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BWW Blog: Broadway's Top 5 Dad-Ballads

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BWW Blog: Broadway's Top 5 Dad-Ballads

With Father's Day approaching, June is the month to recognize the dads of Broadway. More specifically, highlight their songs that tug at our heartstrings and might cause for an occasional silent wipe of a tear or extra call to dad after the show. Although the songs on this list made my top five, they most definitely do not give the dads included an automatic gold star for Father of the Year. Just like in reality, some of our beloved Broadway dads can kind of suck at times.

This being said, we are thankful that sometimes dads aren't perfect. If they were, some of these songs wouldn't exist, and we wouldn't know it's okay to make mistakes or grow into who we are meant to be. For these reasons and many more, we love our dads and father figures.

As a tribute to them, today we're ranking Broadway's top five dad-ballads.

1. "Suddenly" - Les Miserables, 1987

When reminiscing on the best Jean Valjean songs from the 1980s musical, "Bring Him Home" is usually the most commonly thought of 'dad song'. Valjean sings of protecting his daughter's lover so she can be happy - what could be better than that? My argument is that the best dad song from Les Miz is actually "Suddenly". The song depicts the ex-convict-turned-mayor who has promised a now dead woman who worked in his factory that he will care for her young daughter, Cosette. As soon as Valjean takes in Cosette as his own, his life changes with her by his side.

"Nevermore alone

Nevermore apart

You have warmed my heart like the sun

You have brought the gift of life

And love so long denied me

Suddenly I see

What I could not see

Something suddenly

Has begun"

2. "Dear Theodosia" - Hamilton, 2015

But did you really think this song wouldn't be included? Although Hamilton and Burr themselves may not have been the best of fathers or friends, they always loved their children and tried to put them first. In "Dear Theodosia", listeners get an inside look of the minds of two men who finally learn to let their guards down. Their newborn son and daughter engulf them fully, making them realize there is more to life than war or wealth, enabling them to finally find a commonality between themselves: the recognition that they will be the fathers they never had.

"My father wasn't around

I swear that

I'll be around for you (I'll be around for you)

I'll do whatever it takes

I'll make a million mistakes

I'll make the world safe and sound for you...

...will come of age with our young nation

We'll bleed and fight for you, we'll make it right for you"

3. "Father to Son" - Falsettos, 1992

Remember when I said these songs might be the best dad songs, but not sung by the best dads? Marvin from Falsettos proves this point pretty well. Marvin may not be the best father, husband, or even person for that matter, but he (somewhat) redeems himself with this song to his son. He begs Jason to forgive him, learn from his mistakes, and simply be his son again. At this point in the show, Marvin's character grows as he ensures his son of the great man he will soon become.

"You'll be, kid, a man, kid

If nothing goes wrong

Sing for yourself

As you march


A man, kid, you'll be, kid

Whatever your song

Sing for us all

As we march


4. "Inútil" - In The Heights, 2005

This next emotional song reminds me of my father, a Mexican immigrant turned U.S Citizen. Inútil encompasses the fears of an immigrant who wants nothing but the best for his child, a life he never had. Kevin Rosario sings of his past, the pressure and expectations from his family who decided his future as a farmer. Kevin, like his daughter Nina, wanted more. Even though he never got it, he will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to ensure Nina does.

"'And I would stand beside her and I'd say:

'I'm proud to be your father

'Cuz you work so much harder

And you are so much smarter

Than I was at your age.'

And I always knew that she would fly away

That she was gonna change the world someday''.

5. "Hey, Kid" - If/Then, 2014

Last, but certainly not least, "Hey, Kid" is the Father's Day song of our dreams. It depicts the emotional journey of fatherhood - how Josh Barton welcomes his new son to the world, the anticipation while waiting for him to the moment of his birth. Josh, a doctor and soldier in the Army, sings of the fears he feels knowing he is soon to become a father. But, just like that, all of his fears are wiped away as it dawns on him that he has known his son forever.

"And I realize, in an instant

That I've known you all along

That I've wanted you forever

That I'll never do you wrong

And whatever this world comes to

And whatever comes our way

I will watch you, and protect you

I promise, kid, we'll be okay"

Thank you, Dads of Broadway for giving us the soundtrack to inside your brains. Hug your dads, grandpas, uncles, friends and father figures just a little tighter today. Even though they tell corny jokes and sometimes embarrass us, where would we be without them?

Happy Father's Day!

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