All the songs in ‘Some Like It Hot’ on Broadway
Read our A-to-Z guide of the tunes in this big-band musical comedy based on the classic comedy film, from "At the Old Majestic Nickel Matinee" to "Zee Bap."
Two musicians on the run find romance, misadventure, and, most significantly, their true selves in Some Like It Hot on Broadway. Based on the classic Billy Wilder big-screen comedy, the musical gets a fresh coat of paint thanks to bookwriters Matthew Lopez and Amber Ruffin, plus a score that makes it all sing.
The songs are by Marc Shaiman (music and lyrics) and Scott Wittman (lyrics), who are “pros at matching showtunes to a particular period,” as noted in New York Theatre Guide’s four-star Some Like It Hot review. Just as they summoned the ’60s in the Tony Award-winning Hairspray, the team welcomes audiences to the ’30s in Some Like It Hot, which sees its lead characters stow away with a swing big band. Learn more about the jazzy, brassy songs playing at the Shubert Theatre.
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“What Are You Thirsty For?”
Between the Depression and Prohibition, times were doubly tough in 1933. Bandleader Sweet Sue (NaTasha Yvette Williams) sets the scene lickety-split in the lively opening number in a Chicago speakeasy. In a winking lyric that easily speaks to any era, Sue belts, “At times like these, we could all certainly use a drink.”
“You Can’t Have Me (If You Don’t Have Him)”
Jobs are scarce for musicians. But saxophonist Joe (Christian Borle) and bassist Jerry (J. Harrison Ghee) are also nimble hoofers. When Joe’s twinkle-toed tapping lands him a gig, he refuses to take it without Jerry, who is initially snubbed because he is Black.
“You can’t have proper without the prim, and you can’t have me if you don’t have him!” Joe sings. The plan – and the duo’s fancy footwork – works.
This high-spirited number earns its exclamation point. After Joe and Jerry witness a mob execution, they hatch a quick scheme to save their lives. “Time to improvise,” they sing, donning wigs and frocks and reinventing themselves as women. Joe becomes Josephine, and Jerry morphs into Geraldine, which he later changes to Daphne.
“I’m California Bound”
Intent on escaping into Mexico, the masquerading musicians join Sweet Sue’s all-girl band, the Society Syncopators, headed to San Diego. Also on board is singer Sugar Kane (Adrianna Hicks), who’s had it with men chasing her. “Hey ladies, all aboard, whether you’re running away or running toward!” porters sing in the big number.
“A Darker Shade of Blue”
Everybody’s got their romantic kryptonite. For Sugar, it’s men who play sax – even though they always disappoint. “When a saxophone starts crying,” she says in the torch song, “that’s when night takes its cue to turn a darker shade of blue.”
“Take It Up a Step”
When Sue demands her band polish their act, Sugar, Josephine, and Daphne take the lead on this song. The title lyric is a metaphor for how you must shift into high gear to get what you want.
This novelty number sees Sue, Josephine, and Daphne let loose with high-energy scatting. They educate fellow bandmates on how to deal with men behaving like creeps: Shut them down by saying, “Zee bag zah bootalee atta feet bam-bam.” Silly and fun? You bet.
“At the Old Majestic Nickel Matinee”
In this beautiful and bittersweet solo, Sugar, reconceived for the musical as a Black woman, shares that movies offered a world beyond her rural, segregated one. “Up there on the screen, there was romance, and the make-believe carried me away,” Sugar sings, revealing her dreams to be a movie star someday. “Because no one I’d ever seen were like the stars up on the screen.”
“Poor Little Millionaire”
This fizzy, doo-wop-laced song introduces goofy Osgood (Kevin del Aguila), who’s been drowning in money since his father invented root beer. However, he laments, his love life is “all at sea.” Then he sees Daphne, and he's immediately smitten.
“Some Like It Hot”
Shaiman and Wittman fire on all cylinders in this irresistible first-act finale that leads to a pre-intermission cliffhanger. “So ladies, Hades is the spot to be what angels sure are not,” everyone sings. “Some like it hot, and hot is what I got for you!”
“Let’s Be Bad”
Fans of the TV series Smash will recognize this song, as Shaiman and Wittman wrote it ten years ago for that show about the making of a Marilyn Monroe musical. Osgood, Daphne, and the Syncopators girls sing a reimagined version here as the root beer baron whisks them away for a night out in Mexico.
“Dance the World Away”
Joe adopts another disguise, as a Hollywood screenwriter named Kip, to win over Sugar. It works as they share this old-school, swoon-worthy song while dancing a romantic waltz.
“Fly, Mariposa, Fly”
Some Like It Hot is about transformation and personal identity, and Osgood’s song underscores that idea. He shares a childhood story about a butterfly’s life stages, a tale he finds comforting when he's confused about who he is. It’s a smart song that gets bonus points for the clever rhyme “Mother’s Nature’s kiss” and “metamorphosis.”
“You Coulda Knocked Me Over With a Feather”
Daphne’s song is about the surprise of self-discovery and embracing one’s true being, as the character realizes Jerry and Daphne are two equally important sides of their truest identity. “I know that Daphne is the best part of me. Oh, yeah! Daphne is who I want to be!” Daphne sings. That Ghee is nonbinary adds to the song’s impact.
“He Lied When He Said Hello”
Joe’s feelings for Sugar inspire him to come clean about his identity – and it isn’t Josephine or Kip. He breaks off "Kip's" relationship with Sugar with a letter and sings, “We’re through with pretending. It’s time to do right. I’m gonna have a happy ending.”
“Ride Out the Storm”
“I thought that I had found shelter — someone to brighten the day. But now comes the rain, so I welcome the rain… to wash all my sorrow away.” A heartbroken Sugar bares her soul in this 11 o'clock number that uses the time-honored metaphor of stormy weather to symbolize romantic trouble.
“Tip Tap Trouble”
Doors are slamming. Gangsters are chasing. Everybody’s running — and dancing — as fast as they can. The whole cast gets in on this fast-paced farce sequence where the police hunt for murderous mobster Spats, Spats hunts for Joe and Jerry, and everyone else is just trying to escape alive.
“Baby, Let’s Get Good”
The last line of Wilder's film – “Nobody’s perfect” – is woven into the show's rousing finale. What’s perfect is that at this point, Prohibition has lifted, and the good times will roll. Similarly, good times will come your way at Some Like It Hot.
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Photo credit: Some Like It Hot on Broadway. (Photos by Marc J. Franklin and Matthew Murphy)
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