My journey with musicals has been a complicated one, but it was so worth it. I first got exposed to musicals in elementary school. My favorite musical in those days was “Annie”. I also loved “Sound of Music” along with the Disney ones. I saw “Cats”, “Lion King”, “Seussical the Musical”, and “Beauty and the Beast” on stage, but I have no memory of seeing them. But my true journey with musicals started in middle school. It was in the summer of 2006 and I saw “Wicked” on Broadway with my mom. That was my first experience seeing a show in New York. That show sparked my love for musicals and was when my journey truly began. Because i was twelve at the time, I started to care more for the emotions. Growing up, the emotions that stood out were joy, love, and sad. Sad was that emotion that went on the hardest journey because it was developing at a snail’s pace. I know it was a common emotion and it was as developed as it could get.
When high school came along, I discovered the genre of tragedy in theatre and I truly believed that there would never be a tragic musical. In addition to that, I did not want tragedies to become a part of my life. Soon I was to find out that the musical emotions were going to get challenged especially sad.
Eventually I was to find out that tragic musicals do exist, but they did not become reality at first. Back in eleventh grade, I discovered “West Side Story” and knew what it was based off of, but I was kind of unaware that I just discovered a tragic musical. Another crazy story about that was in the year 2009 when I first heard about “Les Mis”, another tragic musical. I discovered the musical through the song “I Dreamed a Dream”, but it took three years to find out that the show was a tragedy.
Tragedies did not become reality until they became a part of my life. This might sound crazy, but “Rent” was the first sad musical that became a part of my life in 2012, but it took a couple of months to figure out that I was loving a sad musical. In fact, that same year I experienced “Les Mis” for the first time through the movie. Before seeing the movie, I did not know I was about to enjoy and see a tragedy. I discovered the show was tragic right after the first character died and I was shocked that I did not know that. For most of the movie, shock covered up all the different emotions. I had a hard time fully appreciating the show. That means my soul was wide awake and my mind was half awake. However, I was the most impacted by “I Dreamed A Dream” because I know the song was in the show. I also had “Do You Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. Because of being in shock, I only remembered hearing three songs, which are “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Do You Hear the People Sing”, and “Master of the House”. But something told me to start looking up information about the musical. I added the songs to Pandora and kept on learning more and more. Eventually my interest would turn into a love which would later turn into an obsession. “Les Mis” challenged the emotions I thought I knew and added new layers to existing ones and showed me how to love tragedy.
I always wanted to know why I always feel uplifted after watching in it and I decided to research that information. By the second time I watched the movie, I was to able to experience the strong emotional world of the show. That was the time when I started crying. Unexpectedly during the same year, 2013, the stage show would be at my community college. I got to watch it three times because I watched it once with my family and twice as a volunteer usher. My journey with “Les Mis” turned my love of musicals into a passion. This obsession led me to want to see the musical in the West End, and it did come true when I saw it on July 30th of last last year. All because of the sad musicals, the negative emotions strengthened in comedies.
Soon after I fell in love with “Les Mis”, I started developing a love for “Phantom of the Opera”. “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Mis” made me think differently about musical songs. I finally saw the stage show of “Phantom of the Opera” in 2014 and it ended up being spellbinding. It almost made me cry and it was hauntingly beautiful. That musical has played a big part on my musical journey. Currently “Phantom of the Opera” is in my top three favorite musicals. The other two are “Les Mis” and “Wicked”. It makes sense that “Phantom” and “Les Mis” are up there because those two musicals are huge sensations around. They both have not left London since they opened. There is something about their scores that drives people in.
To this day, most musicals are comedies. But I found words that can describe all musicals. I wanted a word that would stay true to the comedies and would not leave out the sad musicals. I decided to use joyful in the place of happy because it works better. I started relying on the experience to figure that out and see if I can find a positive nature of the sad musicals. So overall, all musicals are joyful, emotional, unique, and full of life.
Musicals are capable of a lot and this journey will never end. Some of the changes were difficult and I am still getting used to them. The tragedies are still so fresh in my life and sometimes I accidentally call all musicals comedies, even though I know the truth. Musicals are capable of so many emotions, different kinds of dance and spectacle, along with many other things. I know deep down that musicals will always surprise me with new things that I never thought were possible in a musical. I recently discovered a tragicomic character and I saw a new kind of spectacle I never thought about. The musical, “Pippin”, has a lot of circus in it the character, Don Quixote, from “Man of La Mancha” is tragicomic.
Each musical that has truly become a part of my life plays a part in what a musical is capable of. Growing up, the musicals that became part of my life formed the basis of the emotions. In my eyes, I felt like the emotions were fully developed, but I learned what I had known was just the beginning. I feel thankful that there are both comic and tragic musicals. Even though I see most musicals as comedies, the tragedies still have played an important role especially “Rent” and “Les Mis”. But “Les Mis” had a bigger impact on me because of the big part it played on the emotions and how I learned to see beyond tragedy when I fell in love with it. Musicals can be very light-hearted like “Music Man” and can go all the way to shows filled with so much darkness such as “Les Mis”. Each musical has a different set of emotions and each time you see the same musical, a new emotion can easily sneak in.
Musicals are not just a love. They are a passion and when I see one, I am always filled with so much joy. I love how they are able to tell a story through song and I feel so connected to them. Overall, my favorite musical theatre character is Elphaba because of how much I relate and connect to her. Even though she is my favorite musical theatre character, I love others as well. Musicals have changed me for the better and truly taught me about the emotional impact and power of music. Their emotions are all over the place, but I am glad there are so many. Musicals allow me to truly appreciate the negative emotions because they are expressed through song, but I had to learn to tolerate the emotion, uncomfortable.In my opinion, I want to see a musical that I can connect and relate to and want there to be a wonderful score. There is something very special about scores that are both positive and negative. Those scores for the most part tend to come from more complex musicals with multilayered characters. I want to feel the emotions in a way that makes the experience worth it.