Villains are an important part of storytelling because they give the good guys a reason to prevail. Let’s face it, without an evil character, or at least one who acts as the antagonist, the protagonist would not have much to do. We love the villains in our favorite works because they are colorful, entertaining, and downright likable.
Here is a list of our top eight characters in musical works we love to hate.
1. Velma VonTussle
This bad gal, opposed to guy, is the mother on one Amber VonTussle, who is the star of the Corny Collins show. Velma will do whatever it takes to get her way and help her daughter advance to Baltimore Stardom. To make matters worse, Velma is also against integrating the show from having only one night a week when kids of color can dance, and she continually steals songs from the African-American singers a giving them to her white performers.
There is no denying that Velma VonTussle is the Queen of Mean in Hairspray, but in the end, she gets hers and, let’s face it, her character makes the storyline more interesting.
2. Orin Scrivello
In Little Shop of Horrors, this character is the dentist who not only thrives on administering pain to his patients, he is Audrey’s boyfriend, who treats her very badly. Seymour loves Audrey but is too afraid to stand up for her, or become the man she needs to take her away from such an evil guy.
That is until he comes in possession of Audrey II, the man-eating plant that eventually has Orin for dinner, or breakfast, or a late-night snack. Either way, as gruesome as being eaten alive is, we dare anyone to find a viewer who feels a tad sorry for Orin when Audrey II gets her lips on him.
Yet his charm is undeniable and that’s why we love to hate him.
3. The Wicked Witch of the West
A rather iconic character, this evil woman has haunted the nightmares of some of us since we were children. We can sympathize with this hateful character much more than we can with the others on this list so far. She not only finds her sister crushed under the house of some stranger, the shoes that are rightfully hers by birthright are stolen by the same little girl who killed her sister.
We would be angry too. She is also, if we may, not the most attractive woman in Oz, which we are sure, doesn’t make her happy either. Yet, we can’t help but question the Wicked Witch’s intelligence by leaving a bucket of water laying around for little girls to use and ruin her beautiful wickedness.
4. Miss Hannigan
It’s while she is in the orphanage run by Miss Hannigan, Annie sings the unforgettable tunes “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow.” 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. But we remember he being portrayed by the wonderful Carol Burnett, so no matter how evil she is, we love her.
5. Frank N. Furter
This villain is the sole owner of musical sexiness on our list today. Frank N. Furter is a man who pulls off heels, nylons, and a garter as well as any woman, and does it while enticing both genders musically and sexually. Furter creates Rocky, the perfect specimen of man, all the while he seduces Brad and Janet separately and convinces them to be unfaithful.
The couple doesn’t know about each other’s musical infidelity with the same lover. Everything comes to a head when Furter murders Eddie, upsetting Columbia, and prompting his followers to take him over. The sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania defeated by his own people, which allows Brad and Janet escape.
Yet, while Frank N. Furter is being the biggest ass you have ever experienced, you fall for him instantly because of his endless appeal.
Oliver! has much more sinister characters in its story, but we will get to him much later and start with a not-so-bad bad character. Fagin runs a band of pick-pocketing children he picks up off the street in London, where the community is riddled with them. He teaches them how to rob and then forces them to bring their daily “earnings” back to him.
In return Fagin gives them a bed, food, and “love.” Of course, all of his evil doing catches up with him and Fagin finds himself penniless without a gang. Except for the Artful Dodger, who will be friends with the old man until his dying day.
7. Inspector Javert
There are absolute no redeeming qualities in this next character, who seems to find joy in making other people’s lives miserable. He is a prison guard while Jean Valjean is in jail for 19 years for the initial crime of stealing a loaf of bread for his starving sister and niece. When Jean Valjean is released, Javert reminds him that he is nothing but scum and he will return one day.
Valjean has other ideas though and is able to jump parole and relocate to another town in France where he changes his name, becomes successful, and turns his life around by living an honorable life. Still, Javert uncovers his whereabouts simply by accident, and is relentless in trying to make him go back to prison.
In fact, over a span of nearly thirty years, this inspector seems to have nothing better to do than run across France trying to locate this one released prisoner for jumping bail. It seems to us Inspector Javert needed a hobby.
We don’t love Javert as much as we love how much we dislike him, which only endears us to Valjean all the more.
8. Bill Sikes
This is the second character from Oliver! on our list but he is definitely the worst. In fact, we believe Sikes to be the worst character on this list as a whole. Not because he is a poorly created character, it is quite the opposite.
Bill Sikes is the worst in character and morals. When Oliver is arrested for picking Mr. Brownlow’s pocket, which he did not, the wealthy man decides to take him in. Sikes and Fagin could have left Oliver there, just as Nancy said. But they were afraid that Oliver would point them out to the authorities or tell them where their hideout was.
So Sikes kidnaps him and keeps the young boy close to his side. Nancy, Bill’s girlfriend, realizes that this is the boy’s chance to have a good life with opportunities they never had. So she goes to see Mr. Brownlow and arranges for him to get Oliver back.
This means Nancy must get him away from Bill, a man she knows is violent when angry. Unfortunately, through Nancy, we learn that no good deed goes unpunished.
Now check out these classic sad characters we always feel pitty for!