In musicals, there is a serious side when it comes to love. Much of love in musicals doesn’t have much darkness or tragedy. But some musicals are dealing with love triangles, breakups, and tragic love stories. The most clear love triangles are in Wicked, Les Mis, and Phantom of the Opera. The entire plot of West Side Story is tragic, but in South Pacific, a sub-love plot is tragic. In South Pacific, you are dealing with a breakup.
If there happens to be a sad song in a musical, and the song happens to be a love song, the song will always be heartbreaking. Songs like “This Nearly Was Mine”, “Somewhere”, “I’m Not That Girl”, and “On My Own” are heartbreaking love songs. The serious side of love can be quite fascinating in a musical. It is crazy to say that four characters have dealt with unrequited love, who are the Phantom, Eponine, Elphaba, and Glinda.
Possible Minor or Major Spoilers:
It is odd in a way saying that Elphaba and Glinda have dealt with unrequited love since they are both from Wicked and are part of the same love triangle. The unrequited love shifts gears on you, which makes that love triangle quite confusing. The unrequited love seems to be placed mainly on Elphaba because she does not sing a reprise of “I’m Not That Girl”, but the entire song.
It seems crazy to call “I’m Not That Girl” a heartbreaking song when Elphaba sings it because she is eventually going to end up with Fiyero, but the song is still heartbreaking. At that point, Elphaba just found out that she loves Fiyero and does not think that she is good enough for him because she is green. But in the second act, Fiyero breaks up with Glinda and starts going out with Elphaba, which is very unexpected. Glinda than sings a reprise of “I’m Not That Girl”. Having the unrequited love shift on you in Wicked makes this love triangle quite complicated and makes this love triangle my favorite.
As in the case of Eponine and the Phantom, their stories revolve around unrequited love. Besides unrequited love, they both have to deal with other tragic things. Phantom is judged for his deformed face , which makes him live in the catacombs of the Paris house. He does not respond to his unrequited love very well. When he finds out that Christine loves Raoul, this breaks his heart and he responds to very destructive ways. He seeks revenge and wants to kill Raoul. That is probably not the best way to respond to unrequited love.
As in the case of Eponine (referring to musical Eponine), she does not respond to her unrequited love in that kind of nature. She does stick by Marius’ side no matter what, and puts aside her feeling for Marius and decides to help him and Cosette get together. Marius asks her to find Cosette for him because he knows that she knows the streets of Paris very well and she agrees realizing that it will make him happy. Even when her father and his gang try to rob Valjean’s house, she screams to protect Marius and Cosette. Despite being a Thenardier, she stays loyal towards Marius. She eventually accepts her current situation and she decides to disguise herself as a boy just to be with Marius at the barricade.
In the stage show, realizing that Eponine is in danger of getting killed, Marius sends Eponine away with a letter to Cosette. But yet Eponine still returns, which does lead her to a tragic end. She gets shot while climbing over the barricade and her wounds are fatal. But she gets to die in the arms of the man she loves. Dying in his arms is the happiest moment of her life and she doesn’t think about the physical pain she is since she is with Marius. Marius is devastated, but he stays brave for her and shows her compassion at the time of her death. So overall Eponine shows true love towards Marius all the way to death. Eponine knows how to respond to unrequited love in a less destructive way than the Phantom.
There is the seriousness of South Pacific. The entire story is a romantic love story. The main love story happens between Emelie and Nellie, which almost didn’t work out in the end. Nellie does leave Emelie at one point in the storyline and breaks up with him and that is where the heartbreaking song, “This Nearly Was Mine” comes into play. Discovering the ethnicity of Emelie’s children, Nellie leaves him, but eventually learns her lesson. While Emelie goes on a dangerous mission, Nellies decides to take care of Emelie’s children.
In the case of Joe Cable and Liat, a sub-love plot, is tragic. Joe Cable loves Liat, but when asked if he wants to marry her, Joe Cable says no because his family wouldn’t approve due to Liat’s ethnicity. Joe Cable is part of that dangerous mission with Emelie and Joe Cable dies. South Pacific easily could have been a tragic musical, but because Emelie and Nellie are the main love story, it doesn’t make South Pacific tragic. Emelie gets rescued from the island and Nellie goes back to Emelie.
Than there is West Side Story, the tragic love story between Maria and Tony. This musical is based off of Romeo and Juliet. West Side Story is partially part of my life, but is not even meaningful. But I liked the movie enough to get the songs and the movie is dance-drawn. I want to see the stage show to see if the dancing fares better on stage. Instead of feuding families, it is between feuding street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Tony is a former member of the Jets and Maria’s brother, Benardo, is the leader of the Sharks. As everyone knows, the love story doesn’t end too well with Tony and Maria because Tony gets killed by Chino because Tony killed Bernardo. As the love songs progress in West Side Story, each song gets sadder and sadder.
The serious side of romance is quite interesting. Heartbreaking love songs are quite beautiful songs. My favorite romantic musical has to be South Pacific. My favorite love triangle is in Wicked due to the unrequited love shifting gears on you. Between the love triangles in Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis, I prefer the love triangle in Les Mis. I think the serious side of love gives an interesting texture to the plot. The love triangles can be so difficult to interpret especially the one in Phantom of the Opera.