5 Musicals for the Non-Musical Person

We all like to jam out to the biggest hits on the radio, but how does a Broadway belting car session sound? Intrigued? Here are five musicals to listen to if you want to start getting into Broadway! You can put aside the tap shoes for now.

  1. 1. Mamma Mia!

    One girl, three possible fathers, and a whole lot of ABBA. I saw the 2008 adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried when I was really young, but once I saw the Broadway production of this show back in 2015, I was obsessed with it for a few months. If you don’t know the plot of the famous jukebox musical Mamma Mia! follows Sophie as she secretly invites three men to her wedding, hoping that one of them could be her father. “Dancing Queen” may be your go-to karaoke song, but once you play the West End soundtrack on repeat, you’ll be hooked on the overture. Once you start listening, you’ll never get tired of it!

    Song Suggestions: “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Super Trouper”

    Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6LFLGHU6Rw2sAMrjax6f5t?si=wUlqf9_hSymZpDYc1m8gzA

  2. 2. Legally Blonde

    “What, like it’s hard?” Think you can watch the famous Reese Witherspoon chick-flick over and over? Think again. Legally Blonde, the story of Elle Woods gaining admission to Harvard Law to win back her ex-boyfriend, has been adapted into a 2007 Broadway musical, and it is a guilty pleasure among theatre kids, like myself. Catchy melodies, clever one-liners, and intense choreography? What more could you want? Give it a listen, and then you will bend and snap for a revival (we can only hope)!

    Song Suggestions: “What You Want”, “So Much Better”

    Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7os43c6BUhMJkDUaEtDufk?si=c7Td7O7fQySI9NvTLJbFsw

  3. 3. Hamilton

    The only reason I took AP U.S. History in high school was this musical alone. Hamilton is one of those musicals where you admit you don’t listen to it, but you play it over and over again when no one’s watching. The Broadway soundtrack includes 46 songs, but each one is integral to the storyline (and catchy, but that’s a plus). Hamilton is a sung-and-rapped through musical written by lyrical genius Lin-Manuel Miranda that tells the life about American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton—talk about educational AND catchy! Did I mention that the cast is comprised mostly of actors of color—hell yeah!

    Song Suggestions: “My Shot”, “Non-Stop

    Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1kCHru7uhxBUdzkm4gzRQc?si=nHZ3H4tPTqW8MreNHbhU2g

  4. 4. Dear Evan Hansen

    You might need tissues for this one. If you know Ben Platt as Benji from Pitch Perfect, you’re gonna love him even more once you listen to the cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen. A Tony Award-winning musical alongside Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen features the story of the titular character getting an opportunity to be someone else when a tragedy strikes his community. Heart-wrenching and emotion-heavy, this musical may not strike as a go-to for Broadway lovers, but its story is incredibly important to tell.

    Song Suggestions: “Waving Through a Window”, “You Will Be Found”

    Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0LhDyJXelg31FKLW5GDcKi?si=OutYTGX5RgKDI2xy0pyTMg

  5. 5. Wicked

    A Broadway classic, but so easy to get so obsessed. This was the first musical that got me into theatre and Broadway, and I couldn’t be happier (see what I did there). Based on the Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked is told from the perspectives of the witches in the Land of Oz, before and after Dorothy Gale’s arrival. Wicked is Broadway’s sixth-longest running show, and it has become a Broadway staple for anybody and everybody.  The original cast also had two Broadway legends (Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth), which is beyond iconic and powerful in itself. And don’t be ashamed—we’ve all belted “Defying Gravity” in the shower at some point in our lives.

    Song Suggestions: “The Wizard and I”, “Popular”

    Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1woCvthHJakakroP6dXNxs?si=-oOGCSZhTJSyNmwTHQ5TxA