Playlist: Broadway Breaks Your Heart

Sorry, one foray into theater-geekdom was clearly not enough. We return with a playlist of Broadway’s most stirring ballady situations, the songs that make your heart feel things like pain, loss, hope, hope against all odds, grief and love. I recommend this playlist for long drives in the rain or any time that you feel like really just wrapping yourself in a blanket of multi-colored dorkiness. Like Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel as twelve-year-olds at a sleepover. Are you with me?

I Dreamed a Dream (Les Misérables)
Close Every Door (Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)
Origin of Love (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
The Letter (Billy Elliot)
Without You (Rent)
21 Guns (American Idiot)
Touch Me (Spring Awakening)
Maybe/Tomorrow (Annie)
Defying Gravity (Wicked)
The Movie in my Mind (Miss Saigon)
Send in the Clowns (A Little Night Music)
Maybe This Time (Cabaret)
And I Am Telling You (Dreamgirls)
Memory (Cats)
Wheels of a Dream (Ragtime)
On My Own (Les Misérables)
Some Things Are Meant To Be (Little Women)
Where is Love? (Oliver!)
Still Hurting (The Last Five Years)
What I Did For Love (A Chorus Line)
Somewhere (West Side Story)
A Quiet Night at Home (Bare)
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Evita)
I’ll Cover You (reprise) (Rent)

Your Show Is Breaking My Heart from Autostraddle on 8tracks.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


    • I made my sister watch N2N because I thought she’d like it ’cause she has a background in psychiatric nursing. During intermission, she asked me “where are the sad parts?”. And I was like “are you crazy!?! *insert spoilers* during the songs He’s Not Here, I’ve Been, etc.”
      And my sister said, “really? Huh. If she’s gonna *spoiler* herself, she might as well do it. At the hospital we call people like here REVOLVING DOORS because they always come back when they fail and we can’t help them”.
      I’m like WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!!! But she said it was interesting to see it the mental disorder from the family’s point of view, ’cause she sees it from a clinical point of view.
      So yeah, not everybody is moved by N2N.

  1. When my uncle died and other relatives were sick, I could not stop listening to Les Miz, particularly A Little Fall of Rain. And Lea Salonga/Eponine even voice-acts/sings that she’s dying during the song..

  2. I like Touch Me. But Mama Who Bore Me, the slow version… this song makes me feel all the feelings.

    • Mhm.

      I’d say The Dark I Know Well is the most omgfeelingsy for me, but it doesn’t really lend itself to dorking out.

  3. ‘Maybe this time’ – Cabaret – I do love it. And when it comes to ‘hope’ and ‘yeah! I’m gonna give this life what it’s got coming to it’, ‘Life is a Cabaret’ fits the bill perfectly. It is truly a stirring, uplifting, and inspirational song.

  4. this is a wonderfully feelingstastic playlist. I’m going to use this to release repressed emotions and cry at some point when I feel that’s necessary.

    some additions I’ll make:

    Losing My Mind – Follies
    I Wish I Could Go Back to College – Avenue Q
    I’ll Cover You (Reprise) – Rent
    Alabanza – In the Heights
    No One Is Alone – Into the Woods (kinda tied with No More / Children will listen, so basically most of Act II of Into the Woods)

  5. This is an amazing feelings-tastic playlist. A+ for the inclusion of The Last 5 Years. A++ for using a photo of Lea Salonga as Eponine for this post.

  6. I def. agree with I’ll Cover You (Reprise) – Rent
    Also, when I was touring colleges in HS, I saw In the Heights on Broadway, which was AMAZING
    but then when I didn’t get into any of those colleges I would listen to “Breathe” over and over again and have feelings.

  7. Next to Normal and Ragtime make me cry like a baby. “Make Them Hear You” and “Til We Reach That Day” are two of my favorites. Oh, and “Back to Before.”

    Also, two short lived musicals from last season broke my heart: The Scottboro Boys and The People in the Picture. I cried so hard the second time (yes, second) I saw The People in the Picture that I lost a contact.

    Losing My Mind from Follies is also a tearjerker. Or any Sondheim song that is sung by Bernadette Peters, really.

    Now I want to watch a sad musical and sit with my feelings.

    • Ragtime, for all of the feelings. “Your Daddy’s Son” is highly emotional for me.

      I am def guilty of belting out “I Dreamed a Dream” or “Easy as Life” from Aida in the shower. Also let’s not forget West Side Story: “A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” and “Somewhere” are major crying songs.

      On The Willows, Godspell
      By My Side, Godspell
      You’ll Never Walk Alone, Carousel
      How Are Things In Glocca Morra, Finian’s Rainbow
      This Nearly Was Mine, South Pacific
      Bring Him Home, Les Miserables

      And I guess I have really antiquated taste in musicals.

  8. I think this is my favorite playlist ever made. I don’t really care what that says about me.

  9. I’ll Cover You, excellent addition.

    This here is my favourite place in cyberspace today. Now i just need to find a bay window, some rain and a glass of red.

  10. Okay, this is making me very sad that the only thing I’ve ever seen on Broadway is Beauty and the Beast. Sometimes being in one of the “flyover states” has its drawbacks.

  11. I could lose my soul tomorrow and the reprise of I’ll Cover You would still make me bawl so hard that I’d feel like puking afterward. Just thinking about it is upsetting me. The beautiful way that Collins’s voice breaks when he sings that last “I’ll cover you, oh”…

    I’ll be back in a bit, I need to go sob in a corner somewhere.

  12. You Don’t Know from Next To Normal makes me cry because I can relate to it.

    And I just saw Wicked in Singapore and it was awesome and amazing. I hope the Philippines does a production.


Comments are closed.