The Ultimate MT Graduation Playlist

Graduation Day: it’s a day of conflicting emotions, filled with celebration and with sorrow, with tears of happiness and tears of heartbreak, with hugs of pride and hugs of parting. And for the Class of 2015, it’s nearly arrived. As a time when we can both look back at our journeys thus far and look ahead with excitement and/or trepidation to our next series of adventures, graduations are full of stories… which is where musical theater comes in! Below is a list of songs appropriate for any graduation party, cabaret, or ceremony, capturing the memories, advice, and inspiration that any grad should carry with them into their brave new world. (Stream the full playlist here.)

Advice to a Young Firefly (Carner & Gregor)

A staple from the catalog of the wonderful songwriting duo Carner & Gregor, “Advice to a Young Firefly” is a delightfully sweet song that inspires with its story of a tiny lightning bug who looks beyond his fears and learns to shine, sharing his light with the world. 2015, it’s time for you to do the same!

Watch this video on YouTube.

For Good (Stephen Schwartz, Wicked)

A bit cheesy, perhaps, but is any graduation playlist (musical theater-centric or not) complete without “For Good”? Its portrait of best friendship is spot-on, and it’s a reminder of the magical things that can happen when we let others into our lives.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Holding On (Kerrigan-Lowdermilk, The Bad Years)

I first heard this song performed at a graduation cabaret when I was an underclassman and couldn’t shake it for a few days. This song captures the uncertainty, the excitement, and the hope that pervades the life of any young adult, and, musically, is a knock-out.

Watch this video on YouTube.

What I Did For Love (Marvin Hamlisch and Ed Kleban, A Chorus Line)

Another MT graduation staple, and one very much worth including. There’s a reason this song has become something of a standard, and it’s because of its seemingly effortless ability to articulate what it means to be so passionate about something that it becomes your everything.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Broadway, Here I Come! (Joe Iconis)

While I’m pretty much including this one because of the title (what MT graduate isn’t dreaming of making it to Broadway as they step out into the “real world”?), I’m also including it because of the lyric “Will I remain the same/Or will I change a little bit?/Will I feel broken or totally complete?” There’s a lot of uncertainty that surrounds the life of a postgrad, and these few lines capture that perfectly.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Louder Than Words (Jonathan Larson, tick, tick…boom!)

Like “Advice to a Young Firefly,” “Louder Than Words” is a song that inspires us to be our best selves, a nice message to carry as we head out into the big, scary, exciting world that’s waiting for us.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Lost in the Brass (Gaby Alter and Tommy Newman, Band Geeks)

This one’s a bit of a stretch, but is worth including, especially for those MT fans graduating from high school. This song is a nice reminder that the world is a lot bigger than it often feels, and is a fun number to listen to when you’re feeling ready to go out and show everyone what you’re made of!

Watch this video on YouTube.

What musical theatre songs are on your graduation playlist?

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