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If you’re like me and you adore musical theater, you might always have a soundtrack playing in the back of your mind. However, on the off chance you don’t, or you’re new to the genre, here’s a list to keep you occupied.

Finding Neverland:

Based on the playwright J.M Barrie and his quest to find his true story, Finding Neverland is sure to make you happy. Filled with lovable characters, heart-wrenching plot twists and an absolutely incredible soundtrack (I’m listening to it right now for the first time in months and am once again blown away), it has something for everyone. Plus, you’ll get to learn about the origins of Peter Pan, Wendy and Captain Hook. 

Newsies:

Based on the Newsboys Strike of 1899, this explosive musical is sure to rouse your desire to fight against oppressive regimes. Just imagine the cute boys dancing the jaw-dropping, Tony winning choreography and you’re golden. Not to mention the score is something to believe in (pun intended). Bonus: The musical was pro-shot and is on Netflix and iTunes. 

Anastasia:

Based on the rumor that the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna survived her execution, Anastasia will not disappoint. Along with some originals, many of the songs we have grown to love from the 1997 Fox movie have made their way into the Broadway soundtrack. The Broadway version also introduces some new characters that add another layer of depth to the story. The music is amazing and the story continues to demand attention. 

Bonnie & Clyde:

When I found this musical last year, I immediately became obsessed. You might begin believing you could never feel sympathy for the infamous duo, but believe me, you’re wrong. This musical makes you incredibly sad that they died. Bonus: the duo is voiced by Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes, a.k.a the dream team.

Bandstand: 

Following WWII, musician Donny Novitski puts together a band of veterans to help with the healing process of coming home from war. He meets widow Julia Trojan and she becomes their lead singer. This musical expertly portrays PTSD and is the only musical to be sponsored by Got Your 6, an industry created to empower veterans. If you’re a crier, get your tissues because you will need them. Bonus: Lin-Manuel Miranda declared the act one finale the best since Wicked. 

Ragtime:

Also historically significant, this musical will make you cry, rise up in anger and wonder how nothing has changed. The musical follows three families in the 20th century. The music is soleful, energetic and captures an entire era. It’s hard to listen to something horrible and wonder why nothing has changed, but Ragtime is an important one to bear through. 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

A mix between the Disney movie and the Victor Hugo book, this musical has every element one could want. It is also incredibly relevant to the world we live in today. Similar to Anastasia, the Hunchback soundtrack is also a combination of songs from the movie and original compositions. And let me tell you, the finale is something you will want to listen to more than once. Goosebumps is all I can say. 

Heathers:

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking revenge on the cliques in your school, this musical is for you. Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, this musical has songs ranging from inspirational to straight up murder. Take out your diary and start writing down your feelings. Just make sure you don’t accidentally murder someone and make it look like a suicide. Warning: this musical may be full of triggers, so proceed with caution. 

The Last Five Years:

For this, you have three soundtrack options: original off-Broadway, movie cast and off-Broadway revival cast. All three are amazing options, but I personally opt for the movie soundtrack which features Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick. The entire story is told in the music, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything. What makes this musical unique is that it follows the relationship between Jaime and Cathy both chronologically and backwards. So in other words, you get to hear a relationship begin and end at the same time. Who doesn’t like that? No matter your relationship status, you’ll most likely find a song you can relate to, making it a great option. Bonus: the movie is on Netflix. 

There are so many more musicals that I could recommend, but these are generally the ones I start with. All of the soundtracks are available on Youtube and most of them are on Spotify, so plug in your headphones and get ready for an adventure.

 

Lauren Stretar is a student at Hamline University studying creative writing and sociology. She has two poems published.
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