Stage Right: Themes And Life Lessons Learned From The StageĀ 
February 4, 2016
Cherie Nelson in lessons, lessons from the stage, live music, live performances, music business, performance anxiety

The stage has been home to countless works of art, passion, philosophy, beauty, religion and creativity. Although the plot and characters change with each production, one thing is consistent and has been since the early days of Greek tragedies: The stage offers poignant life lessons to musicians, actors, performers and audience members. Here are three thematic stage productions that offer modern life lessons to us all.

“Matilda the Musical”

This delightful piece is more than a collection of catchy tunes. The themes of “Matilda the Musical” run much deeper than what first meets the eye. “Matilda” confronts the contemporary and very real issue of bullying. Our protagonist faces mainly adult bullies throughout the story, but this conflict presents the issue through two perspectives: what causes a person to become a bully and how the victim suffers through the endurance of bullying.

Although the story aims to educate the audience about the severity of bullying as well as the consequences of such behavior, the musical does not dwell on the dark aspects throughout. The main message presented in “Matilda the Musical” is that qualities such as perseverance, friendship and kindness are most meaningful in life.


Receiving much acclaim for introducing rap to the theater, “Hamilton” proves to be more than a musical novelty. The most notable themes center on the political issue of immigration, as the story of one immigrant’s impact on an entire nation unfolds through quick-witted rap and energetic song.

The theme of diversity also prevail, as the multicultural cast takes the stage and demonstrates what a wonderful asset this is for our country. “Hamilton” reminds the audience of the blood, sweat and tears that went into the founding of this country and leaves the audience with much to ponder.


The main theme of the play is presented through one of “Rent’s” most popular numbers, “Seasons of Love.” While pondering the philosophical question of how to measure the value of a life, the characters lead the audience to the conclusion and theme: the value of a life may be measured only in increments of love.

The play comes to life within the setting of the shadow of death, as HIV and AIDS are used as the play’s antagonists. The “seize the day” theme of “Rent” is eloquently expressed by the character Mimi in the song “Another Day.” “Rent” takes the audience along for a ride through the struggles of those living under the threat of impending death and shows that love, respect and friendship are the only things that matter.

Although the theater has long been a place for individuals to go to escape the woes of life, for those in front of, on and behind the stage, it is also a place to learn lessons about life that are taught from many perspectives and through many themes.



Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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