In my opinion, the most important part of a musical experience is the emotional connection. This will be a very difficult thing to write about. I understand the importance, but it is so hard to describe. Having an emotional connection is key to having a positive experience and is key for a musical to become meaningful.
All of the musicals that are meaningful to me consist of an emotional connection. Musicals like Sound of Music, Annie, Newsies, Wicked, Les Mis, and Rent all have an emotional connection for me. Their emotional connections are very different. They each have something that I emotionally connect to.
In Annie, I have an emotional connection to Annie due to her optimism and in Wicked, I have an emotional connection mainly to Elphaba and her friendship with Glinda and out of all musical characters, I have the most personal relationship with Elphaba. In Sound of Music, I have an emotional connection to its theme of family. In Les Mis, I have an emotional connection the its spiritual undertone and have a deep connection to those living in poverty. In Newsies, I have an intimate emotional connection to the relationship between Jack Kelly and Crutchie and I have an emotional connection to the relationship between all of the Newsies. In Rent, I have an emotional connection to the relationship found among the friends.
I started to understand the emotional connection of musicals through Wicked. I was twelve at the time and I was the right age to pick up on something like that. Out of all characters, I emotionally connected the best to Elphaba and eventually found myself falling in love with Fiyero and Glinda. Wicked was how I began to have an understanding of the negative emotions.
The best way to explain an emotional connection is to look at negative emotions. Naturally, it would seem like you don’t want to feel to feel them because they hurt. But, if you have an emotional connection, feeling those emotions become worth it. You don’t want to feel the negative emotions in a way that gives you a negative experience. You want them to feel like you are receiving a positive experience. Just like the positive emotions, the negative emotions are worth it. It’s just the emotional connection gives meaning to the negative emotions and makes it worth feeling negative emotions. Without an emotional connection, the negative emotions will just feel bland and even pointless and will affect you in a very negative way.
All of the musicals that have at least one full song that is sad, it is worth it. The characters who experience conflict in their lives and who are more complex are more likely to express those emotions through song. They are the ones that are the easiest to care for. You learn to sympathize or emphasize with him. The sad songs, which typically are heartbreakers, are just these beautiful, fragile, and vulnerable songs. Before knowing about heartbreak, sad songs were so different and I honestly don’t quite remember what sad was like.
But I can use Wicked to trace it back to what it was. “I’m Not That Girl” wasn’t even a heartbreaker, but instead just a sad song and “No Good” was strongly disliked and seemed emotionless. That is the best way to describe the negative emotions before discovering heartbreak.
What do you think is the importance of having an emotional connection in a musical?
Tomorrow’s post will be about musical characters I relate to since today talked about emotional connections.