Andrew Polec is currently starring as Strat in Jim Steinman's musical Bat Out of Hell. His previous theatre credits in the US include The Fantasticks, The General From America and Where the Wild Things Are.
We caught up with Andrew and asked him: "If you were stranded on a desert island which five showtunes could you not live without?"
Bat Out of Hell runs at the London Coliseum from 20 June to 5 August. Click here for tickets.
5. "The Bitch of Living" from Spring Awakening
This song just rocks. It's the perfect amount of rock and roll and teenage angst. This was the song that inspired me to pursue musical theatre seriously when I was kid. I had no idea that theatre could rock this hard and address something that felt so pertinent to modern day youths. I'll never forget when I saw the number on Broadway with Jonathan Groff. He was the rockstar of musical theatre in my eyes.
4. "Il Mondo Era Vuoto" from The Light in the Piazza
This whole musical blows me away. Adam Guettel's compositions capture so much humanity in their chromaticism and suspension. This song breathes new life into the Italian Aria genre - a genre that I assumed was only used by voice teachers when you're learning to sing. Sparks fly in this number - it comes from the core of a character completely stricken with the purity of fiery love. It doesn't matter that the song is in Italian. You understand and relate to every single passionate thought Fabrizio is pouring out to the heavens. Matthew Morrison's version is particularly powerful.
3. "Soon It's Gonna Rain" from The Fantasticks
I absolutely love this song. Two innocent youths falling in love for the first time and planning out their whole long, beautiful life in a single moment. It's something everyone can relate to. It brings you back to that first naive feeling of love and takes you on a journey. The orchestration is particularly entrancing as it is just a harp and a piano. There is magic in the simplicity, especially with the brilliant voices of Kenneth Nelson and Rita Gardner on the original cast album.
2. "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" from Bat Out of Hell
Possibly one of the most brilliant "accidental courting songs" ever written - though I'm fairly sure it's the only "accidental courting song" ever written. Jim Steinman really has a deep understanding of the beautiful, humorous, and tragic human psyche. One sexual encounter could possibly lead to how the rest of your life plays out - it's such a marathon. One minute we are in the throws of passion, the next minute a play by play baseball game of sexual exploration, and then a doomed outro of regret. Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton nail the intricacies of this song every night.
1. "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man
Such a classic. Before Hamilton, we had Meredith Wilson creating catchy, tongue-twister raps - boy does this number capture a beautiful piece of American history. The patter is filled with fervor and esoteric jokes if you are not a history buff that is super familiar with the changing times of America back in 1912. Of course Robert Preston's booming voice adds to the joy. The song brings you to your feet and makes you want to shout "trouble" with the rest of the rabble.
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