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Theater Broadway

Best Songs from Musicals You Can Hear Off Broadway

May 15, 2015 by Alyssa

Top Broadway Songs

So you’re a big musical theater fan, but you don’t have the budget to make a trip to New York this year--that’s no excuse to stay home and drown your sorrows in another play-through of Cats’ original cast recording. Plenty of musicians will be traveling the country in 2015 to perform their own renditions of some of the best songs from musicals, so you can hear them as they were meant to be heard: live.

We’ve pulled a list of five artists whose 2015 setlists include selections from musicals currently playing on the “Great White Way.” Catch these acts on tour in your town and get a little slice of Broadway close to home.

All I Ask of You - Josh Groban


A former musical theater student, Josh Groban has long been fitting the best songs from musicals into his live sets. This year, he’s showcased that love of show tunes on his latest full-length effort, “Stages.” The album is full of Groban's favorite songs from Broadway musicals like A Chorus Line and Chess, but one of the stand-out tracks is his cover of The Phantom of the Opera staple “All I Ask of You.”  The romantic track, a proven crowd-pleaser, is sure to feature heavily into Groban’s upcoming fall tour.

Defying Gravity - Idina Menzel


Idina Menzel isn’t donning her green Elphaba makeup anymore, but Broadway’s original Wicked star still pays tribute to the show's biggest hit when she performs solo. “Defying Gravity”--already hailed as one of the best Broadway musical songs of all time--has become a staple of Menzel’s live setlist, and she’s bound to perform it many times this summer when she sets off on a massive cross-country tour.

Pro tip: Menzel will also be joining the national tour of her most recent Broadway show, If/Then, for select 2015-16 dates. She’ll join the touring cast in Denver this fall and end her tenure on the road in Costa Mesa, Calif., in January.

Circle of Life - Elton John


As half of the songwriting brains behind The Lion King, Elton John has become synonymous with the show’s iconic music. Today, the monumental “Circle of Life” stands on its own not only as one of the best songs from musicals, but also as one of the most excellent songs in John’s canon. Whether he’s on the road or headlining his Las Vegas residency at Caesars, this British pop legend plays the track at almost every live show--sometimes even mashing it up with another of the best songs from Broadway musicals: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”

I Got Rhythm - Tony Bennett


In recent solo concerts, living legend Tony Bennett has been performing the classic George Gershwin composition “I Got Rhythm,” one of the best Broadway musical songs from the Tony-nominated stage adaptation of An American in Paris. You won’t miss out on any of the showiness of Broadway if you elect to see Bennett over the new musical, though. For much of 2015, Bennett will be teaming up with the notoriously theatrical Lady Gaga for a co-headlining tour. (At a recent show, the “Born This Way” pop star boasted at least eight different costumes for just one set!)

You’ve Got a Friend - James Taylor


Accomplished songwriter-turned-singer Carole King was the subject of one of last year’s big hits in the New York Theater District: Beautiful. The jukebox musical gave a theatrical spin to King’s classics to make for some of the best songs from musicals that debuted in 2014. One of those was “You’ve Got a Friend,” a song that King’s longtime friend James Taylor made famous--and even won a GRAMMY for--in the 1970s. Now that it’s one of his most iconic hits, the Boston native is sure to perform the song during his upcoming 2015 tour, which includes a stop at his hometown MLB stadium: Fenway Park. 

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