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Earn Your Happy Ending / Theatre

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  • Any Stephen Sondheim show that has a happy ending — especially Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods — falls under this.
  • Wicked. Sometimes everything that you try isn't enough to change the world. Sometimes your greatest triumphs lead directly to your downfall. But when you open your heart to someone else, and you change each other, then whatever may come, you are unlimited.
  • Man of La Mancha, both the Show Within a Show and the show itself.
    "And the world will be better for this
    That one man, scorned and covered in scars
    Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
    To reach - the unreachable star!"
  • The more seriously themed Cirque du Soleil shows invoke this trope.
    • Alegría - Power is too often in the wrong hands, but the forces of good can and must fight and (re)claim it. The movie inspired by this show takes this trope much further: the world it takes place in seems to be a World Half Empty where (as a song puts it) "children suffer and then want to die", but beauty and love have the power to change someone from despairing to hopeful - and to change everyone around them in the process. And every person has the power to be that source of beauty and love to someone else.
    • Quidam - The modern world is an alienating place, but people can still connect with each other, and every person deserves to be seen as an individual with needs and wants.
    • Varekai - Just because you fell doesn't mean you can't fly again.
    • KA - Things that can be used to destroy can also be used to create, and even the most evil hearts can be turned by all the manifestations of The Power of Love and The Power of Friendship.
  • Dog Sees God - This incredibly dark Peanuts parody pulls one of these. Snoopy contracted rabies and was put down, Woodstock was killed by Snoopy, Schroeder deliberately overdosed and died, Lucy is in an insane asylum for setting the Little Red-Head Girl on fire, Linus is a pothead, Marcy and Peppermint Patty are alcoholics, Freida is bulimic, and Pig Pen is a psychopath — but Charlie Brown finally got a response from his pencil-pal, and that gives him the strength to keep going.
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is a good example. The end of the play sees the African-American Younger family moving into a house in a white neighborhood so hostile that they sent a representative to offer to buy their house out from under them. Walter, the family patriarch, having blown the bulk of his father's life insurance payout, including money earmarked for his sister's education, nearly accepts the offer, but finally realizes that the family's pride is more important than money. Despite the looming challenge of being the first black family to live in their new community, and knowing that they will all have to work harder than ever to maintain their suburban life financially, the tone of the final scene in which they are moving out of their run-down apartment is one of hope.
  • Angels in America, while ending on more of an uncertain ending, still had Prior survive a terrible fever he had been fighting since his HIV infection, after being haunted by the ghosts of his ancestors, losing his boyfriend, having bizarre visions, being ordered to serve as a prophet, and finally going to heaven and telling off the angels for trying to have humanity not move forward.
  • Les Misérables, just like in the book.
  • In the musical Violet, the title character ends up with one, even if it isn't the one she originally hoped for.
  • One of the first songs in Matilda, aptly called "Naughty", centers around the titular protagonist realizing she'll have to work - and be willing to break the rules - for her happy ending. And she gets it.