20 cheerful musical tunes to lift your spirits
We might not be able to lie in the sun, but we can certainly try brightening your day with our favourite happy songs
It's officially the early days of spring! Although being on lockdown might mean you can't go to your local park to lie in the sun (please stay home!), that doesn't mean we can't bring the sunshine to you. Take a look at our favourite cheerful tunes to brighten your day!
1. "Colour My World" - Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Kicking things off is this gloriously camp extravaganza from sunshine-yellow musical Priscilla, which sees a colourful group of performers truck across the desert. Not only is it packed with wonderful lyrics, it really paints a smile on your face.
2. "Raise You Up / Just Be" - Kinky Boots
Need a full-on happy anthem? "Feed your fire" with this seven-minute finale of the sass-tastic Cyndi Lauper musical, which is packed with high kicks and even higher spirits – it's guaranteed to start your day with a bang!
3. "Totally F*cked" - Spring Awakening
Is this… too on the nose? If you fancy getting that adrenaline rush, then this bittersweet tune is certainly going to do it for you. It might not have the most positive lyrics, but it certainly makes us laugh!
4. "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" - Oklahoma!
Let's get back to basics, shall we? Why not start the day off with this utterly calming tune from the 1940s Rodgers and Hammerstein musical – we don't know about you but if we shut our eyes it makes us feel like we're outside…
5. "A Brand New Day" - The Wiz
"Everybody rejoice!" We absolutely love this soul-busting song from the 1970s Broadway musical and film, which starred Diana Ross as Dorothy. If you're in need of something uplifting, then this is the tune for you.
6. "Shut Up and Raise Your Glass" - Moulin Rouge!
Bringing things into the contemporary, we have this epic mash-up from Broadway's bohemian musical – which is confirmed to arrive in the West End in 2021. With Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance" and Pink's "Raise Your Glass", we think this is one of the best combos since Glee's "Walking on Sunshine/Halo". In fact, why not just whack on the entire Moulin Rouge! cast recording?
7. "Look at Me" - The Witches of Eastwick
If you're on the hunt for something more mellow, this "soaring tune upon the air" allows you to harmonise in three parts – what a treat. We'd love to see this magical musical revived, so for now this thrilling theatrical number will have to do!
8. "Seize the Day" - Newsies
This rousing tune will surely get you up on your feet and smiling. It's a great one to keep your spirits lifted – and why not "seize the day" (ahem) and try the choreography from this 2012 Tony Awards clip? Plus, did you know that you can now watch the recorded stage version on Disney?
9. "Trip a Little Light Fantastic" - Mary Poppins Returns
Now, it might look as though we have a slight obsession with Lin-Manuel Miranda, but the fact is that this toe-tapping tune is a great one to get dancing to! Who better to put a smile on your face than the cheeky chimney sweep from Cherry Tree Lane?
10. "Light of the World" - Godspell
If you want to be cheered, this plucky number from the funked-up 2001 revival of Stephen Schwartz's biblical musical is sure to have you belting in the kitchen. Our favourite lyric? "Let's have some wine."
11. "Run, Freedom, Run!" - Urinetown
You best believe "that freedom sun will shine someday" – so this number from the Tony Award-winning musical is a great one for those who need positive lyrics, soul-singing and a whole dose of clapping.
12. "Turn It Off" - The Book of Mormon
If we're talking about toe-tappers, then let's mention this actual tapping number from theatreland's favourite musical. The lyrics are plenty funny and snappy, which is perfect for those days where you really do wish you could turn everything off!
13. "Roar" - & Juliet
We're a LOT in love with this brand new British musical (and six-time WhatsOnStage Award-winner)! If we're honest, this is on every day in WOS towers, as it truly does keep everyone smiling and singing along. A tune packed with empowerment, punchy lyrics and a feisty message, this is definitely one to keep you cheerful.
14. "This Is Me" - The Greatest Showman
Another empowering number here - Keala Settle's rousing version of Pasek and Paul's anthemic tune is an unapologetic roar of inspiring lyrics that will make you want to punch the air. Check out Settle's live performance from the 2018 Oscars – we can't think of any better tune to lift the mood.
15. "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" - Next to Normal
OK, we literally love this one. With chords reminiscent of The Last Five Years (you can't tell us you don't hear it), this soaring song is great to belt out and leaves you feeling really thrilled. Also the combo of Aaron Tveit and Jennifer Damiano is enough to get anyone grinning.
16. "Ring of Keys" - Fun Home
Another WOS favourite here! This adorable, powerful and pertinent tune is a certainly one that will stay on your mind and get you singing throughout the day. We're hankering for this brilliant musical to return, so enjoy the clip of the mesmerising performance from the 2019 Olivier Awards.
17. "Schadenfreude" - Avenue Q
If you're feeling a bit down, this naughty number is the perfect antidote. Hilarious, on-the-nose lyrics combined with an ear-worm tune means that it's an unbeatable cure for the blues!
18. "I See Stars" - Mean Girls
Now on a more serious note, we love the entire Mean Girls cast recording – and this glittering, positive and vibrant finale is one that is guaranteed to make you feel good. The message? "You're all stars". What more could you want to get your day off to an amazing start.
19. "You Can't Stop the Beat" - Hairspray
Whether you prefer the movie version or the musical (we're divided over at WOS), this is the perfect tune to get grooving and lift those spirits. We recommend turning this one right up and dancing round the living room!
20. "Positive" - Legally Blonde
We couldn't have a listicle about cheerful songs without including this A number about keeping positive! It's all about going for what you want (and getting it), and who doesn't need a message like that in their lives?
So there you have it – our pick of cheerful stagey tunes to lift your mood. And whilst we're here, why not also try out some bonus tracks: Morecambe and Wise's "Positive Thinking", Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and, of course, the iconic "Walking on Sunshine/Halo" mash-up from Glee! Full track list available here – keep on smiling: