MT With Love: A Post-Valentine’s Day Playlist
In the aftermath of the recently-concluded, much-awaited day of hearts, I felt the need to make my own list of musical theater songs to commemorate the event. The thing with love is that there is absolutely no one—whatever age, gender, personality, belief or whatever—who’s immune to it. Love is something beyond astonishing that fills our every waking moment, somewhat like the air we breathe, yet it can also be excruciating to the point of making us want to metaphorically kill ourselves. Many people say that falling in love is probably the most unforgettable—if not the best—memory that makes up each of our personal journeys. Whether it may be painful or inspiring (or both), it remains essential to the growth and transformations we go through in getting to know who we really are.
But why is that? Well, there can be many reasons. Maybe because experiencing love allows us to feel and explore emotions that run down deeper than the average feeling of okay, great or fine; it is a part in our lives where we get to be vulnerable and open and, well pretty much, truly feel something with the whole of our being. And what better way to celebrate those feelings than full-on MT style? If you’re reading this, then I’m sure we can agree that musical theater is a perfect platform to explore love, and the highs and lows that come with it. The very art form itself relies on our human instinct of feeling such emotions. After all, what can be more fun than deciding a soundtrack that would sum up the greatest journey of our lives, right?
I can’t stress enough how doing a list like this is incredibly personal—I mean, all of us have our own unique stories to tell—but what good is a story if not told? Without further ado, here are my top 14 MT love songs:
1. Run Away With Me (from The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown) – Kerrigan-Lowdermilk
I’m going to start this off by saying that this is probably one of the sweetest, most passionate love proposals I have ever heard. “Run Away With Me” is the epitome of the ever-genuine young love—a love founded on dreams of the future and fears of not fulfilling them—brilliantly translated through the raw and authentic feel of the music. The piece in itself is already beautiful—even more with Jeremy Jordan’s breathtaking interpretation (which reminds me, you might be seeing a lot of him in the succeeding numbers).
2. Give it All Up – Jonathan Reid Gealt
Who could forget lost love? It’s hard enough to go through one lifetime just to find that one person whom you would build your future around, yet finding that person and losing them to another life is in its own way, more difficult. Imagine living your life with what ifs and maybes, hoping that there would somehow be another ending—that heart-wrenching feeling of wondering what could’ve been. This piece has amazingly captured that kind of vulnerability in its repetitions and nuances.
3. If I Had You – Drew Gasparini
Love at first sight: a strong and instant magnetic attraction binding a person to another that creates a feeling of adrenaline and euphoria. “If I Had You” is just one of those pieces that make you smile awkwardly from ear to ear—exactly the feeling you get when you find yourself in those “love at first sight” moments.
4. September of ’92 – Jonathan Reid Gealt
In those moments where we find ourselves reaching a dead end in our lives, a simple sign of hope can put us in a whole different direction. “September of ’92” tells of such a story, a story of a love that changes a person in all the good ways possible.
5. Funny – Alexander Sage Oyen
A simple yet lyrical piece that complements a wide range of voices, “Funny” is a great piece for both male and female singers (check out Natalie Weiss’ version here) and very much relatable too. I think the words are simple enough to understand. I personally enjoyed how it sounded so conversational, simple, and authentic. P.S. Please take notice of Jason Gotay’s eyes during the performance. They just say so much….
6. Still Hurting (from The Last Five Years) – Jason Robert Brown
Definitely one of the most beautiful (and painful) songs I have ever heard in my life. The melody is so effortlessly light, contradicting the heaviness of the situation the character is feeling at the given moment. “Still Hurting” is the perfect piece to exemplify that there is also beauty in pain and pain in beauty.
7. All I Need – Jonathan Reid Gealt
Honestly, “All I Need” is just one of those songs that can resonate with so many people just because most of us have experienced feeling this way one time or another.
8. This Never Happened Before (from Bonnie and Clyde) – Frank Wildhorn
A great song to listen to curled up in a couch, sipping coffee while looking out the window. Unlike the other pieces on this list, “This Never Happened Before” does not have any of those big belty notes, yet its mellow and flowy melody feels sweet, warm, and simply homey. Not to mention the gorgeous way these two voices complement one another.
9. Fine (from Ordinary Days) – Adam Gwon
Love can sometimes disguise itself when people fight like cats and dogs. This piece never fails to make me laugh and still make me sigh out a big “aww” every time it ends. “Fine” exposes the differences and the effort behind every relationship—and how real love can make such things a minor consideration.
10. Here We Go (from If/Then) – Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey
Adding to what I mentioned with “Fine,” “Here I Go” is a piece that emphasizes two individual people who just happened to find their better reflection in each other. It’s such a powerful duet, both melodically and emotionally.
11. Kiss the Air – Scott Alan
I’m just going to let you digest this one on your own. P.S. Go get a box of tissues.
12. Love Me, Love Me Not – Joey Contreras
Ever felt something so strong for a particular person that it makes it so easy for you to be sure of yourself? Well, this piece certainly dwells on that – the feeling when you know the only way for the rest of the world to make sense is for you to exist loving this person.
13. Snapshot in My Memory – Carner & Gregor
Love is about hope – hope that there’s a forever waiting at the end of the sentence “I love you.” “Snapshot in My Memory” is about that hope—a refusal to give in to the demands of fate and time saying that nothing but itself is entirely infinite, insisting on preserving that one perfect moment as long as one could go.
14. One Second and A Million Miles (from The Bridges of Madison County) – Jason Robert Brown
First of all, I just cannot get over how much I am in love with this piece. The passion, the hope, fear, frustration, desire, and longing all embedded in a melody that soars above and beyond any other cloud in the sky (yes, this piece makes me that high). Jason Robert Brown is a genius with all the overlapping melodic lines of both voices as well as those powerful words that I can’t expound any further. All that’s left for me to say is, I can’t wait for you to hear it.
Like I said earlier, each of us goes through a different journey. Every love story is personal, but you’d be surprised how much others can relate to it just by sharing which songs make up the soundtrack of your—dare I say—love life. Don’t forget to comment in your favorite MT love songs to start the storytelling going!