Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#1
Posted: 8/7/19 at 9:06pm
The titles pretty self explanatory. What are some examples?

A few I thought of are:

Tewfiq from The Bands Visit (Only sings Itgaraa, which he continues singing into Something Different. Its honestly pretty ironic that Haled is the only member of the titular band who gets much in the way of a vocal solo. Of course, this is more than made up for by the the band beautifully playing their instruments throughout the show. Ill never forget the violin solo in The Beat of Your Heart and the percussion solo in The Concert)

Man in Chair from The Drowsy Chaperone (Despite a huge amount of stage time, his only solo comes at the very end when he sings the reprise of As We Stumble Along)

The Beast from Beauty and the Beast (He gets in a lot more than the other two listed above, but outside of If I Cant Love Her, Beast only gets a few relatively small solos. Gaston, Lumiere, and probably even Mrs. Potts all have more to do vocally)
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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#2
Posted: 8/7/19 at 9:17pm
The 1920s show Good News has a plot that revolves almost entirely around the actions of the character of Tom Marlowe, yet in the 90s version he only sings twice. Both of those instances are duets, and he is involved in none of the group numbers.
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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#3
Posted: 8/7/19 at 9:18pm

Vandergelder in Hello, Dolly! springs to mind.

 

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#4
Posted: 8/7/19 at 9:24pm

Fiorello!

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#5
Posted: 8/7/19 at 9:31pm
In the 1998 version of Cabaret, Cliff sings one line in Perfectly Marvelous, and sings (but very commonly speak-sings) one more line in the Finale.
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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#6
Posted: 8/7/19 at 10:37pm

Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone sings twice (Bride's Lament, Finale) and never sings an entire song by himself. 

The King in Once Upon a Mattress is cursed to not speak, so he has a large role performed in pantomime for almost the entire show.

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#7
Posted: 8/7/19 at 10:44pm

dramamama611 said: "Vandergelder in Hello, Dolly! springs to mind.

"

I actually meant to mention Horace, but forgot. I really do appreciate the most recent revival including Penny In My Pocket, since without it, his only solo in act two is at the very end of the show. It also helps that it’s a very nice moment that really spells out who he is. 

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#8
Posted: 8/7/19 at 10:52pm

trentsketch said: "Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone sings twice (Bride's Lament, Finale) and never sings an entiresong by himself.

The King in Once Upon a Mattress is cursed to not speak, so he has a large role performed in pantomime for almost the entire show.
"

My bad, I completely forgot about that. I really have to look back into Drowsy Chaperone

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#9
Posted: 8/8/19 at 3:14pm
The role Boyd Gaines played in CONTACT. He didn't sing a note but it won him a Tony Award.
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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#10
Posted: 8/8/19 at 8:29pm

Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music.  She participates in 2 songs during Act I, neither of which are leads, and then has "Send in the Clowns" in Act II.  It's a well-written part, so a good actress will make the most of it.

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#11
Posted: 8/8/19 at 8:47pm

Julian Marsh from 42nd Street? Or is he more of a featured role?

I’m tempted to say Fantine and Grizabella, though I know they’re featured, I feel their iconic status/songs often propel them to above the title credits for their actors.

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#12
Posted: 8/8/19 at 10:44pm

Dollypop said: "The role Boyd Gaines played in CONTACT. He didn't sing a note but it won him a Tony Award."

I’ve heard the role being described as a lead once, but is it really? I know he won supporting actor that year. I also know he was nominated in lead for a drama desk. I didn’t see the show, but the only person I know who did says that Gaines was supporting

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#13
Posted: 8/8/19 at 10:49pm

Nathan Detroit- Guys and Dolls. Has only one song Sue Me! as the original actor  Sam Levene couldn't sing.

 

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#14
Posted: 8/8/19 at 10:56pm
Tewfiq in The Band’s Visit.
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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#15
Posted: 8/8/19 at 11:04pm
Don’t think Poematter in Waitress sings much but I could be wrong. My mom saw it a while ago (I didn’t go) and she doesn’t remember much. Correct me if I’m wrong.
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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#16
Posted: 8/9/19 at 12:48am

Broadway Buddy said: "Don’t think Poematter in Waitress sings much but I could be wrong. My mom saw it a while ago (I didn’t go) and she doesn’t remember much. Correct me if I’m wrong. "

He sings quite a bit actually! Jenna certainly gets most of the solos and the others either go to female characters or a couple choice non-doctorate guys, but Pomatter gets his time to shine in “It Only Takes a Taste” and “Bad Idea” (also the Bad Idea reprise!)

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#17
Posted: 8/9/19 at 3:39am

AADA81 said: "Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. She participates in 2 songs during Act I, neither of which are leads, and then has "Send in the Clowns" in Act II. It's a well-written part, so a good actress will make the most of it."

I get that it's an ensemble number and may technically not be but I always considered "The Glamorous life" to be a lead song for her character considering (at least in the recent revival) the exciting entrance with the repeated vamping and entrance applause, and she does get a few verses. But I take your point it is definitely a leading role that doesn't sing much.

Random segue, but watching Hal Prince's documentary again it is interesting that it was Hal Prince, not Sondheim that has the idea for Desiree singing "Send in the Clowns" (Sondheim thought it was Fredrick's scene, if I recall). It just reinforces to me that we can't estimate Hal Prince's influence on all those classic shows from the 70s. We adore Sondheim, but Hal Prince's contribution is really really important.

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#18
Posted: 8/9/19 at 4:37am

Natalia Makarova won the best actress Tony as Vera Barnova in the last revival of Rodgers and Hart's ON THE TOWN.  Years earlier Thomas Mitchell won the best actior Tony as Hazel's doctor in Jule Styne's musical HAZEL FLAGG.  Neither sang a note in their show.

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#19
Posted: 8/9/19 at 9:24am

I'd also mention the King in the King and I. In the few songs he's in, he doesn't do much singing, and he has only one solom which is sometimes spoken-sung instead of sung. It's a role that allows for much more stage presence than singing.

 

The title role in Billy Elliot doesn't sing much either, specially when you consider Billy's onstage for about 95% of the almost 3-hour musical. He sings Electricity (which doesn't have many lines to be sung - he mostly dances this song) and joins Michael in Expressing Yourself (again, more dancing). The rest are scattered lines throughout the show.

Updated On: 8/9/19 at 09:24 AM
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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#20
Posted: 8/9/19 at 9:30am

I believe you’re thinking of Rodgers and Hart’s “On Your Toes”. On The Town was written by Comden and Green and did not star Makarova. 

Cesare2 said: "Natalia Makarova won the best actress Tony as Vera Barnova in the last revival of Rodgers and Hart's ON THE TOWN. Years earlier Thomas Mitchell won the best actior Tony as Hazel's doctor in Jule Styne's musical HAZEL FLAGG. Neither sang a note in their show."

 

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#21
Posted: 8/9/19 at 6:44pm

Hot Pants said: "dramamama611 said: "Vandergelder in Hello, Dolly! springs to mind.

"

I actually meant to mention Horace, but forgot. I really do appreciate the most recent revival including Penny In My Pocket, since without it, his only solo in act two is at the very end of the show. It also helps that it’s a very nice moment that really spells out who he is.
"

Does it though? Is Horace--before the intervention of Dolly--the sort who would give "a nickel to a blind man"? I think not.

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#22
Posted: 8/9/19 at 6:58pm

As we were just discussing in another thread, the King in The King and I talk-sings one number, one reprise and a bit of "Shall We Dance?" Of course, the King was originally considered a supporting role to Gertrude Lawrence's Anna--who wasn't much of a singer either. The heavy lifting is done by the supporting characters: Lun Tha, Tuptim and Lady Thiang.

For a leading lady, Desiree in ALNM sings very little.

Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls is an equal among a quartet of leads, yet he basically sings just the one duet near the end of the show. (I've always found it odd that they cast Frank Sinatra in the role in the movie and Marlon Brando in the "singer's part" of Sky Masterson. Anybody know how that happened?)

Herbie in Gypsy isn't THE lead, obviously, but he is the leading man and his part has the emotional heft that would normally merit a solo.

 

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#23
Posted: 8/10/19 at 1:53am

GavestonPS said: "Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls is an equal among a quartet of leads, yet he basically sings just the one duet near the end of the show. (I've always found it odd that they cast Frank Sinatra in the role in the movie and Marlon Brando in the "singer's part" of Sky Masterson. Anybody know how that happened?)"

At the time of casting and filming Marlon Brando was one of the top box office draws, while Frank Sinatra was actually in the process of pulling his film career out of a slump that began in the early 50s. It was clear that Sinatra wanted the part of Sky Masterson, as evidenced by him sucking all the fun out of Nathan Detroit (he practically turns "Sue Me" into some weird romantic ballad). Though Sinatra felt he was regaining his clout at the time, as he was reportedly a very difficult presence during the shooting of this film, and it's pretty well known that he never hid his disgust for Marlon Brando, both because of Brando getting the part he wanted and Brando's embrace of The Method.

And of course just a year later he walked off the set of Carousel.

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#24
Posted: 8/10/19 at 10:07am

Applegate in Damn Yankees

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Leading Roles that Don’t Sing Much#25
Posted: 8/10/19 at 11:48am

Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls is an equal among a quartet of leads, yet he basically sings just the one duet near the end of the show. (I've always found it odd that they cast Frank Sinatra in the role in the movie and Marlon Brando in the "singer's part" of Sky Masterson. Anybody know how that happened?)

Gene Kelly was the original choice for Nathan but that was a no-go for MGM. Brando was chosen, well, for his charm. Plus it was a coup getting Brando in a film like this and the film could show off two Oscar winners. It has been said that Sinatra didn't know that the role of Nathan was the more substantial until shooting time neared. Can't vouch for that.

The ballad "Adelaide" was written for Sinatra, but apparently didn't placate him much. Sadly, "I've Never Been in Love Before" had to be sacrificed due to Brando's thin voice.

"Luck Be a Lady" became a Sinatra concert standard. In Live at the Sands he just introduced it as being a song from a picture he had been in once, written by Frank Loesser, and about "a pair of dice." In his later years, as he mellowed out a bit, I've heard him introduce it as being from a film that he had enjoyed making very much and muttering under his breath, "I can't believe they gave this to Brando."

Frankie wasn't really such a bad guy. He had all three children by his first wife Nancy, and they separated and finally divorced as his passion for Ava Gardner continued to heat up. But despite the divorce and all the other subsequent marriages, the first family never really broke up. Daughter Nancy, who has a three hour weekly show on the SiriusXM Sinatra channel, and her sister Tina clearly adored their father and still do. Nancy's daughter A.J., who has a monthly show on the channel:

What was perhaps less widely known was the fact of Sinatra's continuing visits; his long, confiding late-night phone calls; and the convivial family dinners on birthdays, holidays and many other occasions. "Throughout the many years after they split, my grandfather came to visit whenever his crazy life would allow it," Mrs. Sinatra's granddaughter A. J. Lambert wrote in a 2015 remembrance in Vanity Fair. "I can remember times when she would be on the phone with her ex-husband, and the next thing I knew some eggplant was coming out of the freezer to thaw so that she could make him some sandwiches when he showed up."

"I know he never stopped loving her," Ms. Lambert wrote. "And I know she never stopped loving him."