Among people who know me, I am known for crying a lot while watching movies, listening to music, and even reading. Which I guess is not altogether uncommon but according to people that I know, I cry a lot when it comes to entertainment. And I don’t just cry at sad moments. I cry at happy moments. So… I thought that I’d talk about moments or even lines from musicals that make me cry.
· RUDOLF, WO BIST DU / TOTENKLAGE (Rudolf, Where are You / Death Sentence) from ELISABETH – Let’s break this down to the exact moment in which I start crying. And that’d be at the very beginning of the song when Sisi says “Rudolf, wo bist du?”. Yep. The tears flow like crazy. It’s happened once or twice that I’ll just be listening to music and I’ll be crying. It’s actually not an unusual thing for me—it happens at least once or twice a day. But man… it just takes that one line.
· ICH GEHÖR NUR MIR (I Belong to Me) from ELISABETH – The reason for my crying in this song is completely different than my reason for crying while listening to “Rudolf, Wo Bist Du / Totenklage”. During “Ich Gehör Nur Mir”, I cry for several reasons. One, because it’s so beautiful. Two, because I can feel Sisi’s pain and sorrow. And thirdly, because I can also feel her hope and independence surging through. Essentially, this song is just too much for me to take emotionally without spilling tears. It’s a bundle of emotions that just hits me hard and leaves me staggering and trying to get up for a little while.
· ICH GEHÖR NUR MIR (Reprise) from ELISABETH – I am a huge mess at the end of this song which also just so happens to effectively close ELISABETH’s first act. And man… this song is stunning. It starts with Franz Joseph reprising Sisi’s song from earlier on and practically begging for her forgiveness for letting his mother ruin Sisi’s life. Sisi the tells him that she will never be his property and that she won’t give him her life because it’s only hers. Then, der Tod (Death) steps in and starts singing about how Sisi will always belong to him. And really, I just cry from the sheer beauty of this song. And the costume. Yeah… Sisi’s wearing a really beautiful costume in this scene and the moment she steps on the stage wearing that dress, the audience breaks out in applause and I’m just a mess of tears at that point.
· ELISABETH, MACH AUF MEIN ENGEL (Elisabeth, My Angel, Open Up) from ELISABETH – This song actually comes before “Ich Gehör Nur Mir (Reprise)” but I felt like I would put it after it because I wanted to talk about the reprise right after the original song. Anyways… this song follows a very similar theme of the reprise of “Ich Gehör Nur Mir” though, in many ways, a lot more sad. Franz Joseph is begging for Sisi to open up and talk to him but Sisi refuses because she tells him that he’s been letting his mother torture her and their son, Rudolf. And guess who decides to show up again? That’s right! Death. And this time, he’s offering to comfort Sisi and well… essentially telling her that if she just succumbs to him, all of her problems will go away. And for a moment, it seems like Sisi might accept his offer, but then she tells him to go away as well because she wants to live and that she thinks she can free herself without him. It’s just a really emotional scene and I’m pretty sure I just did a horrible job at explaining it.
· BOOTE IN DER NACHT (Ships in the Night) from ELISABETH – This is the moment in which you know that the show is coming to an end. Here, Sisi says goodbye to Franz Joseph and essentially tells him that what he wants and what she wants are completely different and that he has been more of a friend to her than anything although he has always loved her. He constantly tells her that he loves her throughout the song and Sisi tells him that it just should never have been and that they are “like two ships in the night” and that they have such very different goals. In this song, I shed tears for both Sisi and Franz Joseph. While it’s not really a secret that I think that Franz Joseph should have stood up to his mother’s tyranny more I do feel really bad for him in this scene because he does love Sisi and well… she doesn’t love him back. I feel bad for Sisi because all her life, she’s just wanted freedom and in the end, she never really got that.
· DER SCHLEIER FÄLLT (The Veil Descends) from ELISABETH – And now, it would appear that we have arrived at what is the finale of ELISABETH. And this finale is pretty drop-dead bittersweet. And also, it’s just really, really beautiful. And I cry. A lot. Because Sisi’s finally free but at the same time, she’s dying. And yet… that is her freedom. Man… it’s a tough scene to describe but it is one of my all-time favorites from musical theatre.
· I’M STILL HURTING from THE LAST FIVE YEARS – I’d say that it’s a pretty big deal when a musical gets you crying from the first scene. Well… that’s what happens with THE LAST FIVE YEARS. “I’m Still Hurting” is an effective, heartbreaking opening song and man… I just bawl when I listen to this song. And the weird thing? When you first watch the movie / musical, you don’t know why Cathy’s sad other than the fact that there’s been a divorce. But then, when you’ve watched the show before, each line means something and it hurts like crazy and it’s really drop-dead effective for bringing out those tears.
· IF I DIDN’T BELIEVE IN YOU from THE LAST FIVE YEARS – I just love this song because I think that it does show that Jamie did love Cathy but that telling her that she can and that she’s worth it is getting tiring for him and he’s hurting. And I think that while it’s inexcusable what Jamie did, I think that this song is effective in making a person feel bad for Jamie and just hurting for their relationship in general.
· STAY WITH ME from INTO THE WOODS – Throughout the show, the witch is a kind of hard character to understand. But man… this song makes it clear that she does love Rapunzel and wants to protect her although she goes about doing that in all of the wrong ways. And I just cry because the song is so good at portraying her emotions and exactly what she’s feeling. The line that always gets me is “Stay a child while you can be a child.” There’s just something about it.
· ON MY OWN from LES MISÉRABLES – I just can’t help but cry when I listen to this song. I always just feel so bad for Éponine in this scene and her love for Marius is so strong and that’s so evident and I think that her emotions here are just so well-portrayed. And then I end up crying. Every time.
· BRING HIM HOME from LES MISÉRABLES – “Bring Him Home” is actually a song that I didn’t remember at all from my first time watching LES MIZ but now it’s one of my favorite songs in the whole musical. I think that the line that gets me is “He is young, he is only a boy.” And it’s true. All of the barricade boys are well… just kids, essentially. Just barely adults and they’re all going to die. I think that that realization really hits during this song.
· EMPTY CHAIRS AT EMPTY TABLES from LES MISÉRABLES – When I went to see LES MIZ on Broadway with my mom last year, this scene took me by surprise and I started to cry. I just couldn’t help it. The “Oh my friends, my friends…” is just so heartbreaking and I can’t help but feel bad for Marius and cry along with him. I think it’s one of the most heartbreaking songs from LES MIZ.
· FANTINE’S DEATH / COME TO ME from LES MISÉRABLES – This is the first scene in LES MIZ that made me cry. And I will always remember it for that. To this day, I still cry when I watch this scene. Fantine’s love for Cosette is so overwhelming and also it’s just such a sad scene. Fantine is and will always be one of my favorite characters from LES MIZ.
· FINALE / DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING (Reprise) from LES MISÉRABLES – The finale of LES MIZ is inspirational while at the same time being heartwrenching. And I think that it’s that odd, seemingly contradictory emotional power that this song brings out that makes it so amazing. And I always bawl at the line “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I think that might be the most powerful line in the whole musical.
· FINALE / I CAN’T RECALL (Reprise) from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – I made the horrible mistake of listening to this song last when I found the soundtrack on YouTube. And… I was a crying mess by the end of it. This song makes my friend who never, ever cries cry. Yeah… it’s that sad. And just listen to it. If you just listen to it and really, really listen, I think that it’ll probably get you too. Or at least come really close.
· REFLECTION from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – Anyone who knows Sydney Carton knows that he’s no happy guy. And this song shows that perfectly. It’s so easy to feel his pain in the song and man… I cry every time. Every, single time. Really, when it comes to Sydney Carton, I’m crying all over the place.
· NOT WHILE I’M AROUND from SWEENEY TODD – SWEENEY TODD is the exact opposite of a happy, heartwarming musical. But this song is just wonderful because it does bring that heartwarming, sweet side into the mist of the murderous mess that is SWEENEY TODD (I don’t mean that I dislike the musical—I love it). And this song gets the tears flowing every time because Toby’s love for Mrs. Lovett and him calling her “Mum” is just too much for me to handle without spilling a few (or more) tears.
· HAPPINESS from SCROOGE – You might be thinking “Wait… this song is called ‘Happiness’… what on earth could there be to cry about?” And you’re right. You might think that, but “Happiness” is probably the saddest song from SCROOGE. I don’t quite know how to explain it because it’s one of those things that is just better if you experience it yourself. But man… it gets me crying every time.
· I LIKE LIFE (Reprise) from SCROOGE – This song makes me cry happy tears. Happy tears. At the end of this song, when Scrooge is just saying “Merry Christmas” to everyone, I just break and cry all of the tears that I have. Because I’m happy. Yeah… you know something is great when it can get you crying happy tears.
· DOWN ONCE MORE / FINAL LAIR from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – The part where the Phantom sings “Christine, I love you…” is the part that gets me crying. Although I am not a fan of the whole Phantom/Christine pairing, I just can’t help but cry at this part, especially if the Phantom is a particularly good actor.
· ALL I ASK OF YOU from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – Some more happy tears during “All I Ask of You”. Because it’s just so cute and that crescendo at the end of the song is perfectly executed. I can’t really explain this one. I just cry when I hear it.
· FOR GOOD from WICKED – I’d say that “For Good” is the most emotional song from WICKED and it’s the song that really gets the waterworks going. This parting of Elphie and Glinda just makes me cry every time. It’s a bittersweet scene. They’re reunited, but they’re parting and will never see each other again. And man… it gets the tears flowing. It really, really does.
· STORIES from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS – The line “Stories ‘bout heroes who overcame their deepest sorrow,” gets me crying every, single time. I don’t know what it is exactly about it but man… I can’t help but cry when I hear it. I really, really can’t.
· IF I CAN’T LOVE HER + IF I CAN’T LOVE HER (Reprise) from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – “If I Can’t Love Her” is a song that just hurts in general but man… the reprise, I think, is even sadder. Because this time ‘round, the Beast does love Belle but he thinks that she doesn’t love him. And that’s even sadder.
· TRANSFORMATION / END DUET from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – So… let’s end this list on a happy note. While I do cry when the Beast “dies”, I also cry during their wedding scene that follows it. I just love it. It’s beautiful in every way and man… I just can’t help but cry.
Okay, so… I’ve shared a long list of songs from musical theatre that make me cry. So… do any of these songs on this list make you cry too? Or am I just an emotional mess when it comes to musicals (that’s highly plausible)? Tschüss!