For those who are not very familiar with the world of musical theatre, exposure to said realm doesn't usually wander beyond an occasional viewing of The Tony Awards every couple of years or the distant memory of that one, sort of famous ballad that caused their dad to fall asleep in his aisle seat when they saw the national tour of CATS as a kid. Contrary to what some people think, the genre of musical theatre is one that expands way beyond the lights of Broadway, and there's an entire community of contemporary composers and lyricists that remain relatively unknown to those who are not avid theatre enthusiasts. Sometimes branded under the sub-genres of "new musical theatre" and "musical theatre pop", these artists range from new, up-and-coming writers who were still in their undergrad a few years ago, to award-winning duos who've been on the theatre scene for years. The shows and song cycles written by these talents include both upbeat tunes and heartfelt ballads that are basically the love children of today's popular music and the Stephen Sondheim/Rogers and Hammerstein records in your grandparents' attic. Keep scrolling to discover for yourself how they demonstrate why it's actually pretty cool to burst into song when the feels get too intense to handle any other way. These aren't your grandmother's show tunes, kids!