12 Amazing Broadway Act One Finales

12 Amazing Broadway Act One Finales

This is where a musical truly shines!

A strong opening is essential, but the most important song in an entire musical, is the act one finale. Immediately afterwards is intermission, so this piece has to convince the audience not to use the next fifteen minutes as a chance to leave the theatre! They do this by grabbing the audience's interest with a showtune that changes the story, makes people wonder what will happen next, and proves itself to be the best song on the album.

1. "And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going" – Dreamgirls

Some act one finales take a previously happy story and turn the emotions on its head. At the midpoint of Dreamgirls, as the Dreams rise to fame, Effie is suddenly kicked out of the group, abandoned by her friends, family, and lover. Her denial ("and you-- and you-- you're gonna love me!") ends the act, and breaks our hearts, and definitely keeps us around for act two.

2. "Everything’s Coming Up Roses" – Gypsy

"They think that we're through--but, baby..." Rose very deliberately changes the game on the audience in this song, showing us just how far she is willing to go to pursue her dreams, and making us wonder if Louise will ever escape her control. The only way to find out is keep watching!

3. "Go, Go, Go Joseph" – Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

There are also act one finales that take a sad story, and make it happier. Joseph is at his lowest point, thrown in prison for a crime he did not commit, after being sold into slavery by his brothers. Cue the massive chorus pep talk: "Hang on now, Joseph, you'll make it someday!"

4. "Shoot the Moon" – The Spitfire Grill

The Spitfire Grill, though beautiful, has a gloomy first act. There is very little hope in the town of Gilead. But hope comes in the act one finale, in the form of sacks of letters from all over the nation, and it's hard not to join in as the cast celebrates. "Comes a time to shoot the moon / Strike it while the iron's hot!"

5. "Climb Ev’ry Mountain" – The Sound of Music

Remember when I said that the act one finale is often the best song on the album? Well, it's hard to play favorites with the full-of-beloved-songs The Sound of Music, but few songs anywhere are more beautiful than this one. "Climb ev'ry mountain / Ford ev'ry stream / Follow ev'ry rainbow / Til you find your dream!"

6. "Grizabella" – Cats

While we're talking about best songs, let's just say that there's a reason that most people remember the lyrics to "Memory" over any other song from the musical Cats. What you might not remember is that this song is actually sung in two parts, and the first part closes the first act in gorgeous fashion. "I remember the time I knew what happiness was, / Let the memory live again."

7. "Defying Gravity" – Wicked

I'm just gonna let this song stand for itself. It doesn't matter what your opinion is of this musical--if all you heard was this song, it would bring you back after intermission. "I think I'll try defying gravity / And you can't pull me down!"

8. "Non-Stop" – Hamilton

While looking up amazing act one finales, I found another kind of finale, one which reprises previous songs and both summarizes previous plot moments and carries the story forward. Hamilton does this beautifully, bringing the entire cast onstage to comment on Alexander's ambitious climb. "Man, the man is non-stop!"

9. "One Day More" – Les Misérables

Les Misérables finishes its first act in a similarly grand fashion, by having the entire cast come together to sum up their worries and motivations as they await "one more dawn, one more day" - which, of course, will only come after intermission is done!

10. "Ever After" – Into the Woods

It would be easy to mistake the act one finale of Into the Woods for the finale of a one-act musical, as the cast wraps up all the individual plots, reminisces about their journeys, and celebrates having finally achieved their wishes. But, then the Narrator turns to the audience and says, "To be continued!" - letting the audience know that there is, in fact, more to see.

11. "There’s a Fine, Fine Line" – Avenue Q

It's accurate to say that all act one finales do something unexpected. Sometimes this unexpected thing is a change of mood. Avenue Q is a phenomenally hilarious, light-hearted show, but it ends its first act with a heart-wrenching break-up song. "For my own sanity, I've gotta close the door and walk away!" It makes the audience think, "Where the heck did that come from? How are they going to get out of this?"

12. "Who I’d Be" – Shrek the Musical

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this might just be my favorite showtune. I can say from personal experience that it was what kept me in the theatre during intermission to see what happened next. It's absolutely gorgeous. "A perfect happy ending / that's how it should be!"

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?


With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.

We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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