I was exposed to the world of theater early in life as one of my older cousins was very active in the musical theater community. I grew up watching her perform in a multitude of different roles such as Annie in "Annie," Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde," and the kangaroo in "Seussical the Musical." This exposure to show tunes at such a young age sparked my love of the genre. Now, when I'm studying or working, I like to put on the soundtrack of one of the musicals I've watched a million times (such as "Les Mis" or "Mamma Mia") so I can focus on my work while still listening to music.
My years of obsessing over musicals have to lead me to find some pretty awesome songs, these are some of my favorites.
"Take A Chance On Me" from Mamma Mia.
"Mamma Mia" is one of my all-time favorite musicals and this song is one of the reasons why. The song is sung by my favorite character, Rosie, while she tries to seduce one of Sophie's potential fathers, Bill after Donna and Sam get married. It is a fun loving song which leaves the audience in tears from laughing so hard.
"Dead Girl Walking (Reprise)" from Heathers.
This song is one of the final songs in "Heathers the Musical." The premise of the song is a bit more hard-hitting than "Take a Chance On Me." In this song, the main character, Veronica, has faked her own suicide and has come back to school to confront her psychotic ex-boyfriend, J.D. to stop him from blowing up the entire school. It's a pretty intense song but has amazing lyrics and rhythm.
"Ireland" from Legally Blonde The Musical.
This song confronts the subject of broken dreams. It is sung by my favorite character, Paulette, as she recounts her dreams of finding someone to love. She is trying to comfort the main character, Elle after she tries to dye her hair brown to impress her ex-boyfriend. I think the song is super important because it establishes the relationship between Paulette and Elle. It also shows the caring nature of Paulette.
"Everything I Know" from In The Heights.
"In The Heights" is a super cool musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about a group of Hispanic-Americans living in Washington Heights in NYC. "Everything I Know" is sung by the character, Nina, after her Abuela dies. It's a very emotional song that made me cry the first time I listened to it, but it's beautifully written.
"Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" from Les Misérables.
Speaking of emotional, "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" is another song that made me cry the first time I listened to it. The song is sung by Marius a few days after the battle where he's the only one of his friends to survive. He goes back to the cafe where they would meet before to grieve and reminisce the loss of his friends. The song is a haunting reminder of the real-life cost of war.
"It Takes Two" from Hairspray.
"It Takes Two" is a song from the musical, "Hairspray." Link is the character who sings it and it's just a fun song about how a man needs a woman to complete him. While the premise is a little sexist, it's a fun song that is super catchy and fun to sing along to.
"There! Right! There!" from Legally Blonde The Musical.
This song is another fun one to sing along to. It takes place in the courtroom while the group of lawyers and law students examine a witness who they aren't sure is straight or gay. The lyrics of the song are hilarious and it's fun to sing a long to with a couple of friends as different parts. If you're looking for a fun chorus song to sing with a couple of friends, this is the song for you.
"When He Sees Me" from Waitress.
"When He Sees Me" is a song from the musical "Waitress." It's sung by the character, Dawn, while she expresses her insecurity with regards to going on a blind date. The way the character sings the song is super fun, however, there are serious tones of insecurity in the chorus when she sings, "Is 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? What happens then? If when he knows me, he's only disappointed? What if I give myself away, to only get it given back? I couldn't live with that."
"One Day More" from Les Misérables.
"One Day More" may well be my favorite song out of this list. It's sung by the entire cast of Les Mis at the end of the first act and foreshadows the tragedy of the second act. Each of the members of the main cast has some type of solo where they express their hopes for the next day. However, it's clear that not all characters will get their happy ending which adds to the intensity of this astonishing song.
"She Used To Be Mine" from Waitress.
This is another emotional song for my list. This is a song is sung by Jenna, a young waitress, as she looks back at her life before she was in an abusive relationship with her husband and before she found out she was pregnant. She feels as though she has lost all hope in life and how she thought her life would turn out so much different than how it did.
These are just ten of my favorite songs from musicals. To be honest, I usually have two to three songs from each musical that I'll listen to on repeat, so it was difficult to narrow down my list. Whether you enjoy show tunes or you hate them, I'm sure they'll be one song from this list you'll enjoy!