So… if you don’t know how Sydney Carton’s story comes to an end, you might want to skip past this part because I’m going to be discussing it now. So. Essentially, Sydney Carton takes it upon himself to save Charles Darnay from prison by well… smuggling him out and disguising himself as him. Through the first part of the song, Sydney’s talking to the seamstress that he meets on the way to the guillotine. As the song progresses, we hear the ringing sound of the guillotine in the background. Eventually, the seamstress is taken to the guillotine. Sydney’s number is called and he begins to sing a reprise of “I Can’t Recall”. There’s so much about this song that I just find chilling. Especially the ringing of the guillotine.

· “Der Schleier Fällt” [The Veil Descends] from ELISABETH – This song isn’t exactly what most people would probably consider “haunting”. But if you understand the lyrics, you will definitely see what I’m talking about. But there’s also the fact that the ideas that this song has introduced to me have been kind of just hanging around, haunting my thoughts for a long time now.

· “Fantine’s Death / Come to Me” from LES MISÉRABLES – So… I don’t even know how to describe this one. All-in-all, this song’s melody is pretty eerie in and of itself but so are the lyrics. The lyrics especially are what I think of as haunting. And well… I don’t know what more I can saw about it!

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And that’s it for me! What are some of your favorite songs that you would consider haunting or eerie? Tschüss!

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28 thoughts on “Haunting / Eerie Songs From Musical Theatre

  1. The first one that comes to mind is “Phantom of the Opera” from Phantom of the Opera. That show in general is haunting, but the title song specifically is haunting. I kind of feel like “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Mis could be considered haunting

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    1. Man, I can’t believe I forgot the title song from Phantom!
      I would agree that “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” is a pretty haunting song! Also can’t believe that I forgot that one!
      There’s something that I just love about haunting songs but I don’t really know exactly what it is!

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      1. Definitely! I think that I’ve had the beginning, “Baaaaa ba ba ba ba baaaa” part stuck in my head for years now! (Though when typed out it looks like I’m pretending to be a sheep funnily enough…!)

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      2. I feel like part of why the love triangle is hard to get to know is due to the fact that the entire plot is a love triangle and not a subplot.

        For some odd reason, even the most complicated love triangle being the one from Wicked is so much easier for me to delve deeply into. Crazy how the Phantom of the Opera love triangle is so much more difficult to understand than the ones from Les Mis and Wicked

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      3. I know some people who don’t see the situation in Phantom as a love triangle due to the way that they view the way the Phantom feels about Christine. Some people I’ve met have told me that they see the Phantom’s feelings for Christine as that of obsession more than love. And I guess that I can kind of see that. But… at the same time, the Phantom says he loves Christine at the end. But, arguably, he does seem to be more in love with her voice than anything. If that’s the case, I feel like the triangle kind of gets cut off a little, leaving a bit of a gap. Then, there’s varying opinions about how Christine feels about the Phantom that further messes with the triangle, I think. Some people think that she truly loved him but I don’t see it that way at all. In general, I feel like it’s the many interpretations that can stem from the love triangle in Phantom that just warps the love triangle in a way

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      4. For me, I feel like it is an actual love triangle and that Christine truly loves Raoul and is not even in love with Christine. I honestly don’t even view Christine viewing herself as a friend to the Phantom, but instead just her tutor and her supposedly angel of music.

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      5. Definitely agree with that. I feel like Christine felt a responsibility in somewhat protecting him (during “Twisted Every Way”) because, in a weird way, she knew him and he was a tutor and teacher to her. But I don’t think that she really saw him as anything more than that. She didn’t have nearly enough time to know anything about the Phantom other than his hostile, dangerous side to really develop even feelings of friendship towards him

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      6. I don’t fully realize there was a love triangle in Phantom until “All I Ask Of You” the first time around. That scene sort of reminds me of “A Heart Full of Love” in a way

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      7. But there is a major difference. In All I Ask of You, only Raoul and Christine are singing it and in the reprise Phantom is singing all alone. In the case of “A Heart Full of Love”, towards the end all three are singing at once, which gives you conflicting emotions packed into one song

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      8. Yeah. In general, I think that “All I Ask of You” is the stronger song. However, in some ways, it’s kinda nice to have the Phantom signing a reprise on his own because I feel like it really fits with his theme of well… being alone throughout his life.

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      9. That reprise in Phantom is so like On My Own. But in my opinion, On My Own is still the stronger song since the song is much longer and the emotions feel greater. I tend to overlook reprises a lot and don’t think much of them and don’t know why I keep on doing that

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      10. Definitely agree. Éponine opens up a lot more than the Phantom does. I feel like Éponine’s pain shows through better as well because the Phantom doesn’t really talk about how he feels about Christine in great depth like Éponine does about Marius but rather talks about how he feels Christine has “betrayed” him and proclaims that he will have his revenge

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      11. Never really thought about that before. Its just I don’t like Phantom as a character so I haven’t really taken the time to get to know the character, but I do know he doesn’t respond to his unrequited love very well and just responds in very destructive.

        Because I actually love Eponine as a character, it makes sense why her emotions are stronger for me. I am more deeply connected to the Les Mis character. How you feel the emotions also has to do with how well you connect to the material of a musical

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      12. 100% agree. To be completely honest, I’ve only spent time analyzing the Phantom as a character because one of my friends hates Raoul with a passion and I just have to retaliate and the best way to do that is by showing her how bad the Phantom would have been for Christine and what a good, sweet person Raoul is. At this point, I’ve gotten her to agree that Raoul is much better for Christine but she still strongly dislikes Raoul. But I would have to agree, the Les Miz characters are much closer and dearer to my heart and I just care about them a lot more, I think!

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      13. I used to love Phantom just as much a Les Mis and Wicked, but when I saw Les Mis in the West End, Phantom no longer was tied with them. I feel like because Les Mis and Wicked are up at the top, it makes sense why I understand their love triangles better than the Phantom one

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      14. Its just new musicals come in and reach the meaningful mark and prove to be better than Phantom even. I know want to say that I love Newsies more than Phantom. I still love Phantom and it is a favorite of mine. Its just some musicals have proven to have a bigger emotional connection than Phantom

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      15. It is just hauntingly beautiful and I feel like its songs is so very different. It doesn’t have any fast-paced songs like I expect. When I saw Phantom live for the first time, it was a date with mom and she said I was spellbound from start to finish and to be honest I was so chocked up and it was like I was under the Phantom’s spell

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