The Core of Musicals

The question is “what do all musicals have in common?” That in many ways is a difficult question to answer. Naturally I would say that all musicals are happy, have dance, and have positive and negative emotions. But that is not the case with all musicals.The reason why that cannot work is because some musicals are sad and some are not filled with the dance. In addition, some musicals are pure fun and basically just have positive emotions. I believe that all of them are connected in such a unique way. There is something special that makes each and every musical known as a musical.

In my opinion, the main thing that makes a musical a musical is their ability to tell a story through song. Through the song, the storyline is able to show its true colors. In my opinion,  joy is part of every single emotion. Love, excitement, and joy are the only emotions that can bring musicals together. The positive emotions do not have a weakness at all because they are part of every single musical and I am able to feel negative emotions truthfully just by seeing it through joy. The negative emotions on the other hand do have their weaknesses and their limits. It is true that there are some musicals that are strong in their negative emotions.Emotional is what makes a musical a musical as well. That is due to discovering the characters through song and the songs make you connect better.

Sad is in many ways kind of like the underdog of musicals. I understand it is a common emotion, but it still is a hard emotion. I say it is the underdog because it is not always strong, vulnerable, or captivating. But I have realized recently that is has much more to offer than it what it appears to be. I love the emotion the most when it is able to unlock its strength and vulnerability. I can barely relate to any of the sad musical songs, but I connect to them. Usually sad is at its strongest when a show has tragic elements and the tragic elements are very difficult to interpret. They are part of the happy musicals and if you can understand them in those musicals, you will be to understand them through all musicals. Happy musicals have unrequited love, racism, discrimination, animal abuse, and death and a lot of those elements are present in the tragic musicals. Sad shows do have their positive nature and are joyful.

 

My Blog Journey

I have been blogging since December of 2015. For a number of years, people have telling me to start a blog and I always said no because I did not find a use in creating one. Now, blogging is one of my favorite things to do. It has taught me so much since I first created it. I am planning to hopefully make it successful by the time I graduate from college in 2018.

This blog has taught me that I know more about musicals than I originally thought. Some of those musical posts actually surprised me. There are multiple ones about “Les Mis” and I realized there are many more layers to it than I had thought. Before blogging, I knew that “Les Mis” was very inspirational because I have been a fan since 2013 and have been able to explore it. However I was to write out why it is inspirational and why it is the sensation that it is. I was able to analyze the different characters and it showed I know more about some of the characters than I had thought. I still have more to write about the musical on my blog.

I was able to explain the emotional capability of musicals even thought it is very difficult to interpret. The emotions are quite diverse and are quite layered. I was able to show what every musical is capable of. I explained my musical journey in detail and by writing that out, it showed how much musicals have changed over the years. They went from just being happy shows to happy and sad shows. Some of the emotions I already knew decided to get stronger when I least excepted it. I discovered brand new emotions that I did not see before.I was able to learn that not all musical have the dance that I was used to. But there is one thing that all musicals have in common. Every one of them has positive emotions and those are the only emotions that can link musicals together. I say that because some musicals have quite a faint edge when it comes to the negative emotions.

As for the spiritual posts, I was able to talk about different sermons. I usually do not listen to them, but at the Gathering, I do. That is because the speaker is able to make it work for college students. I would blog about pieces of scripture that I found while reading a required reading for school. I was able to reflect on how the Lord helps me through all the stress that school has to offer. Some of the spiritual posts do connect to the musical posts because there are shows that have a spirituality to it.

I hope in the future I continue to blog and inspire more people. I have some blog ideas I am thinking of trying even though I don’t how to blog about them. I am trying to make the titles better. One of the things I love about myself is how I am a deep thinker, and I able to show that gift through keeping up with this blog.

Remember Who You Are

One of my biggest strengths is that I stay true to myself. I want to feel accepted, but I try not to fit in because I think it is very important to be who you are. I love the person I am becoming and am impressed by what I have achieved over the years despite having struggles in my life. I have had such a fortunate life and I have always stayed true to myself. I know I am “different” than other people my age, but it is important to be who are because it allows you to be the person you are meant to be.

The person I am is a spiritually strong, determined, funny, smart girl. I love listening to contemporary Christian songs and Broadway Musicals. It is amazing how my two main music interests started out as something quite small and turned into something that is more than I thought they could achieve. My love for both of them started back in elementary school. I was first exposed to Contemporary Christian songs at an Episcopalian  Conference Center called Kanuga. My church sang those songs at our annual Parish Weekend for about eight years. I fell in love with some of those songs such as “Lord I Life Your Name On High”, “Sanctuary”, and “Servant Song”.

I truly fell in love with Christian Music at a youth event called Winterlight. It is an annual high school winter conference at Kanuga. I discovered my favorite Christian song there, which is called “Prince of Peace”. That song has so much meaning to me because it connects me back to Kanuga and Winterlight. I loved the youthful energy expressed through that song and I would later memorize the lyrics. To this day, I still listen to Christian Music and whenever I sing or listen to it, I am filled up with the Holy Spirit and feel God’s presence. That is why I go to my school’s student-led worship whenever I have the chance. I am able to discover new Christian songs that I love and some of them are “Power to Redeem”, “Child of God”, and “Come to the River”.

As for musicals, I watched Disney musical movies such as “Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast” and went to see musicals live with my family in elementary school .In elementary school, my favorite musical was “Annie”. But it was when I went to New York that would be a turning point in my musical journey. My mom took me to see “Wicked” and it was special because it was just me and mom. My favorite song than was “Popular”. I later would realize the meaning of the show. “Wicked” is special to me because it was the show where I started to understand theatre. I had a strong relationship to the character of Elphaba because I truly understand who she is and I can fully relate to her. That musical sparked my love of musicals. Growing up, I learned that musicals are capable of dance, spectacle, and full of positive and negative emotions. I felt like all musicals would stay happy for the rest of my life, but later I was to discover that everything would be tested.

It was in December of 2012 when my parents would take me to see the movie of “Les Mis” without realizing how much impact it would have on my musical journey. I came in only knowing one song and not knowing what the title meant. While watching the movie, I would realize that the musical was a tragedy and I did not know how to respond. As a result, i watched the rest of the movie in shock and felt like the show was just depressing and would not mean much to me. However, I still went straight to researching information about the musical such as the time period and Victor Hugo and facts about the musical. I decided to give the movie one more chance and that was when I was finally able to become a fan and start to truly feel the different emotions. I kept on asking myself “why do I also feel uplifted?”. I decided to dig deeper in the musical to figure that question out and I would later learn that it is a story of love, hope, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. I soon became obsessed with the musical and that was where I developed a passion for musicals. I knew I had to eventually see the stage show and I finally saw it for the first time at my community college and saw it three times because I saw it two times as an usher and once with my family. I knew I still was not done watching the stage musical and later had a dream to see the show in the West End and that came true in 2015. I saw it with my mom and we were nine rows back from the stage and it was the best stage production yet.

I stay true to both of those loves by continuing to listen to both of those kinds of songs. The thing I love the most about Christian music is my ability to feel connected to God and where I could develop my spiritually. The thing I love the most about about musicals is their ability to tell a story through song, which is beneficial because it makes it easier to connect to the characters and their emotions. It makes the emotions worth it including the negative emotions. The unique thing about both the positive and negative emotions is how they work together to make the story real. The thing I love the most about the sad songs is how I can still connect to them even though I can hardly relate to them. The negative emotions may be hard to work with, but if you find the right balance between the positive and negative emotions, it makes the negative emotions easier to work with.

Besides staying true to my music interests, I have other ways to stay true to myself. I stay true to myself by keeping up with my love for writing in a journal and collecting snow globes. I stay determined in schools and stay positive everyday. I am a very outgoing, optimistic, happy person and I stay true to that everyday. I feel as if staying true to yourself is an important characteristic because it shows that it is okay to be different and that you truly embrace who you really are. I feel that if you do not stay true to yourself, you are “nobody” because you are being someone you are not. I have always managed to stay true to myself, which is not easy, but glad I am able to that. I do not to become someone I am not. I know I am “different” and do not have the same interests as those my same age, but what really matters is being who I am.

Mirror Characters of Les Mis

One of the things that is interesting in “Les Mis” is how two of the characters are mirror images of each other. They are the characters of Cosette and Eponine and as they get older their previous situations get reversed. Cosette starts out with a bad life and Eponine starts out with a good life, but when they get older their situations get reversed.

Major Spoilers ahead:

As a child, Cosette was horribly abused by the Thenardiers’. She hoped for a better life despite being a broken child. Than there is Eponine who was spoiled as a child and had a better life than Cosette. Things changed right after Valjean adopted Cosette and took her away from the Thenardiers. Cosette represents light and hope in the midst of all the tragic events going on at the time.

As the two girls get older, their situations reverse. Cosette’s life improved and Eponine’s life got worse. Even though Cosette’s life got better because of her adopted life, she still lived a very sheltered life. Things changed when Cosette fell in love with Marius because she found a new purpose in life. After Valjean learned of her love for Marius, he went to the barricades to protect Marius and make sure he gets out of the barricade alive. Marius almost died at the barricades and Valjean heroically carried the unconscious Marius through the sewers in order to save his life. Cosette and Marius got married. During the wedding, Marius found out that it was Valjean that saved his life and they left the wedding to find Valjean and arrived just in time. Valjean was dying and he got to be with Cosette and Marius. This scene may have devastated Cosette, but at least she got to be with him.

In Eponine’s situation, her life gets much worse than where she started. The Thenardiers’ started mistreating her and raised her to be a criminal. The family fell into extreme poverty, which added to Eponine’s misery. Just like Cosette, she fell in love with Marius; however Eponine’s love for Marius was unrequited. I do not think Eponine would been as amazing as a character if she ended up with Marius. She helped Marius in anyway possible even if risked her life. She helped find Cosette for him after Marius asked her and was more loyal to him than her parents. Her life would eventually get worse after her father tried to rob Valjean’s house. She warned Valjean about the danger because she was trying to protect Marius. This led her father to disown her. She fully risked her life when she decided to be with Marius no matter what, which led her to the barricades. When Marius first saw her at the barricades, he tried to protect her by asking her to deliver a letter to Cosette. After delivering the letter, she went back to the barricades despite what Marius told her. She got fatally shot on the way back and died in Marius’ arms. It was during her death scene where Marius finally realized that she was in love with him. Despite her death being painful, she did not think of the pain because Marius was there for her. This was in fact Eponine’s happiest moment of her life even though it is sad. The beauty of it is that she got to die the arms of the one that she loves, which is why it seemed less painful than it really was.

Fresh Eyes on Musicals

I am surprised by how much musicals have changed over the years. They have been capable of things I never thought possible. Growing up, I was aware of spectacle, dance, the emotions of excitement, love, joy, and sad. I was aware of colorful costumes and lavish sets. I also had a strong connection to one of the musical characters. In addition, all musicals were happy. I also used full of life to describe all musicals and full of life was referring to a certain kind of song. They are the songs that tend to have dance involved and usually start out slow and quiet and eventually speed up and get more exciting. There was also an innocence.

In fact, now I formed a brand new perspective on musicals. The best way for me to make sense of the new world is to see musicals through joy and the happy musicals. Musicals have gained a vulnerability, which added to the emotional world. The happy musicals no longer were alone and I did not know how to respond. It was through “Les Mis” where everything I knew about musicals were tested. It showed me a different side of emotions because it added depth, insight, and truth into the emotions. I am able to see that musical through joy because it has a strong positive nature of inspiration. Despite being so sad, it still has themes such as hope, love, and redemption.

In fact calling all musicals joyful is better than calling all musicals happy. That is because using joyful is referring to the experience. It is the experience that matters the most. I go to the theatre to feel and to enjoy. I now use full of life to refer to something other than a particular song. Now full of life refers to the entire show because the story is coming to life even if a scene is death itself. Musicals are meant to be emotional and unique, but it is not easy describing the emotional world. Some common emotions are excitement, joy, love, sad, and heartbreak. I want musicals to have a mix of innocence and vulnerability, but at the same time there needs to be a balance between the positive and negative emotions. There is usually innocence in the dance and also in shows where there are children and where the kid in me comes out. The first time I see a new musical, there is always a strong innocence because you do not know what is going to happen to the characters. I still want the dance and spectacle to grow.

Surprising Things about Musicals

The musical world is full of things that I never thought would exist in a musical. Some of them were not quite as shocking as others. I responded to each of those things differently than some others. I developed a vision for what a musical should be like growing up which is a comedy full of innocence, spectacle, dance, color, fun sets and costumes, and positive and negative emotions. That was all that I had known, but now that I am older, musicals have gained some shocking things.

The first one is that sad musicals actually exist. I am still not fully used to this fact yet especially because they were not with me since the beginning. The crazy thing about this is that it seems as if I should have figured this out in high school because that was when I found out about at least two sad musicals, but crazily enough it did not cross my mind that they actually would end up being tragic. However the sad shows were beneficial to the happy musicals. It gave them a bigger vulnerability and it gave me a new perspective on musicals.

I remember back in 2012, I started listening to songs from “Rent” through Pandora and fell in love without realizing it would turn out to be a sad show and I figured that out in 2013 after listening to the songs a good amount of times. “Rent” was not the most shocking musical regarding the sad musicals especially because I fell in love with it through the songs.

I first heard about “Les Mis” in 2009 with the famous Susan Boyle “I Dreamed a Dream” thing and I had no idea what the title meant or what that song was about. I went to see the movie in December of 2012 without knowing it was going to be so tragic. I realized it was tragic right after the first death and I did not know how to cope and my mind went into shock and that emotion covered up the rest of the emotions. By the end of the movie, I was thinking “did I just like a tragedy?” I could not tell whether or not I actually liked it, but for some odd reason I went straight to researching the musical and decided to give the movie one more chance. At least the second time was easier, which made me fell the emotions on a deeper way. By that point, I already have listened to the songs a couple of times on Pandora and have already looked up information about the time period. “Les Mis” was the musical that taught me that there is more to tragedy than sadness. But than again, most musicals are happy.

There is more than one thing about “Les Mis” that is surprising to the world of musicals. One of them is what some of the songs are about and I was shocked to discover that some musical songs are about death and I did learn to love the death scenes. It introduced me to musical emotions I never thought would actually exist which includes uncomfortable. “Les Mis” has been so meaningful because of what it is taught me and what it has helped me overcome. “Les Mis” teaches you how you can raise above your background and how to stand up for what you believe in. It teaches how to thrive in difficult situations.This musical was a shocker turned inspiration. The fact is each time I see the musical, it becomes more inspirational and becomes less sad. I see it as a story about humanity, hope, sacrifice, love,  compassion, forgiveness, and redemption even though it still has multiple deaths and lots of suffering. It shows what it means to be human and shows a strong vulnerability.

Another surprising thing about musicals is that there is a tragicomic character. He is Don Quixote from “Man of La Mancha”. I discovered that last year and I was trying to figure out how a character can be both. I had to look up what it means to be tragic and what it means to be comic. The main reason why this character is important is because he is tragicomic.

Sometimes a musical can be similar to what you were used to growing up, but adds a new layer to the same image. For instance, in Pippin it has a circus element, which allows the cast to break the fourth wall. You see people on the trapeze, flipping, balancing acts, and juggling. It also allows you to sing-along to one of the songs. In that song, they put the words up to the chorus. That is a kind of spectacle I never associated with musicals.

Musicals continue to surprise me and I know shocking things will continue to happen in the future. But I still have the same view I had growing up. By using the view I had growing up, I am able to know if I discover something I never would of thought about. Because I developed a passion for musicals in college, I am having more fun discovering what I musical is capable of. That is a big reason why I love musicals. Because the characters can range from comic, dramatic, romantic, tragi-romantic, tragicomic, and tragic, it is difficult to interpret all of them. I said tragi-romantic to refer to the romantic character in tragic love stories, which includes a tragic love story in a musical comedy. The characters also live in different places in different times, have different personalities, and different lives. There is something more fun about discovering the emotional and vulnerable characters and these characters tend to be multi-layered. Also the shows with these characters always have sources of light and dark.

Seeing through the Looking Glass

Yesterday with Gardner Webb, I hiked “Looking Glass Rock”. The trail is in Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest. The reason why I love hiking is because it helps develop my spirituality. I can truly feel God’s presence when I hike especially when I reach the top. Sometimes whenever I hear the wind blowing or water flowing, I also am able to feel connected. The hike was very challenging, but very worth it in the end. The best part of hiking is getting to the top and looking out and seeing this amazing beautiful view. You can truly see God’s creation when you look out. This view looked like you see beyond what you are able to see. Hiking is an amazing way to escape the stress of college and makes you appreciate creation. Feeling connected to nature is very important to me and hiking allows me to grow.