We all love to hate a villain. Whether it is in our horror films, operas, ballets, or movie musicals, nothing gets the blood boiling faster than a dirty evil villain. When that villain is set to music look out. Emotions run high and some songs these musical bad boys and girls sing have us sitting at the edge of our seats.
Why is the role of the villain so important? Maybe it’s because we need the bad to offset the good, even musically, maybe it’s because we are shocked at their musical mischief, or maybe, just maybe, we adore the evil because somewhere deep down inside we wish we were gutsy enough to pull off some of their pranks. Well, maybe that last part was going a little to far. In the case of Scar from The Lion King, I’m sure no one out there would ever murder Mufasa and leave poor Simba fatherless. This fact alone is why Mufasa has been excluded from our list today, because he is as evil as they get musically. Still, being a list of villains, we didn’t think it would be a bad idea to mention him just once. That said, here we go with our ten favorite villains in musicals.
#10 – Bill Sykes/Oliver
Bill Sykes is as a bad a character as it gets. This man not only uses small children to commit petty crimes like pick pocketing and robbery, he beats his girlfriend Nancy to death because she let Oliver free. When the townspeople find her murdered they chase Bill down. This villain is so low that he even tries to kill his own dog for following him when he is being chased. This lunatic would rather strangle his own dog than risk allowing him to lead the authorities to him. When he tries to escape the grasp of the police Bill Sikes accidentally hangs himself and London is finally free of this horrible man. My Name, the song sung by our last place villain, is a testament to how frightening Bill Sykes is, even musically. This character’s disregard for anyone but himself even to the point of brutal murder puts him at the bottom of our musical villain list.
#9 – Velma Von Tussle/Hairspray
This villain is a nightmare of a woman who will do anything within her means to get what she wants. He daughter, Amber, is the most popular dancer on the Corny Collins Show, that is until Tracy Turnblad auditions and turns the whole place upside down. Velma goes to great lengths to not only stop Tracy from appearing on the musical show but she puts up any barrier she could find to also stop the inevitable integration of Baltimore’s favorite teen show. As with any good musical production, good triumphs and evil fails and with Hairspray it is no different. Velma is exposed for the evil person that she is and all is well and musically integrated on the Corny Collins Show.
Can’t wait to watch it this season? Here’s a link to where Hairspray’s schedule and tickets.
#8 – Amber Von Tussle/Hairspray
Amber Von Tussle is the archenemy of the talented and adored Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. Amber is everything that Tracy is not. She is selfish, mean, and manipulative. This musical villain is so afraid that everyone will like Tracy more than her she works with her mother to banish Tracy from the Corny Collins Show. Amber is also closed-minded like her mother and vehemently opposes then integration of black dancers on the show as well. She has fits, cries when she doesn’t get her way, and is as mean as any girl could be. Still, at the end, she meets a young African-American boy once the show is integrated and she falls in love. Her mother opposes but Amber finally sees the right side of wrong in this socially conscious musical. For this reason we gave Amber a higher ranking than her mother, who is never learns from her mistakes.
#7 – Orin Scrivello/Little Shop of Horrors
Our next villain is one who we all love to hate. Orin Scrivello thrives on administering pain but he does so with a musical charm that is untouchable. He sings his evil way into Audrey’s heart and ours. Seymour is intimidated and jealous of the dentist so he feeds him to Audrey II, the man-eating plant that hounds Seymour for something to eat. While we don’t feel that bad for Orin because he abuses Audrey and makes her feel stupid and bad about herself, his untimely death is a murder none-the-less
#6 – Seymour/Little Shop of Horrors
This brings us to the next villain in one of our favorite musicals, Seymour. “What?!” you holler, “How is Seymour a villain? We thought he was the hero.” Well, he is both in our opinion. Seymour does save Audrey from an abusive Orin but he feeds people to his man eating albeit musical plant. This is murder plain and simple. Yes, we realize Seymour saves the day in the end, but in the beginning, when a singing plant seduces him, Seymour is as much a villain as anyone.
#5 – Fagin/Oliver
Fagin is yet another villain who appears in a musical already mentioned on this list. Unlike his counter part Mr. Bill Sykes, Fagin is not a murderer. Yet, he runs a band of thieving children in downtown London and takes their money. He lies around and lives off the dishonesty of children that he pretends to befriend. Fagin has lured tons of homeless and orphaned boys to steal for him. Fortunately for us, all of this child abuse is the backdrop to some of the finest musical numbers anyone has ever heard. Of course, Fagan escapes prosecution but not before all the gold he had been saving is knocked into the river and lost forever. Still, Fagan being Fagan, he shrugs it off and joins up with the Artful Dodger to start again somewhere else. They dance of singing into the night and somehow, even though he is an evil man, we watch them wishing the duo well.
#4 – Captain Hook/Peter Pan
Okay, this is a villain. Captain Hook will forever be burned into all adults’ brains as the pirate they feared coming in through their bedroom window after they drifted off to sleep as children. He is relentless in his pursuit of Peter to extract musical revenge on the boy for feeding his hand to a crocodile. Fortunately, no matter how hard Captain Hook tries to defeat Peter, he never succeeds and is doomed to a life of running away from the tick-tock of the crocodile that wants more of what he tasted with Hooks hand.
Here is where you can find tickets for Finding Neverland, check it out!
#3 – Miss Hannigan/Annie
This so called public servant is the worst kind one can dream up, all while surrounded by music. Miss Hannigan is an alcoholic that enjoys nothing more than flirting with men. She hates Annie’s bold nature and does everything in her power to keep the orphan down. Annie escapes anyway and is eventually taken in by Daddy Warbucks who offers a reward to find Annie’s parents. Miss Hannigan is jealous and plots with Rooster and Lily to have them pose as Annie’s parents to split the reward. Their plot is eventually foiled and Daddy Warbucks adopts Annie and they all live happily ever after, as happy as anyone can be in a musical.
#2 – Dr. Frankfurter/The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This villain is the sole owner of musical sexiness on our list today. Frankfurter is a man who pulls off heels, nylons, and a garter as well as any woman, and does it while enticing both genders musically. He creates Rocky, the perfect specimen of man, all the while he seduces Brad and Janet separately. The couple doesn’t know about each other’s musical infidelity with the same lover. Frankfurter loses trust in his followers when he murders Eddie and upsets his girlfriend Columbia. Frankfurter is finally defeated and Brad and Janet escape to go back to their normal lives. All of these terrible deeds were done with a charming smile and more musical sexuality than all of the other villains on this list combined. That is why Dr. Frankfurter has secured his spot on our list of most loved musical villains of all time.
#1 – The Wicked Witch of the West/Wizard of OZ
This one is a no-brainer for us. As much as we researched villains in musicals no other character fills our musical hearts with dread more than the Wicked Witch of the West. We can still remember the recurring nightmares after our first viewing of this childhood classic. This villain is frightening; it is that plain and simple. Between her flying monkeys, big balls of fire that she can thrust upon you in an instant, or her enormous crystal ball that can see everything, the Wicked Witch of the West is one of our worst fears come to life. None of use would want to be stuck in OZ knowing she wanted your shoes. Lucking for us, Dorothy discovered that the musical villain can be defeated with just a little bit of water so you would think there would be no reason to fear this musical villain, but we do. We most certainly still do.
The Wizard of OZ Tour is stopping at a few more cities, peek here if you are planning to still catch it for the summer!
What about you, what is your favorite #1 musical villain? Any villain you thought we should’ve listed in the Top 10? Let us know by commenting below!