The Winner Takes It All (Mamma Mia)

The singer, Donna is singing to her one-time romantic partner.  In singing “The Winner Takes it All”, she is implying that romantic relationships are a zero-sum game, that one person’s gains are another person’s losses.  This is an incorrect view, as consenting relationships must provide benefits to both parties.   Discussion Questions for “The Winner Takes […]

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Welcome to the Renaissance (Something Rotten)

This song sets the stage for Something Rotten (the musical), but it also gives us insight into an interesting period of time. Many new products were invented during the renaissance period. These new products improved the well-being of society dramatically, and include the printing press and improved methods of freezing food products. Discussion Questions for […]

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A New Argentina (Evita)

Peron and Eva are nervous about being arrested by the military, but they have a secret weapon: unions. In many political systems, some politicians have a symbiotic relationship with unions. The politicians will support the aims of the unions and the unions will help the politicians stay in power. This is a good song to […]

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Come to the Fun Home (Fun Home)

The children of the Bechdel Funeral Home decide to make a commercial. In their song, they attempt to differentiate their funeral home from the competition. The children mention several reasons people should use the Bechdel Funeral Home, including their smelling salts, folding chairs, and more! This is a great song to lead into a discussion […]

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96,000 (In the Heights)

The manager of the convenience store and his friends find out that somebody purchased a winning lottery ticket worth $96,000 from his store. This group, all of whom live in a poorer area of New York City called Washington Heights, dream about what they would do if they won that much money. This song highlights […]

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What Was Good Enough For You (Bonnie and Clyde)

Bonnie and Clyde sing to their parents about how they want a better life. Throughout history, parents have wanted better lives for their children. Thankfully, this has usually happened. The reason for increased well-being is economic growth and innovation. For example, when Clyde’s dad would have been a farmer, about 30% of the US population […]

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7 1/2 Cents (The Pajama Game)

The singers discuss the many things they could do by earning 7 ½ cents an hour, a wage that is about 1/100th of the current US minimum wage. A great song to introduce a discussion of labor economics and specifically low-wage jobs and the minimum wage. This song also would be a good introduction to […]

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Life Story (Closer Than Ever)

The singer discusses her life story in this song, starting with her “liberated marriage”. Many economic concepts are covered here, including: * college tuition costs * the loss of human capital (since you work less because of children) * that higher wages are earned by those with college degrees, particularly MBAs * the economic costs […]

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Bilbao Song (Happy End)

The singers are singing about Bilbao, an old hangout for the crowd that has gathered. They remember the good times they used to have at a low cost, lamenting the higher costs that they must pay now that their favorite establishment is more respectable. The singers also lament that their hangout has become too “bourgeois”. […]

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