Top 10 Songs for Spring

Julia Rank
Friday, March 29, 2024

The Easter weekend is upon us: we share some of our favourite songs for spring, including numbers involving love at first sight, physical and emotional healing, and all-out partying!

Photo: Marc Brenner

‘Easter Parade’ – Easter Parade

Arguably the Easter film, Easter Parade is a lightly Pygmalion-esque story in which Fred Astaire’s Don is dumped by his dancing partner Nadine (Ann Miller) and wagers that he can turn any chorus girl into a star. Enter Judy Garland’s Hannah. Romance blossoms and, after a few misunderstandings, they step out in New York’s Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival.

Fun fact: Like many studio-era movie musicals, Easter Parade is a jukebox musical of sorts, taking pre-existing songs and placing them in a new narrative. The title song’s melody was first written in 1917 for the lyric ‘Smile and Show Your Dimple’ (a morale-boosting World War I number). The tune was recycled as ‘Easter Parade’ in the 1933 Broadway revue As Thousands Cheer. It featured in two films prior to Easter Parade: it was sung by Don Ameche in Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938) and by Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn (1942).

Judy Garland (Hannah), Fred Astaire (Don)


‘If I Loved You’ – Carousel

One spring evening, Billy and Julie are instantly attracted to each other and talk about what it would be like if they loved each other. The imagery of the blossom and the wind in the dialogue can be seen as a metaphor for Julie’s purity and Billy’s machismo. ‘You were right about there being no wind. The blossoms are just coming down by themselves. It’s just their time to, I reckon’, Julie observes just before they share their first kiss.

This Easter Sunday (31 March) marks the 90th birthday of Shirley Jones, the 1956 film’s angelic Julie. Jones, of course, also played Laurey in Oklahoma! (also with Gordon MacRae) and Marian in The Music Man on screen, and she’s an Oscar winner for Elmer Gantry and the matriarch of The Partridge Family. Happy birthday, Shirley!

Shirley Jones (Julie), Gordon MacRae (Billy)


‘It Might as Well Be Spring’ – State Fair

 Another bittersweet Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. State Fair takes place in late summer but farmer’s daughter Margy is fed up; she isn’t in love with her fiancé and she’s filled with melancholy and restlessness that calls to mind spring fever. 

Jeanne Crain, dubbed by Louanne Hogan (Margy)


‘The Girl I Mean to Be’ / ‘Wick’ / ‘Lily’s Eyes’ / ‘Come to My Garden’ medley – The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic The Secret Garden is imbued with the themes of friendship, personal and spiritual growth and the restorative power of nature, and it was given new life in Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman’s 1991 musical adaptation. There’ll be more on this lovely show in our next issue.

Daisy Eagan (Mary), John Cameron Mitchell (Dickon), Mandy Patinkin (Archibald), Robert Westenberg (Neville), Rebecca Luker (Lily)


‘I Feel So Much Spring’ – A New Brain

 William Finn and James Lapine’s A New Brain is also about healing, based on Finn’s own near-death experience following brain surgery and the power of music in his recovery process. In the 11 o’clock number, the songwriter protagonist, Gordon, is finally able to finish his song.

Malcolm Gets (Gordon)

‘Livin’ it Up on Top’ – Hadestown

Another musical that’s about the struggle to finish a song… Nature is out of balance but springtime is party time as Persephone, goddess of spring, returns to Earth following her winter in the Underworld. Her time is limited, so this party queen certainly knows how to seize the day – we’ll have what she’s having! You can read our review of the West End production Hadestown, in which Persephone is played by Gloria Onitiri, in our current issue.

Amber Gray (Persephone) and company


‘The Lusty Month of May’ – Camelot

In a similar vein, Camelot’s Queen Guenevere is also determined to take advantage of this season of fun and frolicking where the usual rules don’t apply. Alan Jay Lerner’s exuberant lyrics are filled with intricate rhymes (‘It's mad, it's gay / A libellous display / Those dreary vows that everyone takes / Everyone breaks / Everyone makes divine mistakes…).  Perfect for dancing around a maypole!

Philippa Soo (Guenevere) and company


‘Spring is Here’ – I Married an Angel

There’s a mood of deep melancholy in this number from Rodgers and Hart’s 1938 musical I Married an Angel (in which an aristocrat proclaims that the only woman he’ll marry will be an actual angel – the show was most recently revived at New York City Center’s Encores! in 2019). It’s infused with full pathos in this rendition by Audra McDonald.

Audra McDonald (in concert)


‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ – Mary Poppins

Bank holiday vibes from the Banks family! Following a dark night of the soul, George Banks learns that spending time with his family is more important than work and they head out to the park to fly the children’s mended kite. Mary Poppins’s work with the Banks family is complete and she can pride herself on a job well done.

David Tomlinson (George Banks) and company


‘Think Pink’– Funny Face

The blossom is out, so why not banish the blues by thinking pink! This delectable musical rom-com starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire – with the multi-faceted Kay Thompson as fashion magazine editor Maggie – is currently available to view on iPlayer. Ideal for Easter viewing with a chocolate treat.  


Kay Thompson (Maggie) and company

What are your favourite show tunes for the spring season? Let us know on social media, or send us an email.