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My Top 5 Showtunes: Duncan Sheik

The composer tells us the musical numbers he couldn't live without

Duncan Sheik
© Shervin Lainez

Duncan Sheik is a composer best known for his musicals Spring Awakening and American Psycho.

A new production of his show Whisper House is currently premiering at The Other Palace starring Simon Bailey, Simon Lipkin, Dianne Pilkington, Niamh Perry and Nicholas Goh.

We caught up with Duncan and asked him: "If you were stranded on a desert island which five showtunes could you not live without?"


1. "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy and Bess

I saw Porgy and Bess at the turn of the millennium with Steven Sater when we first started talking about Spring Awakening. It's great to have a villain singing a 'fun' song with a knowing wink. And of course the devil always gets the best lines.

2. "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music

When I was maybe six or seven, I asked my Dad 'what's the best song ever written?'. He said it was "Send In The Clowns", which surprised me because he wasn't really a musical theatre aficionado. But the song had become a crossover radio hit in the '70s - probably one of the last Broadway songs to do so.

3. "Consider Yourself" from Oliver!

I was the Artful Dodger in my school production of Oliver! in Hilton Head, South Carolina in 1982. I didn't work in the theatre after that for nearly 20 years!

4. "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from Evita

Actually this song, besides being a great piece of music, has become sort of a catchphrase for me whenever I'm 'forced' to go to some fancy party or event.

5. "How Glory Goes" from Floyd Collins

This is just a gorgeous example of the way Adam Guettel can stretch the harmony of a song and make it sound elusively 'spiritual' without being pretentious or portentous. Not an easy trick.

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