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Ride the Cyclone: The Saddest Musical You Will Ever Listen To

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

Back in my junior year of high school, I unknowingly introduced myself to one of my favorite musicals of all time. Scrolling aimlessly on TikTok one day led me down a rabbit hole of beautiful voices, funny quips, and one of the saddest storylines I have ever seen a musical have. Ride the Cyclone was created in 2008 by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell, and it still stands as one of my all-time favorite musicals. 

The musical is a simple premise. A group of six teenage choir kids dies in a freak roller coaster accident. A sentient fortune teller that can predict the exact time and date of your death gives the six kids a chance to live again, but only one can come back. So the teenagers must sing and create reasons why they should be the one to get a second chance at life. 

Ocean O’Connell-Rosenberg, the most successful girl in town, is the go-getter, leader of the choir who sings a pop song pushing everyone else down in order to talk up herself. Noel Gruber, the most romantic boy in town, sings about his secret wish to be a hooker in post-war France. Mischa Bachinski, the angriest boy in town, gets two songs. One is a rap and the other is a love song towards his online girlfriend, Talia, back in Ukraine. Ricky Potts, the most imaginative boy in town, sings about his fantasies he made up while being unable to talk and communicate. Constance Blackwood, the nicest girl in town, who finally gets to let out her real emotions. Finally, the mystery contestant, Jane Doe, who’s quite a mystery within herself. 

Now, the characters may seem like a mess, but the way that they all mash together into the musical is so beautiful. They’re all so different from each other, but come together in the most beautiful way. You start to care less about who these kids were, and start to care more about the beautiful stories they create around themselves. You watch them learn from their mistakes and teach themselves why and how they were wrong. 

The first time I actually sat down to watch the musical – watch not listen – I bawled for a good hour or so afterward. There’s something about the final scene that makes my skin prickle with how emotional it is. Listening to it, however, veers a much different story. You get all the same emotions, but you have the ability to jump up and dance around to the music. 

In all, this musical is a sensation so different from the normal inner workings of the typical musical you may watch now. It deserves so much more than the smaller fanbase it’s gathered since it first came out. You can find the music here! There’s not really anywhere you can sit down and watch the musical, but you can find clips of it on YouTube. 

Just fixed a few grammatical things, and deleted a space! Overall, a really great job! :)

Rylee Clark

Bradley U '27

My name is Rylee! I'm a freshman at Bradley University.