Top 12 Modern Musical Theatre Songs Guaranteed to Make You Cry a River

Because we all just need to let it out sometimes.

Disappear – Dear Evan Hansen

In all honesty, there aren’t many songs from this show that WILL NOT bring tears to your eyes. Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of a community coming together in the aftermath of a teen’s unfortunate suicide. “Disappear” is a conversation between Evan Hansen and the voice in his head that takes its form as the deceased Connor Murphy. The song is a message to those who have ever been scared that their mark is not being made and that they will eventually just disappear.

You Will Be Found – Dear Evan Hansen

I wasn’t kidding when I said this whole musical will pull on the heartstrings. “You Will Be Found” is an obvious message to the audience/listener above being a part of the plot. The song assures the listener that no matter what you are going through or how lost you may feel, you will be found. It’s no surprise that Dear Evan Hansen took home six Tony Awards in 2017, including “Best Musical” and “Lead Actor.”

Not My Father’s Son – Kinky Boots

Though many are confused by the show’s raunchy name, “Kinky Boots” is a hit musical that effectively promotes acceptance, tolerance, and loving people for who they are. “Not My Father’s Son” is a duet sung between drag queen Lola, who was rejected by her father, and English shoemaker-by-inheritance Charlie, who never wanted the life his father expected him to have. The song shows the parallels between the two and that no matter how old or successful you are, you still just want to hear that your parents are proud of you for simply being yourself.

Hold Me in Your Heart – Kinky Boots

Following the same themes as “Not My Father’s Son”, Lola confronts her father directly about everything he missed out on in her life by not accepting her truth. There is no anger, resentment, or self-pity in her words. All that can be heard is sorrow for the fact that her father never got to see the incredible person she blossomed into and he likely never will. A line that sums up the song’s message perfectly is as follows: “You missed out on the best part of me. The part that made me who I am today. But the best part of me is standing in front of you and loves you anyway.” Sung by the fabulous Billy Porter, this is definitely not one you want to skip.

Unruly Heart – The Prom

“Unruly Heart” is a message from 17-year-old Emma to the world. Emma is a high schooler from small town Indiana who just wants to take her girlfriend Alyssa to her school prom. When that proposition is fought by Alyssa’s own mother, Emma gets help from some struggling broadway actors and together they “build a prom for everyone.” When Emma is at her whit’s end, she reaches out to the world via a YouTube video where she sings her feelings accompanied by a single acoustic guitar and as more and more people relate to her story a chorus erupts of teens from across the globe who just want to follow their “Unruly Hearts.”

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story – Hamilton

Following the death of Alexander Hamilton, those who loved him tell their stories of how they lived on and continued his legacy after his death. While the song packs more of a punch if you’ve listened to the musical and know the story well, you can feel the pain each actor portrays in their performance, even if just through audio.

38 Planes Reprise / Somewhere In The Middle Of Nowhere – Come From Away

Like Hamilton, the show is very easily understood by listening through its soundtrack. In all honesty, the entire show is emotional, especially if you are someone who lived through the events of September 11th, 2001, the tragic time the show is centred around. As someone who was born three years after, I never lived trough it myself. However, the musical really makes you feel the pain and panic the world was in. This song, which is found towards the end of the album is actually one of a happy nature. “Somewhere In The Middle Of Nowhere” captures the emotions of the passengers on a flight from Paris to Dallas that was rerouted to Gander, Newfoundland as they finally get to go home to Texas. While they are overjoyed to go back and see their loved ones there is a feeling of sorrow as they leave the Gander citizens that changed their lives forever. I highly recommend listening to the entire soundtrack and learning the story of the 38 Planes that landed in Newfoundland that fateful day.

Me and The Sky – Come From Away

On a totally different note from the previous song, “Me and The Sky” tells the story of American pilot Beverly Bass. Beverly is special because not only was she a pilot that happened to be re-routed to Gander during 9-11, she was also the first female American commercial pilot in the world. The song explains her struggle to climb the ladder of success in the aviation world until she eventually became a captain and later, an instructor. One of the most powerful lines of the entire song is; “But I kept getting hired and the World War II crew, they retired. And the girls all thought much higher of me!” followed by the background music cutting out and the climactic lyric; “1986, the first female American captain in history!” Guaranteed, this song will make you feel like you can accomplish anything regardless of gender.

I Know Where I’ve Been – Hairspray

Sung by the vocal powerhouse Queen Latifah (in the Motion Picture Soundtrack), “I Know Where I’ve Been” is an anthem for anyone who has faced repression in their lives for things that make them themselves. Focused on the intense racist attitudes in the 1960s towards African Americans, the song is sung in peaceful protest against a small-minded Baltimore television broadcast company. This song carries an unexplainable amount of power and emotion, no matter who you are.

Solla Sollew – Seussical The Musical

While “Seussical” is not a serious show by any standard, being that is a compilation of Dr. Seuss stories put to music, it does contain a few hidden gems. One of these gems is “Solla Sollew,” a song expressing how badly everyone wants to be in Solla Sollew, a place described in the lyrics as, “somewhere like Heaven.” Given the show’s light nature, this piece always stands out for it’s elements of sadness and hope. “Solla Sollew” is a beautiful requiem for desired simplicity, something that is very relatable at these times.

She Used To Be Mine – Waitress

Feeling beaten down by the world, pregnant, small-town waitress Jenna describes how her self confidence is “gone. But she used to be mine.” This song approaches the end of the musical, making it a defining moment for the character.

No One Is Alone – Into The Woods

The name sort of speaks for itself. Sung in the Motion Picture Soundtrack by Anna Kendrick and James Corden, the pair convince recently orphaned Jack (of the Beanstalk) and Little Red Riding Hood that while they may feel lonely, they are never truly alone. I felt this song was a perfect way to finish the list as it relates closely to the current state of the world.

I hope you enjoyed my list! You can get to a link of each song by clicking on their names in the headings!

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