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Feeling Down? Here Are Five Musicals to Lift Your Spirits

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

As the semester comes to an end, you’re going to need a soundtrack to get you through this final stretch. Science has proven that music can improve your mood and musicals provide countless songs that not only bop but also tell a story. So if you’re feeling down in this last month of classes, let Broadway give you a boost. Here are five musicals to lift your spirits (including one song from each to get you started if listening to entire musicals isn’t your thing.)

1. “Mamma Mia

This jukebox musical composed of only ABBA songs tells the story of Sophie, a young girl in pursuit to find her father so he can walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. The only problem? There are three men who could possibly be her father. Her mother Donna slept with three men around the time Sophie was conceived. With fun songs from the ’70s and a movie adaptation you can watch, “Mamma Mia” is one of the ultimate guilty-pleasure movies that will definitely make your day.

Song to get you started: “Dancing Queen

2. “Legally Blonde

Based on the 2001 movie with Reese Witherspoon, this musical follows Elle Woods on her quest to rekindle her love with her college boyfriend Warner Huntington III. Her pursuit for love takes her to Harvard Law School where she realizes she can be more than just a dumb blonde. Luckily for theatre fans everywhere, MTV recorded a live performance of the show and posted it on YouTube for all to see. 

Song to get you started: “So Much Better


3. “Newsies

This Disney musical is based on a movie that was based on an actual historical event in which youth in New York went on strike to protest the way they were being compensated. This musical features fun songs, activism and lots of tap dancing. You can watch a professional recording of the show on Disney+, and you can stream the whole soundtrack on Spotify.

Song to get you started: “King of New York


4. “Wicked

Before a tornado dropped Dorothy in Oz, Elphaba, the wicked witch of the West, shared a room with Glinda the Good. Wicked is a re-imagined prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” based on a book by the same name. It is one of the longest-running shows on Broadway and even has a movie in the works. 

Song to get you started: “Popular


5. “Chicago

Who doesn’t love murder and jazz? Set in the 1920s, “Chicago” tells the story of women in prison for murder, trying to get famous. Not only is it the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, but it also has a movie adaptation with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger. With upbeat jazzy songs, this musical is sure to brighten anyone’s day.

Song to get you started: “All That Jazz

Rachel is a graduate student at WVU majoring in journalism with minors in Appalachian studies, history and political science. In addition to writing for Her Campus, she is also a publicity intern for Arts and Entertainment and a news intern for Univerisity Relations. She is from Princeton, West Virginia and loves her state and its beautiful mountains. She is passionate about many things including dogs, musicals and the Mountaineers.
Maura is a senior at West Virginia University, studying honors journalism and leadership. She was the president of Her Campus at WVU from 2018-2019, interns with ESPN College GameDay and works as a marketing/communication assistant for the Reed College of Media. On campus, she has written opinion for WVU's Daily Athenaeum, served as the PR chair for WVU Society of Professional Journalists and was a reporter for WVUToday. She teaches leadership classes for the Honors College and is an active member of both the Honors Student Association and Helvetia Honorary. Maura is an avid fan of The New Yorker, (most) cities and the first half of late-night talk shows.