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29 Songs From Musicals Guaranteed To Make You Cry

“I’ve heard it said—” *BAWLS* (Warning: minor spoilers ahead!)

29. “What I Did For Love” — A Chorus Line

Music and lyrics: Marvin Hamlisch & Edward Kleban
What it’s about: When they realize their careers can end in an instant with the simplest injury, an ensemble of dancers express how much they love their craft and will be free of regret doing what they do out of love.

28. “I Am The One (Reprise)” — Next to Normal

Music and lyrics: Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey
What it’s about: After years of attempting to forget the death of his infant child, a man’s son appears to him as a teenager after his wife leaves him, who was also tormented by the same hallucinations of their son.

27. “The Flesh Failures/Let The Sun Shine In” — HAIR

Music and lyrics: Galt MacDermot, James Rado & Gerome Ragni
What it’s about: A man succumbs to the pressures of his parents (and conservative America) to serve in Vietnam.

26. “When I Grow Up” — Matilda the Musical

Music and lyrics: Tim Minchin
What it’s about: Children come together to sing about their hopes for the future and make you nostalgic for the simpler joys of youth.

25. “Sorry/Grateful” — Company

Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
What it’s about: A series of husbands explain to their single friend the happy and sad contradictions of married life.

24. “How To Return Home” — Tales From The Bad Years

Music and lyrics: Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk
What it’s about: A woman comes back to her childhood home and realizes how it feels, for the first time, incredibly foreign.

23. “I Am What I Am” — La Cage Aux Folles

Music and lyrics: Jerry Herman
What it’s about: A drag queen parks and barks in the ultimate song of self in defiance of his husband who requested that he makes himself absent for the visit of their son’s potential in-laws.

22. “The I Love You Song” — The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music and lyrics: William Finn
What it’s about: A young girl’s fantasy sequence where she imagines her parents being there for her at the spelling be and saying the words of encouragement she never got growing up.

21. “Fable” — The Light in the Piazza

Music and lyrics: Adam Guettel
What it’s about: At her daughter’s wedding, a once-hesitant mother realizes that the beauty and joy of love outweighs its risks and joins the wedding.

20. “What Would I Do” — Falsettos

Music and lyrics: William Finn
What it’s about: A man shares one final duet with his lover who has died after being sick (alluded to as AIDS).

19. “Some Things Are Meant To Be” — Little Women

Music and lyrics: Jason Howland & Mindi Dickstein
What it’s about: A kite-flying moment between sisters before the younger one dies due to scarlet fever.

18. “As Long As He Needs Me” — Oliver!

Music and lyrics: Lionel Bart
What it’s about: A woman declares her unconditional love for a man who physically abuses her whom she believes genuinely cares for her in return.

17. “Legally Blonde” — Legally Blonde the Musical

Music and lyrics: Nell Benjamin & Laurence O’Keefe
What it’s about: A Harvard law student contemplates returning home to California after her professor hits on her, then is joined by her colleague who realizes he is in love with her.

16. “Losing My Mind” — Follies

Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
What it’s about: A woman reminisces on her infatuation—now obsession—for her former lover who chose to marry her roommate instead of her.

15. “On My Own” — Les Misérables

Music and lyrics: Claude-Michel Schönberg & Alain Boublil
What it’s about: A street urchin walks around Paris at night pretending her crush walks beside her; the other ultimate anthem of unrequited love.

14. “With You” — Ghost the Musical

Music and lyrics: Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard & Bruce Joel Rubin
What it’s about: A woman laments the death of her husband who still walks the earth as a ghost.

13. “Not A Day Goes By” — Merrily We Roll Along

Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
What it’s about: A woman’s confessional ballad to her ex-husband whom she still loves even after he cheated on her.

12. “One Hand, One Heart” — West Side Story

Music and lyrics: Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim
What it’s about: Two star-crossed teen lovers have a make-believe wedding that’ll never happen because (spoiler alert!) one of them will die.

11. “Left Behind” — Spring Awakening

Music and lyrics: Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater
What it’s about: A musical eulogy for a high-school boy who killed himself explaining the factors that led to his death, including his parents’ treatment of him.

10. “I”m Here” — The Color Purple

Music and lyrics: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis & Stephen Bray
What it’s about: A torch song for a woman who, despite all the hardships she has faced over the course of the musical, feels a deep love for herself at last.

9. “My Man” — Funny Girl

Music and lyrics: Jacques Charles, Channing Pollock, Albert Willemetz, & Maurice Yvain
What it’s about: The ultimate anthem of unrequited love.

8. “No One Is Alone” — Into The Woods

Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
What it’s about: A man and a woman sing to two children about moral relativity and the gray areas of life.

7. “Move On” — Sunday In The Park With George

Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
What it’s about: An artist’s great-grandmother appears to him in a vision and reminds him to forget about his critics and learn how to move on.

6. “Still Hurting” — The Last 5 Years

Music and lyrics: Jason Robert Brown
What it’s about: An actress mulls over the aftermath of her divorce from a pedantic writer who cheated on her.

5. “Your Daddy’s Son” — Ragtime

Music and lyrics: Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens
What it’s about: A woman apologizes to her infant child for burying him in the ground because he reminded her of his father.

4. “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” — Dreamgirls

Music and lyrics: Henry Krieger & Tom Eyen
What it’s about: In the face of attempts to oust her from the group, a singer stands defiant and insists to her manager and lover that she’s not going anywhere.

3. “Alabanza” — In The Heights

Music and lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda
What it’s about: A neighborhood in Washington Heights holds a vigil for the community’s de facto matriarch upon her passing.

2. “For Good” — Wicked

Music and lyrics: Stephen Schwartz
What it’s about: Two best friends saying goodbye forever; often reprised for graduations.

1. “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” — RENT

Music and lyrics: Jonathan Larson
What it’s about: A man mourning the loss of his lover to the AIDS epidemic.

Get ready for more tears while you watch the 2014 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 8, at 8 p.m. on CBS!

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