I love music. I am always listening to it. During competition and recital season at my studio, the best days were the days when the teacher announced what song we’d be dancing to. I thrived on it. I have playlists on my iPod for everything: running, walking to work, relaxing, getting ready to go out at night, getting ready for work in the morning. I even have a specific playlist to listen to during the week we ship Dance Spirit to the printer every month.
One of my favorite (and most-listened to) playlists is my “Broadway” playlist. It’s got everything on it from Les Miserables to Memphis, and just about every song gives me chills. Here at DS, we spend so much time (seriously, SO much time) obsessing over the dancers in Broadway shows and not enough time talking about the songs that they’re belting out while they’re moving. As important as the choreography is in a show, the music is equally, if not more so, crucial for the story. It’s the music that makes you feel happy, sad, empathetic, or whatever the actors want you to feel. I’m especially into my Broadway playlist right now because we’re in the process of putting together the July/August Broadway issue of DS!
Because many of you are probably home from school today (take advantage of snow days—you don’t get them after college!), I recommend using your day to further expand your iTunes. Here’s a list of my favorite Broadway songs for you to download:
- “I’m Alive” from Next to Normal. Aaron Tveit (You know and love him from “Gossip Girl”—he plays Tripp Van Der Bilt.) has the voice of an angel. Seriously. Gorgeous and talented? Yes, please!
- “21 Guns” from American Idiot. The show hasn’t even opened on Broadway yet and already I’m completely obsessed with the cast recording of this Green Day song. I can’t wait to see the show!
- Everything from Rock of Ages. It’s 80s and it’s awesome.
- “We Are the Altar Boyz” from Altar Boyz. This long-running show just closed Off-Broadway, but the music lives on. It’s part goofy boy band, part MTV.
- “Electricity” from Billy Elliot. Billy’s love for dancing is infectious. Listen to him song this song and just try not start swaying along and rooting for him.
- “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago. I’ll be honest, it’s the movie version of this song that I really love. It’s a hilarious display of girl power in a twisted, violent sort of way. But hey, it’s catchy.
- “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line. What song better captures the struggles that aspiring professional dancers face when auditioning for jobs? “A 5, 6, 7, 8!”
- “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In” from HAIR. Another chills-inducing song. If you’ve seen the show, you’ve just been on an emotional roller coaster ride. This song sums it all up perfectly.
- “It Won’t Be Long Now” from In the Heights. This is my favorite Broadway show. I am in love with every second of it. The writing is brilliant, the cast is always brilliant and Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography is brilliant. But it’s the heartfelt songs that really get me. This one, recorded by powerhouse Karen Olivo, is about wanting to make a change for yourself and doing whatever you can to make it happen. How motivating!
- “96,000” from In the Heights. I love this entire soundtrack. But this is my FAVORITE Broadway song. When I first heard it, I listened to it on repeat for days. It’s addicting.
- “Walk Like a Man” from Jersey Boys. I grew up listening to oldies music with my dad. This song is classic.
- “So Much Better” from Legally Blonde the Musical. I always listen to this when I’m running because it pushes me. I run faster when it comes on. What’s more fun than rooting for Elle Woods?!
- “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray. I think everyone knows this song. You’ve seen the show or the movie, you’ve seen Donyelle and Benji dance to it on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 2 or you’re one of the hundreds of dancers who has performed to it at competition. It’s fun and lively. Simple as that.
- “Steal Your Rock ‘n Roll” from Memphis. This show has amazing music. The cast can seriously belt it out. It’s so impressive.
- “Seasons of Love” from RENT. Is there anyone who doesn’t love this song? I don’t think so. It’s classic.
- “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Duh.
- “I’ll Cover You,” “Light My Candle” and “No Day but Today” from RENT. One of my college roommates loved RENT. She also loved singing. Translation: I learned the lyrics to all these songs pretty quickly! And I still love them.
OK, and it’s not Broadway, but if you haven’t already, you must start obsessing over the entire “Glee” soundtrack. We’re all on board with it already—won’t you join us? A few standouts: “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Don’t Rain on my Parade,” “Halo/Walking On Sunshine” and “Somebody to Love.” Want more “Glee?” Wait for the May/June issue of DS!
What are your favorite Broadway tunes? Click here and let us know!