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10 Show tunes to add to your karaoke setlist

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MJ Rodrigues and George Salazar in ‘Little Shop of Horrors


It’s no secret that musical theater geeks love to sing, and karaoke offers a light-hearted, low-stakes forum for stoking your skills. Yet, using musical theater hits as your karaoke selections can be risky. Karaoke is most fun when everyone knows the song and can sing along. Selecting songs that are too obscure can flop, prompting anyone unfamiliar with the song to lose interest. Songs on this Broadway karaoke hit list are sure to show off your belting skills while still bringing down the house.

Next time you’re out with friends, try bringing one of these show tunes into the mix.

1. Defying Gravity (Wicked)

This may seem like an obvious choice, but there’s no secret why it’s on the list. From the 2003 Tony-nominated production Wicked, “Defying Gravity” is well known across the world as the crown jewel of the show. This song will afford the opportunity to showcase a killer belt, and it’s one you and others watching can really get into.

2. Take Me Or Leave Me (Rent)

Karaoke is fun to sing alone, but it’s even more fun to sing with a friend or in a group. “Take Me or Leave Me” from the 1996 musical Rent is a great duet opportunity. While written for two females, the relationship toils in the song can be applied to any romantic pairing and make a great performance opportunity for two.

3. Stars and the Moon (Songs for a New World)

From Jason Robert Brown’s 1995 Songs for New World, “Stars and the Moon” has a contemporary feel with a few surprisingly comical moments. While potentially unfamiliar to those unfamiliar with Jason Robert Brown, this is a catchy, engaging song that will be added to playlists of those who encounter it.

4. Summer Nights (Grease)

Another classic karaoke favorite, “Summer Nights” from the 1971 musical Grease is also well-known from the movie of the same title. It features a male/female duet with some background singing opportunities for a group, making this song a good fit for couples or small groups.

5. Without Love (Hairspray)

This feel-good song from the 1960s style musical will have people hopping to the beat as you and a partner (or a group of four) share the journeys in love of Tracy, Link, Penny, and Seaweed. The catchy repetition of “Without Love” in the chorus is one audiences can sing along with!

6. One Night Only (Dreamgirls)

Beginning as a soul ballad and ending as an upbeat disco dance number, “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls is another crowd-pleaser. Channel your inner Jennifer Hudson or Beyoncé with this soulful tune.

7. Holding Out for A Hero (Footloose the Musical)

This is a great musical theater/pop hybrid from the 1998 80’s jukebox musical, Footloose. Get your diva belt on as Ariel Moore and have the karaoke bar jamming to this classic 80s hit by Bonnie Tyler.

8. Wait for It (Hamilton)

You may shy away from America’s record-breaking modern musical because you’re afraid to rap, but there’s no rapping needed in this haunting pop ballad. You’d be unlikely to find someone that hasn’t heard of this Hamilton classic, and you’ll have audiences jamming along as you tap into your inner Aaron Burr.

9. Sincerely, Me (Dear Evan Hansen)

While “Waving Through A Window” may be a more obvious choice, “Sincerely, Me” is one of the more underappreciated tunes from this modern musical. With three vocalists, it offers another group performance opportunity and a playful, bouncy beat crafted by Pasek and Paul (writers of The Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen, and La La Land).

10. She Used to Be Mine (Waitress)

From singer/songwriter Sara Baraellis, “She Used to Be Mine” and other hits from Waitress hardly sound like show tunes. Join stars like Katharine McPhee and Sara Baraellis and tell a story of not recognizing one’s current circumstance with this Tony-nominated hit.

11. All That Jazz (Chicago)

This sexy jazz number is a great sultry selection for some late-night karaoke. You can also do Fosse proud and bring some jazz hands into the mix.

12. Suddenly Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors)

Performed by many famous duos, Suddenly Seymour is always a crowd favorite. In both the musical and the movie, the build of this song is a journey everyone is excited to experience.

13. Somewhere Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz)

Slow things down with this beautiful, well-known ballad. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is a comfortingly nostalgic choice with the opportunity to showcase your solo chops.

14. Let It Go (Frozen)

Made popular by the Disney movie, this song still crowds radio waves and young girls’ living rooms. You’d be hard-pressed to find a karaoke bar with no one willing to sing along to this power ballad.

15. Dancing Queen (Mama Mia)

ABBA may have already made your karaoke list, but why not consider this hit from the 1999 ABBA-inspired musical, Mama Mia. “Dancing Queen” makes an especially fun group number for you and your girlfriends.

16. Seasons of Love (Rent)

Another selection from Rent, “Seasons of Love” is probably the better known of the two on our list. The feel-good lyrics and positive message make this a great tune to sing with those you love.

17. Aquarius (Hair)

This one’s for the flower children: “Aquarius” from Hair spent a decent amount of time on the Billboard’s Top 100 and will be recognizable to audiences of all ages. Its repetitive end makes it another great option for a singalong.

18. I Wish I Could Go Back to College (Avenue Q)

The quick, witty lyrics of Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx will have everyone watching laughing, yet connecting to their truth. “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” is another great option for singing with friends, featuring three vocalists.

19. A Whole New World (Aladdin)

Bring any millennial nostalgically back to the 90s with another Disney-movie-turned-musical hit. While written as a male/female duet, this song is fun to sing with any willing friend.

20. Oh What a Night (Jersey Boys)

Another 80’s hit joins our list with “Oh What A Night” from Jersey Boys. Anyone unfamiliar with the musical will surely be familiar with Franki Valli and The Four Seasons, and likely, this song.
 
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