Dark World of Musicals

It can be quite challenging to describe the darkness the musicals face. Darkness makes a lot more sense in the tragedies then the comedies. I have seen comic and tragic elements in both the tragic and comic musicals along with those that are stuck in the middle.

What makes the darkness such an important part of musicals? Well, from my knowledge the strongest musicals have some kind of hurt or pain. It helps make a musical a lot more human and real. For the longest time, I knew that sad was a musical emotion, but from elementary to high school, I don’t remember how much of that emotion I actually understood. Based upon now, sad was quite limited, but really strong or weak at times.

Some of the darkness I found in musicals range from racism, death, unrequited love, broken dreams, surviver’s quilt, discrimination, child and animal abuse, and prostitution, etc. In fact a lot of the tragic elements found in comedies are very parallel to those found in tragedies. The hardest tragic element to understand is death itself especially in comedies. Some of the comedies with darkness are “South Pacific”, “Wicked”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Sound of Music”, “Pippin”, and “Lion King”. Even though tragic musicals do exist, I still associate musicals with comedies.

It is crazy that I still associate musicals with comedies. Well, based on my knowledge, most musicals are comedies and not the other way around. I have learned to fully appreciate the negative emotions through the tragic musicals themselves. In fact, I love not one, but two sad musicals. “Les Mis” and “Rent” are not too depressing because I learned to find the light in each of them. In fact, choosing to view all musicals through the light is one of the best decisions I ever made. By seeing sad musicals through the light, I am able to get more out of them.

I once called “Les Mis” too depressing, but I fully now understand the entire scope of that musical. I realized that the show is very inspirational and I choose to learn why. It is a musical with themes of compassion, hope, love, sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion, humanity, and redemption. It is the spirituality of the show that I relate and connect to. I still have no idea if I can relate to any of the characters. “Les Mis” taught me that musicals are way more then its genre. It is really the full experience that matters. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I never thought I would fall in love with a tragedy and I thought that genre didn’t belong in theatre especially those musicals. I also thought I would not fall in love with a death scene either.

As for “Rent”, I learned that the show is all about how to live life. These characters are scared for their life and don’t know if they are going to live till the next day. The characters live life to the fullest and treat every moment as if its their last. They teach you how precious life is. The message that this musical shows the the show is not too depressing.

It is very hard to understand why the negative emotions are worth feeling. That is due to the fact that they hurt, but it makes sense. When you connect or relate to a musical, you begin to care for the characters and that makes you want to go through the characters’ emotions. In a way, there is great joy and love when feeling sad or heartbroken or something like that. The show always works its magic on you but at the same time you are working the magic on the musical itself. When it comes to those heartbreaking songs, I rarely relate, but can connect. You sort of add joy to the heartbreaking songs because the emotions you are feeling belong to the characters and due to that, what emotions are really yours?

I prefer the more complex musicals then the simple ones. I want those negative emotions to be part of a musical, which sounds ironic. Why would you want to feel that way?  If I fall in love with a musical and its songs, then joy, love, and excitement guides you through every single emotion. I am still quite young, but at least I have clearer understanding of the darkness found in musicals. All musicals rely on each other and things have to be balanced. That’s way it makes sense for comedies to have tragic elements. It also makes sense that darkness does not appear in every single musical. It would be way too much for tragic elements to be part of every single musical.



Reflection of Les Mis

Today is July 30th, which was a special date for me last year. On July 30th of last year, mom took me to the Queen’s Theatre to see Les Mis. That night “I dreamed a dream”. I still have no words to describe how special that night was. Les Mis truly changed my life and sometimes still have no idea why the show moves me as much as it does. Attached to this blog is a review of that night along with my journey of the musical.




Musicals in One Word

Last year, I was given a musical challenge. I was challenged to describe each musical in one word, but not allowed to use the same word more then once. I am trying to describe each of  them using a positive word. It is very hard for people to understand why all musicals are “joyful” due to a small portion of them being sad. In fact, I get more out of a musical experience if I see them through the light compared to the other way around. This is my list so far and some may still need improvement.

  1. Man of La Mancha- Quest
  2. Rent- Life
  3. West Side Story- Romance
  4. Fiddler on the Roof- Tradition
  5. Wicked- Friendship
  6. Phantom- Spellbinding
  7. Les Mis- Humanity
  8. Sound of Music- Family
  9. Pippin- Discovery
  10. Music Man- Music
  11. South Pacific- Acceptance
  12. Godspell- Christ
  13. Singing in the Rain- movie
  14. Oklahoma- Love
  15. Annie- Optimism
  16. Wizard of OZ- Fantasy
  17. Hairspray- Segregation
  18. Mamma Mia- Wedding
  19. Lion King- Wild
  20. My Fair Lady- Change
  21. Beauty and the Beast- Sacrifice
  22. Aladdin- Magic
  23. Mary Poppins- Childhood
  24. Cats- Personality
  25. Grease- School
  26. Frozen- Sisterhood
  27. Little Mermaid- Longing
  28. Cinderella- Dream
  29. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers- Marriage
  30. Annie Get Your Gun- Competition
  31. Once- Healing
  32. Kiss Me Kate- Comic

The Value of Volunteering

What is the value of volunteering to me? Well, when it comes to volunteering, I do not see it as a sacrifice at all. Today I volunteered at Loaves and Fishes at my church. I feel like God has called me to help those less fortunate then me especially those living in poverty and below. I think He called me to do this because He believes that because I have had a fortunate life, I need to help those whose lives are not quite as fortunate.

I know volunteering is more for the people we help. I know that we give them something that they may not have access to. But I feel like I am given something in return. By seeing the look on their faces and the words they speak, I feel a sense of warmth that I have impacted those around me. Having this passion for volunteering helps me develop my spiritually and is part of why I am this spiritually strong person that I am today.

As Christians, we are known to do charity and show compassion, acceptance and love. We are known to help those in need. But for me I am helping people on a much deeper level. I just have this deep connection to those living in poverty and homelessness and still have no idea why. I feel like God is truly a part of my life and I always follow my heart. I alway stay true to who I am and never try to be someone I am not. If we allow Jesus in our lives, then everything seems a bit easier to handle.

Fellowship in Bristol

As many may know by now, I went on a pilgrimage last summer because our church choir was in residence at the Bristol Cathedral. The pilgrimage started on July 31st and lasted August 10th. Throughout the pilgrimage, we would explore many ancient and scared places.

Some of those places included the “mountain-top” Stonehenge, the medieval Berkeley Castle, Windsor Castle, Tintern Abbey, and more.We also attended ten different church services: most of which would be Evensong. However, seeing those places and feeling sacredness of those places was not the best part of the pilgrimage.

It was in fact the fellowship that the group shared for each other. We would be talking about our experiences seeing all of those places. We would help others find a way to feel the sacredness of a certain place. Those spiritual places would not have been as meaningful if the group did not the close bond that we had. The same also goes for the various church services. In fact, that fellowship still exists and gives me a feeling of how much the trip meant to me.

I did not realize how much the trip transformed me and my spirituality until the final Evensong. I really did not think I would gain anything out of any of the church services. But so glad I made the decision to go to each of them because it played such a huge part of the trip. It got to the anthem of the final Evensong and I cried. Through that reaction, I just knew how memorable, transforming, and spiritual the trip was.

There is no way to describe why I enjoyed the trip as much as I did. It even is difficult to  explain the impact it had on me. It still is hard to describe it in just a few words. But if I had to pick on word to describe the trip, it would have to something like “transforming” or “spiritual”. It will always be one of the biggest memories of my life.






Injustices in Les Misérables

Yes, this is another Les Mis post. But seeing this word on the Daily Post single word challenge reminded me of the musical.

Spoilers ahead:

Punishment relates to Les Mis due to the injustices shown in the storyline. The main one I want to focus on is the injustice Valjean deals with. He unjustly was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to save his sister’s dying son. Before he became a convict, Valjean was a good man who cared about his sister and her children. Due to stealing a loaf of bread, he was sentenced to five years, but due to multiple escapes was imprisoned for another fourteen years. That was unfair because he didn’t commit a serious crime. He only did it to ensure his nephew’s survival. In prison, Valjean hardened into a harsh, angry, hateful man. After his sentence was finished, he was put on parole for the rest of his life. He noticed straight away that no one was giving him a chance. No one could give him a job or somewhere to stay for the night. Due to that, Valjean saw how hateful society was due to him being an ex-convict.

However, only one person saw beyond Valjean’s ex-convict status. That was the Bishop who welcomed him into his house. He also gave Valjean something to eat and a place to sleep for the night. But out of desperation, Valjean woke up in the middle of the night and stole the Bishop’s silver. When he was caught, he was taken back to the Bishop’s house. The Bishop covered up for Valjean and lied by saying that the silver was in fact a gift. This astonished Valjean because he knew he was guilty. The Bishop asked Valjean that he use the silver to become an honest man. Because of the Bishop’s kindness and compassion, Valjean learned the ways of the Lord.

The rest of the plot follows Valjean’s journey of becoming a better person. He helped a struggling community prosper. He showed compassion towards all when he became mayor. Another injustice was eventually discovered through Fantine. As a bit of background, Fantine worked in Valjean’s factory and she had an illegitimate daughter called Cosette. When the foreman discovered this, he kicked her out and this led her to turn to prostitution. Shortly after, she was harassed by an abusive customer, which led to her to attack the customer. At this point, Fantine was desperately ill and Valjean saw the whole fight break out. Javert, the antagonist, showed no mercy or compassion that he sentenced Fantine to six months in prison. That was so unjust because it was the man who should have been sent to jail. Valjean covered for Fantine and said that she does not need to go jail, but instead a hospital. Valjean realized that she was fired by his factory and that she was with child. Valjean felt directly responsible for Fantine’s current condition and decided to make up for it by agreeing to raise her child as his own.


Don Quixote Review

I spent this summer attempting to finish Don Quixote. Don Quixote is an old classic written by Miguel De Cervantes. It follows the chivalry adventure of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It has such a wonderful story filled with memorable characters even though it is easy to get some of them mixed.

The two most memorable characters are Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Those two represent where the core of the story comes from. I especially love Don Quixote, the crazy, foolish, valiant, brave knight errant who rights all wrongs. He also is a tragicomic character and it was fun discovering why he is tragic and comic. He is comic due to his sense of humor, foolishness, and craziness, but he is tragic because he is delusional and in a sense some of his comic characteristics could easily be flaws. His adventures are much more fun in the second half of the book then the first half. In the second half, Don Quixote is treated the most as a knight and the adventures seem real. I know he is having adventures through delusions, but I still love him. In fact some of his adventures are shown through other characters playing tricks on him by pretending to be characters in the knight errant world.

As for Sancho Panza, he is the loyal squire of Don Quixote. Sancho Panza also has a sense of humor. He sometimes just doesn’t like being a squire due to his master’s madness. He went along with his adventures because Don Quixote promised him that he would be a governor of an island someday. But Sancho would soon realize that he would rather follow along with his master’s madness then being a governor.

The book has an underlying spirituality to it. It mentions God several times and is filled with several parables. The parables are invented by Sancho, which runs in his family. In a sense, I feel like Don Quixote sees Dulcinea as a kind of goddess, which connects to the spiritual aspect.

The plot is filled with many twists and turns. Cervantes is crazy at times. There are times when he interests short novels into the plot. A character would be reading the story and having those short novels in there kind of makes you get mixed up with reality in a sense. You begin to wonder what is really happening and what is going on in the short story. Sometimes a character would tell their life story, which in a sense can also feel like a short story. Cervantes even inserted a fake book of the second part of Don Quixote after someone wrote a sequel to it. Part of the true second part of the book has Don Quixote and Sancho showing the wrong done to the fake book. Cervantes even inserts himself into the book.

This book is quite a difficult one to write a review. It is essentially a tragicomedy, which is a genre I am hardly familiar with. I found this book so much harder to read then Les Misérables. I read Victor Hugo’s unabridged masterpiece last summer and finished it in a shorter amount of time then Don Quixote. The reason why Don Quixote took me longer was because I found it harder to grasp and understand due to the tragicomic nature of the book. I also found it easier to skip a day of reading. Even the language is harder to understand because Cervantes does write a lot in a kind of Shakespearean way. This book is truly a classic.

What is it about Don Quixote that makes it such a classic? I think it is a classic because I think everyone has a bit of Don Quixote in them. We all have a different perception of reality. We all can be quite crazy or foolish at times. This book also shows the importance of imagination.