Happy Pride Month!
Musicals have always been a celebration of love, in all its forms, and many shows have added to a growing repertoire of LGBT+ anthems. LGBT+ audiences have found comfort in musicals, seeing themselves and their experiences represented on the stage, and then becoming inspired, if not to pursue careers in the theater, but to simply be themselves.
Whether these shows have explicitly portrayed LGBT+ characters and relationships or have served as allegories to the LGBT+ struggles (such as the AIDS crisis), musicals have provided safe spaces for audiences and sparked vital conversations on diversity and inclusion in society. More and more shows are featuring different kinds of characters and relationships and audiences are becoming more open and accepting of these new kinds of stories. LGBT+ stories are no longer limited to the stereotypical flamboyance of previous portrayals but are now being presented as important explorations of humanity and community.
We’ve gathered a little more than a dozen songs exploring different aspects of the LGBT+ experience from the stages of love and to different kinds of relationships. Some of these songs are unapologetic declarations of one’s identity (“I Am What I Am,” “Just Be”) while others showcase a moment of self-discovery and realization (“Changing My Major”). Some songs are about the thrill of young love (“Lalagnatin ako”) while others feature established relationships (“I’ll Cover You”) and some stories have a tragic ending (“I Honestly Love You”). Some songs even tackle family and friends being supportive of LGBT+ characters (“You Could Never Shame Me,” “If You Were Gay”).
While there are dozens more of these songs in the history of Broadway musicals, we thought we would put together a sampler of the essentials, as our way of celebrating Pride Month.
So no matter who you love, how you love, or if you’re still figuring it out, you are valid and you should be proud!
1. “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles
One life, so it’s time to open up your closet.
Life’s not worth a damn ’til you can say,
“Hey world, I am what I am!”
2. “You Could Never Shame Me” from Kiss of the Spider Woman
But you have no secrets, I already know
And…you could never shame me
Let me say out loud
I’ve a son, a loving son,
Who makes me proud…
3. “I’ll Cover You” from Rent
Now I know you can rent it
A new lease, you are my love
On life, be my life
Just slip me on, I’ll be your blanket
Wherever, whatever I’ll be your coat
You’ll be my king, and I’ll be your castle
No, you be my queen, and I’ll be your moat
4. “Love is a Question Mark” from Taboo
I don’t know where to start
Love’s a peculiar feeling
It’s a question mark
5. “If You Were Gay” from Avenue Q
I’d shout hooray!
And here I’d stay
But I wouldn’t get in your way
You can count on me
To always be
Beside you every day
To tell you it’s okay
You were just born that way,
And, as they say it’s in your DNA
6. “I Honestly Love You” from The Boy from Oz
And if we both were born in another place and time
This moment might be ending with a kiss
But there you are with yours and here I am with mine
So I guess we’ll just be leaving it at this
I love you
I honestly love you
I honestly love you
7. “What About Love” from The Color Purple
Will I see a new world?
In your eyes
With you my whole spirit rides
And what about hope?
What about joy?
8. “Raise You Up/Just Be” from Kinky Boots
Two: Learn something new
Three: Accept yourself and you’ll accept others too!
Four: Let love shine
Five: Let pride be your guide
Six: Change the world when you change your mind!
Just be. Who you wanna be.
Never let them tell you who you ought to be.
Just be. With dignity.
Celebrate your life triumphantly.
9. “The Origin of Love” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
We call it love
We wrapped our arms around each other
Tried to shove ourselves back together
We were making love, making love
It was a cold dark evening such a long time ago
When by the mighty hand of jove
It was a sad story how we became lonely two-legged creatures
The story, the origin of love
That’s the origin of love
10. “Changing My Major” from Fun Home
I don’t know who I am. I’ve become someone new.
Nothing I just did is anything I would do.
Overnight, everything changed. I am not prepared.
I’m dizzy. I’m nauseous. I’m shaking. I’m scared.
Am I falling into nothingness,
or flying into something so sublime?
11. “Out of the Darkness (A Place Where We Belong)” from Everybody’s Talking about Jamie
Into the spotlight
There is a new star
Shining so bright
In this place where we belong
In this place where we belong
So get up when you’re down
‘Cause this homecoming crown has come crown
I was lost I was found
Took the long way around
But I’m home
12. “Unruly Heart” from The Prom
But somehow, I learned to see
No matter what the world might say
This heart is the best part of me!
So, fears, all in the past
Fading so fast
I won’t stay hidden anymore
I’m who I am
And I think that’s worth fighting for
And nobody out there ever gets to define
The life I’m meant to lead
With this unruly heart of mine
13. “Lalagnatin Ako” from Maxie the Musical
Kung ulap ka, maging bagyo maghihintay ako
Apoy sa labi ko mahal
Kung ulap ka, maging bagyo magpapabasa ako
Sa mainit mong halik
Bakit kaya ako sumisigla ‘pag lumalapit ka
Namumula, natataranta, kahit todo iwas na
Kahit minsan maging swerte sa pag-irog ng mundong ito
Bumulong ka lang, magsabi lang
Ibibigay ko ang lahat pati ang puso ko
14. “Nakikita ko na ang Nakakasilaw na Ilaw” from Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah
Sing-init ng araw
Ako’y sinusundo patungo sa isang tahimik na lugar
Kung saan walang pangalan ang pagmamahal
You can listen to the full playlist below: