8 Political Musicals to Source Your Inauguration Playlist
Well folks, it’s finally here. At Noon Eastern Standard Time, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the President of the United States. If you’re in need of any show tunes for your celebratory inauguration day playlist, we have your playlist right here, with music sourced from eight different political musicals! But first, let’s discuss the musicals we picked for this moment:
Of Thee I Sing and Let ‘Em Eat Cake
“Of Thee I Sing” was the first musical to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and rightly so - with a classic Gershwin score, and a book by comedic legends George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, it poked fun at all of the “politicking” that it takes to be in politics. With a candidate running on a platform of true love, and another running in the wrong direction, it is also one of the first musicals to have a sequel - “Let ‘Em Eat Cake”. A doubleheader of these two Gershwin scores might be just the thing to get you in the right mood.
Call Me Madam
A Washington DC Socialite is appointed the ambassador to a tiny European country that she has never heard of - what could go wrong? Irving Berlin’s breezy musical comedy boasts some of his most enduring love songs, including “It’s A Lovely Day Today” and “You’re Just in Love”, as well as a pointed political song in “They Like Ike”. Why not try the 1995 New York City Center Encores recording starring Tyne Daly on for size?
Irving Berlin’s second political romp, “Mr. President”, follows the personal life of a fictional president. With themes of responsibility, burdens, and familial love, it was Berlin’s final Broadway musical, and marked Nanette Fabray’s return to the stage after an eleven year absence.
If "First Ladies and the First Family are more your speed, this is the show for you.
It is impossible to talk about presidential musical theatre without talking about the seminal hit “1776”. If you have never listened through this score, let this inauguration be the excuse you need to dive in - the story of the congressional congress is told through the lens of John Adams. In particular, the song “Molasses to Rum” highlights the inequity that the United States was built on, and holds up to artistic study today. An all-female revival has been announced for when Broadway reopens - go back to where it all began as we endeavor to move forward.
Stephen Sondheim’s exploration of the minds of 9 presidential assassins is one of his strongest scores - with each assassin carrying a different flavor, it makes for one incredibly treasonous dish. Will you engage with the darker side of power this year?
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the original populist president who was pushed into office by a wave of anti-establishment rhetoric and American supremacy - sound familiar? “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” positions the seventh president as the first “emo” president, with a score heavily influenced by the emo rock movement of the early 21st century. This is the show for you if you just want to fist pump your way to a brighter day.
Don’t act like you didn’t know this would be on the list. This megahit follows the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, founding father and creator of the Department of Treasury. Hamilton was originally written and debuted during the Obama administration, during Joe Biden’s tenure as Vice President - now, history has its eyes on him.
● Let ‘Em Eat Cake - Tweedledee for President
● Of Thee I Sing - Supreme Court Judges
● Let ‘Em Eat Cake - The League of Nations
● Call Me Madam - Hostess with the Mostes’ on the Ball
● Call Me Madam - Can You Use Any Money Today?
● Call Me Madam - They Like Ike
● Mr. President - The First Lady
● Mr. President - The Secret Service
● Mr. President - It Gets Lonely in the White House
● 1776 - Piddle Twiddle and Resolve / Till Then
● 1776 - The Lees of Old Virginia
● 1776 - Molasses to Rum
● Assassins - The Ballad of Booth
● Assassins - The Ballad of Guiteau
● Assassins - Another National Anthem
● Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson - Populism, Yea Yea
● Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson - I’m Not That Guy
● Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson - I’m So That Guy
● Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson - The Great Compromise
● Hamilton - History Has Its Eyes On You
● Hamilton - Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)
● Hamilton - One Last Time