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The Turf Weighs In: Batter Up, Curtain Up

Now batting…The Phantom of the Opera!

The Turf Weighs In: Batter Up, Curtain Up

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

It’s no secret that, in addition to our sports interests, many of us here at The Turf are big fans of the Broadway musical. Whether it is as actors, techies, or just patrons and enthusiasts, we know our stuff when it comes to the Great White Way.

Now imagine what would happen if all of the music in the world disappeared – except for songs from the musical theatre catalog. What would we listen to on the radio? What would DJs play at clubs?

Most importantly – what would baseball players choose as their walk-out songs?

Our writer’s room pondered what song they would choose to take the field to if they were restricted to only the Broadway catalog. Here’s what they picked:

(Note: For the purposes of this exercise, we excluded songs that were written previously and then used in a jukebox musical.)

Angelica Ritchie – “Bring on the Men” (Jekyll & Hyde)

Angelica: I chose “Bring on the Men” from Jekyll & Hyde, because it communicates both the excessive confidence needed to strut to the plate with a low BA and the true, unspoken reason I would have for pursuing the sport.

Honorable Mentions: “All the Wasted Time” (Parade), “Rose’s Turn” (Gypsy), but just the part that says “Why did I do it? What did it get me?” on loop.

Jason Barash – “Phantom of the Opera” (Phantom of the Opera)

Jason: Is there a more dramatic and powerful introduction than the Phantom of the Opera theme song? I think not. This song always makes me want to run through a brick wall when I hear it. I’d probably have to wear a cape when I stepped up to the plate, which would surely intimidate the pitcher. This song is a no-brainer walk-up top choice.

Honorable Mentions: “Guns and Ships” (Hamilton), starting right after the line “Everyone give it up for America’s favorite fighting Frenchman!”

Justin Colombo – “Overture” (Merrily We Roll Along)

Justin: There is nothing like this overture right here. Sure, lots of shows have solid orchestral openings. Carousel is my personal favorite, but others like Gypsy and Jesus Christ Superstar also add a level of atmospheric excitement to a darkened theater. Merrilly’s overture does that, but it’s got some zip to it. There’s no better walkout song than this. It’s got pizzazz, it’s got zip and it’s got HORNS. And really, who doesn’t love a good horn section?

Honorable Mentions: “A Real Nice Clambake” from Carousel, “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof (but only after the Russians come in), “Welcome to the New World” from Lestat.

Katie Pierce – “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” (Gypsy)

Katie: I’m going with Everything’s Coming Up Roses from Gypsy for many reasons. Surely it seems like a fairly obvious choice, but that’s its power. It’s recognizable from the first moment. Comes out banging right away and announces that I should be paid attention to. Not only is it upbeat in tempo, but there are several moments that can be clipped for each at-bat. It’s the final statement for the first act of the show and the lyrics are just braggy enough to show off that I’m confident. What I’m most confident about, however, is that I’m gonna kick myself after I see everyone else’s choices and wonder why I didn’t think of them myself.”

Kevin Morin – “I’m Alive” (Next to Normal)

Kevin: I thought way too hard about this. Naturally, the first thing that came into my head was Jet Song from West Side Story, but like Riff that idea was killed off too early. I thought of some songs that are triumphant, like Man of La Mancha from…Man of La Mancha, fierce, like Apex Predator from Mean Girls, and confidence boosters, like I Can Do That from A Chorus Line. However I have to go with I’m Alive from Next to Normal. Just listen to those opening lyrics…

Andre Mark Wilhelm – “One Night in Bangkok” (Chess)

Andrew: If I were picking this based on lyrics alone I would have to go with I’m Alive from Next to Normal. In fact, that song is more a 1A to this selection than a honorable mention. But I think the walkup music is more about pumping yourself up and less about playing mind games with the pitcher. For that reason alone I need an absolute banger of a song. And there is no bigger banger in the musical theatre cannon than One Night in Bangkok. The orchestration. The quasi-rapping. It’s perfect.

Honorable mentions: The aforementioned I’m Alive, “Heaven on Their Minds” (Jesus Christ Superstar) (really just the opening guitar riff on repeat), “Once and For All” (Newsies). Bangers all.

Craig Kaufman – “Benjamin Calypso” (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)

Craig: Like Kevin, I thought WAYYYY too hard about this, and did a lot of research and Youtubing to try to get just the right answer. Ultimately, I decided on “Benjamin Calypso” because it has an island/reggae vibe that I think you are likely to hear at a ballpark. It isn’t a hardcore get-amped type walk up song, but it’s a cool, chill tune with a good beat that would sound great over the loudspeakers on a summer day.

Honorable Mentions: “Good for You” (Dear Evan Hanson), “Screech In” (Come From Away), “Welcome to the Rock” (Come From Away), “Raise the Roof” (Wild Party), “Simple Joys” (Pippin), “Too Darn Hot” (Kiss Me Kate), “Mambo” (West Side Story), “Alas For You” (Godspell), “Overture” (Seussical), “Hard to Be the Bard” (Something Rotten), “Overture” (A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum). Like I said, I did a lot of research.

What would be your musical theatre walk out song? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Craig has spent the last ten years as a sports information professional, working for several schools across New England at the Division 3 level. A native of Peabody, Mass., Craig is a life-long Boston sports fan. He is also an avid player of fantasy football and baseball, and commissioner of the AKA Family Fantasy Football League. Like most other Turf team members, Craig has a penchant for theater, spending his high school and college years as a set designer, sound designer and theater shop worker. He became a father shortly before the coronavirus pandemic, and as such, hasn't really left his home since last December.

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