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A New Year’s Resolution “Exercise” for Broadway Fans

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |

This Broadway playlist will help you keep those 2019 New Year’s resolutions

2018 has come to an end, after a season of holidays dedicated to eating. From stressful Thanksgivings spent devouring our emotions, to the myriad Christmas get-togethers laden with high-calorie binging, we’ve all consumed our share of cakes, cookies, pies, gravies and eggnog. Then the New Year approaches, and we start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. This usually begins with stepping on a scale to see what damage has been done (like we didn’t notice our underwear constricting the blood flow to our feet) and our resolutions begin to list toward exercise and weight loss. Fine and dandy, but that is easier said than done. We take a look at our Christmas gifts of Broadway tickets to see King Kong and Aladdin and wonder if we can wedge ourselves into our seats. Action must be taken, so we sign up for a gym and begrudgingly hit the treadmills. To aid the exercise regime of the Broadway fan, here is a playlist to get you through the experience.

The company of ‘Frozen’ on Broadway (Photo: Deen van Meer)

The company of ‘Frozen’ on Broadway (Photo: Deen van Meer)

“I Feel Like I’m Not Out of Bed Yet” from On the Town

No song captures the misery of getting started quite like this Leonard Bernstein/Betty Comden/Adolph Green ditty from On the Town. Just waking up in the morning and getting to the gym to start an exercise regime is a little slice of torture. Put this song on in the car as you make your journey. It will capture every bit of resentment and regret you are feeling towards your resolution.


“I’m Alive” from Xanadu

They say it is important to stretch before exercising, so if you happen to remember to do this step before beginning, you’ll need a song to help you out. Reminding yourself that you indeed do have a variety of muscles, many that have been on strike since August, can be….invigorating. “I’m Alive” from the musical Xanadu is great accompaniment for the creaks and moans that come with their awakening.


“On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady

After you stretch, you are supposed do a little warm-up, a short routine that gets the body loosened and the blood moving. Most of us just skip this portion, but for those who do take the time to transition properly in their exercise regime, I suppose we had better reward your efforts with a song for the occasion. “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady provides just the right gait as you watch the treadmill begin to turn. It’s a great tune for staring (think about its place within the musical) as you contemplate stepping up on the treadmill and begin to tick-off the miles. Or just stand there and watch it rotate. We won’t judge.


“Look Down” from Les Miserables

The next chapter in your exercise journey is what we call “The Schlep,” that monotonous stepping in rhythm as the mile markers pass, much more slowly than one would hope. It’s usually the most depressing portion of your routine, and certainly the longest. Really, the entire score of Les Miserables would be appropriate here, but since most of us don’t have that kind of time, “Ol’ Man River” from Show Boat captures the same feeling in about 1/16 of the time. If you want to extend “The Schlep” a little, tack on “Look Down” from Les Miserables.


“There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute” from Barnum

Time to pick up the pace and make that sad, but determined, climb toward cardio. It’s an uphill journey, but a necessary one if you want to benefit from this early rise and exercise Broadway plan. A catchy ditty guaranteed to put the pep in your step is There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute” from Barnum (You know, that OTHER musical about P.T. Barnum). The metaphor that the title suggests will not be lost on you.


“Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” from 70, Girls, 70

For the cardio portion of your workout, you need something to get the blood pumping, a song that is both energetic and slightly frantic. “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” from 70, Girls, 70 fits the bill, and yes, we are suggesting that you get off the treadmill and have coffee. This Kander and Ebb tune is practically a heartrate-escalating, caffeine-induced, nervous breakdown (particularly Mandy Patinkin’s version), and why torture yourself doing the work, when the song does it for you? For the more dedicated, the song also works for exercise…but please…


“The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company

You’ve finished your coffee – I mean, cardio – and you are now at the point where you are no longer sure if your legs will support you if you let go of the treadmill handrails. This special sensation of “numb” is akin to a drunken walk home on an icy sidewalk, as you stumble your last mile or so. The declaration “I’ll drink to that!,” and “The Ladies Who Lunch” as a whole, is the song equivalent to what your body is screaming.


“Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen

It’s time for your cool down, and what better song to accompany your thighs quivering with pins and needles as blood flow returns to something resembling normalcy as “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen? Besides, a little ice may be needed in the coming hours, so this song is the perfect segue into creating a cold compress or mixing a martini.


“Wet” from Steel Pier

This is the part of the workout where you must now unceremoniously mop up the sweat that has you dripping from top to toes, not to mention the copious amount of saliva on the treadmill console and anything else that might be running down your leg. Kander and Ebb’s “Wet” from the musical Steel Pier is a spritely number to get you through the worst of these moist moments.


“Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver!

For the ride home, take that magical touch of the masochist to remind yourself how you got into this situation in the first place. Blasting Lionel Bart’s  “Food, Glorious Food” from the musical Oliver! makes a nice reminder and a handy checklist of all the things to avoid, as well as, for people (like me) who will only keep this up until February, a grocery list. 


Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at

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