Even though they are still fresh, they have been an important addition to the world of musicals. Some have become a meaningful part of life and one has sort of kind of been a part of my life. It is hard to describe what they added to the world of musicals. They have only been part of my life for four years. Understanding their importance takes a lot of work.
The most meaningful tragic musical of my life is “Les Mis”. I have just loved my journey of that musical. It started four years ago and has changed my perspective on musical theatre. It is an epic, powerful, inspirational, emotionally-moving musical. It has a unique way to touch the soul at a very deep level, which is why the experience is so hard to describe. This musical taught me to love tragedies. I did not want tragedies to become a part of my life and did not want them to be part of musicals. I had gotten so used to the all comic world that I did not want anything to change. But “Les Mis” has impacted me in ways that I have a hard time describing them. Because the emotions of that musical are very strong and powerful, it has allowed the emotions in the other musicals to grow. “Les Mis” takes you through so many emotions and by the end, you feel uplifted because it is a story of humanity, love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, hope, and redemption. It may be filled with broken dreams, unrequited love, prostitution, misery, and death, but it is so much more.
The musical teaches you how you can change and impact other peoples lives. It is filled with brilliant songs that are designed for the soul. Even the storyline is for the soul and shows you a side of musicals you would not have thought possible. I thought musicals could never have so many emotions or be that powerful. Describing the score is so difficult because they connect me so much to the characters and make me laugh and cry. I have an obsession with the musical and I have no idea why. I understand why it is the sensation that it is.
There is something in it for everyone because there is something everyone can connect and relate to. I relate to the spirituality of the show because I have a strong spirituality. On top of that, I have a deep connection to those less fortunate than I. I love seeing how the characters change over time especially Jean Valjean. It is nice to see how a ex-convict can grow above exceptions. He grew into a compassionate, good-hearted, spiritual, saint-like man despite his criminal background. Besides Valjean, I also love the characters of young Cosette, Fantine, Gavroche, Enjorlas, and Eponine. I especially love Eponine and I have no idea why I am growing an attachment to her. I am listening to “On My Own” and “A Little Fall of Rain” more often and I have no idea why. The thing I love about Eponine is how she somehow does not grow up to be like her parents and how her love for Marius made her a better person despite the love being unrequited. The other characters mange to thrive as well, despite everything they had to face.
During a period of four years, I have seen the stage show four times, watched the movie several times, and seen the 25th anniversary concert a couple of times. The best experience I had with “Les Mis” was when I saw the stage show in London last year and it was the best cast I ever saw and truly showed the power of all the different songs. Before seeing it in London, I never cared about Javert’s fate, but the actor was so effective in his role that by the time Javert sang his soliloquy, I cared, but I still do not like the character.
I found a new emotion in Eponine and felt more heartbroken for Fantine. The seats mom and I had were incredible because they were only nine rows back from the stage. I met the actor who played Valjean and he was the understudy. I have read the abridged and the unabridged version of the book. The unabridged was more rewarding because I was able to finish it in less than one summer, which was the same summer I saw the show in London.
The unabridged made the musical better because it truly showed how inspirational the musical is and why the musical is filled with all the emotions it has. It made me feel deeper for the character of Fantine and helped me care a little bit for Javert. I also have a page to screen book. I know about the history of France in 19th Century and Victor Hugo. This obsession has truly changed what musicals mean to me. It turned a love into a passion and becomes stronger each time I see it. If it wasn’t for Victor’s Hugo’s wonderful book, it would not have been as successful. He wrote a storyline that is meant for the soul and makes you care about the characters.The songs in the musical allow you to want to go on the character’s journeys. The musical just makes the storyline even better because of the amazing truth and realism behind the emotional songs. In fact, I hope to see the show in another language especially Spanish.
Thinking of “Les Mis”, there is a tragic musical that I know of that has a strong bond with “Les Mis”. That would be “Miss Saigon”, a tragic love story based off of Madame Butterfly. I barely know the show, but I am interested in knowing why the two are so connected. I did learn they are written by the same musical team. They both happen to be sung-through and tragic.I was trying to stay away from the songs when I found out about the musical in 2014. But I recently listened to two of the songs and fell in love with them. In some ways, this musical gives hope for the future of tragic musicals. Because I know if its existence, it helps. The musical is not meaningful yet because I have not see it yet at all. But if you put the word tragic in front of love story, the ending becomes too predictable.
Another sad musical is “Rent”. I fell in love with it in 2012 through the music. I already loved “Seasons of Love” because I heard it when I was younger, but did not know it was from musical. That made sense because of its adult themes in it which are very controversial. I love its message of living every moment as if its your last. It is sung through as well. The topics in this musical do not bother me that much because I learned to accept all humans no matter what. I have never seen it live, but seen a filmed version of the stage show. That was the last performance the show had on Broadway and I loved that particular production and am glad I got to somehow experience it.
Now on to the tragic musical that I do not like bringing up. It is “West Side Story”, the musical based off of “Romeo and Juliet”. I always had a hard time with that musical just because of what it is based of. Even after falling in love with a tragedy, I still ignored it and did not want to become part of my life. I soon had no choice but to see the movie in 2014 and I realized I liked it more than I originally thought. It was great, but there was nothing special about it. But I liked the music enough to buy the soundtrack later that year. As time went on, I started to love the songs more and more. It has two very addicting songs, which are “Somewhere” and “One Hand, One Heart”. Now I find some of them addicting and want to see the stage show. It is drawn through the dance and want to see how the dance works on stage. It has always been stuck between loving it and liking it. I always had a hard time deciding if I like it or love it. All this show wants is be included and accepted.
Overall, these tragedies have changed my perspective on musicals. They have helped strengthen the comedies. They have made the negative emotions more visible in the comedies. Those tragedies may still be so fresh, but I am so glad they became a part of my life. It really is “Les Mis” that had the most impact because of the strength it has given me and how it has taught me to love tragedies.I want them to continue to grow but musicals will remain mostly comic. I hope I can develop a love for “West Side Story” eventually and want to eventually see “Miss Saigon” in order to understand the bond it has for “Les Mis”.
Something I find interesting about tragic musicals is that most of them as of right now are sung-through. I wonder why that is the case, but I feel as if most are done that way because it as of now is probably the best way to portray a tragic musical. However “West Side Story” is drawn through the dance and still manages to bring out the best of the musical. I only saw the movie and did not fully pay attention the dance because I saw the movie reluctantly. But I do want to see the stage show live because I feel as if the dance will be more effective on stage.
It is hard to understand this, but the comedies and the tragedies rely on each other so much. If it was not for the comedies, I do not think I would have been able to learn to love the tragedies. The tragedies helped unlock the dark side of comedies. I know that is crazy to say, but the comedies did teach me that sad is a core emotion, but what I did not know is that the emotion can be really powerful, deep, and strong. There are times when I wish all musicals were comedies again, but than I realize what the tragedies have added to the world of musicals. I was able to realize the beauty for what the tragedies are. They want to truly become a part of musical theatre and I understand why. It just still feel like yesterday when all musicals were comedies. Discovering tragedy in high school, I was hoping a musical would not go that route, but I am glad they did.