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1.“Dancing Through Life” from 'Wicked'
High school was either the worst years of your life or the best. If it was the best, you were probably like the singer of this song, caring more about social pursuits than stressing over academic ones, and found it easier to get along with everyone in school, rather than feeling like an outcast. If high school was worse for you, then you were probably more like Nessa or Elphaba in this song, academically brilliant or in some other way disfigured in the eyes of classmates. Teenagers, with all their raging hormones, can be awful people to each other, as well as the rest of the world. It's also easier for everything to seem dramatically either black or white, good or evil, and therefore categorize those years in a similar way. Although it's true that some people have worse experiences in high school than others, it's never as black and white as we remember it—or even how we thought of it back then. The problem is not knowing all sides of the story, unlike in a television show, where you can see the misunderstanding and miscommunication and drama heading your way before it actually hits. Still, this song is fun to sing and dance along with, whether or not it truly embodies your scholastic experience.
2.“King of New York” from 'Newsies'
Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame. It's something we all crave, whether you're a striking newspaper boy, a journalist, or just a middle-class kid from the suburbs. The things we want to be famous for and how we'll use our fame when we get it certainly differ, but we all want to get there someday—even if it really is only for fifteen minutes. So sit back and revel in the ardent enthusiasm of a few boys who got their faces in the paper and the man who got them there in this whimsical and heartfelt number.
3.“Goodnight My Someone” from 'The Music Man'
This is a song anyone can get behind because it's not a very specific love song. It's a love song to a possible future soulmate, but it works just as well for your current significant other. Whether you're single, just dating, or have met the love of your life, this song is comforting and sweet in all cases.
4.“Seasons of Love” from 'Rent'
Love isn't just about romance. There's love between all kinds of people, from familial love to love shared by friends. This song is really about using memories and positive moments in life to measure how good your life has been, rather than just the passing of time. Would you rather measure your year by 625,600 minutes or by the many moments where you laughed, cried, and really felt a strong emotion?
5.“You Can't Stop The Beat” from 'Hairspray'
Dancing is fun. It's crazy and energetic and there are no limits, so it can be fun for anyone, if you can relax enough to enjoy it. However, this song is about much more than the literal beat of the music. The world is continuously changing, although we want to stay stuck in our own minds with our safe prejudices and ignorant ideas, we can't stop new generations from opening up society to new ideas. Unfortunately, we also still have a lot of the same issues and stigmas as in the 1960s, they are just less noticeable now.
6.“Make 'Em Laugh” from 'Singing in the Rain'
I've said it before and I'll say it again: laughter is the best medicine. If you can't do something well, do it with style or own your klutziness. People will clap along and enjoy your performance if you can make it entertaining. Whether this is a theatrical performance, singing karaoke, or just stumbling over your own feet on the sidewalk. Besides, when you're laughing along with other people, it can give you the same adrenaline high and warm-fuzzies as something you meant to do.
7.“Going to the Movies” from 'Annie'
It's a little silly, but as children, and even as adults, we can get very excited about going to the movies. Sometimes, I still skip down the hall to the particular theater of my movie at Regal Cinemas. The excitement isn't always just about the movie, usually, it's also about a night out on the town, getting to eat popcorn and candy, and sitting in comfortable seating. Don't forget the people watching on the way! Plus, introducing young children to this experience helps us re-live our youth.
8.“I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face” from 'My Fair Lady'
Change is difficult and often unwelcome. From moving to the end of a romantic relationship or a falling out between friends, anyone can relate to this song about missing someone recently lost. We're used to having that person in our lives and we suffer when they're not there anymore.
9.“Getting to Know You” or “Puzzlement” from 'The King and I'
There's no denying that the world is a crazy place. We're always trying to make new friends and get along in new circles, from new jobs to moving across the country. At the same time, understanding our place in the world and society is very difficult, especially when the world is changing all around us. These times feel crazy to us because we can't remember anything similar in history books, but the crazy moments of history felt just as tumultuous to those who experienced them as modern times do for us.
10.“So Long, Farewell” from 'The Sound of Music'
Let's face it, we all remember a time when we had to go to bed earlier than the rest of the adults, especially at some big party. What more fun way to do it than this song? There were times we wanted to stay up later with the adults or were exhausted with socializing and were ready to go to bed. This song embodies so much of life and childhood for so many people, plus it's catchy and funny. Plus, I literally sing it one out of every ten times in a week that I have to say goodbye to someone—and people are constantly in and out of my office at work! Adieu! To you and you and you!