This does sound bizarre, but I do believe there is a difference between an emotional connection to a musical character and an emotional connection to the entire musical. That sounds really bizarre because you would think both mean the same thing, but in reality they really don’t. But sometimes your emotional connection a character is the same thing to an emotional connection to the entire musical .
Wicked is a musical I have an emotional connection to Elphaba and love Fiyero and Glinda as well. My emotional connection to Elphaba does connect to my emotional connection to the entire show. I don’t have emotional connections to Nessa, Boq, Madmae Morrible, and the Wizard. But I do have an emotional connection to the entire show thanks to my personal relationship with Elphaba and the friendship found between Elphaba and Glinda and the love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero.
Even my emotional connection in Newsies is the same thing as my emotional connection to the entire musical. I actually have two emotional connections in this show. I have an emotional connection in the intimate relationship found between the friendship between Jack and Crutchie. I even have an emotional connection to all of the Newsies. The story is about the Newsies after all, which is why my emotional connection to the Newsies is the same as my emotional connection to the entire show.
Even in Beauty and the Beast, I only have emotional connections to Beast and Belle and characters like Lumiere and Cogsworth and Chip and Mrs. Potts. But I don’t have an emotional connection to Gaston. It is more important for me to be emotionally connected to Belle instead of Gaston. Having an emotional connection to Belle and Beast is important because the plot centers around them.
But can you have an emotional connection to a character, but have zero emotional connection to the actual plot? Yes, that is very possible. I love Anna from King and I, but I am not fully emotionally connected to the entire plot and the show isn’t even meaningful to me. Even in Little Shop of Horrors, I only love Seymour and Audrey, but just don’t have an emotional connection to the plot.
The emotional connections are highly important. Usually the songs are what forms the emotional connection. I feel like you need an emotional connection to both the characters and the plot. True, there some characters I don’t have an emotional connection to in certain musicals. I don’t have an emotional connection to Madame Morrible, the Wizard or like any antagonist or villain, but a few expectations. Honestly, your emotional connection might also have to do with the portrayal of characters.
I don’t have an emotional connection to Javert exactly, but the last time I saw Les Mis live, I found some emotional connection to that character. I honestly have no emotional connection to the Thenardiers either. Despite that, I have an emotional connection to the entire show. I don’t relate to the characters that well in Les Mis, but I do have an emotional connection to Jean Valjean’s story, Fantine’s story, the love triangle found between Eponine, Cosette, and Marius and have an emotional connection to Enjolras, Gavroche and the students. You can’t have an emotional connection to a plot if you don’t have an emotional connection to characters.
The emotional connections are why every scene in a musical has joy in them even in heartbreaking or bittersweet moments. The songs form an emotional connection very easily. I feel like it is important to be emotionally connected to the protagonist’s story and if there are subplots, it is important to be emotionally connected to some of them because they help support the main plot. Having joy in every emotion is connected to the experience and connects to an emotional conation to the plot and characters and the fact that if you care enough about the characters and their journeys, you accept the emotions that you are feeling.
An amazing amount of musicals have some heartbreaking or sad moments. I understand that sad was a main emotion starting in middle school. I wasn’t 100% blind to the negative in those days, but I was 100% blind to heartbreak.
I know this sounds crazy. But there really is a difference between an emotional connection to characters and emotional connection to plot. However they are very interconnected and depend on each other.