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So you're almost at the end of the show, and things are looking very uncertain. But you know the show's about to end. That's when you know this trope is about to kick in. The Eleven O'Clock Number is a song in a musical placed near the end of the second act, before the plot's loose ends are tied up. The song usually represents an emotional turning point or revelation for the main character(s) and is almost always the last number in the show that isn't a reprise of an earlier song or the absolute final song. The term is a holdover from the days when all musicals started at 8:30 PM and had to have a climactic song around 11:00, because it was preferable to have audiences out shortly afterwards.

Largely a Theater trope. Seen in musicals and works that follow the musical format, as well as the odd Concept Album. Compare and contrast Climactic Music.

Examples of The Eleven O'Clock Number include:
  • "Champagne" and "When The Sun Goes Down" from In the Heights.
  • "No More" and "No One Is Alone" of Into the Woods fame both have elements of this.
  • "Freak Flag" from Shrek.
  • "Move On" from Sunday in The Park With George.
  • "If He Walked Into My Life" from Mame.
  • "Memory" from Cats.
  • "Confrontation" from Jekyll&Hyde.
  • "The Point of No Return" from The Phantom of the Opera.
    • In the sequel Love Never Dies, this is the title song's function.
  • "No Good Deed," "March Of The Witch Hunters," and "For Good" from Wicked. Notable for all taking place within moments of each other.
  • Rose Tint My World or "I'm Going Home".
  • "When It Ends" from Michael John La Chiusa's The Wild Party.
  • "Once We Were Kings" from The Musical of Billy Elliot.
  • "Something To Sing About" from the "Once More With Feeling" episode of Buffy.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has "I Didn't Know I'd Love You So Much".
  • "Make Them Hear You" from Ragtime.
  • "An Eleven O'Clock Song" from Ankles Aweigh.
  • "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy.
  • "From This Day On" from Brigadoon.
  • "I'm Going Back" from Bells Are Ringing.
  • "Two Lost Souls" from Damn Yankees.
  • "With So Little To Be Sure Of" from Anyone Can Whistle.
  • "No One Has Ever Loved Me" from Passion.
  • "Marry the Man Today" from Guys and Dolls.
    • In the movie, "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" is the closest thing.
  • "What I Did For Love" from A Chorus Line.
  • "Fifty Percent" from Ballroom.
  • "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun.
  • "Guenivere" from Camelot.
  • "Oklahoma!" from Oklahoma!.
  • Show Boat originally had an 11:00 song to show off Magnolia's daughter, Kim (here played by the same actress as Magnolia) in a 1920s-type production number. The original 11:00 song, "It's Getting Hotter in the North" (based on Magnolia's Leitmotif), was cut and replaced by a reprise of "Why Do I Love You" with impersonations and a jazz dance. The London production used an entirely new 11:00 song, "Dance Away The Night." The 1936 film version built up an elaborate production number around the Movie Bonus Song "Gallivantin' Around," which fell victim to editing before it was released. The 1946 Broadway revival used yet another newly written song, "Nobody Else But Me," but dropped the number without replacement when it went on tour. The 1994 Broadway revival replaced it with a dance number, "Kim's Charleston."
  • "Get Out and Stay Out" from 9 to 5: The Musical
  • "Second" from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" from Stop The World — I Want To Get Off.
  • "Your Eyes" from Rent is technically the Eleven O'Clock Number, but something must be said for "What You Own".
  • "Without Love" from Hairspray
    • According to the creators, the Eleven O'Clock Number for Hairspray is "I Know Where I've Been".
  • "Listen" from the film version of Dreamgirls. Perhaps "I Miss You Old Friend" from the original musical.
  • "Till There Was You"" from The Music Man
  • "I Confess" from Footloose
  • "Maybe (Next to Normal)" and "So Anyway" could both fit this in Next to Normal.
  • "The American Dream" from Miss Saigon.
  • "If That's What It Is" from 13
  • Mozart L'Opera Rock has "Victime de ma victoire", which is interestingly a song addressing the emotional turning point of the villain.
  • From the Disney movie Enchanted there's the song "So Close".
  • "We're Not Sorry" from Urinetown, though the turning point is more for the ensemble and ingenue than for the hero. Hard to have an epiphany when you died two songs ago.
  • Legally Blonde The Musical has a reprise of "Omigod You Guys"
    • There's also "Legally Blonde Remix"
  • Many Verdi operas have one of these, such as "D'amor sull'ali rosee" from Il trovatore and "Tu che le vanità" from Don Carlo. Soprano Leontyne Price was famous for nailing these after the rest of the cast had tired.
  • "The Meek Shall Inherit" from Little Shop of Horrors.
  • "All The Wasted Time" from Parade.
  • "Reviewing the Situation" from Oliver!.
  • "Bet On It" from High School Musical 2?
    • "Everyday" would be most accurate.
  • "How Could I Ever Know?" from The Secret Garden.
  • "Funny" from City of Angels fits, albeit a little snugly.
  • "Getting Tall" from Nine
  • "For Now" from Avenue Q.
  • "Brotherhood Of Man" from How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
  • "Poor Jack" from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
  • "Duel Duet" from Shock Treatment.
  • "One Rock And Roll Too Many" from Starlight Express.
  • "One Of Those Nights" from the musical of Metropolis.
  • The murderer's confession in Drood.
  • "Within You" from Labyrinth.
  • "Wrong Note Rag" from Wonderful Town.
  • "So Long, Dearie" from Hello, Dolly!.
  • "I Guess I'll Miss The Man" from Pippin is an understated version.
  • "Betrayed" from The Producers is not only a classic 11 o'clock number, but also a five-minute, one-man summary of the entire show to that point.
  • "The Show Must Go On" from Moulin Rouge, which also doubles as The Song Before the Storm. Appropriately, it is both operatic and rather funereal.
  • Stephen Sondheim's Follies has not one but four 11 o'clock numbers, one for each of the principal characters: the comic patter song "Buddy's Blues," the torch ballad "Losing My Mind," the Star Lady turn "The Story of Lucy and Jessie," and, finally, the top-hat-and-tails ditty "Live, Laugh, Love," which features a twist ending: as debonair Ben realizes that the cheery words he's singing are a horrible lie, he repeatedly flubs the lyrics and finally has a breakdown onstage.
  • The concert sequence from The Sound of Music, which has "Edelweiss" in between an elaborate reprise of "Do-Re-Mi" and a plain repetition of "So Long, Farewell."
  • "Hh! Cha Cha!" (sic) from The Cat and the Fiddle, which reused part of the aforementioned "Why Do I Love You" as a countermelody.
  • "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
  • "You're Going to Be Okay" from "My Musical" in Scrubs.
  • "I Will Still Play" from Tripod Versus the Dragon.
  • A Concept Album example: "Blind Curve" from Misplaced Childhood by Marillion.
  • "Gimme Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie