Emotional World of Musicals

Understanding the emotional world of musicals is like climbing Mount Everest. Musicals have an unique way of connecting you to the story through song. The key to a successful musical are the songs and if they are incredible songs, the show will never fall flat. Because a musical is telling a story through song, it adds a new dimension to the experience. It makes the experience much more meaningful and memorable. It is easier to remember the songs than spoken word. It allows you to remember what your experience was like. It increases how much joy you get when watching a show.

Joy is the strongest musical emotion because it allows you to appreciate feeling all the different emotions and drives the show in the right direction. The reactions an audience gets is not only part of the characters, but also comes from yourself. If you have joy and excitement watching the show, than you feel like you are part of the show and you want to go on the emotional journeys of the characters. On top of that, I think how emotional you get in a musical also depends on how connected you are to the material. But then again, some shows are just more emotional by nature.

The emotional world varies from show to show to show. Some shows are light-hearted by nature, and some have dark and light elements mixed into one. Shows like “Music Man” and “Singin’ in the Rain” are very light-hearted. They are just pure fun musicals and focus mainly on positive emotions. However things get even more emotional when darkness starts to exist. That is usually where tragic elements are more likely to become a part of musicals. Darkness starts to appear in shows like “Sound of Music” where it does a good job of hiding itself and later be discovered. But musicals do not stop there because “Sound of Music” only has a mild amount of sadness.

But once a show reaches a show such as “Wicked” and “Lion King”, shows become even more emotional because sad is much more real in those and tragic elements become a part of musicals. One of the ones at that level has a tragic love story involved, which is “South Pacific”. Comedies at that level have death, discrimination, unrequited love, and racism. Comedies get dark and get covered in tragic elements. When a musical becomes really dark, it can be hard to tell if a musical is a tragedy or comedy. This is especially difficult because once a comedy becomes really dark, it confuses you and makes you ask if the show is tragic or not. However understanding how the emotions are affected in comedies allows you to understand everything that musical is capable of. That idea is most effective when you apply it to the dark comedies because they are where tragic elements first appear.

However the real confusion starts with the tragic musicals. “West Side Story” is a tragedy, but yet some comic musicals are more emotional than that tragic musical. I feel as if “Wicked” is more emotional than “West Side Story” because I connect more to “Wicked”. I know sad musicals that are sadder than “West Side Story” and are very emotional.


Those two are “Rent” and “Les Mis”. It was through “Les Mis” where tragic musicals became reality. The emotional world of “Les Mis” is very difficult to describe because it is covered with a very wide range of emotions. That is mainly due to the sung-through format and the power of the story. The musical manages to make me feel so deeply and strongly. Because I am emotionally connected to the storyline, I can truthfully feel all the different emotions. When I fell in love with “Les Mis”, I was in a state of shock because it surprised me that I just watched a tragedy especially because I thought I would hate tragic shows to begin with and tragic musicals are so not common for a musical.

“Rent” is very emotional as well and is filled with power too. Those two musicals showed me a world of musicals I never thought would exist. I know somehow that the score of “Les Mis” is so not common, but it still has the high energy that I am used to.I grow up with the comedies and through them, I learned there is an emotional connection in musicals. I was aware of emotions such as joy, love, and sad. By high school, they all stopped developing for some reason especially sad. I think sad was waiting for the right moment to truly become real. I was shocked when I learned that there are some musicals that are tragic.


I am still not used to that world because part of me wants musicals to be back where they used to be. My younger self is not happy with the fact that some musicals are not happy, but my older self is happy with the change. That one change truly allowed the emotions to get stronger. Growing up, sad was never an emotion that I really felt and I knew it was quite a limited and weak emotion, but I did accept the emotion. I had sort of had an connection to sad because I was connected to “I’m Not That Girl” from “Wicked” and that was the show where I first realized musicals are meant to be emotional. Once I experienced “Les Mis” , sad was shaped in ways I never would have imagined. “Les Mis” allowed sad to become a real emotion and it was the first musical where I teared up. “Les Mis” is just so sad as the title suggests, but is so inspirational and takes you on a huge emotional roller coaster. It deals with the emotion, uncomfortable, and I had to learn to tolerate it because I could not accept it. But think of it this way, the musical would not be the same show if certain things did not happen to the characters.

Overall, it is hard to describe the emotional world of musicals. The emotions of musicals range from each show. That means each show has a different set of emotions because the plot and songs are different, which means the songs are about different things. One top of that, you can see the same show more than once and all of a sudden a character gains a new emotion or an emotion you felt before disappears or feels stronger. Because musicals are driven through the songs, it allows the audience and actors to be feel connected to the plot and the various emotions. Through the songs, there is always a sense of joy even when a song makes you feel sad because musicals are art. A true musical fan will not decide to love a song just because of emotion. I can hardly relate to the sad songs, but I love them and feel connected to them.

Musicals combine all the different kinds of art into one show. They are filled with dance, spectacle, and song, which creates something quite unique. Some shows test what you think you know about musicals and they can surprise you at them. But than you realize the change made musicals even better and more worth the time. There is a wide range of comic and tragic elements in musicals and despite most musicals being comic, the comic and tragic elements are very even due to the fact that comedies from a dark side. On top of that, tragedies have a lighter side as well, which is just as difficult to find as finding the dark side of comedies. It will never be easy to understand the emotional world of musicals because the emotions will continue to get stronger. But some of the emotions are not that common, but they do add a wonderful contribution. I prefer a musical with a positive and negative emotion score because the characters are much more real and are more interesting.  However, I can still love a show that has only lightness in it because it gives a nice balance with those that have light and dark elements.

Joy is the only emotion that can bring all musicals together and keep them connected with each other. Joy being in charge leads you to loving all sorts of musicals and joy is also the strongest emotion in sad musicals, which sounds a bit surprising, but through experience, I understand why. If you have a love for a show, than joy will always be there for you no matter. When you are feeling heartbroken for instance, joy allows you to love feeling that emotion.

1 thought on “Emotional World of Musicals

  1. Pingback: Layers of Musicals – Meg's Magical Musings

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