Wells Fargo Wagon

Hard to believe that tomorrow at my school, their performance of Little Shop of Horrors is opening. I am box office manger for Little Shop Of Horrors and that means I am in charge of seeing tickets. It is hard to believe that the last time my school did a musical was two years ago.

Two years ago, the musical that my school did was Music Man. Music Man is one of my favorite musicals. I just love how fun and light-hearted it is and it is extremely light-hearted. Music Man is one of those musicals that does not have a single source of darkness and does not even have the negative emotions in the score. As much as I prefer musicals that have negative emotions in their songs, I don’t want all musicals to have those emotions in their scores. Musicals like Music Man are there to help balance out musicals. Music Man is an incredible musical comedy with memorable songs and characters. When I saw Music Man two years ago, I already knew the songs, “Seventy Six Trombone”, “Ya Got Trouble”, “Gary, Indiana”, “Marian the Librarian”, and “Wells Fargo Wagon”. I love characters in that musical such as Harold Hill, Amaryliss (sorry if the spelling is off), Marian, and Winthrop.

Music Man was literally the best way to start the musical year of 2015. Out of all musicals I saw that year, Music Man was the most light-hearted. Out of the others, it was the only musical without any trace of darkness. Little did I Know that when I saw Music Man that it would be the start of the best musical year of my life. I ended up seeing not one, but four musicals. The other three musicals of that year were Pippin, Sound of Music, and Les Mis. Even the order I saw those musicals makes perfect sense. The first two musicals, Pippin and Music Man, were the musicals with the least amount of experience. I already knew about five songs for Music Man and I know it was about some con man organizing a boy’s band and knew that it was in fact a comedy.

As in the case of Pippin, I never expected to see that musical. When mom got tickets, there was only one day left with two seats together. Pippin was the first musical of the year where darkness started to exist. I even had two understudies that night, which were for Pippin and the Leading Player. Pippin was what I would call the spectacle musical of the year. It showed a type of spectacle that I never saw in a musical before, which was circus. I remember being so fascinated by the Leading Player, who is the narrator and antagonist of Pippin. The actress played her in the opening number, “Magic to Do”, with a lot of playfulness, but I could pick up on a tad bit of evil. I love how “Magic to Do” gets you introduced to the circus elements. But during “Glory”, I could really start to tell just how dark the Leading Player is. The Leading Player is very craft and extremely manipulative and keeps on making Pippin make wrong decisions and he does not realize it until the very end of the show. Entering Pippin, I somehow knew it was a happy musical even though I only knew “Corner of the Sky” and what that song was about and also knew that the Leading Player was the antagonist.

In the case of the last two musicals, they are the musicals with the most experience. I had already experienced them in some shape or form.

Than the third musical of 2015 was the best musical of the entire year and was the biggest reason why 2015 was the best musical by far. I ended up seeing Les Mis in the West End, a dream I had since 2013. I am an obsessive Les Mis fan and it completly changed my view on musicals because it went above and beyond with the emotional world I once knew. I saw such a passionate and powerful cast with Adam Bayjou as Valjean.I feel like seeing Les Mis in the West End with my mom was quite special. That was because back in 2006, mom and I saw Wicked on Broadway and things came full circle when the two of us saw Les Mis in the West End. What was interesting about seeing Wicked on Broadway and Les Mis in the West End was sure to the fact that they are my top favorite musicals and that they are currently tied. As expected, this production had everything that Les Mis is known for. It had a large amount of emotions and the spirituality was so strong in this production. The revolve was so cool because it helped advance time and I especially loved it on the barricades.

But the last musical of that year, “Sound of Music”, was the most perfect way to end the 2015 musicals. It has been part of my life since elementary school and just like “Pippin”, I wasn’t expecting to actually see it. I had never seen this musical live before, but have seen the well-known movie. I came in knowing that the songs could possibly be in a different order or there might be some songs I never heard before. This musical has such meaning and played an important role in the musicals I grew up with. “Edelweiss”, my favorite song from the musical, was my first piano recital song. I loved this production and I was surprised at my reaction during “Edelweiss”. It was at the moment when the Captain stopped singing and there was this small window in between that moment and when the children joined them and sad decided to become a part of the song. I had never felt sad in “Edelweiss” before and it was there. Crazy how such a small amount of sadness can be so capable and strong enough to strengthen the entire musical.

The only emotions that all four musicals had to common was excitement, joy, and love. All of them only shared positive emotions. About half had those negative emotions and one of which I was quite surprised that I even felt it. “Pippin” had potential when it comes to the negative emotions, but the faint edge of sad showed meaning I don’t even remember if I even felt a negative emotions or not even though I felt a lot of darkness during that show. The only emotions that all musicals have in common are positive emotions, which shows that the positive musical emotions are so much stronger than the negative emotions. The positive emotions exist throughout the actual show itself and through the actual experience.

History and Musicals

One thing that can be hard to notice is that musicals can teach you about history without you even realizing. There are two musicals that come to mind when I think of musicals dealing with some kind of actual history. Those two musicals would be Newsies and Les Mis.

Les Mis takes place during 19th century France during the aftermath of the French Revolution, which leads up to the June Rebellion of 1832. Due to being obsessed with Les Mis, I really got to know how turbulent times were during that time period. There was a very weak government who hardly cared about the poor. Women were treated very unfairly and children were leaving in the streets of Paris without parents to support them. Prisoners were forced to do hard labor.

Fantine represents just how unfairly women were treated. Just because she had an illegitimate child, she was fired from Valjean’s factory and at the time period, women were left with very little options when it comes to work. As a result, she had no choice but to become a prostitute in order to care for her daughter. Through the opening scene of Les Mis, you get an idea of the kind of hard labor prisoners were forced to deal with and you can see just how much it hardened Valjean. You can clearly see just poor the government was through the second “Look Down”. This is when we start to learn about the students and we discover that General Lamarque, the only man left in the government, who seemed to care for the poor was dying from cholera. The students planned the uprising to go up against the weak government. Gavorche, the street urchin, shows that children sometimes had to fend for themselves on the streets. So Les Mis does teach you about that time period in France and it lead me to researching more about the actual time period.

images-1

Newsies is actually based off a true event, which is the paperboy strike of 1899. The Newsies were these young teenagers and children who had to sell newspapers on the street in order to fend for themselves. That was how they made a living and most of them were either homeless, runaways, or orphans. Whatever paper they didn’t sell, they had to purchase the papers. Before the strike, the price of papers was fifty cents per one hundred papers. But when Pulitzer raised the price to sixty cents per one hundred, it was so unfair to the Newsies. They had to sell more papers in order to make a living. So they went on strike and stood up against Pulitzer and Hearst.

unknown

I am not a big fan of history at all. I am more interested in culture than the events that happened. But through these two musicals, I was able to find time periods that I actually was interested in learning about. By knowing more about the time period especially in Les Mis, it made me understand the time period more, which strengthened my knowledge of those two musicals.

Linked below is a post where the June Rebellion is described more in detail.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/june-rebellion-of-1832/

What other time periods in history has musicals taught you about? What are some standout historical events that take place during musicals?

Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals

What can go wrong with Rodgers and Hammerstein? This composer and lyricist team is one of the most famous musical duos of the Golden Age of musicals. They are well known for musicals like Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Cinderella, and King and I. Their musicals seem to always seem to have two love stories found within their musicals. Their musical, Oklahoma, is considered to be the first musical comedy. I don’t think anything can go wrong with their musicals.

Of all the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, Sound of Music has been part of my life the longest and is also my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. It has well known songs like “Do-Re-Mi”, “My Favorite Things”, “Sixteen Going On Seventeen”, and “Edelweiss”. It follows the story of Maria, a nun who becomes governess to Captain Von Trapp’s seven children. The Captain runs his household very strictly and eventually Maria and the Captain fall in love. This is all taking place during World War II when the Nazis are taking over Austria. I remember Edelweiss being my first piano recital song. It has become one of the most meaningful musicals of my life.

Than of course, there is South Pacific, the love story between Emelie and Nellie. It has well known songs like “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Younger Than Springtime”, “There is Nothing Like a Dame”, and “This Nearly Was Mine”. The other love story happens between Joe Cable and Liat. Both love stories have a serious side to them, but it is the story of Joe Cable and Liat that ends up being tragic in the end. With Nellie and Emelie, the couple starts up together, than they break up, and end up together again at the end. This in my opinion is the second best Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. I first saw South Pacific in 2014 when the movie was leant to my family by a church friend when school was cancelled for four days thanks to snow.

There are the other famous musicals, “Oklahoma”, “King and I”, and “Cinderella”. I saw the movie of both Oklahoma and Cinderella in the college year. Those musicals have well-known songs like “Oklahoma”, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”, “In My Own Little Corner”, “Getting to Know You”, and “Shall We Dance”. Its no surprise that Rodgers and Hammerstein is so well known. They just have these wonderful musicals with incredible plots and incredible songs. Nothing can go wrong with any of their musicals in my opinion.

 

Memorable Older Musical Characters

The older characters in musicals are in my opinion are those in their 30s and up. When I wrote a list of memorable younger musical characters, it was so much easier to think of characters. Much of the characters I love are young, but there are incredible older characters as well. But it feels like most of the older characters are villains and antagonists and those are the kind of characters I typically never end up liking.

  1. Jean Valjean-best older character: Les Mis
  2. Javert-Les Mis
  3. Thenardiers- Les Mis
  4. Harold Hill- Music Man
  5. Marian- Music Man
  6. Leading Player- Pippin
  7. Miss Hannigin- Annie
  8. Miguel De Cervantes/ Don Quixote- Man of La Mancha
  9. Emelie- South Pacific
  10. Nellie- South Pacific
  11. Grizabella- Cats

I wish I could have included more older characters. These are the only memorable older characters I can think of at this moment.

Importance of Hope

What is the importance of hope? Yesterday, my school participated in Relay for Life. Hope is a very inner emotion. It is what helps us in times of trouble having us believe that there will be a way out. For cancer, which is what Relay for life is all about. It is about raising money to hopefully end cancer. Hope is looking towards the future for a better life. Hope is a very important part of life.

img_1156

Without hope, there will always be fear in our lives. Without hope, dark times will feel impossible to climb out of. Hope is that very inner part of us that helps stop fear. It is what keeps us going even when the world is messed up. Hope is what can save humanity. Hope is key to everything.

Hope is believing that you can make a difference on the world. It does help when you stand up for something you believe in. Hope is a very tricky world to describe. We need to be hopeful in life and keep a positive attitude. That makes life even more meaningful.

What does hope mean to you?

Hope for Humanity

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us

-Romans 8: 35, 37

This just shows that we can never be separated from the love of Christ! It shows that we will always be loved by Christ. Even when humanity is messed up or in times of hardship or darkness, we still can never be separated from Christ’s love for us. It shows that Christ is ultimately in control and that Satan is less powerful. Love is stronger than hate and is the best way to save humanity. Even in times of danger, we are still a part of Christ’s love. Even if anyone tries to be separated from this love, the love will still exist. Just knowing that we can never be separated from Christ’s love shows that there is still hope left int he world. It shows that humanity isn’t completely destroyed. We need to allow Christ in our life because without him, life wouldn’t be the same.

 

Memorable Young Musical Characters

Most of my favorite musical characters are young. That is anything from child to young twenties. Listed below are some of the most memorable musical characters. I will group each musical together.

  1. Elphaba (my favorite musical character)- Wicked
  2. Glinda- Wicked
  3. Fiyero- Wicked
  4. Eponine-Les Mis
  5. Enjolras-Les Mis
  6. Marius-Les Mis
  7. Other students of the friends of the abc- Les Mis
  8. Gavroche-Les Mis
  9. Young Cosette-Les Mis
  10. Jack Kelly-Newsies
  11. Crutchie-Newsies
  12. Davey-Newsies
  13. Les- Newsies
  14. Rest of the other newsboys- Newsies
  15. Katherine- Newsies
  16. Annie (favorite child character)-Annie
  17. Other orphans- Annie
  18. Mimi- Rent
  19. Roger- Rent
  20. Mark-Rent
  21. Von Trapp Children- Sound of Music
  22. Pippin- Pippin
  23. Winthrop- Music Man
  24. Christine- Phantom of the Opera
  25. Raoul- Phantom of the Opera

I tend to prefer the more complex characters over the more simple characters in musicals. But there are some memorable characters on this list like Annie that are simple characters, but still are memorable. Sometimes, I have no idea why I love a certain character. Some characters on this list are characters I actually relate to. There is just something quite unique about the young musical characters. I do love how a lot of romance happens between young characters. It is hard to believe that characters like Annie, Von Trapp Children, Fiyero, Elphaba, and Glinda have been part of my life for quite a long time since those characters trace either back to elementary school or middle school.