Fathers on Broadway

There have been no shortage of fathers on Broadway.  “Life with Father,” Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s adaptation of the stories by Clarence Day Jr., which ran from 1939 to 1947, remains the longest running non-musical play in Broadway history. It’s a comedy about a fuddy-duddy of a patriarchal father. Fathers, and would-be fathers, tend to fare a bit better in musicals. In honor of Father’s Day, below are songs from ten Broadway musicals about fathers.

“Wheels of a Dream” from Ragtime

I see his face
I hear his heartbeat
I look in those eyes
How wise they seem
Well, when he is old enough
I will show him America
And he will ride
On the wheels of a dream

Soliloquy from Carousel

I wonder what he’ll think of me
I guess he’ll call me the “old man”
I guess he’ll think I can lick
Ev’ry other feller’s father
Well, I can!

I bet that he’ll turn out to be
The spittin’ image of his dad
But he’ll have more common sense
Than his puddin’-headed father ever had!

I’ll teach him to wrestle
And dive through a wave
When we go in the mornins for our swim
His mother can teach him
The way to behave
But she won’t make a sissy out o’ him
Not him! Not my boy! Not Bill!

Father to Son from “Falsettos”

“You’ll be, kid, a man, kid, if nothing goes wrong.
Sing for yourself as we march along
A man, kid, you’ll be, kid, whatever the song
Sing for yourself as we march along”

“It’s a Boy” from Shenandoah

Not My Father’s Son from Kinky Boots

When I was just a kid
Everything i did, was to be like him
Under my skin
My father always thought
If i was strong and fought
Not like some albatross, id begin
To fit in

Look at me powerless and holding my breath
Trying hard to repress what scared him to death
It was not that easy to be his type of man
To breathe freely was not in his plan
And the best part of me
Is what he wouldn’t see

I’m not my fathers son
I’m not the image of what he dreamed of
With the strength of Sparta and the patience of Job
Still couldn’t be the one
To echo what he’d done
And mirror what was not in me

Something Was Missing from Annie

To Break in a Glove, from Dear Evan Hansen

Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof

The Pants Song from Be More Chill

Jeremy is in big bad trouble right now
It’s a trouble that he can’t see
And I gotta help him somehow
I don’t know what he wants
But I know what he needs
He’ll need a dad so strong
To help him not slip away
I haven’t been a dad for so long
But I think I’m ready today
….When you love somebody
You put your pants on for them

Dear Theodosia from Hamilton

Dear Theodosia, what to say to you?
You have my eyes
You have your mother’s name
When you came into the world, you cried and it broke my heart
I’m dedicating every day to you
Domestic life was never quite my style
When you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart

Oh Philip, when you smile I am undone
My son
Look at my son
Pride is not the word I’m looking for
There is so much more inside me now
Oh Philip, you outshine the morning sun
My son

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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