BWW Feature: Celebrate 'The Lusty Month of May' with 10 Hot-Blooded Showtunes
The Lusty Month of May; like the song says: "It's time to do a wicked thing or two!" It's May, the time when spring brings that hot-blooded, four letter word: lust.
Musicals have had a steady history of lusty musical numbers. There are songs about rolling in the hay, and others extolling the virtues of different (ahem) flavors of man-candy. Some songs are paens to hot, steamy nights, and some are about what you do on those kind of nights.
This month we're taking a look at Broadway's lustiest songs:
"The Lusty Month of May" from CAMELOT | 1960
Young Queen Guenevere just lays it out there for her loyal subjects - May is the time when the sap rises. In Lerner and Loewe's Arthurian musical CAMELOT, Arthur's spouse celebrates the joys of wicked behavior in the "Lusty Month of May." Ironically, she will be guilty of acting on her own lustful desires with Arthur's right hand knight Lancelot.
Video: Sierra Boggess, BBC Proms, 2012
"White Boys/Black Boys" from HAIR | Broadway 1968
Turning up the heat in 1968, HAIR put the late-60s protest movement and free-love generation center stage. The "tribal rock musical" did not pull any punches with the subject matter of its songs. For example, "White Boys/Black Boys" does just what it promises to do: give a couple of thumbs up to the appetizing selection of men, both vanilla and chocolate.
Video: 1979 film version
"A Secretary is not a Toy" from HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING | 1961
Based on the hit satirical book of the same name, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING sent-up the big world of Madison Avenue in the sexist sixties. (Think a tongue-in-cheek MAD MEN.Perhaps not so coincidentally, the original Broadway production and film starred eventual MAD MEN's Bert Cooper, Robert Morse.) While J. Pierrepont Finch climbs the cold corporate ladder by leaps and bounds, his bosses sing a a not-so-gentle warning to the younger executives to maintain a professional, working relationship with the ladies of the secretarial pool.
Video: 1967 film version
"I Cain't Say 'No'" from OKLAHOMA! | 1943
"When I'm with a feller, I forget," declares Ado Annie in her introduction to Rodgers and Hammerstein's character song for the man-crazy mid-western lass. For its time, "I Cain't Say No" must have been at least eye-brow-raising for how it depicts a girl who gleefully puts out for any gentleman she happens to be with.
Video: Vicki Simon in the 1998 London Revival
"Toucha-Toucha-Toucha Touch Me" from ROCKY HORROR SHOW | 1973
If you arrived in the dead of night at the Castle of Dr. Frank N. Furter, you just don't know how much trouble you could get into. Richard O'Brien's homage to creature features from Hollywood with a 1970s rock-and-roll twist is also highlighted by a heavy jolt of pure sex and sexiness. Among those corrupted by Furter and his henchmen (and women) are straight-laced Brad and girl-next-door Janet.
Video: Jayma Mays and Matthew Morrison from GLEE
"Without Love" from HAIRSPRAY | 2002
The 1960s: a time of big hair and big changes. Civil rights and independent women are just a few of the topics raised in the hilarious and joyous HAIRSPRAY, which took Broadway by storm in 2002. Teenagers in the early-60s were just as interested in making out as they are today. In "Without Love," Tracy and her beau Link, as well as Penny and Seaweed, show that nothing can stop a teenager with romance on their minds.
Video: Original Broadway Cast on THE CBS EARLY SHOW
"Touch Me" from SPRING AWAKENING | 2006
Late-nineteenth century German teenagers coming of age to an alt-rock score blew away audiences in 2006. SPRING AWAKENING was based on a controversial German play by George Wedekind that premiered in 1891. Steven Sater provided book and lyrics and singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik composed the score. The young characters face their own growing libidos, discover their desires for the opposite (and same) sex, and experiment with intimacy throughout the musical. "Touch Me" is just one of the musical numbers that celebrate the carnal desires of a young adult. Keep your eye out for Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, John Gallagher, Jr., Skylar Astin, and other up-and-coming actors in the cast.
Video: Original Broadway Cast on THE VIEW in February 2007
"Whatever Lola Wants" from DAMN YANKEES | 1955
Those damn Yankees! That was the sentiment in the musical about the underdog (and now defunct) baseball team the Washington Senators who are assisted by the Devil himself in winning the pennant. The musical DAMN YANKEES was a tune-filled musical comedy that also featured on of the most iconic performances by a 1950s-era leading lady. Miss Gwen Verdon, the muse of choreographer Bob Fosse, used her formidable gifts to seduce a young baseball player, and all of Broadway, with her performance as a legendary home-wrecker, Lola. Using sex as her weapon of choice, Verdon's strip-tease screamed sex appeal, yet remained loveable and charming.
"All This Happiness" from PASSION | 1994
Love, sex, obsession, physical attraction, physical revulsion, illness - only Stephen Sondheim, with James Lapine, could make such things sing in a musical. PASSION was not a box office bonanza, but it was one of the most unusual romantic musicals ever written. When a handsome soldier falls in love with the strange and lonely Fosca, trouble ensues. Before Giorgio meets the plain and sickly Fosca, he spends intimate times with his gorgeous lover Clara.
"Too Darn Hot" from KISS ME, KATE | 1948
Cole Porter never shied away from the subject of sex. His lyrics often focused on love (requited and un-), lust, and a sophisticated lifestyle. One of his last, and most successful, musicals, KISS ME, KATE, contained a song that explains when even the most hot-blooded of gentlemen aren't in the mood to get randy.
Video: 2000 Revival Cast
Do you have a favorite song of lust not on our list? Let us know what songs get you in the mood in the comments below.
My normal list-making partner Matt Tamanini will be back in June with a list of showtunes celebrating
his Broadway birthdays.
If you enjoyed this list, check out our January feature on the Most Hummable Sondheim Songs, February's Valentine's Day list of Broadway's best Anti-Love Songs, March's Ides themed collection of Shakespeare Inspired Show Tunes, and last month's look at April showers and young love.