Musical Movies and Live Musicals

There are two main ways to experience musicals. There are the musical movies and there are seeing them live. But which way do I prefer? In my opinion, there is nothing like a night at the theatre where you see a musical live? But why do I prefer seeing a musical live over seeing a movie musical? For starters, there is nothing like the power of live theatre.

Emotions are higher when at a live performance. That is true for both positive and negative emotions. Even some of the deeper emotions can be stronger when seeing a musical live. One way emotions are stronger has to do with the orchestra. Hearing the first notes of an orchestra at an actual performance is even more exciting at a live performance, which makes an emotion like excitement stronger. The negative emotions are stronger live as well. All of the emotions are heightened more when seeing a live performance and the orchestra sounds stronger live than hearing it in a movie musical.

Another way emotions are stronger has to do with the actors. In a movie musical, you are watching the actor on a screen. But during a live performance, the actor is right in front of you. So the actor is feeding off of your reactions and you are feeding back to them and that affects their performance. That back and forth nature is part of why emotions are stronger when seeing a musical live. Also because the actor is right in front of you, that performance only happens once.

Even things like dance are stronger in a live performance. Due to excitement feeling stronger due to the orchestra and the actor feeding off of the audience, there is a greater amount of energy found in the dance. You want a lot of energy in dance in a musical.

Some people have a hard time understanding why you need to spend so much money to see a musical live if you can just save money by seeing a movie musical. Well, movie musicals make access to musicals easier and that is how I have seen most musicals. But live performances are better.

What do you prefer? Movie musicals or a live performance? And why?

Connection Between Duke Chapel and Broadway Pops Symphony

On Sunday, I had quite a busy day. First, I went to a beautiful church service at Duke Chapel and later went to a Broadway themed outdoor symphony. But what exactly is the connection between the two?

The Duke Chapel service directly reminded me of the Bristol Pilgrimage. We started this pilgrimage Friday July 31st, 2015 and our first stop was Windsor Castle. Well, the service reminded me mostly of the church services at Bristol Cathedral. But what does the Bristol services have anything to do with a Broadway themed symphony? Well that trip did not just consist of a pilgrimage. Pictures below come from the Bristol Pilgrimage.

My family went up two days early to spend more time in London. On July 30th, my mom gave me of the most memorable parts of my life. She took me to see Les Mis in London. Our seats were nine rows back from the stage. I was in the West End and I had an understudy play Jean Valjean (Adam Bayjou) and he was the best Valjean I had ever seen. The entire cast blew me away and I tend to look at the entire cast and not just the leads.

So Duke Chapel connected to Bristol Pilgrimage and Broadway-themed symphony in a way connected to my experience seeing Les Mis in London. Les Mis ended up being one of the musicals during the Broadway Symphony

What are some of the best experiences with musicals you have had?

Pops Symphony: Round Three

Last night, there was another Pops Symphony. This time the theme was Broadway. In case anyone was wondering what a Pops Symphony was, it was an outdoor symphony in the park where people bring dinner picnic style. In this post, I will talk about the different musicals we listened to, but will talk about them in the order of which I fell in love with them, but at times they might not necessarily be in order. I sometimes might mention my favorite song and character from each if possible.

First up is “Sound of Music”. This musical is one of the most meaningful and special musicals of my life. I say special due to just how long it is has been part of my life. It goes to elementary school. We listened to songs such as “Lonely Goatherd”, “My Favorite Things”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, “So Long Farewell”, “Do Re Mi”, “Edelweiss”, “Maria”, “Climb Every Mountain”, and the title song, “Sound of Music”. Of all these songs, “Edelweiss is my favorite mainly because it was my first recital song. It is also one of the more emotional moments in the musicals.

I honestly don’t really have a favorite character in the musical. It seems to be Maria and the children in this. It is one of the very first musicals I loved. “Do Re Mi” was the first musical song I memorized all the words to. This musical touches my heart in such a special way and makes me feel like a kid again.

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Grease like Sound of Music is a movie musical that I saw in elementary school. But I do not remember which one I saw first. The songs that were played last night were “Hand Jive”, “Greased Lightening”, “Beauty School Dropout”, and “We Go Together”, My favorite character is Sandy and my favorite song is “We Go Together”. Grease is one of those that I nearly forgot that I loved, but I did eventually remember. I remember that “We Go Together” is my favorite song as a child due to the silly lyrics that the song has.

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Now, its time to go past elementary school. Now its time to go to middle school (aged 12) and visit New York and visit Broadway. Before Broadway, I saw musicals on stage, but Broadway was special because a) its Broadway and b) because its Wicked. The songs they did are “No One Mourns the Wicked”, “Wizard and I”, “Dancing Through Life”, “Popular”, and “Defying Gravity”. Elphaba is not only my favorite character from Wicked, but my favorite character in all of musicals. “Popular” is my favorite song from Wicked mainly because it was my favorite song as a 12 year old.

The meaning of Wicked is quite important. Wicked sparked my love for musicals. Wicked became my favorite musical when I saw it on Broadway. Wicked was key to me understanding the emotional side of musicals. That show was how I began to understand the more vulnerable emotions. With Wicked, the main emotions began to be excitement, love, joy, and sad.

Elphaba means so much to me and she meant so much me from middle school on up and I spent so much time getting to know her and she and I have a lot in common and the two of us have a lot of things not in common. She is smart, talkative, determined, courageous, complex, young, unique, caring, loving and believes in equality and staying true to herself.

Each time I have seen the musical, I have felt more and more vulnerable. I have seen Wicked four times and each time is better and the emotions deepened, but I always feel like a 12 year old. Wicked carries my vision of musicals. It has spectacle/dance, comic aspects, strong emotional bonds, and strong positive and negative emotions in the score.

Now skip high school and fast forward to December of 2012. One musical would enter my life and change my life forever. Les Misérables was the name of that musical. The songs that the symphony did last night was “At The End of The Day”, “Master of the House”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “On My Own”, and “Do You Hear the People Sing” . Well, I still don’t have my favorite song or my favorite character at all.

Les Mis was the musical that turned my love of musicals into a passion. Prior to Les Mis, all musicals were happy. That was all I had seen. By seeing the movie, I realized some musicals are tragic. I even realized I was 100% blind to heartbreak. I feel like Les Mis was the first musical I cried during. But while watching that movie, I did not know how to respond to Les Mis being tragic.

My second viewing of the movie musical, which was 2013, was important. That was when I calmed down and saw something special about Les Mis. I began to realize it makes you feel uplifted and over time I realized it is a story of love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption. Through the transformation of ex-convict Jean Valjean, the story of tragic and loving Fantine, the romantic and kind Marius, the brave and loyal Eponine, the brave and heroic Gavroche, the passionate Enjolras, the strict and obsessive Javert and the abusive and greedy Thenardiers. you have a wonderful nature of characters.

One more thing to note is that Les Mis has brilliant crafted songs. The songs are well-crafted to match the characters and storylines. “On My Own” for instance shows just how strong Eponine is as a character and how deep her love for Marius goes. “Empty Chairs at Empty Chairs” for instance shows all the trauma and grief Marius faces at the barricades. “Red and Black” and “Do You Hear the People” sing are passionate, which shows the passion and hope the students have for the rebellion. So while Wicked sparked my love for musicals, Les Mis turned my love into a passion.

Literally, I feel in love with Phantom of the Opera around the same time my journey with Les Mis began. It was in 2013 when my mom mentioned Phantom of the Opera and I went to Pandora and requested the songs. The songs the Symphony did was “All I Ask of You”, “Music of the Night”, and the title song, “Phantom of the Opera”. Of all the songs in this musical, “Music of the Night” is my favorite of the songs. However, my favorite character happens to be Christine.

Phantom of the Opera is such a beautiful musical. It is a romantic musical as well. The entire musical is a love triangle. I am one of those Phantom fans who want Christine and Raoul together and who sees Christine as the main character. While I don’t like Phantom as a character, I do feel strongly for him. I honestly don’t like how he responds to his current situation, but he had a horrible past and he has to put up with unrequited love, but he doesn’t respond well to either of those.

Singing in the Rain was another musical they did. The only did the title song, Singing in the Rain for this. This was fun because they had someone actually sing the number. Throughout the number, he did not just sing. He also sang. He danced in the moments in the movie where moments of dancing usually happen. I first saw this musical in 2014.

The crazy thing is I first heard some of the songs from this songs when I was still young. I had heard “Singing in the Rain” and “Moses Supposes” before, but had no idea those two songs were from a musical. I love Singing in the Rain due to just how fun and happy it is.

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I think I first saw this movie of the musical in 2014, the same year I saw Singing in the Rain. That musical would be My Fair Lady. The songs are “I Could Have Danced All Night”, “Show Me”, “On The Street Where You Live”, “Couldn’t It Have Been Loverly”, “Get Me to the Church on Time”, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”, and “With  a Little Bit of Luck”

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Music Man was an encore performance at the Symphony. They performed “Seventy Six Trombones”, my favorite song from the musical. I first heard the songs from the musicals I want to say maybe in 2012 because that was when I first got Pandora. But I did not get to see anything in context or actually see the plot being played out until 2015. It is an all positive emotion show just like how Singing in the Rain is.

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I am going to end with On The Town. I song called “I Can Cook” was sung. I picked it last because I had never seen the musical or even heard the songs before so it had to be last.

Just by looking at these musicals, it is a nice blend of musicals. It really shows what the musical world is. There is spectacle/dance, comic and tragic aspects, strong emotional connection and emotions of excitement, love, joy, sad, sand heartbreak. Those are the main aspects of the musicals.

Just by looking at this list, you can just see that most of these musicals are happy, which is true for the entire musical world based on my interpretation. Those just happen to be Singing in the Rain, Music Man, My Fair Lady  Sound of Music, and Wicked.  Those happy musicals are written in order of emotional nature and level of darkness, but they are all still happy even if some may have there darkness, seriousness or tragic moments. I think On The Town fits under these musicals, but 100% not sure.

Then Phantom of the Opera comes next: I definitely do not see it as happy and due to me seeing Christine as the protagonist, I don’t see Phantom of the Opera as a tragic musical. I see it at the edge of being one, but it most certainly is not in my opinion. Then, we get up to Les Misérables, which 100% is a tragedy, but is inspirational. That is a heartbreaker. So just by looking at these musical, you can see that the emotional world is quite wide ranging.

Musical fans, what is your journey of musicals?

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My Experience at Duke Chapel

This morning, my church choir sang at Duke Chapel in Durham, North Carolina. I had a feeling that it the service will make me feel like I am back at Bristol Cathedral. Well, back two years ago, I did not know if I wanted to go to so many church services. I went to church services at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral.

Most of my church services were at Bristol Cathedral, which were sung by my Church Choir. In all, my choir sang six Evensong services and one Eucharist services. The service that they did the best was the last one and during their anthem, I cried and through that reaction I knew just how transforming my pilgrimage throughout England was.

Below are pictures throughout my Bristol Pilgrimage. These are pictures from Stonehenge, Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, and Old Sarum. However, the fellowship was the best part of the pilgrimage because if it wasn’t for the fellowship all of those amazing places would not have had the same impact they had.

On the bottom below, it is a picture of Shaun the Sheep in front of Bristol Cathedral. Throughout Bristol, Shaun the Sheep statues were hidden throughout Bristol as a fundraiser to help raise money for a children’s hospital.

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Below is Duke Chapel. Yes, this post is supposed to be mainly about Duke Chapel, but I had to explain about the Bristol Pilgrimage. Duke Chapel looks similar to Salisbury Chapel in a way and also looks similar to Bristol Cathedral. In the prelude, I literally started crying when the choir started singing. I feel like I did that because of how incredible the choir was, because of beautiful Duke Chapel was, and due to being transported back to one of the Bristol Cathedral church services.

But there was one very special moment in this church services. They played the same anthem in the last Evensong. Well, I had the same reaction and I cried. I literally had the same reaction and that reaction reminded me of the impact that the Bristol Pilgrimage had on me.

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Below are links to other posts I wrote relating to Bristol. One of them goes beyond the pilgrimage due to my family going up two days early.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/connection-between-les-mis-and-stonehenge/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/the-servant-song-meaning/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/fellowship-in-bristol/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/bristol-pilgrimage/

 

Musicals That Make Me Cry

One thing that makes musicals unique is that they are capable of reducing you to tears. I am not a typical crier so that kind of reaction in a musical is not common for me. I will talk about the musicals that actually have made me cry. The interesting thing about this list is that some of these musicals took quite a while till I had that kind of reaction or a few months  or even just one days.

Of course, I will talk about Les Mis. I want to say Les Mis is the first musical I ever cried during. I first saw it through the movie, but I honestly do not think I cried the first time. I did not know how to react to this tragic musical. But it was the second time when I realized there was something special in Les Mis. I believe I started crying during the second time and to this day I still do. I honestly do not know what it is about the songs that make me have that kind of reaction.

Les Mis is home to many heartbreaking scenes full of misery. Characters deal with things such as unrequited love, prostitution, abuse, survivor’s guilt and so on. Characters die throughout the musical. The songs are extremely powerful and touch your heart and soul in such a way that make you tear up and I still do not know what it is. This musical has songs such as “I Dreamed a Dream”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Come to Me”, “Drink With Me”,”On My Own” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”

Similar to Les Mis in a way is Rent.  It is also a sad musical and powerful. Rent does not make me cry as much as Les Mis, but it still has it moments. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic and four of the eight main characters have the illness. Songs such as “Will I?” , “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are tear reducing moments.

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There is only one song in Wicked that made me cry the fourth time I saw it. That song would be “For Good”. That song is the most emotional song in the entire musical. The story revolves around the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. My reaction during the fourth viewing goes to show just how brilliant my Elphaba and Glinda are and just how meaningful and vulnerable Wicked has become. To be honest, I do not know if this song made me tear up before the fourth viewing or not, but I did know just bittersweet and special the song is.

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Sound of Music was the most surprising when I cried. I first fell in love with the musical in elementary school. I remember always loving Edelweiss, my favorite song from the song. I saw it live two years ago. During Edelweiss, my emotional connection and vulnerability grew in a way I never saw coming. Sad entered the picture in the middle of the song and I cried from the halfway point till the end. So it took from elementary school all the way to 2015 to realize Edelweiss has some sadness in it.

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Last but not least is Oliver.  Just last week, I saw the movie musical of Oliver. I came in aware of just how heartbreaking “As Long As He Needs Me” is even though I had never seen Oliver before (well I have, but doesn’t count since I do not remember). I cried during that number. This is an example of tearing up during the first try.

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I honestly do not know what makes you cry during a musical. I know it has to be a combination of things. Your emotional connection plays a role in your reactions, but there are other musicals where I have a strong emotional connection, but do not drive me to tears. Sometimes it can be the staging of a number or it can actually be how an actor portrays a character. I honestly have no idea. Ever since Les Mis entered my life, how I view musical emotions is different. With Les Mis, I love it when a musical drives me to tearing up.

What musicals make you cry? Why do you think certain musicals make you cry?

What Does It Mean to Feel Vulnerable in a Musical?

Vulnerable: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt

What does it mean to feel vulnerable in the musical world? That is a very tough question. Vulnerability deals with emotions such as love, sad, heartbreak, loneliness, desperation, guilt, and devastating. Vulnerability has to do with being open to emotions and not being closed off to them.

In the more emotional musicals, you have to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness in a musical. In an emotional musical, feeling vulnerable shows you have an emotional connection.

Wicked is one of those more emotional musicals. My journey began as a 12 year old. I saw it four times in all. Each time I may approach it as a 12 year old, but my vulnerability level kept on increasing each time. That was because my knowledge of the characters and emotions deepened.

Two emotional moments in Wicked are “I’m Not That Girl” and “For Good”. “For Good” is even more emotional since the core of Wicked is friendship and that song is bittersweet because the two friends have reunited but it is the last time they will see each other. I feel like the fourth time that moment was really special to me. I was seeing it with Gardner Webb, a school that has changed me for the better, so that added meaning to the musical and I had an incredible Elphaba (understudy) and Glinda.

“I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking song that wasn’t always interpreted as a heartbreaking song. It started out as being interpreted as sad and I knew that each time I would see Wicked, I would feel more vulnerable when it comes to that song, but I never could see beyond it being sad. That was because growing up I was 100% blind to heartbreak in musicals and because Elphaba’s story does not revolve around unrequited love but instead her friendship with Glinda.

So “On My Own” from Les Mis, another unrequited love song, was key to picking up on “I’m Not That Girl” being heartbreaking especially because Eponine’s story revolves around unrequited love unlike Elphaba’s story, which revolves around her friendship with Glinda. It is tricky actually feeling heartbroken in “I’m Not That Girl” if you know Elphaba is going to end with Fiyero in the end, which is kind of an odd situation in a way since it started out with Fiyero and Glinda being a couple.

My knowledge of “I’m Not That Girl” being heartbreaking isn’t the only reason why my fourth time was the most vulnerable. It had to do with “No Good Deed” as well. I never felt vulnerable in this song the first three times at all. I never liked the song and I do not know if I ever saw the right portrayal. or was it because of my dislike towards the song? Well, the fourth time I saw Wicked, I felt vulnerable in this song for the first time able to finally felt its emotions and they actually stuck. Wicked is one such example of a musical becoming more and more vulnerable

Even in “As Long As Your’e Mine” I have to feel vulnerable. It is a love song and in a love song you have to feel vulnerable at times. Fiyero and Elphaba are a very mature, young couple and quite unexpected.

Rent is another emotional musical, but there is a difference between Wicked and Rent. I find Wicked to be a happy musical. But I find Rent to be sad. Rent is sad due to the time period that it takes place in: the HIV/AIDS epidemic and four of the main characters are struggling with living with it. Roger, who is struggling with it, is also battling depression as well and Mimi ,who is living with HIV, is also struggling with a drug addiction but those struggles makes those two characters real.

In songs such as “Will I?” , “I Should Tell You”, “Without You”, “I’ll Cover You (Reprise), “Life Support”, “One Song Glory” among others, you have to feel vulnerable because they are either heartbreaking or love songs.

Possible Spoilers:

An even sadder musical than Rent is Les Mis. That musical has an extreme vulnerable level. I have to feel vulnerable a lot because that musical is covered with negative emotions scene after scene it seems. In the first scene, you see the injustice that Jean Valjean is facing, which is shown up until the bishop scene. Throughout all of Fantine’s struggle, you see the unfairness of women during France of women at the time. She may die at the end, but she dies knowing her child will be cared for by Jean Valjean.

Fast forward to the next scene and Cosette is facing abuse the Thenardiers. So you see, Les Mis is covered with sad scene after sad scene, but faced with an incredible spirit of hope and light in the midst of darkness. Fantine isn’t the only one to loss her life in Les Mis. Like Fantine, many of the other characters die happy. Eponine dies in the arms of Marius, the boy she loves unrequitedly, after being shot, the students and Gavroche die standing up for what they believe in and Jean Valjean dies with Cosette and Marius by his side.

Les Mis has several scenes you have to feel vulnerable. Many characters have to face horrible conditions. Valjean has to deal with the injustices of an ex-convict. Fantine has to face how unfairly a woman will be treated if found out you have an illegitimate child. Cosette has to face abuse by the Thenardiers as a child. Eponine has to deal with horrible abuse by the Thenardiers growing up and discovers that her parents don’t even care about her and they teach her the ways of being a criminal and she faces the pain of unrequited love. Marius has to face the pain of survivors guilt after losing all of his friends at the barricade.

Other moments that are important to feeling vulnerable are “As Long As He Needs Me”, a heartbreaking song in Oliver, and Edelweiss in Sound of Music. I just saw the musical movie of Oliver last week and “As Long As He Needs Me” made me cry. I connected so well to Nancy at that moment and that situation is quite heartbreaking.

Just two years ago, I saw the stage show of Sound of Music for the first time and that musical is one I grew up with the movie. My favorite song of all time was “Edelweiss” and I was shocked in the middle of the song that sad decided to enter the picture and the rest of the song made me cry and that discovery made me feel vulnerable in the second half of that song and increased my emotional connection and vulnerability level in Sound of Music.

What I am trying to say is that feeling vulnerable in a musical is key to the negative emotions and some of the positive emotions. There is lot of romance in musicals and there is vulnerability in that aspect. Heartbreak feels more vulnerable than sad is, which is true when it begins at the moderate level, which is anything from “I’m Not That Girl” and beyond. It is quite difficult to describe what it means to feel vulnerable in a musical. It is important for character development, which in turn is important for emotional development as well.

What do you think? What does it mean to feel vulnerable in a musical?

My Broadway Puzzle

Last Christmas, one of my presents was a Broadway-themed puzzle. This summer, I finally got to put it together. It was 1000 pieces and below is the finished work. It represents several musicals and some I have seen in some shape and some I have not. There are even some I may not have seen at all, but might have picked up on them on the puzzle. I actually own two Broadway puzzles. I actually am able to focus better on these puzzles and I think that is because of how much I love musicals.

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Some musicals I have seen either by movie or live on this puzzle are Cats, Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors, King and I,  Beauty and the Beast, Oklahoma, Man of La Mancha, Kiss Me Kate. Annie,  South Pacific, Hairspray, Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, West Side Story Phantom of the Opera, Music Man, Wicked, and Les Mis. Some musicals I recognize on this musical but have not seen are Miss Saigon, Chorus Line, Matilda, Kinky Boot and Billy Elliot and so many others the names are already there.

From what you see on this puzzle, which ones have you seen?