If you couldn’t tell from a lot of my previous writings, I love everything about Broadway, musicals, and just theater in general. I love how theater can not only transport you to a whole new world and help tackle some of the largest social conflicts of today, but I also love how shows can just make you forget all of your troubles for a while and make you feel all the happy feels. Here are 7 of my personal favorite musicals, along with a video of each of my favorite songs.

1. Finding Neverland

I just recently discovered this show, but I fell in love with it instantly and it has taken up residence as one of my favorite musicals of all time. This show tells the story of the creation of J.M. Barry’s “Peter Pan,” while tackling the issues of growing up, love, and finding happiness. All of the amazing special effects, along with the beautiful costumes and story makes this one a must-see. I especially love the song “Believe,” as it is just a feel-good song with the right amount of whimsy that puts you right into the mood for the rest of the fun that is to come in the show.

2. Matilda

Already one of my favorite children’s books of all time, the musical version of “Matilda” tackles the issues of sticking up for yourself and powering through even in your darkest times. “Matilda” is one of those shows that just makes you feel good about life every time you watch it. The story is great, and the songs play a great homage to the book they were derived from. “Naughty” is my absolute favorite song in this show, as it reminds everyone that sometimes, only in times of grave danger, it is OK to be a little bit naughty.

3. Newsies

“Newsies” is based on the events of the 1899 Newsboy’s Strike in New York and the struggles that hundreds of newsboys had to face every day. This is another one of those shows that makes anyone feel like they can conquer the world after. This show tackles many issues, such as labor laws and feminism that makes it an important show even for today’s society. There are too many good songs to choose from, but I personally love “Seize the Day,” because it reminds me every day that I need to go out in the world and seize every opportunity I can grab.

4. Wicked

This show is the classic telling of how the Wicked Witch of the West from the “Wizard of Oz” came to be, and how she really isn’t that evil after all. The music, the costumes, and the overall story of “Wicked” makes this show a must see for all ages. It shows the world that it is OK to not fit in with society and walk to the beat of your own drum. I would be doing crimes to this show if I didn’t say that “Defying Gravity” was my favorite song. It just has so much heart and meaning behind it that it still makes me feel all the feels after listening to it hundreds of times.

5. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

This show is not very well-known by many people due to its brief stint on Broadway, but it still holds a special place in my heart for tackling the issues and stereotypes of all the types of children participating in Spelling Bees and their backstories, family dynamic, and feelings. This is a soundtrack that I always turn to when I am not in the greatest of moods since I am able to feed all of my emotions I am feeling into any one of these songs. My personal favorite would have to be “Pandemonium” because the song and choreography that goes along with it is literal pandemonium, making it a joy to watch.

6. Dear Evan Hansen

This recently released musical has captured my heart due to its tasteful way of tackling the issues of suicide, depression, and the harmful effects of social media on high school youth. There is something magical about listening to the soundtrack, and the performances of each actor and actress make the show what it truly is. Having not seen the show, it is hard for me to say a whole lot about it. However, what I do know is that Ben Platt’s performance of “Waving Through a Window” is one of the best of all time and is deserving of all the recognition it gets.

7. Annie

“Annie” was one of the first musicals that I listened to as a child only because my first dance teacher would always make us listen to a particular song, “Tomorrow,” at the end of each class before we left for the night. I still live by this song each and every day, as I believe that if I have a rotten day, I know that the next day can always be something to look forward to. This musical has so much optimism and hope inter-laced in its soundtrack and dialogue that will forever make it one of my favorites.