Theatre News

BBC Radio 2 announces nation's favourite musical number following listener poll

Elaine Paige unveiled the winner of a recent poll this afternoon

The cast of Les Misérables
The cast of Les Misérables
© Johan Persson
BBC Radio 2 has unveiled the top 20 musical numbers of all time.

Coming out top is hit musical Les Misérables, who clinched the top two spots with "One Day More" and "Bring Him Home". Other shows in the top five are The Wizard of Oz and Wicked, as well as movie musical The Greatest Showman.

The initial longlist was created by an esteemed panel of musicals experts, including musical theatre actor Marisha Wallace, Baz Bamigboye (Daily Mail), Sita McIntosh (WhatsOnStage), and Elaine Paige – which was whittled down to a top twenty.

The full top twenty is made up of:

1. "One Day More" (Les Misérables)
2. "Bring Him Home" (Les Misérables)
3. "Defying Gravity" (Wicked)
4. "This Is Me" (The Greatest Showman)
5. "Over The Rainbow" (The Wizard Of Oz)
6. "Singin' In The Rain" (Singin' In The Rain)
7. "The Circle Of Life" (The Lion King)
8. "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" (Evita)
9. "Somewhere" (West Side Story)
10. "America" (West Side Story)
11. "Memory" (Cats)
12. "You Can't Stop The Beat" (Hairspray)
13. "Summertime" (Porgy and Bess)
14. "Alexander Hamilton" (Hamilton)
15. "All That Jazz" (Chicago)
16. "Gethsemane" (Jesus Christ Superstar)
17. "You Will Be Found" (Dear Evan Hansen)
18. "The Room Where It Happens" (Hamilton)
19. "Send In The Clowns" (A Little Night Music)
20. "Seasons Of Love" (Rent)

You can listen to recent versions of the top two below:

Alfie Boe – who has played the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables – said: "My goodness, that's amazing. Thank you to everyone who voted for Les Mis in this wonderful Radio 2 chart. It's so special to me to be a part of the show and to everyone who's ever worked on it. The music will never die, the story is so strong, the characters are unique. Valjean is so close to my heart and it's an honour to play him in this wonderful piece of music.

''"One Day More" is probably one of the biggest highlights of the show and it resonates to everybody who sings it on stage as a unified piece of music; and in this present day that we're living during this pandemic we are unified as a nation, we are unified as a world, we are adapting as a world, we are adapting as human beings, and this song resonates so much with the present situation that we're in. Hopefully we'll see theatres back open really soon and we'll all be able to enjoy live music, live performances once again."

Paige said: "I hope my "Elaine Paige on Sunday" listeners enjoyed today's countdown. What an honour to present such an iconic list of classic songs. I'm sure, like me, you can't wait to return to the theatre to see the magic of musicals live once again!"

Tonight, Radio 2 will be broadcasting Musicals: The Greatest Show, a special concert from 7pm. The concert will be broadcast on BBC One next weekend, on Sunday at 7.40pm GMT.

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