Move In Day

Just yesterday, I moved into the suites at Gardner Webb for my senior year. I used to live in the dorms, but this year decided that I wanted to live in the suites. Even though I have been at Gardner Webb since 2015, I always tend to forget just how long moving in takes. For this year, we had to move everything from the car all the way to third floor of my suite and I always forget how much stuff you have to bring to college. There is the usual having to decide where you want to everything to go in your room. Sometimes, you have to move furniture. It has to be set up in a way that will be comfortable to you since you will living there all year. Then it takes a while to decide where you want posters and paintings to be hung up. My room is kind of a Broadway themed room, which consists of a Wicked poster, Phantom poster, two Les Mis paintings, and a Frozen pillow, a stuffed Sven and Olaf and a Frozen pillow.

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This upcoming year will be bittersweet for sure, but I hope to make the most of it. I am president of my service club and they are like family to me. I love going on hikes, going to painted pumpkins, Pinterest night, and other fun social events that happen throughout college. But at the same time, I keep up with my studies. Gardner Webb is not just a school. It is home to me and I feel like I have changed for the better during my time here. I have grown a lot and discovered more and more of who I am. So excited to see what this upcoming year will bring.

Analysis of Original Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack

Just two days ago, I finally owned the Original Broadway Soundtrack. I want to get the soundtrack since I saw the 2017 live action movie. I went with the Original Broadway Soundtrack because I wanted to be able to have songs such as “Home” and “If I Can’t Love Her” in my collection.

For me, this soundtrack is funny, fun, romantic, and heartfelt. This is a kind of musical score I tend to look for. When I think of the romantic songs, my mind automatically thinks of “Beauty and the Beast”, but the same is true for “Something There”. Those two songs truly are the moments where Beast and Belle start to fall in love with each other. Then you have the heartbreaking “If I Can’t Love Her” and the heartbreak or sad songs are another type of song I tend to look for in a musical. It has the really fun “Be Our Guest”, which in my opinion is the most fun song on the soundtrack. As for funny moments, I want to say that some of Gaston’s songs are funny.

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These songs are heartfelt and are true to the actual story and characters. They are heartfelt because I feel moved when I listen to them especially in the love songs. It is a beautiful story because it shows you that beauty does not just come from the outside, but on the inside. Belle and Beast are kind of different and probably is part of why they fall in love with each other. Belle in her hometown is considered odd because she reads a lot. Beast feels sort of different because of his outward appearance, but through the help of Belle realizes there is more to him than he thinks.

Why do you love the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack? What do you tend to look for in a musical soundtrack?

My Reading of This Summer

This summer, I have read nine books in all, which consists of four different genres, which are classic, mystery, fantasy, and nonfiction. The books are Oliver Twist, A Clearing in the Forest, Five Little Pigs, The Hundred Story Home, Same Kind of Different as Me, The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms, Land of Stories: The Author’s Odyssey, Queen of the Tearling, and 150 Years of Musical Theatre. Below I will try to describe what I thought of each of these books.

Oliver Twist: was a very easy classic to read, but still difficult. Grow fond of Oliver pretty quickly and loved the innocence and goodness found in him and glad he was able to keep that even when in the hands of Fagin and Sikes. This will be a nice classic to read someday if you are a fan of the classics.

A Clearing in the Forest: I read this so quickly. It was quite enjoyable and loved how the main character was able to figure things out. She had to figure things out alone for the most part. This is a good book to read if you want a quick fantasy book.

Five Little Pigs: the main problem with this book is I thought it was odd that a mystery was being solved sixteen years after the murder that the book centers around. The daughter of the mother wanted to prove that her mother was innocent of the supposed murder of her husband’s murder. Other than being solved sixteen years after the murder, it still was a nice read.

Land of Stories (Beyond the Kingdoms/ Author’s Odyssey): I will group these two books together. I have enjoyed reading the series for some time now. I loved seeing how the stories continued. In Beyond the Kingdoms, Alex and Conner were starting to get together an army from works of fiction such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Wizard of Oz in order to fight against the masked. In the Author’s Odyssey, the twist continued getting together an army, but they instead used some of Conner’s works. To get through in these works, the twins used a magic portal portion. These books will only be enjoyable if you start at the beginning of the entire series.

One Hundred Story Home: This was an incredible story of how one women housed many chronically homeless men and women. Even though I don’t like nonfiction, I still enjoyed reading it especially because of my passion for wanting to give back to those living in poverty.

Same Kind of Different As Me: I read this book since it was brought up in One Hundred Story Home. This is the story of how a homeless man became friends with a non-homeless man. It all started when Ron Hall, encouraged by Deborah (his wife), to volunteer at Urban Ministry Center. Ron Hall eventually became friends with Denver Moore, who at first was not that interested in that couple. But eventually he decided to be friends with Ron. So again, I am not a fan of nonfiction, but it shows that the homeless are the same as everyone else, but at the same time different and enjoyed it due to that passion I have for giving back to the poverty population.

Queen of the Tearling: This was my first time starting the series. I loved the main character, Kelesa, but I had some trouble with this book. There were times where it felt like there was plot development, but at times it felt dragged. I loved the nature of the two necklaces that Kelsea wore.I honestly by the end of it couldn’t really decide if I want to continue the series or not.

150 Years of Musical Theatre: This was the last book I read and this was such an incredible book. It talked about the origins of musical theatre, which started with Paris Comic Opera and ended about talking about Rent. It brought up some very well-known musicals like West Side Story, Anything Goes, Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Cats,  Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma, King and I, Chorus Line, Annie, and Annie Get Your Gun. For any fan of musical theatre, this is a must read.

Where Have I Seen Musicals

In connection to yesterday’s post about where a musical takes place, I want this post dedicated to where have I gone to see a musical. I may be 23, but it is already impressive just how many places I have seen a musical. I will write done either the state or city and write down some of the musicals I have seen there. To be honest, two of those places are locations where I don’t remember seeing a musical.

  1. Virginia- Oliver: this is one of the locations where I don’t remember seeing the musical
  2. Florida- Cats, Seussical the Musical: this is the second location where I don’t remember seeing a musical
  3. Missouri- Annie (2014)- Annie was my favorite musical in elementary school and I am glad I got to see the stage show and I got to experience the stage show with my grandma
  4. South Carolina- Phantom of the Opera (2014)- this was a date with my mom
  5. North Carolina- Lion King?, Beauty and the Beast?, Wicked (3x- sometime in 2008-2009, 2013, 2016), Les Mis (2013 (3x)), Newsies (2016), Pippin (2015), Music Man (2015), Sound of Music (2015), Little Shop of Horrors (2017), Rent is coming up in September: this is a combination of touring productions and college productions
  6. New York- Wicked (2006)- this was truly the starting point of my understanding and love of musicals and I was with my mom.
  7. London- Les Mis (2015)- I saw Les Mis in the West End with my mom and we were about nine rows back from the stage.

I find this to be an impressive list. Some of these shows I saw at college, on tour, on Broadway, and in the West End. Sometimes I have seen a musical with my family, as a date with either mom or dad or my grandma, and sometimes I have seen it with friends from school. Just based off of this list, I have seen the most musicals in North Carolina, which makes sense because I am from North Carolina and it is where I currently live. The fact that I saw my first show on Broadway at the age of 12 is pretty awesome and that at the age of 21, I saw a show on the West End.

Where have you been to see a live musical?

Where Musicals Have Taken Place

Musicals have an unique set of places that they happen to take place in. Some are fictional and some actually exist. Due to the different locations, it affects the different storylines and the characters. Some musicals do take place in the same state or the same country. I will put the musical that takes place in each country.

  1. OZ- Wicked
  2. Arendelle- Frozen
  3. Agrabah- Aladdin
  4. France- American in Paris, Beauty and the Beast, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera
  5. New York- West Side Story, Hello Dolly, Annie, Rent, Newsies
  6. California- La La Land, Singing in the Rain
  7. Missouri- Meet Me in St. Louis
  8. Oklahoma- Oklahoma
  9. South Pacific- South Pacific
  10. Iowa- Music Man
  11. Maryland- Hairspray
  12. Austria- Sound of Music
  13. Russia- Fiddler on the Roof
  14. Spain- Man of La Mancha
  15. England- Mary Poppins
  16. Greece- Mamma Mia
  17. Africa- Lion King
  18. The Circus- Pippin

Of all of those locations, my favorite has been OZ. Everything about Wicked feels OZian: from dance to spectacle to costumes to set: basically everything feels OZian. It is hard to believe that musicals take place in all of these states, fictional lands, and countries. Musicals have a wide variety of settings. In France, the Paris Opera House is a fun location. I did not know where Pippin took place, but I said circus due to the revival.

What are some your favorite musical locations?  What are some locations you have seen a musical take place in?

My Feelings On Death in Musicals

I have mixed feelings when it comes to a death in a musical. The ones that have existed have been either bizarre or funny, constantly overlooked, or memorable and emotional. The thing is growing up I always though a death would always not be interesting or even worth it. I did see musicals where a character did die growing up, but those kept on being overlooked or I completely forgot what happened in the musical.

For a warning: this will be a spoiler heavy post

For starters, musical deaths can be overlooked. One of the most overlooked deaths comes from a musical I have seen live four times. Wicked has a death involved in it, but I always overlook it all the time. Nessa, Elphaba’s sister dies in act II after a house lands on her after a tornado. I know it happens, but to this day, I still overlook it, which is kind of odd because I have such a personal bond to Elphaba so why would I overlook what happens to her sister? But then again, all do you is hear about her death, not exactly watch it, which is why I might be overlooking it and I keep on being so involved in the friendship story and the love triangle story of Fiyero, Elphaba, and Glinda and as a result, I keep on forgetting about things that happen to both Boq and Nessa.

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So, I just called some musical deaths bizarre and funny. How in the world can you call a death bizarre or even funny, which sounds a bit ironic. Well, the musical, Little Shop of Horrors, does have the antagonist of a man-eating plant so it does eat characters throughout the show. Just watching the plant eat certain characters is funny and in a way quite bizarre because this musical has some of the most unrealistic deaths ever. I find it funny seeing both Orin and Mr. Mushnik fed to the plant.

In the stage show, Audrey and Seymour are eaten by the plant too, but in the movie they are not. So I don’t know what to think when it comes to both of their deaths. Of the entire musical, those are the only two characters I love. When I saw Little Shop of Horrors this year, I wanted to cry at Audrey’s death, but I didn’t. Seymour ran into the shop and saw Audrey about to be eaten by the plant and did pull her out, but the plant did fatally wound her and a reprise of “Somewhere That’s Green” is sung and she dies in Seymour’s arms and in the end after she died, Seymour did feed her to the plant. I wanted to yell at the plant constantly throughout the musical. Still I don’t know how to describe Seymour and Audrey when it comes to death when they die in the stage show and live in the movie, which makes no sense to me one bit.

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When I saw Man of La Mancha in 2015, I already knew there was going to be a death in the musical due to a Spanish project I recently completed. I learned that Don Quixote is a tragicomic character and I knew he was going to die in the story. When I saw that scene, I remember crying. But I have seen some deaths that are more memorable than his.

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So far the most memorable and emotional deaths come from the same musical. Les Mis has some of the most memorable deaths ever. It does have a high death toll in it, which is hard to get used to at first. There is something about Les Mis that makes me really care about these characters. Most of these characters do not die alone, but they are with someone at the time of their death, which gives them joy, peace, and comfort and sometimes shown compassion. These deaths have made me get emotional and have even reduced me to tears due to the love I love at the songs that happen at their deaths and the relationship I have created to the characters.

Fantine is the first to die in Les Mis and she dies of sickness. She dies with Valjean by her side. Valjean shows compassion in two ways: 1) he stays with her till she dies and 2) he promises to raise her daughter, Cosette as his own. Good thing there is a big gap between her death and the second one. Fantine dies early in the first act, but you don’t get another death until act II, which is when the barricades are. “Come to Me” does play a role her death being memorable.

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The second character to die is Eponine and she gets to die, despite being shot, in Marius’ arms, the boy she loves, and he ends up showing her compassion by staying with her till she dies even though he is quite heartbroken. Her death is memorable and “A Little Fall of Rain” is a reason why I love this death. It sounds crazy that you actually “love” seeing a favorite character die-well, yes seeing a favorite character die in a musical can be devastating, but I still am moved and touched and I actually am happy in Eponine’s death as well because I am happy seeing her happy for once in her life.

The students and Gavroche die for what they believe in and all of them lose their lives except for Marius, which really shows just how unsuccessful the June Rebellion of 1832 was. Gavroche was just a kid, but he still died for what he believed in. The students stayed passionate even in death.

Javert actually in my opinion has the saddest death because he commits suicide so he is the only character who actually dies alone, but from my point of view, his death is the least memorable and it is hard to feel for Javert throughout his story. I just have a hard time finding common ground with him. But you can find actors who make you care about his journey. The only Javert who has managed to do that even at his suicide scene is my Javert in the West End.

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The last character to lose their life in all of Les Mis belongs to Jean Valjean. He ends up dying with Marius, his now son-in-law and Cosette, his adopted daughter by his side. He truly has become a better person throughout the years. While Valjean dies at least he gets to die in peace and at least he gets to see Cosette one last time. So many characters lose their lives in Les Mis and you feel like you personally get to know them and their deaths are so memorable. Part of it has to do with the songs that are sung as they are dying and part of it has to do with how well you get to know the characters.

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I have many opinions about deaths in musicals. It can be hard to watch a favorite character die especially if you feel like you grow close to them. The overlooked deaths are crazy because I know they happen, but I still overlook those-part of that comes from lack of songs and focusing on a different part of the story when you watch it-that is what I do with Wicked.

I cannot believe I once told myself, A DEATH CAN NEVER BE MEMORABLE-part of why I told myself that is that I couldn’t exactly remember the deaths I had already seen and there were no songs for the deaths to be memorable. I also told myself A MUSICAL SONG CAN NEVER BE ABOUT DEATH.

Turns out Les Mis proved me wrong and I learned that even at a favorite character’s death, you can be touched. It seems as though songs like “A Little of Rain”, “Come to Me”, and “Finale” make those deaths memorable and so worth it and the fact the students die for standing up for what they believe in. The bizarre and funny deaths sounds odd, but that is where the fun of Little Shop of Horrors comes from. Death is just a hard thing to watch in a musical, but Les Mis makes it easy to cope with the deaths due to the songs.

What are your feelings of death in a musical?

Be Strong and Courageous

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you

-Joshua 1:9

It is easy to not trust in God at times and be discouraged at times. But God will always be with you. The road is never easy, but always easier when you walk the road with Him in your life. Do not be afraid of what it is come because the Lord will guide you. It can be easier to trust God at other moments in your life then others. Trusting in God is what helped me get through college and I will continue to trust to Him in my last year of college. We have to be strong to thrive through tough times and be bold and remember that God is with you no matter what. It can easy to be discouraged at times and forget to trust in Him, but He will always be with you. It is important to be courageous, which helps us be less afraid and helps us be stronger.

How do you view this piece of scripture?