Musical Theatre Dads~ In Which We Celebrate Fathers In Song Form

Hello, folks!

It’s almost Father’s Day, and I am feeling extremely musically minded at the moment. So obviously the most logical course of action is to write a blog post that combines these two elements. Being an ever logical sponge, this is exactly what I have done.

The following is a (somewhat eclectic?) list of showtunes that highlight fathers in one way or another.

It seems like a good idea. Because fathers are great and showtunes are great.

‘Kay. Let’s get to it, then.

“Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton

Burr and Hamilton are both grappling with the idea of fatherhood as baby Theodosia and Philip enter the world, right in the midst of the birth of a new nation.

This duet is very tender and sweet, as each father expresses his love for his child. They are both determined to protect their children and give them the best they have to offer. They also promise to be there for their kids even though their own dads weren’t, which is such a beautiful thing (even if maybe the follow-through isn’t exactly there?).

“Pride is not the word I’m looking for,
There is so much more inside me now.”

“They Live in You”/“He Lives in You (Reprise)” from The Lion King

(Yeah, these are basically the same song, just sung by different people…)

Simba had a fantastic father who taught him all about where he belonged in the world and how he was the living legacy of his ancestors. But then Simba lost his father Very Traumatically. (Simba maybe-sorta-definitely thinks it’s his fault…so…there are issues here.)

He doesn’t know how to get past his trauma and shoulder the responsibility of taking his father’s place as king. So he needs this lovely pep-talk to remind him of who he is.

“In your reflection
He lives in you.”

“To Break in a Glove” from Dear Evan Hansen

Larry has lost a son and Evan has lost a dad, so this is essentially a match made in heaven.

Of course Larry bonds with Evan by teaching him the finer techniques of baseball glove maintenance. Though this song makes me chuckle, it’s also kind of heartbreaking if you really think about it.

“And whether you’re prepping for some test
or you’re miles from some goal
or you’re just trying to do what’s best
for a kid who’s lost control.”

“Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from The Phantom of the Opera

Well, Christine’s dad is dead. And she misses him. A lot. This song is an outpouring of her grief, as well as a struggle to muster the resolve to move on.

“Wishing I could hear your voice again,
Knowing that I never would.
Dreaming of you won’t help me to do
All that you dreamed I could.”

“Suddenly” from Les Miserables (movie)

While I’m not actually the biggest fan of the movie overall (there are just Issues), I did like the addition of this song. It’s right after Jean Valjean rescues Cosette from the Thenardiers and basically he’s just grappling with HOly cOw I’m a DAd NoW. And it’s super sweet (but also a little bit angsty because this is Jean Valjean we’re talking about now).

“Trusting me the way you do,
I’m so afraid of failing you.”

Your Father’s Eyes” from Frankenstein

So, Victor Frankenstein is exploring some sketchy stuff while he’s abroad at school, and his family has Concerns. His father knows that his son is troubled, but he still believes in him and he wants him to find his way home.

(Also I just discovered this musical and it’s better than I thought it would be??)

“A young man is silently crying in fear
No one to aid him for nobody hears,
Except for an old man, a country apart.”

“Stranger” from Big Fish

I’m not actually the greatest fan of this musical (I am rather fond of the movie!), but there are a couple of songs that I think are worth listening to. And what do you know, they are dad related.

Will has always had a rough relationship with his dad. Now, on the brink of becoming a dad himself, he’s grappling with the wonder of fatherhood, what it means, and how it might help him understand his own dad better.

“I don’t know why he has the urge to fly
I want to face him like a man, and not a child
So I’ll try.”

“Fight the Dragons” from Big Fish

Edward Bloom is a traveling salesman with a flair for storytelling, and he’s not always there for his family when they need him. But he loves them fiercely in his own way. He wants his son to be able to see the magic that he sees in the world.

“So I’ll fight the dragons ’til you can.”

“From Now On” from The Greatest Showman

(Son, I know this movie has zero historical accuracy, but actually I don’t care.)

Barnum has Messed Up. He got caught up in impressing people and trying to prove that he wasn’t worthless, and sort of left his family behind in the process. But in this song he’s waking up and resolving to make things right. He’s remembered what is really important, and that is a beautiful thing.

“But when I stop
And see you here
I remember who all this was for.”

“No More” from Into the Woods

At this point in the show, the Baker is just DONE. His wife is dead and his world is in shambles. He’s about to make the same mistake that his own father made and abandon his child.

But his father, despite not being there for him throughout most of his life, helps him work through some things and helps him see that running away won’t solve any of his problems.

It’s kind of the most amazing song in Into the Woods and I’m not bitter or anything that they didn’t have it in the movie.

“Trouble is, son
The farther you run
The more you’ll feel undefined
For what you have left undone
And more, what you’ve left behind.”

“The Promise” from A Tale of Two Cities

After being reunited with his daughter after many years in prison, Doctor Manette is faced with having to let her go. In this song, Charles is asking the doctor for his daughter’s hand in marriage, and Manette puts Lucie’s happiness above his own in his decision, though it’s clear he’s grappling with it.

(My sister is getting married soon, so this type of dad song feels particularly relevant at the moment.)


“It seems like yesterday
I stood there in his place
When someone meant the world to me…
And someone gave the world to me.”

“Little One” from A Tale of Two Cities

The first part of this song is sung by Sydney, who is more of an overly-involved uncle to little Lucie than a father (she already has a dad and she don’t need another). But the second part is sung by Gaspard at the funeral of his son (who was trampled to death thanks to a careless and EVIL man that we all HATE, but probably not as much as Madame Defarge does).

And then of course we have the chorus of Jacques’s. They are grieving for the injustice done to Gaspard and want to protect their kids (and maybe a guillotine is the answer??)

So, I mean, violence isn’t necessarily the best option, but we can appreciate the intentions? Also this song is just gorgeous.

“Don’t let people without hearts step on you
And toss you away. If you’ll wait and you’ll pray
Papa will save you and hide you away.”

“No Matter What” from Beauty and the Beast

This one is just super sweet. Belle and Maurice care so much for each other and they will always have each other’s backs, no matter how weird other people may find them.

…It wasn’t until just now that I realized how angsty the circumstances are in almost every other song on the list is. Hm.

“There’s nothing clearer in my life
Than what I wish and feel for you
And that’s a lot…
No matter what.”

“Race You to the Top of the Morning” from The Secret Garden

And speaking of angst.

Archie has his issues, not the least of which is taking the Worst Medical Advice in regards to his son’s health. But at the end of the day (literally, since he only goes to see him when he’s sleeping?), he loves his son fiercely and wants what’s best for him.

This song is during one of his nightly visits, in which he tells him stories and expresses to him how much he loves him (too bad the kid is unconscious for all this, because ’tis really quite heartfelt).

“Would to God I could stay and instead slay your dragon,
This beast who sits hunched on your back.
Would God I could wrench him away from your bed,
Or cut off or tear off his terrible head,
Could breathe out my fire on him
‘Till he was dead,
Or beg him to spare you and take me instead.”

“Mushnik and Son” from Little Shop of Horrors

And now for the most genuine father/son relationship of them all.

Mr. Mushnik never thought much of his lowly employee before, but after Seymour brings a new and exotic plant back to the florist shop, he’s suddenly a good deal more interesting. Mr. Mushnik rapidly comes to realize his great affection for Seymour and very enthusiastically offers to adopt him. And what a swell dad he could be.

“I never liked him much before
But count the cash that’s in the drawer
I’ve got no choice, I’m much too poor!”

Epilogue

There are some really great dads out there. (Like…I exclude Mr. Mushnik in that statement. Sorry, Mr. Mushnik.) They all make mistakes and sometimes we don’t understand them, but we all need them. And when they put their minds to it, they can be our greatest champions.

To quote one of my favorite characters from my favorite webcomic: “Kids…need to know their father.”

Do you take every opportunity to listen to musical theatre? (Why wouldn’t you??) What do you think of my list? Did I miss any of your favorite musical theatre dads? Would you adopt someone if they owned a rare and exotic plant? Do you like how sneakily I managed to incorporate The Silver Eye into this post? Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

11 thoughts on “Musical Theatre Dads~ In Which We Celebrate Fathers In Song Form

  1. Ahhhhh, I love this so much!!!! When you open with “Dear Theodosia” you know your gonna be teary eyed by the end! Your song choices are *chefs kiss* perfect!! “Race You To The Top of the Morning” is so beautiful and heartbreaking as is “Little One”. Both musicals are very underrated in my opinion! Wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I’m quite glad to hear it! YES, both The Secret Garden and A Tale of Two Cities are criminally underrated, and it makes me happy that you appreciate them. Those songs in particular are some of my favorites. They are so gorgeous, not to mention EMOTIONAL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love some of those songs:

    1. They Live in You/ He Lives in You
    2. Suddenly (I actually love the Les Mis film- after all, my first experience with the musical)
    3. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
    4. No Matter What
    5. From Now On

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are such good songs! And I totally get that you love the Les Mis film. It really has some excellent parts, and especially since it was your first experience with the musical, there’s got to be nostalgia there.

      Like

      1. The only way I could see the Les Mis film is for the parents to trick me—–as in not telling me it was a tragedy. Only because back in high school I told never love a tragedy. So, if I knew, there might me a chance Les Mis wouldn’t be a part of my life

        Like

  3. Nice reference to the Silver Eye!

    I regret to say I’m only familiar with a small fraction of these songs. I don’t get as much musical theatre as I would like. But I know “No Matter What”, and I’m particularly fond of that one. My brother once played Maurice, and I remember how well he played an old father… despite being about eleven at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe, thanks. 😉

      Well, I would definitely recommend trying out some of these shows when you get a chance, particularly The Secret Garden and A Tale of Two Cities (and I’m currently rather obsessed with the Frankenstein one myself, hehe).

      “No Matter What” is such a sweet song. And that is a precious story about your brother! I love it. I have a cousin who has always had a knack for playing old people even when she was little…I kind of think it’s the best.

      Like

  4. Ahhhh I love this post idea!!

    “Dear Theodosia” is such a beautiful song. And your note that the follow-through on being “around” isn’t quite there for at least Alexander makes me wonder if their fathers also had the intention of being around for their children, and then couldn’t…sadness. But still, beautifulness.

    “Larry has lost a son and Evan has lost a dad, so this is essentially a match made in heaven.” <<XD XD XD I mean, you're not wrong. This one has so much poignance to it, both as just a dad teaching something to a boy who has never had a dad, and as a metaphor. It's not my favorite song from the musical, but it is a good one.

    I WOULDN'T HAVE THOUGHT OF "SUDDENLY" BUT MY HEART. I love that song SO MUCH. It does such a great job of expressing that feeling of helpless protectiveness of the innocence of babies or little kids…even if one isn't their mom or dad, I still totally feel that way when I hold them. (Also it literally just came up on my Spotify, and that's both perfect, and…a little creepy. XD)

    "Son, I know this movie has zero historical accuracy, but actually I don’t care.". Same. I know it's not what actually happens, but I love it anyway. So There. And "From Now On" is such a good dad song! Like, he's done the wrong thing, but! he's trying now! and he knows he's still going to mess up, but maybe he won't make these mistakes again!

    I didn't know that you were familiar with The Secret Garden the musical! "Race You to the Top of the Morning" is one of my FAVORITES, GAH! Because the dad wants SO BADLY to connect with his son, but he's only allowed to see him at night, and I don't know why this song tugs on my heartstrings so hard, but it DOES. (Especially the refrain. For some reason, "race you to the top of the morning, come sit on my shoulders and ride…I love you, my boy and my son" just…gah. He would be such a good dad if the doctor would LET HIM SEE HIS SON WHILE HE WAS AWAKE.) (It doesn't hurt that it's Mandy Patinken who sings it. Just saying. XD)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, so do I. 😉

      “Dear Theodosia” really is a beautiful song. Agh, that idea of maybe their dads having the same intentions but not the follow-through is kind of painful. But THIS IS HUMAN NATURE. WHY.

      “To Break in a Glove” isn’t actually my favorite either. There are so many good songs in Dear Evan Hansen. It’s just…beautiful.

      YES. Oh man, it’s so true though. There is just such a vulnerability to children that kind of makes adults also feel vulnerable, you know? And the feelings. (Haha, that’s kind of great….but yeah, also kind of creepy.)

      Haha, glad we can agree on that. It’s just a good story, even if it’s not true? And “From Now On” is such a great dad song.

      YOU KNOW THE SECRET GARDEN MUSICAL TOO?? I feel like no one really knows about it and it makes me happy to find folks who UNDERSTAND how BEAUTIFUL it is. I’ve been familiar with it for ages because my dad was in it when I was little (he played the doctor). The music is so GOOD. And this song is one of my favorites because of how well it portrays the emotions. AND MANDY PATINKEN. *tears*

      Thank you for your lovely comment!

      Like

  5. AHHHHHH I AM LITERALLY OBSESSED WITH THIS POST, OKAY???? THE SONGS ARE ALL PERFECTION AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR HUMOR!!!! and you’ve convinced me TO GO DEVOUR ALL OF THESE MUSICALS RIGHT AWAY!!!!! SO! THANK YOU!! also omgggg i’ve just realized its been YEARS since i last watched the lion king AND AM KIND OF DESPERATELY IN NEED OF A REWATCH???? THANK YOUUU!! AND DID I MENTION I AM IN LOVE WITH YOUR WRITING AND THIS POST AND CANNOT WAIT FOR MORE AHHHHHH ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

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