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Top 10 Musicals That Don’t Actually Exist but Totally Should

by Nora McCaughey
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Earworms don’t discriminate. Sometimes, the catchy song you can’t get out of your head doesn’t even exist beyond a two-second line in a TV show. And sometime the single scene or song you get is better than other full length Broadway shows!

So here’s a list of the most memorable musical songs, scenes, and references throughout TV, film, and… other musicals!

Related: Top 10 Broadway Musicals You’ve Never Heard Of

10 Lease: The Musical

Team America World Police – Everyone Has AIDS

Team America: World Police created “Lease: The Musical” as a direct parody of Rent. While this certainly isn’t the first piece of media to reference Jonathon Larson’s show, it’s the one that does it the best.

Rent is about a group of friends in New York City in the 1990s. They each have dreams but are held back by various issues. Poverty, adultery, and drug and alcohol abuse are the most rampant, the latter of which leads to several characters suffering from AIDS.

Team America gives a nod to this by creating a song titled “Everyone Has AIDS.”

Not exactly tactful, but then again, neither is not paying your rent.[1]

9 The Trial of Captain Hook

Arrested Development – You’re A Crook Captain Hook

Hear me out on this one.

It’s true that when Michael Bluth of Arrested Development recalls his time as a lawyer version of Peter Pan in elementary school, the lyrics aren’t particularly clever: “You’re a crook, Captain Hook.”

Sondheim, it ain’t.

But let’s face the facts: Who wants to see Peter Pan done by another middle school? Everyone knows the plot. And anyone who has more than one child has probably seen this show more times than they care to admit.

So why not mix it up a bit? The creation of a real version of “The Trial of Captain Hook” could usher in a new period of shows for bored parents to sit through. One where they only have to clap for their kids after a mediocre song, not signify they believe in fairies.[2]

8 Freud!

Friends – Joey Stars In A Play (Freud!)

Through the ten seasons of Friends, Joey Tribbiani stars in movies, TV shows, and stage plays. Who can forget his casting as Dr. Drake Ramoray in Days of Our Lives or gems like “Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.” and Al Pacino’s butt double.

But we’re here to talk about the singular musical he’s cast in: “Freud!”

Joey plays the titular psychiatrist, galavanting around the room while his poor patient lies there, waiting for his diagnosis. We don’t get to see a lot, but there are a few lines that give us an idea of what “Freud!” might be like… and they’re all about penises. Go figure.[3]

7 Rochelle, Rochelle

Rochelle, Rochelle

Despite the fact that three episodes of Seinfeld revolve around “Rochelle, Rochelle,” not a lot is known about the plot other than that it’s “a young girl’s strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.” The title first pops up in reference to a movie Jerry and his friends dip out of halfway through.

Later, we hear the name again, as George has forgotten to rewind the film tape before returning it and objects to paying an extra charge. Finally, two seasons later, Bette Midler is set to star in the musical adaptation of this mysterious movie.

We only hear two lines from the show, which aren’t particularly memorable. But, come on. It’s Bette freaking Midler! I’d watch her read her grocery list out loud.[4]

6 Stop the Planet of the Apes: I Want to Get Off!

The Simpsons – Planet of the Apes (the musical) starring Troy McClure

The Simpsons is another show that has been creating musical parodies pretty much since the beginning. From “Springfield, Springfield” to “Oh, Streetcar!” each one has its own nuances (and usually episodes).

One of the most iconic of these is the musical version of Planet of the Apes called “Stop the Planet of the Apes: I Want to Get Off!” The title is a reference to Stop the World—I Want to Get Off, another musical from the 1960s.

Two songs from the fictional musical are performed on the show, one of which includes the lyrics “I hate every ape I see / From chimpan-A to chimpan-Z.”

If they brought it to Broadway, they could repurpose that huge monkey puppet from the ill-fated King Kong musical that closed in 2020.[5]

5 Bombshell

SMASH – “Let’s Be Bad” (Full Performance) (Official Music Video)

Smash comprised 32 episodes, each one detailing the lives and drama surrounding actors in a Broadway show titled “Bombshell,” based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

Besides the fact that Marilyn is an icon of American culture and a musical about her life would certainly draw in the numbers throughout the country, “Bombshell” is about as well done as fake musicals get.

Because the entire TV show revolves around those involved, the audience gets to see more of the show than most others on this list since it’s not just a one-off joke or reference. We hear the full versions of many songs ranging from jazz to pop.

The stage show “Bombshell” actually does exist, kind of. Showwriters have cobbled together the fragmented scenes and songs to create a one-night-only benefit performance.[6]

4 Topsy

Bob’s Burgers – Topsy

What can I say: I’m a sucker for musicals based on little-known historical events. And though it was huge at the time, the electrocution of Topsy the elephant has not proven to stay relevant.

When Louise Belcher of Bob’s Burgers is forced to do a school project on her teacher’s hero, Thomas Edison, she and her brother elect to write a musical based on Topsy, an elephant who was publicly electrocuted under Edison’s orders.

The show ends with Topsy and Edison falling in love, singing a duet called “Electric Love.” My personal favorite lyrics from this include the punny “They’ll sing aw, Topsy / At my autopsy.” Lousie and Gene are only in elementary school, but they’ve written a song that gets stuck in my head constantly. Imagine how great this could be with a real songwriting team behind it.

Someone call Andrew Lloyd Webber! It’s not that far of a stretch. Cats, elephants… same sort of thing.[7]

3 Alabama!

Titus Andromedon Moments

Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has created dozens of fake musicals, but none more funny than “Alabama!,” the all-black version of Oklahoma!

Understanding the jokes in “Alabama!” requires a bit of background knowledge about the source material (that’s what I’m here for). In Oklahoma!, the Act 2 opener song is titled “The Farmer and the Cowman.” Old Aunt Eller tries to placate the farmers and cowboys, who hate each other, by singing about why they should get along.

“Alabama!” parodies this with “Oh, the cropper and the Klansmen should be friends / Run!”

Oklahoma! was revolutionary when it premiered in 1946. Who’s to say “Alabama!” couldn’t lasso in a new era of Broadway fans?[8]

2 The Nightman Cometh

The Nightman Cometh – Dayman song

This musical comes from the long-running sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Unlike many other musicals on this list, we actually get to see pretty much the entirety of “The Nightman Cometh.”

The whole thing is an elaborate plan to propose to the woman he’s been stalking, but the show itself is still hilarious. The plot is pretty ludicrous, involving a princess who is also a barista falling in love with a boy and a “Billy Goat Gruff” type troll, which leads to some equally crazy songs. Also, the boy and girl love interests are played by a pair of siblings. So, rather than embracing in a passionate kiss at the end of their love ballad, they opt for a sexually charged hug.

The writers attempted to write some of the worst lyrics they could think of, and we eventually hear them in the finale. “Dayman, fight of the nightman, champion of the sun / He’s a master of karate and friendship for everyone.” Did I mention we never even find out what a nightman or dayman actually is?

Other songs include an impromptu encore from the barista princess clarifying she is not a pedophile and the troll explaining how to pay a toll to get into a little boy’s hole.[9]

1 Springtime for Hitler

As they search for the worst musical of all time in the 1967 movie (and 2005 remake) The Producers, Broadway producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom stumble upon “Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden.”

It’s about exactly what the title suggests: Hitler. But in this version of his life, he’s the hero, and Eva is his faithful second-hand man. The opening number features elaborate German-themed costumes, including a naked woman covered in nothing but pretzels. As the performers introduce the Fuhrer himself, the show steps it up.

There’s too much to include here, but the climax of the number culminates in a goose-stepping chorus line, the middle of which a large mirror descends from the ceiling to show the dancing Nazis have been stomping in the form of a giant swastika.

The absurd hilarity and production value of “Springtime for Hitler” makes the opening number (which is the only song we get to see in The Producers) pretty much the best fake musical of all time.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen