Oh, musical theatre, what is it about you? How are you able to change a life through a single note or phrase?
When sitting down to write this article, I originally intended to list off my favorite theatre lyrics and quotes and share my reasoning on why I adored them. But as I wrote, however, I began to think about how there were millions of theatre lovers out in the world who held their own share of personal quotes dear to their hearts. Why would I make an article only featuring lyrics I loved when I could ask thousands of individuals around the world what theatre quotes were most impactful to them?
So Instead, I reached out to lovely thespians across the world through Theatre Nerds , an international theatre page on Facebook, and asked folks to share their favorite musical lyrics- and if they felt like sharing, why!
As described to those who answered my question on Facebook, the line or lyric chosen could be anything, as long as it holds some significance to them. It could be a lyric that simply resonates with you, or sticks out to you when you hear it delivered by an actor. Maybe it's a line you reflect back to when facing a challenge, or a lyric that has made you become a better person. Maybe the line changes the way you see the world. It just has to mean something to you.
From around the world, here's what theatre lovers had to say when sharing the most impactful lyric they've ever heard!
"All Will Know the Wonder." -Spring Awakening
"Especially within the context of the show, I think this quote is just so beautiful and powerful. These words tell the listener that although the world contains so much heartache and sadness, hope and love are constant as well. Despite the bad in the world, there is good- and no matter what happens, truth and the happiness will always somehow come to light." -Margret Mary M.
"You will be found." -Dear Evan Hansen
"I started listening to dear Evan Hansen when I was in a really dark place and felt really alone in the world. That show made me feel less alone." -Quinn G.
"Anything can happen if you let it" -Marry Poppins
Written in by Sarah L.
"There's a million things I haven't done..." -Hamilton: an American Musical
"I love this lyric, it's such a great contrast to the rest of the song and instantly amplifies my mood. I love the message that comes with it." -Grace K.
"Tomorrow we'll discover what our God in Heaven has in store" -Les Misérables
"This quote is so meaningful to me. I've always struggled with my faith, so having a musical to remind me to always trust in God no matter what happens is life changing." -Sabrina T.
"Everyone deserves the chance to fly" -Wicked
"I put it on a poster for my classroom because it speaks volumes." -Laurel S.
"No day but today" -Rent
"It's tattooed on my back!" -Amanda M.
"You have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth/ Yet there's that upturned chin and that grin of impetuous youth/ Oh I believe in you...I believe in you" -How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
"I have sung this song to myself before many big moments in my life- before leaving for college, before going onstage in a show, before opening night of the first musical I directed, and before a big job interview. It's a rare song because it is the lead character literally singing to himself in a musical and pumping himself up. As a woman, we are taught to be humble to a fault, and I have to remind myself to be proud of my accomplishments and abilities. This song gets me to that place EVERY time, and I always knock it out of the park." -Liney M.
"So you fill your life with sound/ And if you dance like hell/ You hope you never touch the ground" -Bare: A Pop Opera
"I can't explain why, but for some reason I just feel it so hard in my chest every time [I hear this lyric]." -Anonymous
"Too long I've been afraid of losing love I guess I've lost/ Well if that's love, it comes at much to high a cost." -Wicked
"Helped pull me out of some bad relationships." -Liz L.
"Forget regret/ Or life is yours to miss" -Rent
Written in by Jaime W.
"Don't apologize for things that aren't your fault. And never apologize for being a boss." -Mean Girls Broadway
Written in by Amanda A.
"Maybe she's what you prefer/ But, hey, last year I was her/ Maybe you will change your mind/ But you might look up to find/ I've gone on to better things/ Better jobs or bigger rings." -Legally Blonde the Musical
"These lyrics to me are declarations to my old theatre teachers that never gave me a chance to prove myself. I am so much better now and I am improving. I can only grow from here." -Madison S.
The Full Song of "Day by Day" -Godspell
"This show I did in high school and dealt with a lot of bully issues, like being called a "thesbian". I believed in the freedom to express ourselves, and that's why I got pegged as gay, but I bore through it because I love the stage. [I] found my faith on my own terms. My freshman year of college, my director assigned us a lip sync and I totally spaced on it but I ran to my car and pulled out the Godspell CD and gave this song- my best improved performance and nailed it. He later told me it was one of the best of those assignments he'd ever seen.
I love how theatre has taught me to accept everyone's creativity and appreciate the arts in all their forms." -Anonymous
"And if I'm flying solo/ At least I'm flying free." -Wicked
"This helped me to accept that sometimes people come in and out of our lives, but sometimes they can only hold you back from who you really are [meant to be]." -Lorenzo E.
"Even if you're little you can do a lot" -Matilda the Musical
"This quote reminds me that no matter how small you are, you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to!" -Yaffa S.
"And you find out you don't have to be happy at all/ To be happy you're alive" -Next to Normal
Written in by Gigi O.
"You Learn to Live Without" -If/Then
Written in by Anonymous
"I was just a no one only yesterday/ You showed up and showed me something more/ Now I've become a someone who has someone to believe in and to be there for." -Seussical the Musical
Written in by Christina C.
"Would they like what they saw?/ Or hate it too?" -Dear Evan Hansen
Written by Brenna I.
"Years of dreams just can't be wrong" -Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical
"I did theatre my entire life- there are videos of me at around five, talking about me wanting to be performing on a big stage someday... my senior year of high school, however, ended my theatre career for what I thought was for good. An abusive relationship, a broken family, and an accident that left me in a wheelchair for what I was told would be forever (it turned out to be only four months- God is good!) made me believe that I was done. I was a shell of a person. Six years later, after taking a total hiatus and not listening to a single musical theatre song, I saw that Anastasia was made into a Broadway show. That was one of my favorite movies as a kid. I listened to "Journey To The Past", and I sobbed. I had given up on my absolute life dream, and thought I could never get the courage and passion to do it again, but these lyrics pushed me to audition for a show in a brand new town on the other side of the country. I was scared, but I listened to this song, took a breath, auditioned, and I got the part I went out for! Since then I haven't stopped, and I don't see how I ever could again. The whole song is just such a testament of being terrified and then doing it anyway! It will always be so special to me!" -London B.
"No one is alone" -Into the Woods
"We all are on this journey called life together, and theatre is a place I find myself surrounded by others who I can laugh with, dream with, and cry with." -Jessie C.
"You alone can make my song flight/ Help me make the music of the night" -The Phantom of the Opera
"To all the people who inspired me in any way during my lifetime." -Rebeka M.
NYC/ I give you fair warning/ Up there/ the lights/ I'll be" -Annie
"These lyrics always make me tear up whenever I reach them in the song. I have just always wanted so desperately to live out my dreams of being on Broadway, an whenever I hear these lyrics it's the emotion and mental state I wish to have." -Kathleen E.
"What if when he sees me, what if he doesn't like it?/ What if he runs the other way and I can't hide from it?" -Waitress
"This impacts me because I am always afraid of putting myself out there in the dating world. I don't want my partner to see the real me and be weirded out and run away. You can't hide from rejection like that. Being rejected because of who you are cuts deep into your self-image. It's a deep rooted fear, not being accepted. Before this song, I didn't know how to describe these feelings." -Madison S.
"Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood/ Do not let it grieve you/ No one leaves for good" -Into The Woods
"Recently, one of my close friends passed away. These song lyrics in "No One is Alone" really helped me with it. They gave me a "peace" to the storm." -Lyric C.
The Full Song of "No day but Today" -Rent
"Everything about the message keeps me grateful that my life keeps going. Through relationship struggles, depression, career struggles, I've always gone back to that song and the whole show in general. If you've never heard the background story of the writer, please look it up. At the age of 34, I've made my dream of working on the stage come true. Theatre continues to give me life." -Nicole C.
The Full Song of "Defying Gravity" -Wicked
"One of the first Broadway shows I saw and got to take a struggling friend with me, who was eternally grateful for the experience. I realized that I wanted to share theatre and find a way to make it my career. I realized that I could do anything I wanted, I just needed to get out of my comfort zone. And even as I've found my vocation and have a great job, I want to keep growing and gain more knowledge to be a production manager. Everyone deserves a chance to fly. And as a single mother, I know I'm flying solo, but I'm flying free." -Anonymous
"I am no longer a child, I wish to see the woods." -Into the Woods
"I am growing up now, becoming an adult- there are things in life I need to experience on my own and do by myself. There's opportunities awaiting that I cannot wait to find." -Cierra G.
"They say times are hard for dreamers, but they won't be hard for me" -Amélie: A New Musical
"This is one of my favorite lines from a musical because it speaks to being free to be yourself. As a dreamer, I don't feel held down, and this line just reminds me not to hold myself back anymore. Times may be hard for dreamers, but as long as I don't let that stop me, the times won't be so bad for me! It's always just a nice reminder to have." -Kaitlyn C.
"Courage cannot erase our fear/ Courage is when we face our fear" -Newsies
"This is what I remind myself of whenever I'm on the edge of bailing on something due to being insecure and nervous." -Anonymous
"Don't it go to show ya never know?" -Little Shop of Horrors
"This line really stuck with me because it epitomizes my journey in theatre, particularly this year. I auditioned for Noises Off and didn't get in, but was then offered the position of stage manager. When I auditioned for Little Shop, I initially was an understudy for a Doo-Wop, but then another girl had to drop out and I was given the part. I am eternally grateful for these experiences, because they have helped me learn and experience more of what theater can be like, but also simply what it is to live life." -Meg D.
"Give in to love, or live in fear" -Rent
"This lyric (and many others from Rent) gave me courage and inspiration to come out to my family and friends." -Pip W.
"I hide myself in thought/ Where one cannot be caught" -The Mystery of Edwin Drood
"I always wait for this line when I hear... I just love it so much. It's just such a creative line." -Kathleen S.
"You decide what's right/ You decide what's good" -Into the Woods
"This line is so influential on my life because I have always listened to others on what was right or wrong for me- I never listened to myself to find an answer. I have learned from this line that it's up to me what is good and bad in life, and that I should have the confidence to know that what I think is the right answer!" -Anonymous
"You have no control/ Who lives/ Who dies/ Who tells our story" -Hamilton: an American Musical
Written in by Elvira H.
"No matter what the world might say/ This heart is the best part of me" -The Prom
"This line really got me, when I sang it at first I'd always cry. I'm a lesbian Christian and it gets hard living with people in both your community's hating each other- (mostly the Christian's hating gay people though).
It helped me realize that nobody knows my heart except me. Nobody knows my love for my Fiancée like I do. Nobody knows my relationship with Jesus like I do. Nobody can love me like I can either, and that's what I need. To love myself regardless of anyone else's opinions and focus on my relationship with my fiancée. She's beautiful and no matter how many churches I get kicked out of, she will always be by my side. She's the best thing in my life and I won't let anyone tell me different." -Rebecca S.
"To love another person is to see the face of God" -Les Misérables
Written in by KevBev Q.
"I'll keep the coffee brewing" -In the Heights
"This lyric always reminds me to keep going no matter how bad anything gets." -Keegan B.
"Where do I go/ Follow my heartbeat/ Where do I go/ Follow my hand/ Where they lead me/ And will I ever/ Discover why I live and die" -Hair
"When I fell in love with Hair, the feeling was indescribable. I was in the same stage of my life as the Tribe, and I asked all the same questions and had the same thoughts. The two songs that impact me the most every time I listen are Flesh Failures/Let the Sunshine In and Where Do I Go. The feeling of being a part of a movement, a revolution even, is familiar and overwhelming. Being a part of a movement that is so life changing like the counterculture/anti-Vietnam movement is hard for me to rationalize, yet the feelings that are woven through the songs of Hair allow me to empathize in a deeper way than I could have ever imagined. Where Do I Go is a song that I believe sums up my late adolescence/early adulthood. My path, like Claude's, is so unclear to me. I am in constant conflict over whether to follow my heart or my mind. I'm looking for my purpose on this planet. This song validates my feelings and makes me feel like I will find my calling someday. I'm not choosing between going to war or staying home and fighting for what I believe in, of course, but I am fighting a personal internal war, just like Claude. Claude dies fighting in a war that should have never happened, but he never regretted his choice because it was his life duty. I don't expect my death to be directly related to the resolution of my internal conflict, but Claude's death reminds me to choose the path that, if I had to, I would be willing to die for."- Kathrine A.
"Somewhere in the middle of nowhere/ You found your heart but left a part of you behind" -Come From Away
"This speaks to me because I love to travel and do feel like I find myself in each new place. It inspires me to have new experiences and to live my life to the fullest." -Hannah S.
"And I might be a dreamer/ But it's gotten me this far/ and that is far enough for me." -Amélie: A New Musical
"This always reminds me to take stock and happiness of right where you are in life." -Jasmine B.
"Just drive/ Stay ahead and stay ahead and stay alive/ The weather may be stormy but the rod is still before me/ so pedal to the medal and drive!" - The Lightening Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
"This reminds me that whatever troubles I may have, I just need to keep going to [ultimately] find my way." -Hannah S.
"Just Breathe" -In the Heights
"Enough Said." -Anonymous
"Yes I know I'm just an outcast/ I shouldn't speak to you/ Still I see your face and wonder/ Were you once an outcast too?" -The Hunchback of Notre Dame
"The whole song "A Gypsy's Prayer" is about humanity, struggle for survival, and unjust treatment of people who are different. It's a beautiful song, sung by the most charitable character in the whole story, and a plea for kindness and acceptance.
This song is applicable to 15th century French society, and today, meaning we have a lot of growing up to do in terms of treating people with kindness." -Lea F.
"It isn't what I have, it's only what I have in store... It isn't where I am, it's only where I'll go from here" - Amelie: A New Musical
"These quotes are a reminder that, though I may not have everything I've wanted right now, there's still time to work towards achieving them. That's an exciting and motivating reminder!" -Haley F.
"Have you ever felt like nobody was there?/ Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?/ Have you ever felt like you could disappear?/ Like you could fall and no one would hear?" -Dear Evan Hansen
"Yes, yes, yes, and yes." -Jericho D.
"Don't dream it, be it" -The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Written in by Charlotte J.
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is to just love and be loved in return" Moulin Rouge
"This is my favorite quote of all time regardless it being from a musical. I think this is the approach all of us should have to life as at the end of the day- love IS the most important thing!"
"INDEPENDENCE!" -The Trail to Oregon
Written in by Katelyn H.
"I am the one thing in life I can control/ I am inimitable, I am an original." -Hamilton: an American Musical
"Burr just really got me in this line. Sometimes I feel invisible and like nothing I do has any impact whatsoever. This line keeps me thinking that it's up to me to choose how I let the world affect me, and that I matter because I say I matter. Despite all of things life throws at me, I control me." -Khansa S.
"On the outside always looking in/ Will I ever be more than I've always been?" -Dear Evan Hansen
"This line reaches into the very fiber of my soul. This year, a lot has happened. I was working my way through college, when suddenly everything fell apart. I lost a beloved family friend due to an asthma attack. He was only 13. My brother's been having asthma attacks left and right. My mom's job is paying her less than before. Our house is starting to fall apart. I had to come back home. It's looking like I'll either have to drop out, or postpone my education right when I was finally becoming everything I wanted to be. It feels like everything is being snatched right as it entered my view. This line is how I feel when I think of my situation. I feel like an outsider to my friends who get to keep learning. I feel like an outsider to my family after seeing what life could be for me and wanting that more than anything." -Anonymous
"You will be found" -Dear Evan Hansen
"This has to be one of my favorite most impactful lines because a couple months ago I lost a friend to suicide and I fell into a dark place. A really dark place .But then a friend said "listen to 'You Will be Found'"... It changed me. I really listened to the lyrics then she said "you will be found, and you are not alone. I'm here with you, so are so many other people." Whenever I'm feeling alone my mind goes to the saying "you are not alone", and my friends speech she gave to me." Julia N.
"I can see a world, beautiful and strange/ Can you see it too?/ It's so close, don't let it get away; there's so much to do before it's over" -Dogfight
"Not only is this show just the most heartbreakingly beautiful story, but I think this line shows so much growth from the character who sings it, who begins the show introverted and unwilling to dream beyond her circumstances. It's so hopeful and bright, and it's a really incredible moment for her character and the show in general." -Gaby M.
Thank you to everyone who wrote in, your lyrics and explanations were all incredibly moving!
Do you have any musical theatre quotes that resonate with you? Write below!