The 5 Best Broadway Soundtracks to Turn That Frown Upside Down

With the stress and anxiety bound to arise from all the breaking news tied to coronavirus (Covid-19), you’re going to need a little upbeat music to brighten your day. And, luckily, when it comes to intoxicatingly fun and high-energy tunes, Broadway has a surplus. So, here are five musical soundtracks you should keep on repeat as you continue doing all the household chores you put off for months. 

Hairspray Broadway musical
Hairspray is seen above the Neil Simon Theatre March 10, 2003 | Mario Tama/Getty Images)

1. ‘Hairspray’ 

While Hairspray confronts racial tensions and segregation in 1960s Baltimore, the musical levity works to balances the narrative’s deeper societal themes, complementing the story via a few slow ballads, but mostly funky and upbeat numbers. 

From “Good Morning Baltimore” to “The Nicest Kids in Town,” you won’t be able to stop bobbing your head to the music. And, who could forget “You Can’t Stop the Beat;” play this final number on repeat as you sweep…over and over again. If you so desire to incorporate a little sass into your sing-a-long hour, go for the one and only “(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs.” 

2. ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’

Smokey Joe’s Cafe was a musical revue that ran on Broadway in the mid-1990s and recently saw an off-broadway revival. Filled with 39 pop standards by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, you couldn’t ask for a more fun and funny musical session. 

There’s “Ruby Baby,” “Poison Ivy,” “Kansas City” and more well-known pop classics — most of the numbers are short and to the point; as soon as the song gets going, it ends, creating the need to hit replay over and over again. 

3. ‘Six: The Musical’

Six: The Musical is a British musical with book, music, and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Considering the production just recently started on Broadway prior to the coronavirus outbreak, here’s to hoping this one returns to the stage. 

The musical is a modern retelling of the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives — from their perspective (with slight adjustments to history for modernization and dramatization purposes). The production runs as a pop concert, and the songs are quite fast, defined by clever lyrics and contemporary allusions and metaphors. 

4. ‘All Shook Up’

All Shook Up was a 2004 Broadway American jukebox musical comprised of Elvis Presley’s songbook — with an associated story written by Joe DiPietro. From a wise, yet judgemental and skeptical woman’s take on “Devil in Disguise” to a rousing rendition of “Jailhouse Rock,” nothing beats Elvis’ music sung by a group of talented broadway vocalists. They all bring that classic broadway vocal clarity and range to his famous rock numbers. 

5. ‘The Prom’ 

The Prom recently ended its run on Broadway, but it deserved to be on the Broadway stage for an eternity. Though a politically relevant social commentary, humor led the way as the pivotal tone. A bunch of Broadway stars — accused of vanity and selfishness — decide to head to Indiana to stop a small-town from preventing a lesbian student from attending the prom. 

Through songs like “It’s Not About Me” and “Zazz,” the stars learn the meaning of altruism, no matter how long it takes (or how much money is sacrificed along the way). And, they do a bit of self-discovery as well, while helping a struggling and outcast teenager. It may sound serious, but it’s hysterical.