I have a confession to make. I love show tunes. I’ve loved them ever since I first heard the soundtrack of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” I remember my mother putting the disk in the family boombox while my siblings and I were waiting for the bus one day in elementary school. We had never seen the musical, didn’t know the story and didn’t understand the difference between a Beatles album and a musical soundtrack — but we loved it. We danced around in a circle chanting “Go go go Joseph!” until the bus unfortunately interrupted us. Yeah, we were super cool.

From there, my love for show tunes grew astronomically. I became an Andrew Lloyd Webber freak. I knew the words to every song in “Cats,” “Joseph,” “Evita” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Not satiated, I turned to other classics like “Les Misérables,” “The Sound of Music,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Godspell,” “Hair,” “Aida” and “1776.” The list went on and on and on. In fact, it’s still growing.

As I eventually discovered, knowing a show’s music greatly increased my enjoyment of seeing that musical. I knew the songs in “Hair” and “Aida” by heart before I saw either show onstage. Knowing the music makes performances so much more familiar and rewarding. It’s like going to a concert — if I don’t know the music, the concert doesn’t always have the same experience. When I went to see the indie hip-hop band Why? a few years ago, I had only listened to Alopecia, which made up a small portion of the band’s show. For most of the concert, I was just bopping along to music I hadn’t come to appreciate or love. When I saw Why? again last year, I had explored more of the band’s discography and enjoyed the show much more.

And OK, OK, OK. Yes, I understand the ridiculousness of some show tunes and why some people find them annoying. Some of the more traditional show tunes — like songs from “Oklahoma!” or “My Fair Lady” — are a bit dated, and can be … interesting to contemporary listeners who don’t know what the hell a surrey is or care about British class consciousness. I get that — those shows aren’t my favorite either.

Plus, a lot of show tunes — especially the forgotten numbers that fall by the wayside in comparison to show-stoppers like “The Impossible Dream” — make absolutely no sense out of context. “Anatevka,” removed from the plot of “Fiddler on the Roof” is creepy and weird. What is Anatevka? Why are these people naming random things like hats and stoves? How is this music? The song only gains meaning within the context of the show’s plot: It’s a haunting and heart-wrenching adieu to a home that a community of Jews are being forced to leave because of anti-Semitism. In context, it’s a wonderful addition to the story arc. But out of context, it’s not really listener-friendly.

Putting these concerns aside, let me make my case for show tunes and legitimize my obsession. First of all, “I love show tunes” is not an all-encompassing statement. If someone said “I love rock music,” I would assume they meant “I prefer to listen to rock music sometimes, but don’t love every band that falls within that genre or every track that bears the rock moniker.” The same goes for show tunes: I like some of them, but am definitely not making a case for every single show tune ever.

For me, this genre of music — when done well — represents a marriage between two of the things I love most: music and fiction.

When the musical’s storyline is good, I’m immersed in a world completely different from anything I will ever experience. Listening to “Aida,” I find myself transported back to a B.C. Egypt chock full of love triangles, warfare and an entire track dedicated to underwear. “1776” takes me to my favorite time in history, and I can listen to the musical musings of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and other genius forefathers as they attempt to commit the highest treason and declare independence from Great Britain. The 20th century Paris Opera House comes to life in “Phantom of the Opera,” complete with a sexy, misunderstood, masked renaissance man.

So, in order for me to appreciate a musical’s soundtrack, it has to have a good story. A lot of famous shows — like “Annie Get Your Gun,” “West Side Story,” “Wicked” and “Rent” — don’t really hold an interest for me. Their stories are either too bland or way over-the-top and, just like bland or over-the-top novels, they’re not my first choice for entertainment.

Furthermore, musicals feature really, really talented people. I can’t listen to the “Les Mis” soundtrack without shivering when Javert and Jean Valjean vocally duel. It still surprises me that Mandy Patinkin (who was Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride”) has such amazing pipes as Che in “Evita.” It’s not just the orchestral portion of the music that draws me to show tunes — it’s the vocal expertise that these songs feature. If I want to listen to great guitar, I put on Clapton, Santana or the Dead. If I want to listen to a great mash-up artist, I put on Girl Talk. If I want to listen to great classical vocals, I put on show tunes. And I’m no longer intimidated to admit that.

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