The movie to watch this awards season is indisputably La La Land. The movie-musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone has dominated the box office and most recently swept the Golden Globes. It’s hard to watch the film without wishing for a world where people spontaneously burst into song and dance on top of cars. With these seven tips, you can bring your own musical to life right here in Ithaca.


1Set the scene.

I have every confidence that Cornell will be the perfect setting for your own personal musical. Still, any star in the making has to take certain liberties to bring their story to life. Seek spots with plenty of fog, or initiate conversations from balcony locations. And when you reunite with a friend after winter break, be sure to get a foot pop in to show your delight.


2Belt it Out.

In seemingly all musical movies, the plot begins with one daring individual’s drive to sing in public. Sure, people will give you weird looks as you launch into song in PSB, but ignore them. If you’re looking to turn life into a musical, you’ll have to provide the music.


3Bust a move.

This one is another given. If you’re going to inspire a campus-wide musical, you better be ready to commit. And that means you need to swap your snow boots for tap shoes. Like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, start small–a  casual twirl in Goldwin Smith perhaps. And in keeping with musical themes, whoever joins in on your dance number will  undoubtedly turn out to be your soulmate.


4Dress to Impress.

I can’t be the only one to have noticed that movie musicals favor those with vintage style. La La Land has ushered in the return of saddle shoes and retro dresses. Let’s face it, a dance number is a lot more impressive when you have a skirt to twirl. Sure, in this weather you might get frostbite on your legs, but did you really think that musical love comes easily?


5Become a tortured artist.

To stage your remake of this instant classic, you’ll need to channel your inner struggling musician. I recommend lots of intense stares into oblivion and a hairdo made to rumple amid fits of passion. Next time you’re passing through a study lounge, pound on the piano keys dramatically for good measure.


6Secure an entourage

A musical number is not nearly as impactful if you’re dancing by yourself. An entourage will up the visual spectacle, making your musical top notch. It will also alleviate some of the utter humiliation that comes with dancing in public, particularly when no one else is dancing. This is the road you have chosen, my musical-loving friend.


7Choose your ending.

Before you even embark on your musical journey, you have to choose your ending. Will you bring us the tried and true happy ending, underscored by Cornell Marching Band’s horn section, or will you attempt to be artsy and leave us reaching for the tissues? It’s a decision any musical director will have to make.

As Ryan Gosling once said, if this is your dream you’re going to have to give it all you’ve got. And if you start singing and people stare, keep in mind that I’ll be tapping my toe somewhere in the background. Let the semester begin!