If you're a theatre nerd like myself, or you just like theatre in general, you're probably used to crying a lot during musicals. Personally, "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis, "For Good" from Wicked, and "Seasons of Love" from Rent are just a few that get me right in the feels every time. However, there are so many more lesser known songs from musicals that make me emotional, and if you like to cry over musicals like I do, this list is for you. I recommend watching a performance of these songs instead of just hearing it, and I have linked performances to some of these songs below. So, without further ado, here are some underrated songs from musicals that make me choke up pretty much every time I hear them (in no particular order):
1. "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from Phantom of the Opera
I think one of the most popular songs from Phantom is "All I Ask of You," and for a great reason, because it really is a beautiful and emotional song between two lovers who promise to love each other. Later on in the show, Christine sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" when she visits her father's grave. Like the title suggests, Christine is singing about how she wishes her father could be alive again to give her advice and be physically there to console her. The song starts off slow, but the music gets intense. Performed on stage, you can really see Christine's raw emotion at the intense part as she sings: "Wishing you were somehow here again / Knowing we must say goodbye / Try to forgive, teach me to live / Give me the strength to try."
2. "Goodbye Until Tomorrow / I Could Never Rescue You" from The Last Five Years
If you don't know The Last Five Years, it's a musical that tells the story of a writer (Jamie) and his actress wife (Cathy) and their relationship, but not in chronological order. We know at the beginning of the show that the two get divorced, so of course this show is going to be sad. I have cried during so many scenes of this show, it's not even funny. A couple of the most popular (and heartbreaking) songs from this show include "Still Hurting" and "See I'm Smiling." "Goodbye Until Tomorrow / I Could Never Rescue You" doesn't play until the end of the show. But the thing that's so different about this song is that Cathy and Jamie are singing during two different time periods. First, Cathy sings after she had just gone on her date with Jamie, saying that he is what she has been waiting for and she will see him tomorrow. Then, Jamie, at the end of their relationship, is sitting in their house, singing that he closed their bank account is getting help packing his bags. He basically says that he couldn't get things to work out between the two of them. Then, the two sing together, and it's just heartbreaking because you know that Jamie is saying goodbye forever, while Cathy (in the past) is saying goodbye for now. We know that he leaves her, but she doesn't until she finds his note and his wedding band when she comes back from work. Here is a link to a clip of this song from the movie version, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.
3. "The I Love You Song" from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Oh, gosh. Where do I start with this one? Well, this musical takes place at a spelling bee, as you can probably tell by the title of the show. In this song, a young girl named Olive is called up to spell the word "chimerical" (which means "highly unrealistic and wildly fanciful," like they say in the song). She sings about the abuse she saw in her parent's relationship as well as the neglect she felt from both of them towards her. She imagines that her parents are there singing with her, telling her that they love her. The song is mostly about Olive and her mother, who both have separate solos. Her father does come in and sing with Olive's mother, though. When the three of them sing together at the end, all of their voices are so powerful. Olive is constantly saying "I love you mama" and "how I wish you were home," while her parents are singing that they love her and are proud of her. It really is a tear-jerker because this young girl feels that her parent's love is, indeed, chimerical. This performance gives me chills every time (yes, I know the camera quality isn't that good but the performance is so please watch and try not to sob like I do every time).
4. "Seventeen" from Heathers: The Musical
This is a duet that Veronica and JD sing together. Even if you don't know the story, I'm sure you'll get major feels while listening to the song. Veronica starts off by talking about how their relationship is messed up and how she wants them to be normal seventeen year olds instead of killing people. They know that they're not perfect and are "damaged," but don't want to lose each other and want to make their relationship work in spite of all of this. The song and scene build up to a really intense part (musically and vocally) where they're both belting, then they have a passionate kiss and the song gets slow again. Ugh, there are just so many feelings. I don't even like JD's character, but this song is so emotional and I love it.
5. "I'd Give My Life For You" from Miss Saigon
This song is sung originally by Lea Salonga (who I adore and plays this part extraordinarily well), playing the main female character of Kim. She is singing to her infant son that she's give up her life for him and the words are just so beautiful and emotional. In this song, she mentions dreaming of her lover being there with her and it's just heartbreaking: "I feel his shadow brush my head, but there's just moonlight on my bed. Was he a ghost? Was he a lie that made my body laugh and cry?" Like most emotional songs, this one gets intense near the end and Salonga's voice and tone really make it so beautiful and sad.
6. "Who Will Love Me As I Am" from Side Show
Side Show is about Daisy and Violet, who are conjoined twins and become famous by performing at a sideshow in the 1930s. In this heart wrenching song, the two wonder if anyone can love them romantically because they are literally part of a circus. The lyrics are so heartbreaking: "Could we bend the laws of nature? Could a lion love a lamb?" You really feel sympathetic for the twins. Also, their voices show so much sadness, you can just tell that they just want someone to love them for who they really are, in spite of their physical appearance. This song also holds a really special place in my heart because one of my best friends and I sang it for a competition and it was so much fun!
7. "Hold Me In Your Heart" from Kinky Boots
I've never seen Kinky Boots, but I know that the music was written by Cyndi Lauper and that it's about a failing shoe factory that someone inherits, so they work with a drag queen to produce a line of high-heel boots to save the factory. "Hold Me In Your Heart" is sung by the drag queen, Lola. It's just an emotional song about how they still love and forgive someone even if the other person doesn't love them back. "Hold me in your heart just the way that I am. / With all your faults, I love you. / Don't give up on me. / I won't give up on you." Are you sobbing? Cause I am. They just want the other person's love and acceptance, and it gives me so many emotions.
8. "A Little Fall of Rain" from Les Misérables
Almost any song from Les Mis has the power to make me cry, but I think "A Little Fall of Rain" is underrated. Sorry if this is a spoiler, but this is the song that plays when Éponine dies (almost everyone dies in this musical though so like). Her and Marius, the boy she's in love with but can never have, sing this duet after she accidentally gets shot. She dies peacefully in his arms, telling him not to worry about her because she won't feel any pain when she passes. I don't know what's sadder, the fact that she will die in the arms of someone she knows will never love her back, or the fact that she knows she's going to die in general. Of course, there are so many amazing performances of this song, but Lea Salonga (of course) and Samantha Barks (who is also amazing) have been my favorite Éponines.
9. "You Matter to Me" from Waitress
I haven't had a chance to see Waitress, but I know that it's about a waitress who is in an unhappy marriage and winds up pregnant unexpectedly. She then enters a pie contest to try to win money because she has always wanted to open up a bakery. It sounds really touching emotional, and trust me, "You Matter to Me" is. It's a really soft song, sung between the waitress, Jenna, and the doctor she winds up falling in love with. My favorite part of the song is actually the spoken part, which is kind of ironic. At this part, she tells her child that she hopes she finds the feeling someday of truly feeling like she matters to someone. The words are just so moving, and the emotion in Jenna's voice is definitely there: "Dear baby, I hope someday, somebody wants to hold you for twenty minutes straight...All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight without an ounce of selfishness in it...I hope you become addicted to sane things, having to matter to someone." And after that, I start to cry.
10. "I'll Cover You- Reprise" from Rent
I think almost everyone knows "Seasons of Love," which gets me sobbing every time I see a performance of it, don't get me wrong. But another really deep emotional song from Rent is "I'll Cover You- Reprise." Like most of the other songs in this rock musical, this song has a good beat to it. This song actually samples "Seasons of Love" as well, which adds to the emotional appeal. It starts off slow in the beginning, with Collins singing about his love for his boyfriend Angel, who had just died of AIDS (sorry if that was a spoiler!) This was the one true love he had found within his life, and now he is gone. Then, the other characters come in and start singing with him. They are all saying that they will always be there for him, which I think applies to the other characters as they are singing to each other. This performance from the 2008 Final Performance Broadway cast is probably the best I've ever seen of this song, and if you're a Hamilton fan, you'll probably recognize Angelica Schuyler, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry, who played Mimi in this version.
Well, there you have it. These are some hidden gems from musicals that will give you plenty of emotions--get your tissues ready!