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Musicals to Make You Feel Something

As a Cancer, I am expected to be an emotional mess of tears and feelings constantly and while that is sometimes true, sometimes it’s not. However, as with everyone, certain stimuli can bring out my inner water sign. One type of stimulus that always gets me is musical theatre which is my passion. So since we are entering Fall and will be cooped in more often than usual due to a pandemic, I have put together a playlist of musical numbers to get you in your feelings. Here are some musical numbers that make me feel something!

B&W movie theater
Ricky Turner

Requiem – Dear Evan Hansen

For a little context during this scene, Zoe Murphy and her parents reflect on the life of her deceased brother Connor. However, instead of it being emotional just because of death, it is emotional because Zoey is struggling internally. Evan, the main character has just told her about his friendship with her brother which severely contradicts the way she knew him. While Zoey and her father knew her brother as cold, horrible, and distant, Evan tells of his best friend who spent the weekend going on trips to apple orchards with him. This sends Zoey and her father into a spiral of guilt for feeling they never knew their son and brother respectively. However, Zoey’s mother sings of her son who she tried so hard to connect with and now feels like she is meeting him for the first time through his emails with Evan. Although this musical as a whole is completely heartbreaking, this song always feels like a punch to the gut due to all of the different sides of the story you get.

Alabanza – In the Heights

During this song, the entirety of Washington Heights comes together to mourn the passing of Abuela Claudia. Throughout the musical, you learn about the impact that Abuela had on every character. Everyone in the heights sees her as their abuela and teacher despite her being related to none of them. Throughout the story, she is the one who has lived in the heights the longest seeing it change more than anyone else as she first moved to America from Havana with her mother in 1943. Her death is unexpected and heartbreaking not only for the characters but for the listeners of this song, along with Atencion and Everything I Know. Prepare to have your heart ripped out of your chest honestly.

The Money – 21 Chump Street

21 Chump Street as a whole is a relatively heartbreaking musical as it focuses on the true story of a high school student who falls in love with an undercover cop posing to bust drug dealing at his school. However, this song is where things begin to go wrong for the main character Justin. In this song, he has just gotten weed for the cop unaware of her true identity in the hopes that she will like him back. Due to his age, Justin is arrested and got a felony charge that blemished his record. The most heartbreaking part of this is Justin had never done drugs before and went out of his way to get the weed for her.

Slipping Through My Fingers – Mamma Mia

One of the first musicals I ever remember seeing was Mamma Mia and not to be dramatic, but it changed my life forever and was partially the reason I went into college wanting to major in musical theatre. This song is one of the most emotional songs for me as Donna sings to herself while helping Sophie get ready for her wedding. It’s a beautiful mother-daughter moment that even if you can’t personally relate, it pulls at your heartstrings. Donna raised Sophie alone and had so many big plans for what she wanted to do with her daughter, but time passed too fast for her to do it all. Now her daughter is growing up and leaving the nest. Every time I have watched this movie my eyes fill with tears during this scene which may just be some big Cancer momma bear energy or the fact that one of my dream roles is Sophie.

Barbara 2.0 – Beetlejuice

In this song, Barbara and Adam reflect on when they were alive with a new bitterness. They realize that all throughout their lives they’ve been lying to themselves and now that they are dead, they have no reason to lie anymore. As they break through the years of trying to be people they weren’t, they realize that this is their chance to do better by helping Lydia. From the beginning, they were holding themselves back, but now they see that Lydia needs someone like them to help guide her. It’s a really fun song but also a beautiful look at being yourself and not holding back your true self while you’re alive because you never know when you’ll go.

There are so many more songs on the playlist and as I begin listening to more musicals I will be adding more, but for now, you can listen to these songs and more here. I hope you some of these musical favorites resonate with you!

Her Campus CWU Writer Current Junior at Central Washington University Majoring in Liberal Studies with a Business minor A yellow enthusiast through and through
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