January sucks doesn’t it? It’s cold, everyone’s on a health kick and everyone’s broke. But fear not, the world of musical theatre offers salvation.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 songs from Broadway and the West End that are guaranteed mood-lifters, dead-set to pick you up and make the long, dark month of January a little more bearable.
What have we missed off the list? Let us know over on Twitter.
You Can’t Stop the Beat (Hairspray)
In Hairspray, Tracy Turnblad’s search for acceptance against the backdrop of the civil rights movement maybe doesn’t sound like the most uplifting of tales… but You Can’t Stop The Beat epitomises the inspiring nature of the show’s entire score.
Flash, Bang, Wallop (Half A Sixpence)
A classic number which transcends the context of the show in which it features, this is a proper toe-tapping, knee-slapping, hand-clapping romp of a song. Charlie Stemp’s version, which can currently be seen in the West End, is a particular triumph – get tickets here.
Raise You Up/Just Be (Kinky Boots)
Cyndi Lauper’s music in Kinky Boots is full of uplifting and life-affirming numbers, but none more so than this double-header at the show’s finale. It celebrates people’s differences in life and teaches us that you can change the world when you change your mind. Not seen it yet? You can get tickets here.
Seasons of Love (RENT)
Admittedly, RENT – based on the classic opera La Boheme – probably isn’t your go-to dancing-in-the-aisles musical, but Seasons of Love is one helluva powerful number that’s guaranteed to make the hairs on your neck stand up and make you grab life by the balls.
One (A Chorus Line)
Jazz hands at the ready, people. This is the quintessential showstopper that will probably have you convinced you can be a high-kicking, pirouetting dancer in the West End, too. Disclaimer: we do not accept any responsibility for any injuries sustained while dancing to this.
Dancing Queen (Mamma Mia!)
Jukebox musicals aren’t for everyone, but Dancing Queen is a dancefloor staple whether Mamma Mia! is your thing or not – and the song really works in the context of the show. Come on, don’t deny it, you can’t help but feel good listening to this. See it for yourself and get tickets here.
The Heat is on in Saigon (Miss Saigon)
Generally, Miss Saigon isn’t a feel-good musical at all: it’s raw, emotional and frankly heart-breaking, but The Heat Is On is incomparable as far as opening numbers go – and Kim’s solo in the middle is full of hope and ambition. The UK tour of Miss Saigon flies into Birmingham this year – get tickets here.
America (West Side Story)
Leonard Bernstein’s music and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics are just on fire here as the Shark girls lament against Puerto Rico and life in America. It’s sheer class, and will have you walking around like you’re a flamenco dancing, sass-fuelled diva just like Anita.
Magic To Do (Pippin)
This is musical theatre perfection. As the show comes to life during this number, it’s a wonderfully warm, inviting and utterly charming opener to an all-round life-affirming show. The always brilliant Patina Miller’s version – from the 2013 Broadway production – is particularly noteworthy.
I Feel the Earth Move (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical)
An incredible love song in its own right, I Feel the Earth Move is simply improved upon given its context within this show. Who doesn’t want to feel like this when they’re love? Pure joy. Tickets for Beautiful: the Carole King Musical are on sale now – get yours here.
Check out our West End Theatre Guide for more from the world of musicals.