This period of social distancing and isolation has been difficult for many of us, especially theater artists who are used to rushing from one rehearsal to another and performing for large crowds of people. Most of us are social creatures and like Tinkerbell from Peter Pan, we need applause to live! There is no doubt that we are living in strange times where many of us are feeling unsure and maybe a little scared. It seems like all of us could use a little hope, inspiration, and uplifting during these times which lead me to put together this playlist of twelve Broadway songs that I find inspirational!
1.) When You Believe – The Prince of Egypt
With so much fear running through people’s minds right now, I think its important to remember to have faith in the good. The lyrics in the song seem to reflect how many people are feeling right now:
When prayer so often proves in vain
Too swiftly flown away
Yet now I’m standing here
My hearts so full, I can’t explain
I never thought I’d say”
This song finds Simba in an “all is lost” moment in his story, but he is reminded at the end of the song “that the night must end and that the sun will rise.”
3.) Tomorrow – Annie
Annie reminds us that when we are stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely, we just need to stick up our chin and remember that the sun will come out tomorrow.
4.) Defying Gravity – Wicked
I feel inspired every time I hear Elphaba turn to Glinda and say, “There’s no fight we cannot win, just you and I defying gravity!”
5.) Don’t Rain on my Parade – Funny Girl
This song is my reaction to the constant onslaught of dreary news stories. Don’t rain on my parade, I’m choosing to have hope and faith through all of this. “Life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of butter!”
6.) Somewhere Over the Rainbow – The Wizard of Oz
Like Dorothy, I find that my head is stuck in the clouds these days dreaming of a place where “troubles melt like lemon drops.”
7.) Seize the Day – Newsies
It has been inspiring to see so many artists coming together, seizing the day and shining a light through the darkness. It has been inspiring to see so many people seizing the day and rising up to the challenge of being artistic while sequestered at home.
8.) Put on a Happy Face – Bye Bye Birdie
I’m trying to follow Dick Van Dyke’s advice from this song and “spread sunshine all over the place” by putting on a happy face!
9.) You Can’t Stop the Beat – Hairspray
One of my all-time favorite musicals is Hairspray! The entire story itself is inspirational, but this week the lyrics from “You Can’t Stop the Beat” ring loud in my ears and I remember that the world keeps spinning round and round. The beat goes on!
10.) Pure Imagination – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I’ve been allowing myself to daydream a lot more lately. There is nothing better than living in a world of your imagination! This is where we can all find inspiration to do anything we wish.
11.) Impossible – Cinderella
Whenever I felt like the world was closing in on me and having hope was impossible, my mother would sing “Impossible” from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. She especially loved the Lesley Ann Warren version from 1965. It is inspiring me to be one of those “daft and dewy-eyed dopes” who build up impossible hopes to make impossible things happen!
12.) Seasons of Love – RENT
We have to remember through all of this to “share love, give love, and spread love.”
About the author:
Lyric Burt is a local artist who specializes in digital marketing. He has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Theater Production from Portland State University’s College of the Arts. He’s usually found with a camera in his hand taking photos and video, or in a corner tweeting about the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.