My thoughts on villains and antagonists in musicals

One type of character found in musicals belong to the antagonists and the villains. What exactly are my opinions when it comes to them? For some odd reason, I have a hard time when it comes to them. I can understand the point and purpose of them and can respect the actor’s portrayal, but I still can’t seem to ever like. So what exactly can make a good villain? Below are some examples of musical villains and antagonists.

It can be hard to find ground with an actor who plays one of these characters. Just two years ago, I saw Pippin for the first time and I had an understudy (Lisa Karlin) play the Leading Player. The Leading Player happens to be the antagonist, but also the narrator of the show. The fact that the antagonist is also the narrator is fascinating. The way Lisa Karlin played the Leading Player left me intrigued. The Leading Player to me was dark, clever, manipulative, and playful at times so that character was well-developed, but that doesn’t mean I like the Leading Player. She was trying to lead Pippin on the wrong path and she did not make Pippin realize that till the end.

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Javert is an antagonist  that is not a villain. But he is well-developed, but still hard to like. He is an obsessive, but strict policeman who follows the law closely, but spends all of Les Mis trying to recapture Jean Valjean. He believes that “once a criminal always a criminal” and believes and Jean Valjean will never change. He is not able to forgive or even show mercy. He sees the world in black and light and tries to do the right thing even if it isn’t always the right thing. Eventually when Javert realized that Valjean was able to change, Javert’s life complete comes crashing down on him. Jeremy Secomb, my Javert in the West End, was able to portray Javert in a way that finally made me feel for the character.

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The Thenardiers are villains that are not antagonists, but do provide the much needed comic relief. They are the true villains of Les Mis. They are selfish, greedy, abusive, and despicable. They only care about themselves and are in fact pickpockets. They are parents of Eponine and Gavroche and are neglectful to their children.

They represent the worst of society, but they are still well-developed, but you easily feel angered at this pair. They horribly abuse Cosette when she was living with them and when Valjean comes to take her away they begin to use their abuse on Eponine and they teach Eponine the ways of being a criminal.

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Miss Hanningan is the antagonist of Annie.  She is abusive towards the orphans, but is quite funny.  I feel like the only thing that makes her memorable is how funny she can be.

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I might be in the minority on this one, but I believe that the Phantom is the antagonist of The Phantom of the Opera. He threatens the Paris Opera House and seeks revenge when Christine, the one he loves, falls in love with Raoul. He is never treated fairly due to his deformed face. He is very mysterious and dark and it is easy to feel for him due to his horrible past and the unrequited love, but he honestly does not respond to his situation very well.

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Fagin is from the Oliver. He is comical and he takes in orphans and he trains them to be pickpockets. His favorite of the boys he trains is the Artful Dodger and eventually Oliver ends up in the hands of Fagin.

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I hate Bill Sikes even more than Fagin. Bill is terrifying and quite abusive especially towards Nancy. He is well-developed as well.

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The Wizard is a power hungry antagonist even though he has no power. To keep his power, he makes the citizens of OZ believe that Elphaba is truly Wicked. But all he really wants is to be a father. He wants to strip the animals of their rights and that is what makes Elphaba fight against him. He is overlooked a lot it seems.

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Madame Morrible, another chief antagonist in Wicked, knows how to control the weather. She starts out as headmistress and teacher at Shiz and becomes secretary to the Wizard. She also wants to strip the animals of their rights. She also can easily be overlooked.

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Antagonists and Villains are so difficult it seems. I can seem to overlook them a lot or for the most part so dislike them due to some of the havoc and conflict they cause on the main character’s part even though that is the point and why there is a plot in the first place. It is hard to define what exactly makes a good villain or antagonist. I guess a well-developed villain or antagonist is “good” and one with clear motives or one who is intriguing in some way. I find it so hard to even find common ground with them because it is hard to even respect them or find an emotional connection. Sometimes I can, but for the most part that hasn’t even happened.

What are “good” villains or antagonists in the musical world? Or do you struggle with antagonists and villains?

 

Non-surviors From Musicals

This post is kind of similar to yesterday’s. Yesterday, I wrote a list of all of musical characters that actually survive the entire musical. But there are actually musical characters who die at some point in the musical. I will write a list of favorite characters who die in a musical, but for now, I can only seem to think of characters from the same musical.

So spoilers could be ahead:

  1. Fantine
  2. Eponine
  3. Gavroche
  4. Enjolras
  5. Friends of the ABC-students
  6. Jean Valjean

That is an insane list. All of these characters are part of Les Mis, which means Les Mis has a high death toll. There is a reason why I wasn’t able to include any of Les Mis characters yesterday. It was because all of my favorite characters don’t survive the entire musical. For the longest time ever, I always believed a death would never be memorable, but the Les Mis characters proved that fact wrong. These characters have something wonderful and  joyful about their deaths except for one character.

Survivors of Musicals

This sounds like a crazy list, but I want to make a list of characters I love that actually survive the entire musical. It will be crazy looking at that list for sure and many actually do survive. These are only coming from musicals I love.

  1. Elphaba
  2. Glinda
  3. Fiyero
  4. Annie
  5. Von Trapp Children
  6. Maria (Sound of Music)
  7. Belle
  8. Beast
  9. Mark
  10. Mimi
  11. Roger
  12. Mark
  13. Aldonza
  14. Sancho Panza
  15. Jack Kelly
  16. Crutchie
  17. The Other Newsies
  18. Davey
  19. Les
  20. Katherine Plumber
  21. Don Lockwood
  22. Cosmo
  23. Tevye
  24. Annie Oakley
  25. Christine
  26. Raoul
  27. Nellie
  28. Pippin
  29. Sophie
  30. Harlod Hill
  31. Winthrop

Looking at this list, so many musical characters survive the entire musical. But it is so odd that certain musicals were not able to make this list. Some musicals were not on this list because either a) they were loved in elementary school, but have to reenter my life or b) the only characters I fully love from the musical die.

What are your favorite musical characters who survive the entire musical?

What is the Meaning of a Strong Sprit?

What exactly is a strong spirit?

A strong spirit is a gift, but a gift that is developed and created over time.

A strong spirit provides light and warmth to those around them.

A strong spirit loves to develop a relationship with God and knows it can be developed in different ways like through singing Christian songs, prayer, reading the Bible, or by being out in nature.

A strong spirit stays true to themselves no matter what.

A strong spirit understands that life isn’t easy because they might have struggled with some of life’s hardships themselves.

A strong knows how to endure life’s challenges, but sometimes has a hard time in life.

A strong spirit can be optimistic and knows how to pick themselves back up when dark times hit and knows how to get through them.

I am a strong spirit myself and I have known that fact since high school. I have noticed it while singing to contemporary Christian music at a high school youth conference called Winterlight. I have been called to work in Nonprofit. Every Friday, my dad and I have volunteered at Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry at my church, and dad can tell I was meant to work in Nonprofit and can tell that I can really touch them. At school, someone once told me that I bring light to the campus. It is very hard to describe why I know that I have a strong spirit and I think it is a gift. Usually if you have a strong spirit, it is usually is a gift that is created.

What are Your Feelings of Love Triangles in Musicals?

It is no surprise that most musicals are home to romance. Because I have been analyzing Wicked characters recently, I want to talk about love triangles in this post. In a love triangle, two people are in love with one person and things are never easy because someone gets the unrequited love, which is a heartbreaking situation to get caught up in, which was originally seen as just sad, which eventually I discovered was heartbreaking. Wicked is home to a love triangle, a love triangle that is extra special to me and is also my favorite. What exactly makes me fall in love with a love triangle in a musical? For me, I want to feel emotionally drawn to a love triangle and I want it to feel unique.

Spoilers ahead:

Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero

This love triangle is the first one I ever emotionally connected to and ever seen. This is in my opinion is also the most complicated one. Glinda and Elphaba are two best friends, who are both in love with Fiyero. At first, it seems like Glinda and Fiyero are endgame, but a plot twist happens and Fiyero and Elphaba end up being the final couple. In so many ways, the love the two best friends have for Fiyero strengthens and tests their friendship. The friendship after all is the true center of the musical so the love triangle is crucial the development of their friendship. This love triangle provides a fascinating texture to the musical, which is something I started to understand in high school.

The two best friends, the plot twist, the growth of the three characters makes this love triangle a wonderful, but complex love triangle.

Unrequited love song: “I’m Not That Girl”

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Cosette, Marius, Eponine

This love triangle is more straightforward than Wicked’s. It isn’t silly and fits nicely into Les Mis. Cosette represents hope and light in the midst of all the tragic events going on so I love that she falls in love with Marius. While everything is sad on Eponine’s part, I love that she brings Marius and Cosette together and shows true love towards Marius. One of the most fascinating parts about Les Mis is the switch that happens between Eponine and Cosette so it makes sense that Eponine gets unrequited love in the end. One overall theme in Les Mis is love, which occurs in all aspects, which is why the love triangle fits nicely into this musical.

In so many ways, this love triangle made me understand that unrequited love is quite heartbreaking and painful and I was able to connect and bring that understanding to Wicked’s love triangle. What makes me love this love triangle? This love triangle like Wicked’s provides an interesting texture and brings a youthfulness. In many ways, I love this love triangle mostly because of Eponine due to how strong her love for Marius is.

Unrequited love song: “On My Own”

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Phantom, Raoul Christine

The entire plot of Phantom of the Opera centers on the love triangle between Christine, Phantom, and Raoul. The love triangle feels like it is the most complex, but in reality it really isn’t. This is the love triangle I understand the least of the three. The love triangle is dark and mysterious due to the Phantom and that character honestly doesn’t respond well to unrequited love. He wants to take revenge when Christine fell in love with Raoul, but to be honest Christine never loved the Phantom.

This love triangle, I honestly don’t know why I love it. It still stands out.

Unrequited love song: “All I Ask Of You (Reprise)”

Romance is a beautiful part of musicals and love triangles are really complicated thanks to unrequited love. I first started to be aware of love triangle with Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero and knew about the fascinating texture and then the Les Mis love triangle  showed me that unrequited love is heartbreaking, but not just sad like I once believed and then the Phantom love triangle I have no idea what to think of it.

What do you think makes a good love triangle in a musical?

Exploring Asheville

One of the best things about living in Charlotte is that my family lives two hours away from Asheville. On July 15th, my family visited Asheville for the day and in my opinion it is a very artsy city. Our first stop was to have lunch at Moose Cafe, which right outside Asheville. I love having apple butter at that restaurant whenever we go to Moose Cafe.

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After lunch, my family finally made their way to downtown Asheville where we would spend the rest of the day. One of the first things we saw was people playing instruments on the street and at the same time one woman was clogging so Asheville is very artsy and right afterwards, I looked at a gallery for a little bit. However, right after leaving the gallery it started to rain. So my family decided to visit Asheville on a day that it decided to rain.

One of our next stops was at a bookstore. It looked like a bookstore like Hogwarts would have if it would actually have a bookstore. It actually looked like Dumbledore’s office. We ended up exploring a place that reminded me a bit of an indoor mall and afterwards I saw a community garden and on the inside, I saw this statue, which is the picture that you see below. After that, it was finally time to head over to Kiliwin’s to get some ice cream. I decided to get some salted caramel flavored ice cream.

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After Kiliwin’s, my family decided to spend some time in Mast General Store, which is a neat store to explore. My mom wanted to peek in the French Broad Chocolate, but my family got caught in the rain again. Not only was it raining, but it was pouring with heavy winds so my family was waiting in line stuck in the rain.

After looking at this store, it was time to head over to Malaprop’s Bookstore, a wonderful bookstore in Asheville. I ended up getting a “blind date” book. As shown below, the book is wrapped up in brown paper and adjectives are written on it. We choose the book based on the adjectives. We end up being surprised by the book we get. The “Blind Date” book thing is a reason why I love going to Malaprop’s.

 

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Our day in Asheville ended at the Chocolate Fetish. The chocolate shop is right across from Malaprop’s. There is even a game in the shop where everything in the case is made of chocolate, but one seashell and we have to find and it is harder than it seems.

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Visiting Asheville is fun. It is quite an artsy city. Malaprop’s is a reason why I love visiting Asheville and so is its artsy nature.

 

Conclusion of Analyzing Wicked Characters

The past couple of days, I have spent my blog posts analyzing the Wicked characters. Some of these characters were characters I tend to overtook and some I love, but didn’t know how to analyze and one I fully understood.

In the case of Madame Morrible and the Wizard, I spend some much overlooking them and not even caring about them. I tend to forget about their journeys as well. I don’t even care about them.

Just like Madame Morrible and the Wizard and Boq, I tend to overlook them as well. But through analyzing them, I realized that I don’t overlook them as much as I thought. They are actually part of the complex romantic arc that is in Wicked, which actually creates a love pentagon of sorts.

When it comes to Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda, I love them. They are characters that I am emotionally connected to. All three of them are part of a confusing love triangle. Glinda and Elphaba are best friends who originally hate each other. Fiyero and Glinda learn to accept Elphaba for who she really is and that is a huge reason why I love them. Glinda is outgoing, funny, and popular and Fiyero truly matures throughout the course of the musical because he does start out as being rather rude.

Elphaba is a character that means so much to me. She means more to me than Glinda and Fiyero. She is strong, smart, determined, big-hearted, talkative, courageous, unique, and believes in equality and staying true to herself.

It is crazy analyzing these characters if you only spent time getting to know three of them. So trying to write an analysis for Boq, Nessa, Madame Morrible, and the Wizard is crazy because I never really took the time to get to know them.

Who is your favorite Wicked character or characters and why?