Boy, this shall be an interesting post. The foundation of musicals was laid out based upon the musicals I grew up with. In this post, I will be talking about the musicals I grew up without bringing up anything to the most recent musicals. Describing the emotions will be quite a tough one. When I mean musicals that I grew up with, I am talking about the musicals from before high school. But this post will also talk about the high school musicals as well.
Well, I started seeing musicals in elementary school. I don’t exactly remember seeing any musicals live in those days. I did see Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cats and Seussical the Musical in those days. I feel like in my elementary school years, spectacle and dance was in my opinion the most important part of the musical. So in those days, I was for sure able to pick up on excitement thanks to dance and spectacle.
I even saw musical movies in those days as well. I even saw Grease, Aladdin, Annie, and Sound of Music. In my elementary school years, Annie was my favorite musical. It continued to be my favorite musical up until Wicked became a part of my life.
But when did I start understanding musical emotions? That was in 2006 when I saw Wicked on Broadway with my mom. I was 12 at the time and it was the right time to start understanding musical emotions. During that first time, the song, Popular, was my favorite song. I started to understand that musicals not only can be emotional, but also that a strong emotional connection is also important as well. Over the years, I formed quite a personal relationship with Elphaba because I realized just how much I relate to that character.
Well, there ended up being four main emotions in the musical world, which were excitement, love, joy, and sad. Excitement stood out the most of all these emotions and it was quite an easy emotion to remember how I felt when I felt them. Than I remember loving the emotion of love. I loved seeing romance in musicals and it like excitement was easy to pick up on. Because joy is a part of excitement and love, it was pretty easy to pick up on too. Now that leaves sad, a musical emotion I didn’t understand in elementary school, but started to understand it in middle school.
There was even a sad love song, which was “I’m Not That Girl”. I knew that the song was about a girl (Elphaba) who loves a boy who doesn’t love her back. All I could interpret in that song was that the song was sad. There was even “For Good”, the bittersweet goodbye friendship song. The only moments of sad in musicals I actually remember were coming from Wicked as a matter of fact. I actually strongly disliked “No Good Deed” and the song seemed emotionless.
As a matter of fact, I was already aware that a love triangle can add a fascinating texture to a musical. Of the plot lines in Wicked, I spent the most time with the friendship between Glinda and Elphaba and the love triangle. I actually never described a sad moment as serious or even dark. Wicked became my favorite musical when I saw it.
I continued to watch other Disney movie musicals like Enchanted. That musical movie became my favorite Disney movie. I even watched all those high school musical movies, which I started to watch in middle school. Even in high school, I saw the movies of Hairspray and Mamma Mia. I did see Mamma Mia live as a matter of fact.
There was a point in my musical journey where I completely sort of forgot which musicals just happened to have sad in it, but yet I was able to pick up on it and could tell it was a common musical emotion. How in the world could I know sad was common when I only actually remembered sad being in Wicked? But than again, I had seen those other scenes before even though I don’t actually remember them.
But it somehow decided to stick in Wicked. Sad did not seem to be fully memorable it seems and it also did not seem to be a very deep emotion either or even that capable. I honestly thought I fully believed what sad was capable of. The emotions growing up weren’t emotions I actually spent time analyzing. Throughout the musicals I grew up with (pre high school), I noticed common patterns in the world of musicals. I described all of them as happy and full of life (only referring to the dance and spectacle numbers).
In high school, I felt like sad couldn’t develop much further and that it would not become more than what it already became. I even believed that a death scene could never be memorable. Describing what sad was like in my younger years is quite challenging as a matter of fact. I only actually remember bits and pieces of it. There were some sad songs that I had seen before, but couldn’t remember those actual moments like “Memory”, “If I Can’t Love Her” and I was so close to forgetting about the stampede in Lion King.
These musicals formed the basis of what a musical would be. They were a world of comedy, spectacle, dance, joy, love, excitement, sad, and emotional connections. All of that sounds almost identical to the words I use to describe musical’s in today’s world though slightly different. I literally thought that all musical were comedies and happy mainly because that was all I knew so I believed that to always be true. Those years helped me realized well what makes a musical a musical.
If I didn’t grow up seeing musicals, I never would have become the musical fanatic I am today. True musicals have changed a lot over the most recent years. But what I learned from musicals growing up would be quite important for the most recent years. New shows have come in with the same four emotions, with spectacle and dance, with new strong emotional connection and the same joy and spirit. For me, it can be crazy looking back and trying to describe what sad was once like.
That is the best I can describe the musical world of my younger years? Hard to believe just how much musicals from changed throughout the years.