1. “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast – This is perhaps the quintessential feast scene from the musical theatre canon. The movie pulled out all the stops, unleashing an animated firestorm of popping champagne bottles, dancing dishes, and entree after steaming entree. The stage musical recreates the scene in real life with some very impressive costumed dancers.
2. “Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver! – After breaking our hearts with an iconic scene where poor Oliver asks for more of that nasty gruel, this song gives us culinary hope. Never have hot sausage, mustard, cold jelly, and custard ever sounded so good.
3. “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company – Great actresses like Elaine Stritch and Patti LuPone have put their mark on this iconic number, expressing the comedy in Joanne’s disillusionment with high society. Who needs a forty-five-dollar Cobb salad in a snobby restaurant when you can have a dry martini in your apartment with more favorable company?
4. “Chow Down” from The Lion King – The notorious hyenas Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed get their very own song number in the stage musical, in which they “flesh out” their carnivorous desires. It just proves that it’s a dog-eat-dog (or hyena-eat-lion) world out there on the savannah.
5. “A Little Priest” from Sweeney Todd – One of Sondheim’s lyrically cleverest songs (and that’s saying something), this tune represents a turning point in the musical where every person Mr. Todd and Mrs. Lovett see looks like a meal. I’m no cannibal, but haven’t we all been that hungry at least once?
6. “Feed Me” from Little Shop of Horrors – What’s creepier than a demon barber? A man-eating plant of questionable origin who also has considerable persuasive powers. This green monstrosity quenches his thirst for blood by convincing Seymour to feed him people with promises of fame and fortune. It’s a win-win. What could possibly go wrong?
7. “La Vie Boheme” from Rent – The loveable bohemians sing of everything from curry vindaloo to huevos rancheros. And since a restaurant is the scene of this iconic, tongue-twisting number, food orders become part of the song, including such modern vegetarian faves as soy burgers, tofu dogs, and pasta with meatless balls. It tastes the same, really.
8. “Just Another Day” from Next to Normal – The opening number shows the family getting ready to tackle their day, and while father Dan feels like he is living on just “a latte and a prayer,” mother Diana busies herself preparing lunch for the whole brood. But when she tries to get ahead on the sandwich-making by setting up an assembly line all the way to the floor, we are clued in that this might not be such a normal family after all.
9. “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof – This song isn’t exactly about feasting, unless you are on a liquid diet. When Tevye promises his daughter to Lazar Wolfe, all of the men join in celebrating with a drink. After all, they are just doing what they must to support their friends. And if that should include beer, so be it.
10. “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – For a character who is mute in the cartoons and who lives in a world of his own, Snoopy has sure got charisma. In the musical, his personality shines through in numbers like this one, where he puts a brassy, jazzy spin on his favorite time of day. Doesn’t it just make you want to nix the diet and give your dog a big old steak?
11. “My Unfortunate Erection” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Since poor Chip is eliminated early from the competition (because of the titular, considerably distracting episode), his song is sung while he takes his punishment–hawking baked goods to the audience for the PTA. Watch out for the greasy chips and brownies–they’ll ruin your complexion.
12. “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins – Only Mary Poppins can make taking medicine fun (and delicious). In the stage musical, rather than cleaning their room during this song, Mary, Jane, and Michael clean up the kitchen after the children accidentally demolish it before Mrs. Banks’ big tea party.