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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: A playlist for Broadway babies and storytellers

Photo Courtesy of Alli Pardue.

I’ve always been a storyteller. 

Before I was a journalism major telling stories through words, I was a theater kid telling stories through performance. 

I had my official on-stage debut when I was 10 years old, but I was always a dramatic kid — reenacting scenes from The Wizard of Oz, writing plays with my cousin, the works. I’ve been involved in over 20 stage productions, portraying everything from the smallest ensemble member to the leading lady.

I love theatre, but now that I’m in college, I'm taking a break from it to focus on another form of storytelling — journalism.

However, I haven’t completely left that life behind. One thing I’ve noticed here at UNC is that many of my journalist friends are also big-time theatre kids. I think you’d be surprised at how many Hussman students can recite every word to “My Shot” from Hamilton.

My hypothesis for this phenomenon is that because journalism kids are, fundamentally, storytellers, they can appreciate the deep, vivid stories told through musical theatre songs. 

See, unlike regular songs, show tunes aren’t standalone. Instead, they are pieces to a larger puzzle. A three-minute song from a musical acts as a singular story, while also fitting into the greater story of the musical itself.

As journalists, our writing is meant to do something similar — to capture one story at a time, while also fitting into the greater puzzle of a community, of the world, of life itself.

This is why I believe journalism kids are such suckers for a show tune. 

In honor of this revelation, I’ve compiled a playlist of some of my all-time favorite songs from musicals, ranging from little-known Broadway shows to blockbuster movies. These are songs that, for me, encapsulate storytelling at its finest.

Get ready for a rollercoaster of emotions. From heartbreaking ballads like “The I Love You Song” to better known bangers like “Dancing Queen” from Mamma Mia, this playlist will have you punching the air with joy one minute and crying your heart out the next.

This one’s for all my Broadway babies, and it’s especially for people like me, who might've strayed away from the stage, but who never stopped telling stories.

@dthopinion |

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Alli Pardue

Alli Pardue is the 2023-24 audience engagement editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served on the audience engagement desk as assistant editor and summer editor. Alli is a sophomore pursuing a major in media and journalism and a minor in Spanish for the professions.