Happy May! It’s that time of the year where winter coats are put away and we start looking forward to days spent in the sunshine, drinking cold drinks, and seeing flowers sprouting up everywhere. It’s possible that coat will need to be dragged of your wardrobe for one last horrible, rainy week but we’re almost there!
Whether the picture-perfect spring has come or not, it will inevitably and the one thing that can make springtime even better is a collection of show tunes to whistle while you take a stroll in the park or look at the gorgeous blue sky or…do other spring-y things! Whatever you might be doing as we approach summer, I’m sure it can be improved greatly by a playlist of Broadway songs.
1. “Springtime (For Hitler and Germany)” – (The Producers)
I know, I know. This is both an obvious and a horrible choice. But hey, I personally always end up humming this whenever someone says the word “springtime.” And besides, hilarity and political parodies are the kind of thing that make some people laugh, right? Nothing says “springtime” better than singing along to The Producers. Or you could just ignore the context of the song and just focus on the “it’s springtime!” part. This is tried and true, believe me, and if you just sing that part, you get a lovely song about spring. I promise.
2. “My Junk” – (Spring Awakening)
“My Junk” is one of the most playful songs in Spring Awakening, and I’ve always loved how free and flirty the whole song is. While the lyrics mention winter a few times, I feel like the song is about moving on from the (metaphorical as well as physical?) coldness of winter into the warmth and promises of springtime. In a way, it’s a song about love without being a love song, and it’s all about beginnings, and discovery, and all of those things that spring stands for.
3. “The Lusty Month of May” – (Camelot)
I, for one, know I’m gonna be singing this all day on May 1st, right along with some old N*SYNC songs… You know what I mean (it’s gonna be MAY). While some of the songs in the playlist might be only vaguely related to the actual season, “The Lusty Month of May” is quite obviously, a celebration of the month itself. There’s always been something so great about May, whether you’re Guinevere or a school kid who can just taste summer break right around the corner. And sometimes, all you need to do is go “It’s May!” to get in the spring spirit.
4. “Spread a Little Sunshine” – (Pippin)
Moving on from cold, gray skies to sunshine is something everyone needs, something everyone hopes for and looks forward to. In “Spread a Little Sunshine,” the idea of renewal and hope is represented through sunshine in a way that could very well depict both the beginning of something better after a period of hardship, and the simple arrival of spring. In either case, hope and sunshine go hand in hand, and spreading a little sunshine is one of the best things about springtime.
5. “Hair” – (Hair)
There are a lot of songs in Hair that evoke a certain feeling of freedom and happiness because, after all, this is what hippies stand for. Most of the songs in the musical, however, always carry the darker undertone of war and anger as well. The title song is simply about freedom. The idea of your hair flowing in the breeze becomes the symbol of being young, and happy, and free, and running around in Central Park with your friends. Along with the nature images in the song (trees, bees, fleas, that kind of thing), the simple image of hair getting caught in the wind always reminds me of spring—and also, I’ve never met anyone who can refrain from dancing happily to the sound of this song.
6. “Spring” – (Bare: a pop opera)
Okay so maybe sometimes spring isn’t as great as this playlist makes it out to be. Sometimes, it happens to rain all through April, and it’s definitely not all about sunshine and the smell of cherry blossoms and all that stuff people seem to be singing about. This is exactly where Nadia’s pretty ode to spring comes in. While it may not be cheerful at all, it still manages to mention every single cliché spring is connected to, and destroy it through the eyes of an angry teenager. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just impossible to be cheery and happy about butterflies and warm weather, and we need the reality of “Spring” as well.
7. “Light of the World” – (Godspell)
As I’ve said before, Godspell has always been my feel-good musical. “Light of the World” is just the kind of song that sounds so cheerful and positive that you can’t help feeling inspired to be positive and look at the bright side of life. Or, you know, something like that. What I love about this song is that it reminds you things aren’t always great but remaining positive is important in any situation. “You gotta stay bright to be the light of the world” brings us right back to spreading sunshine, and after all, that’s what spring is all about, right? Lovely weather and good moods, and just as much positivity as possible.
Bonus track: “The Start of Something New” – (High School Musical)
We’ve all heard statements about spring’s being a time of new beginnings and renewal a billion times. With that in mind, I just couldn’t help adding this song to the playlist. Even though we all know that the song takes place in winter, there’s just something about singing “IT’S THE START!! OF SOMETHING NEW!!!” that simply reminds me of spring.
…and now, this song is going to be stuck in your heads all day. You’re welcome.
Photo via Berkshire Fine Arts