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VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
Do you have the belt for these Broadway songs? Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the best Broadway songs that make you want to scream along. Our countdown includes "Defying Gravity," "Suddenly Seymour," "On My Own," and more!

#20: “I Can’t Do It Alone” “Chicago” (1975)

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And now, Miss Velma Kelly in an act of desperation! There might not be too many words to belt in “I Can’t Do It Alone,” but the words that are there? Well, we just want to scream them. In “Chicago,” Velma sings “I Can’t Do It Alone” to Roxie as a gambit to try and convince her to team up for a double act. She uses dance moves, jazz hands, and everything in her arsenal to get Roxie on her side, including a brassy, belty tone that we love to emulate. Velma might not have succeeded in getting Roxie to agree, but she sure convinced us.

#19: “Show Off” “The Drowsy Chaperone” (2006)

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By 2006, Sutton Foster had already made her name as a grade A belter on Broadway. Some of her most famous belting numbers came before, such as “Gimme Gimme” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Some came after, like “I Know It’s Today” in “Shrek The Musical.” But none of them quite reach the heights of “Show Off” in “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Foster plays the role of Janet, a Broadway star who’s giving it all up for marriage. She sings “Show Off” about how she’s fine with not being an actress anymore, but ends up belting her way through a big, raucous Broadway showstopper.

#18: “Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?)” “Spamalot” (2005)

We all love a good diva number. Especially when that diva gets to belt a little. But the best part about belting along to this song from “Spamalot” is how much room there is to play. “Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?)” is sung by the Lady of the Lake, a famous figure of Camelot mythology. The Lady has quite a bit to do in the first act of the show, but quietly disappears for a moment in the second. Until she comes back with a bang. This song is not only hilarious, but has all the hallmarks of a great belty showtune. After all, who hasn’t felt like they’ve been pushed to the wayside every now and then?

#17: “The Winner Takes It All” “Mamma Mia!” (1999)

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We know, we know! But even though “The Winner Takes It All” is an ABBA song first and foremost, its appearance in “Mamma Mia!” makes it count. And if you haven’t tried belting this one out at karaoke before, what are you waiting for? In the musical, Donna sings this song to Sam, lamenting the fact that she found out he was engaged after falling in love with him. But even divorced from context, the heartbreak in “The Winner Takes It All” somehow makes us want to jump around for joy. It’s just so dramatic! Like, Meryl-Streep-sings-it-on-a-cliff sort of dramatic. How could you not want to sing along?

#16: “I Know Where I’ve Been” “Hairspray” (2002)

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“Hairspray” is one of the most sparkling, poppy musicals of the past few decades. But this roof raiser of a number is a bit different than you might expect. “I Know Where I’ve Been” is a protest song sung by Motormouth Maybelle, becoming an anthem for equality for the Black characters in the show. It’s a bit of an odd choice structure-wise. Maybelle is not the main character, and the song is a bit more somber than your usual showstopper that might go in this spot. But the depth of emotion in “I Know Where I’ve Been” makes us want to stand up and sing every single time.

#15: “Changing My Major” “Fun Home” (2015)

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Despite its name, “Fun Home” is a musical with quite a lot of sadness over its runtime. But one of its most fun and decidedly not sad songs is “Changing My Major.” Our main character Alison sings this tune early in her college career after sleeping with a woman for the first time. The experience with Joan helped Alison figure out her sexuality, and in the wee hours of the morning she shouts her thanks to the heavens. Feeling in love for the first time, Alison playfully jokes (or is it a joke?) that she’s going to change her major to Joan. The song has plenty of high notes to belt to the sky, and the happiness only makes it that much more fun.

#14: “Goodbye” “Catch Me If You Can” (2011)

If you had to pick your favorite boy belter, we’re willing to bet a lot of you would go with Aaron Tveit. Whether he’s holding down the harmony in “Superboy and the Invisible Girl” or melting our faces off with “El Tango de Roxanne,” he just has the juice. But nothing quite takes our breath away like “Goodbye.” The song comes near the end of the musical “Catch Me If You Can,” and what an impression it makes! Tveit’s character, a con man, finally gives himself up to the FBI, but not without going out in style. “Goodbye” has literally never sounded so sweet.

#13: “Dogfight” “Dogfight” (2012)

Belt, but make it dark! That’s exactly what Annaleigh Ashford did in 2012’s Off-Broadway production of “Dogfight.” And while we probably can’t do it as well as her, by golly we like to try! “Dogfight” is a somber, darkly funny musical about a group of marines’ last night before they ship out to Vietnam. They decide to throw a “dogfight,” or a competition where they see who can bring the ugliest date. The titular song comes when one of the dates tells the main character Rose the truth about what she’s been roped into. The song is angry and biting, making it a blast to belt.

#12: “Agony” “Into the Woods” (1987)

Stephen Sondheim wrote a ton of songs over his long, illustrious career. But one of his most dramatic, funniest contributions might be “Agony.” This tune from “Into the Woods” is sung by Cinderella’s and Rapunzel’s princes as they ponder the reasons why they can’t be with their true loves. That might sound quite sweet, but the cleverness of the song comes from its pomposity and arrogance. The men boast about their charms, questioning to whoever might listen how in the world these women could say no to them. And who doesn’t like to belt when they’re bragging about themselves?

#11: “Moving Too Fast” “The Last Five Years” (2002)

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There usually aren’t too many instruments involved in productions of “The Last Five Years.” But that doesn’t stop this belting number from filling up the whole stage. “Moving Too Fast” starts big and ends big, taking off for the fences and never stopping. At the beginning of the song, Jamie has just received his first book deal and spends the rest of the song marveling at how well his life is going so far. The song pushes the envelope, getting more and more energized as it forces the performer to belt their heart out.

#10: “A Step Too Far” “Aida” (2000)

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When Elton John is writing your music, you can expect some belts in your future. Diva writes as diva does, after all. “Aida” has so many delicious numbers to belt, not least of all the melancholy “I Know the Truth,” sung by Princess Amneris. But why have just one belter when you can have three? “A Step Too Far” features Amneris, Prince Radames and Aida herself all lamenting their love together. We’ve never heard a trio quite like this before, particularly one with such give and take. When one singer stops belting, another one begins, keeping the cycle going.

#9: “On My Own” “Les Misérables” (1985)

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We couldn’t get out of a list about belting without mentioning “Les Misérables.” There are so many wonderful examples of belts throughout this musical. However, only one can win,and there’s no number that gets us screaming at the top of our lungs quite like “On My Own.” This song has become an instantly recognizable classic over the years, thanks to the likes of marvelous belters like Lea Salonga or even Rachel Berry on “Glee.” For us theater kids out there, it’s one of the first songs you learn to belt. You might even learn it before you really know what belting is. It’s that ingrained into the culture.

#8: “I Believe” “The Book of Mormon” (2011)

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Take us to church, Elder Price! Whether you’re religious or not, faith-based music can have a kind of hypnotic quality about it. And in “The Book of Mormon,” Elder Price sure ensnared us with his rousing rendition of “I Believe.” In all seriousness, the song is a silly, satirical tune about the hypocrisies of the Mormon religion. But even so, there’s something strangely earnest about “I Believe.” And when you have the right singer performing the song, those notes come out sharp and clear as a bell. You might feel compelled to put your hands in the air and sing along, no matter who you are.

#7: “Back to Before” “Ragtime” (1998)

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There have been plenty of wonderful singers throughout Broadway’s history, but few have been quite as beloved as Marin Mazzie. One of Mazzie’s signature roles before she sadly passed away was Mother in 1998’s “Ragtime.” Your mileage may vary on “Ragtime” as a production, but it’s hard to quibble with its score. And one of the songs Mother sings that rings the truest is “Back to Before.” The song is about coming to terms with the fact that you can’t return to the way things were, and you have to move forward. The strength of emotion is only surpassed by the strength of the belt required.

#6: “Burn” “Hamilton” (2015)

This is a belt with a little bit of build up. “Hamilton” has a plethora of wonderful songs for women. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention “Satisfied.” But we can’t get over how much we adore belting the end of “Burn.” Sung by Eliza after finding out that Hamilton has had an affair, “Burn” begins rather quietly. As the song goes on, and as Eliza’s hurt and anger becomes more potent, the singer has to throw all of that rage into their voice. By the time you make it to the end, you’re belting out all of your emotion before pulling it back for that final, haunting note.

#5: “Suddenly Seymour” “Little Shop of Horrors” (1982)

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Belting alone is fun, but doing it with someone you love is so much better. And nobody could write a belty duet quite like Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. In “Little Shop of Horrors,” Audrey and Seymour sing “Suddenly Seymour” when they finally admit that they have feelings for each other. The solo verses and choruses are fun by themselves, but nothing beats the end. The music crescendos into a gorgeously orchestrated moment shared by both Audrey and Seymour, belts combining to make a perfect theatre melody. Do yourself a favor, and find someone you love to belt this with you.

#4: “Dead Girl Walking” “Heathers: The Musical” (2014)

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If we’re being honest, we never would have really equated belting with sex noises on our own. But you know what? We didn’t have to. “Heathers: The Musical” did it for us! Just like the 1989 film before it, “Heathers: The Musical” is a darkly comic, campy masterpiece. “Dead Girl Walking” might be the campiest, most masterful song of all. Veronica starts singing alone, but is then joined by J.D. as the two start to have sex. The song rises to its climax during the outro, as the two performers must start simulating intercourse while making their moans and groans sound as on pitch as possible. That final note from Veronica? It’s orgasmic.

#3: “She Used to Be Mine” “Waitress” (2016)

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When “She Used to Be Mine” from “Waitress” starts, it doesn’t really feel like you’re gearing up for a belting number. Jenna, who is pregnant, sings it alone onstage just after her abusive husband has taken the money she was saving to run away. The first verse and chorus are somber, mostly sung in a mix or head voice. But as soon as the second verse starts, you can feel a sense of anger and longing begin to take hold of that sadness. The emotion powers the singer’s voice, and it makes the audience want to sing along with them.

#2: “Defying Gravity” “Wicked” (2003)

“Wicked” is a show that was literally made for belters (hello, Idina Menzel). There are so many songs we could have chosen, like “No Good Deed” or “The Wizard and I.” For “Wicked” though, we decided to stick with the classic choice. “Defying Gravity” is probably the most famous song from this 2003 musical, and without a doubt one of the most famous first act closers of all time. If you’ve ever seen this musical live, you know just how hard it is to keep your mouth shut as Elphaba rises into the sky to sing the song’s final notes. If you start to belt along, really who could blame you?

#1: “And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going)” “Dreamgirls” (1981)

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So many famous belters have taken on this song in the past: Jennifer Holliday, Jennifer Hudson, Amber Riley. But if you were to count up the number of wannabe belters who have sung along with this on the radio, or tried their hand with it at karaoke? The list would be endless. “And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going)” is the most famous song from the musical “Dreamgirls.” It’s almost cliched to say that at this point, but when you listen to the song you immediately know why it’s true. This is the type of song that might as well have invented belting, the type of song that was meant to be sung at the top of your lungs. If we missed any of your favorite belters, let us know in the comments below!

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