Musicals are a great way to forget your problems and indulge in something fun. One of the best parts of musicals is undoubtedly the songs. It is the music and the lyrics and the way they all fit together into a tune that is catchy or uplifting. Of course, not all songs from musical are happy or positive, but those others are a subject for another list.
Today we are going to look at some of our favorite and happiest songs from musicals.
1. “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” – The Wizard of Oz
This tune exemplifies happiness and we experience the sheer joy the Munchkins are feeling over the fact that their tormentor is no more. When they see her striped feet curl up out of her ruby slippers and fade away forever underneath Dorothy’s once spinning house, the Munchkins jump for joy and begin to sing. They tell us how she has “gone where the goblins go” and how the bells will ring out.
Dorothy is revered for having defeated their enemy and they even offer to build a bust of her in the Munchkin hall of fame. The Lullaby League sings her a song as well as the Lollipop Guild who not only serenades her but gives Dorothy a huge lollipop. Yep, in a musical filled with tons of happy songs, this is one of the happiest.
2. “Do Re Mi” – The Sound of Music
Maria VonTrapp and her family of talented singers always have a way of finding themselves on our lists. It’s no surprise since the tale and the tunes are classic. This scene is before the Captain and Maria realize they are in love with each other. The children’s father is in Vienna visiting his lover, the Baroness, and Maria decides to take the children out and about in Salzburg.
While they are gallivanting across the historical city, Maria teaches them the basic concepts of singing. She does so with this tune. How could one not be happy when singing about female deer, jam, and tea? Let’s face it, this tune is a toe tapper and a smile bringer.
3. “Singing in the Rain” – Singing In The Rain
Does it get happier than this? Not much. This musical takes a dreary thing like rain and turns it into one of the catchiest upbeat numbers in musical history. When Gene Kelly leaves Debbie Reynolds house to head home one morning after the two of them and Donald O’Connor spend the night drinking coffee and brainstorming, he is so overjoyed with love that he dances through the streets spinning on flag poles and jumping in puddles.
Don Lockwood, Kelly’s character, has a “glorious feeling” that he’s “happy again.” Of course, Reynold’s character, Kathy Selden, loves Lockwood too, but her career aspirations are jeopardized when she sings behind the scenes for Lockwood’s on-screen partner, Lina Lamont. As in most musical cases, all works out in the end and memorable scenes like Lockwood dancing through mist and water to this happy song.
4. “Welcome to the Sixties” – Hairspray
In a musical that was created from a John Waters film of cult status, this number stands out to us because of the happy message it brings. While singing this tune, Tracy and her mother, Edna, head over to Mr. Pinky’s Hefty Hideaway, and make their way through the streets of Baltimore.
Edna hasn’t left their apartment above the family comic shop in more than a decade. Tracy drags her mother out as she sings joyfully about how change is in the air. This song has an early 60s pop sound while preaching about the change that is in the air, which refers to body image and long overdue integration. These are the themes of this musical so it isn’t surprising that the songs would reflect that.
“Welcome to the Sixties” takes the equality ideology and puts it across to the audience with a catchy melody that you’ll be singing along with instantly.
5. “The Merry Old Land of Oz” – Wizard of Oz
Going back to the Wizard of Oz for a happy song isn’t odd at all, since it is filled with so many great ones. We especially love this one because after a long journey to get there, our heroes are more than happy to be there. They are taken through the city on a carriage pulled by a “horse of a different color.”
The gentleman who takes Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion through the Emerald City and it is evident the four are glad to be there. They get freshened up and welcomed like royalty, which precursors their meeting with the Wizard. Of course, they are unaware that getting what they want isn’t going to be easy and happy moments like their arrival to the Emerald City don’t last forever.
None the less, this song is pretty-darn happy.
6. “Seventy-Six Trombones” – The Music Man
Coming from The Music Man, this song brings excitement to a small town in Iowa, inside the briefcase of a not-so-trustworthy salesman by the name of Harold Hill. Sure, there was a hint of excitement when the pool tables arrived but these Iowans have never seen the likes of Hill. He promises them a boy band and takes their money.
What the townspeople don’t know is that he doesn’t know how to read a note of music. Hill plans on taking advantage of them from the beginning and this is the song that brings them in. This is the promise of something big and beautiful. “76 trombones led the big parade.” Who doesn’t want to see that?
Hill surprises us all by delivering his promise in the end, which happens rather magically, and the boys in town put on a parade and the finale version of this song is played through the streets of River City. The smiles on all their faces proves this song deserves a slot on our “happy” list today.
7. “I Could Have Danced All Night” – My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady retells the classic George Bernard Shaw play titled Pygmalion, where a commoner is trained to fit into high society. In the case of this happy song, we have Eliza Doolittle, a street vendor who sells flowers and speaks with a low-class Cockney accent. She becomes the pawn of two men who are “experimenting” with the idea that they can teach her to speak so well that no one in high society would ever be able to tell that she was once so low brow.
This song comes in when Eliza had accomplished all the goals Professor Higgins had set for her. She is reveling in the fact that she made him proud. Why was this so important to her? Because she loves him.
It is in during this song that we realize, and so does Eliza, that she is madly in love with Higgins, a man that annoyed her tremendously. Her choice of Higgins over that sweet boy Freddie is questionable, but that doesn’t take away from her happiest of realizations. She is in love. “I only know – when he – began to dance – with me” she “could’ve danced…all night.”
Eliza is happy. Happier than we have seen her up until this point in the story. So, hearing her sing about the lovely evening she just had sure makes us happy and we hope it makes you happy too.