15 Of Broadway's Most Powerful Songs

15 Of Broadway's Most Powerful Songs

Broadway is a treasure chest filled to the brim with songs that make you feel things.
16723
views

Broadway is full of stories about all kinds of intense relationships -- between lovers, friends, family, society. These are 15 of the Broadway songs I find are most powerful.

1. "At The Ballet," A Chorus Line

Standout Lyrics: "I was pretty, I was happy, at the ballet."

Context: Three women tell stories of how horrible their family life was as children, and how their dance studios turned into their homes.

2. "Breathe," In the Heights

Standout Lyrics: "Hey guys, it's me! The biggest disappointment you know!"

Context: Nina has just returned home from her first year at Stanford, but she hasn't told anyone that she dropped out after missing classes for work, trying to pay her bills. She was one of the first people in her neighborhood to go to college, and she's worried about disappointing everyone she knows, especially her parents.

3. "Climb Every Mountain," The Sound of Music

Standout Lyrics: "Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, till you find your dream."

Context: Ex-nun Maria has returned to the abbey after feeling she has failed in her job as a nanny. Here, Mother Superior encourages her to return to the Von Trapp house and find her own life. It's really applicable to any time you feel like giving up. Mother Superior loves you and wants you to succeed.

Listen Here: Climb Every Mountain

4. "Defying Gravity," Wicked


Standout Lyrics: "I'm through accepting limits, 'cause someone says they're so. Some things I cannot change, but till I try I'll never know!"

Context: Elphaba has been convicted of being truly wicked. Instead of staying around and letting the people take her down, she decides to flee and take control of her life. One of the best musical middle fingers to society and the limits it places upon us, featuring Idina Menzel's insane voice.

5."Freak Flag," Shrek the Musical

Standout Lyrics: "All the things that make us special are the things that make us strong."

Context: For a musical that seems like the biggest joke of all time, "Shrek" is actually really good. This song is sung by all of the fairytale creatures who have been kicked out of the kingdom. They sing about accepting yourself and letting your freak flag fly. Words to live by, tbh.

6. "Get Out and Stay Out," 9 to 5


Standout Lyrics: "You used me, abused me, you cheated and you lied, so get out and stay out, I'm taking back my life."

Context: At the beginning of the show, Judy had recently been dumped by her cheating husband. Now she's got her own career, she's over him, and she's empowered. She's learned that she doesn't need a man and that she feels more free without one. And in a musical written by Dolly Parton, what would you expect?

7. "Green Finch and Linnet Bird," Sweeney Todd

Standout Lyrics: "My cage has many rooms, damask, and dark. Nothing there sings, not even a lark"

Context: Johanna is an orphaned girl who was taken in by a wealthy judge who never lets her leave the house. She sings to the caged birds because she relates to them, trapped in a cage by someone who just wants to admire their beauty. Did I mention that the judge also wants to marry her? Poor Johanna.

8. "The Guilty Ones," Spring Awakening

Standout Lyrics: "And now our bodies are the guilty ones, our touch will color the hours."

Context: Set in 1800s Germany, "Spring Awakening" is about the sexual awakening of teenagers in a small village. In this song, Wendla and Melchior have just had sex, and they sing about their conflicting feelings after the act.

9. "I Dreamed a Dream," Les Miserables

Standout Lyrics: "But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder, as they tear your hope apart, as they turn your dream to shame."

Context: After being fired from the job she desperately needs, Fantine sings about how her life has gone from ideal to awful because of a man who impregnated her and left her to be a poor single mother. If I was ranking these songs instead of listing them alphabetically, this would absolutely be at the top.

10. "The I Love You Song," 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Standout Lyrics: "Darling, if you feel my gloom, blame it on me. Blame it on your dad-ily and mam-ily, 'cause depression runs in our family."

Context: Olive is competing in a middle school spelling bee, which neither of her parents could attend -- her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is always working. In this song, she fantasizes about hearing her parents tell her they love her, because they never do in real life. Yeah, devastating.

11. "Maybe," Next To Normal

Standout Lyrics: "For all those years I prayed that you'd go away for good, half the time afraid that you really would."

Context: Natalie's mother, Diana, has been struggling with several mental illnesses all of Natalie's life, leading to a neglectful, confusing relationship. In this song, Diana explains herself, and Natalie forgives her. This is one of the most devastating musicals to ever grace the Broadway stage.

12. "Proud of Your Boy," Aladdin

Standout Lyrics: "I'll do my best, what else can I do? Since I wasn't born perfect, like dad or you."

Context: A song that was cut from the original Disney film "Proud of Your Boy" features Aladdin singing to the memory of his mother, apologizing for not turning into a son she would've been proud of. Also, Adam Jacobs' voice makes me want to cry on its own.

13. "Santa Fe," Newsies

Standout Lyrics: "Why should you spend your whole life livin' trapped where there ain't no future, even at 17!"

Context: Jack is a poor newsie and one of the leaders of the newsboy strike. This song takes place after a failed protest at which one of his best friends is arrested, and Jack blames himself. Jack just wants to leave the city and go live the small-town life in Santa Fe. Jeremy Jordan also has a voice that makes me want to cry.

14. "There's a Fine, Fine Line," Avenue Q

Standout Lyrics: "I guess if someone doesn't love you back, it isn't such a crime!"

Context: After being in that "what are we?" phase for a while, Kate is fed up with trying to make a romance happen out of her friendship with Princeton. She's stepping away and moving on, instead of waiting for him to figure out what he wants. For one of the goofiest musicals of all time, this song is pretty #relatable.

15. "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," Phantom of the Opera

Standout Lyrics: "Too many years fighting back tears, why can't the past just die?"

Context: In the midst of a hectic life as an opera singer with a possessive tutor (understatement, yes, I know), Christine mourns the death of her father, who she knows would've made everything she's experiencing somehow easier. To me, this song is more powerful than the song "Phantom of the Opera" because while that one is about the control the Phantom has over Christine, this involves her on her own, and the feelings she has unrelated to him, and is a reminder that her life does not revolve around the Phantom.

Cover Image Credit: Luner on Theatre

Popular Right Now

College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
44726
views

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

950
views

This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

Giphy

Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

Giphy

Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

1.bp.blogspot.com

You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

upload.wikimedia.org

You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

btckstorage.blob.core.windows.net

The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/385972630558152185/

You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

cdn.pixabay.com

The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

www.youtube.com

The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

live.staticflickr.com

This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

assets.rbl.ms

Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

assets.rbl.ms

You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

c1.staticflickr.com

Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

assets.rbl.ms

Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

media.rbl.ms

Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

Related Content

Facebook Comments