7 Broadway Shows That Will Make Everyone Burst Into Song

7 Broadway Shows That Will Make Everyone Burst Into Song

I would be doing crimes if I didn't say "Defying Gravity" was one of my favorite songs.

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.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Russian, The Redhead, And The Lawyer: A Short Story

Taxi! Taxi!

This piece was based off an assignment for a creative writing class.

"Mine! This is mine!" The redhead is waving her hands in the air at the Russian and the lawyer, all three gathered at yellow cab. Inside the taxi driver is smoking a cigarette, listening to an audio nook, and is growing impatient by the second.

"Miss, actually," The lawyer speaks up with a clear, professional voice. "I believe that I actually signaled first."

Inside the cab, the driver flips on the taximeter and switches from cigarette to weed. Back on the street, the brawl continues. Now the Russian is growling, backing the lawyer against the taxi.

"Really, because, um, no you didn't. I was watching you sir, and no. This is my taxi, okay?" The redhead is still yelling at the lawyer that is being pushed by the Russian.

"Okay sir, I am the most high-profile lawyer in New York. I have a court case in 25 minutes, do not intimidate me!"

The Russian takes a deep breath, pushes up the sleeve of his sweater, and begins yelling in a thick Moscow accent. Everyone within a 5-mile radius stops in shock but decides to mind their own business when they see the vein blue out of his forehead.

"Guys, boys! No!" The redhead wedges herself between a man in a suit and Putin look-a-like.

"We can share the cab! Okay! Okay!" She looks back at the Russian that towers over her and then to the lawyer that is probably peeing his pants. Both are nodding in their own right.

"Igor, I'm assuming that's your name, you can sit up front! Okay? You can sit up front!"

But the lawyer doesn't agree with this and he throws his hands in the air, shaking his head in protest.

"Nope, I do not ride backseat."

The Russian puffs out his chest ready to fight the yuppie and redhead is standing between them again.

"Listen, we all have some place to be! We all called for a cab! Let's just get in it and we can figure it out! Okay?"

"My cab!" The Russian points to the taxi with a huge fist, the type of fist you get when you like 300 pounds every day.

"Sir, we all saw me call for the taxi first. It pulled up to me then you and this redhead tried to assault me!"

"Okay! You know what? First off, no! I did not 'assault' you, Mr. High Profile Lawyer!" The redhead throws her hands into the air in frustration.

Next to the three strangers, a young couple is running down the street yelling out "taxi!" The strangers glance at the sight, all rolling their eyes, and then ignores them.

"Fine, you know what? Igor and you can argue about this cab! I have somewhere to be!"

"Well so do I! I have court in 40 minutes!"

The Russian snorts.

"Two minutes ago you said it was 25!" Yells out the redhead.

As the Russian, the redhead, and the lawyer began again the couple spots the parked taxi. Their faces light up as they hop into the cab, unknowing that the taximeter has been running for over five minutes.

The redhead opens her mouth to speak, the Russian starts to laugh, and the lawyer stands with a confused face. The three strangers that have been arguing on the street for what seems like eternity then shake hands and go their separate ways.

Cover Image Credit: Jeshoots

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Autistic People Have Feelings, Too

Autism is not a feature of my person, but a filter on my perception.

I do not speak of my autism terrifically often. If I were to say something on the subject, I would likely begin by stressing that autism is not a feature of my person, but a filter on my perception. For me, autism is not a reduction of ability, but more like a smudge on the lens through which I view the world.

Many of the things that we see as defining us — our religious views, our political opinions, our hobbies and our pastimes — are like smudges on the outside of our figurative camera lenses. They may distort, discolor, or obscure the world as it is, but they are not permanent. They can be wiped off; the lens can be made clean, particularly if the person looking through the lens is aware of the distortion and how it is affecting his or her view of the world.

But autism is like a smudge on the inside of my camera lens. It’s been there since my manufacturing date, and there’s no way to remove it. I may be aware of the smudge. I may even have deduced the precise aspects of my life — namely, social communication — that is blurs. But that smudge is never coming off. No snapshot of my world will ever lack its distinct obfuscation of interpersonal “vibes.” I will never see the feelings of others the way I want to: as they are.

What’s going on with that lens? Is it a really a smudge? Is it more like a black-and-white filter? Does it take away the emotional depth perception that other people seem to have?

I don’t know.

Much of the time, I simply cannot know what, why, or how someone else is feeling unless they tell me. I am largely reliant upon others to tell me the truth about their feelings when prompted, perhaps in the way that a blind man might be dependent upon the honesty of others for accurate descriptions of his environment. The problem is that people don’t tell the truth about what they’re feeling; people aren’t honest about what’s going on in their minds, or their hearts.

To illustrate my point, I’m going to share with you a personal story of something that once happened to me.

I am an introvert by nature, which means I can benefit from trying to drag myself out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I used to have a habit of sitting and talking with strangers during my three daily meals spent in a college cafeteria. I would approach someone who didn’t look busy, ask if I could sit at their table, explain that I was only looking for conversation — and that if this made them uncomfortable, they could say no without hurting my feelings — and (most of the time) get a yes and reduce the count of strangers in the world by one.

Over the course of one such meal, I met a young woman with a fondness for The Chronicles of Narnia. When I explained that I was writing a novel in the vein of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and asked if she would have any interest in reading it, she told me she would. We exchanged contact information, I sent her the manuscript, and we shared a few SpongeBob jokes over text.

Then she stopped responding to me.

Oh, we still saw each other. I ate in her building three times a day, for Pete’s sake. I would smile and wave, she would smile and wave back. But she never got back to me on the novel. She never got back to me on anything. Whenever I asked to sit with her, she would insist a friend was coming.

I’m autistic, not stupid. That vestigial part of my brain intended to pick up on social cues was telling me that she was uncomfortable: that something was wrong. I just couldn’t figure out what.

Eventually, I approached her and said,

“Hey. I get the sense that I’ve done something to make you uncomfortable. If that’s the case, I’m very sorry. But I need you to understand that I have autism, and if you don’t tell me what I did wrong, I’m never going to figure it out. Will you be honest with me?”

She smiled and said, “You’re fine.”

The next time I asked to sit with her, she called the campus authorities on me.

I was notified by email that I was going to attend a non-negotiable meeting at a rather unfair time for my schedule. I was given less than a day’s notice and was refused any information regarding the subject of the meeting. What I experienced the next day was a shakedown, in a building where I didn’t live, in a room I’d never been, at the hands of a person I’d never met. I was accused of stalking this girl, harassing her, and hanging out in places on campus where I knew she’d be so I could pop out and ambush her.

I could go into a detailed defense of my character, explaining that I only ran into her so much because we had classes in a mutual building, and I ate three times per day in her residence hall because it’s the only nearby food source that my university, in its infinite wisdom, has provided for students who rely on dining account money for sustenance, and that it was cute anyone thought I had time to devote to stalking people. I’m not going to do that because it’s not the point of this article.

My interrogation by an inconsiderate and disbelieving individual I’d never met who accused me of things I’d never done was capped off by a low-key restraining order. I was told that (1) I was not to say hi to this person, (2) I was not to acknowledge this person’s existence in any way, (3) I was not to sit near this person, (4) if I were sitting somewhere and this person sat down by me, I had to get up and leave, and (5) I was not allowed to contact her or explain myself in any way.

I mostly ate by myself after that.

In retrospect, it’s clear that she lied to me: on many occasions, and about many things. But lying to a person who needs the truth to function is not a defensible course of action. You don’t tell a blind man the way ahead is clear when there’s a wall of Mario-style spiked blocks directly in front of him, you definitely don’t proceed to chastise him and his blindness as the reason he’s been wounded, and you absolutely, positively, do not then accuse him of walking into the wall of spikes as a means of harassing you. If the blind man in question literally asked, “Is there a giant wall of spikes in front of me?” and you answered “No,” then it is even less his fault.

All I’m saying is that maybe I’m not the defective human, okay?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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