Every day, we help to imagine houses that eventually become homes. Recently, I began to think of all the theatrical songs that speak of “home”. In my second official McAlpine Tankersley playlist, I’d like to share a few of my favorites.
“Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables”
A monumental tearjerker in an epic show chock full of of tearjerkers. Our hero, Jean Valjean, rescues his ward’s wounded beloved from a government attack by secreting him away through subterranean Paris. In this song, he pleads with God to spare the life of the young rebel. It’s probably the best aria ever sung in a sewer.
“Far From the Home I Love” from Fiddler on the Roof
Speaking of Fiddler (which is a musical all about family and home), Tevye’s oldest daughter opines about leaving the familial home to go away with her rebel fiancé (what’s with all these rebel boyfriends?). She explains to her worried father that wherever her dearest is, home resides. A great song of cutting apron strings – or tzitzis strings as it were.
“Is This Home?” from “Beauty in the Beast”
In this Disney ballad, our heroine Belle finds herself imprisoned by the hideous Beast. While she is now forced to live in a strange place, her brave heart is free and true home lies far away from this dismal incarceration. In true Disney fashion, however, the captor transforms into a prince and changes Belle’s determined tune.
“I’m Going Home” from “The Rocky Horror Show”
In this 11:00 number (google the term if you don’t know it – all great musicals have one), our anti-hero(ine) finds (s)he’s mucked things up beyond repair here on Earth and is being forced to return to his (her) home planet Transexual. If you’re not familiar with the show, I’m sure this all sound horribly weird – and it is – but it’s one of the best going home songs.
“This is My House” from “Matilda”
A sweet little song where a sad, poor school teacher explains to her student, Matilda, that her humble accommodations offer everything she could possibly need. Presented here, by the composer Tim Minchin:
“When You’re Home” from “In the Heights”
“In the Heights” is a stirring musical about an urban neighborhood – New York’s Washington Heights. In this song, one of the few locals who’s scrambled and fought to leave the ‘hood comes back from college and discovers how much she’s missed home.
“Home” from “The Wiz”
Is there a greater fable about yearning for home than “The Wizard of Oz”? “The Wiz” is an urban retelling of the classic tale and the 11:00 number (see note above) is all about getting back to dear Auntie Em. Let the inestimable Ms. Ross click her heels together and wrap this list up:
Fellow theatre geeks, feel free to leave your favorites in the comments.
Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley
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Not a show tune but wonderfully energetic. “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. And first words are “Alabama, Arkansas, I sure love my ma and pa, but not the way that I love you . . .” (Note: I’m from Arkansas and my love is from Alabama.) The takeaway is that home is wherever you are with the one you love.
PS Greatly admire your work and enjoy the newsletter
Thank you for sharing these beautiful songs.
‘This is my house’ from Matilda touches one’s soul.
The Sabbath Prayer from Fiddler always touches me…….a universal prayer.
What a fun place to work! Music motivates, inspires, soothes and invigorates. How could we work and play without it. I love all your “Home Selections”. The first time I heard “Bring Him Home” I knew I had heard it before…it is a blatant appropriation, or perhaps, homage, to “The Humming Chorus” from Madame Butterfly. Kristen Chenoweth sang a marvelous version of “Home” from the wiz on Glee! And finally Kenny Loggins with “Celebrate Me Home”, not a show tune, but a great evocative piece of music. Thank you for the great blog posts. Setting a high standard of artistic excellence raises the bar and affects us all. Keep up the very good work.