Musicals are known to be emotional. Musicals are known for many home to positive and negative emotions in the score. The negative emotions started to be understood as early as middle school. I saw them very different than I do today, but I honestly do not remember much of what the negative emotions were like in those days, but I do remember that the negative emotions were common, which was essential to what they would eventually become. The best memory of the negative emotions happens to be from Wicked. However, do you believe the negative emotions in musicals are highly unpredictable?
A good chunk of musicals I love happen to have the negative emotions when it comes to the songs. I will try to give a few examples where I have found the negative emotions to be highly unpredictable.
One such example is coming from Les Mis. As a matter of fact, the negative emotions were extremely highly unpredictable in this musical. It is a bit hard to describe why, but the nature of the negative emotions in the songs is very rare in this musical and never saw that nature coming at all. I never realized I was 100% blind to heartbreak growing up. It was Les Mis that made me pick up on heartbreak for the first time and it was highly unpredictable of how powerful and honest and insightful the negative emotions in Les Mis would be.
Another musical the negative emotions ended up being highly unpredictable happened to exist in Wicked. Wicked has a song called “No Good Deed”. Growing up, I never was a big fan of that song. As a result, the emotions never stuck or even was remembered so in a way that song seemed emotionless. So I was quite surprised when last year, I remember watching “No Good Deed” and for the first time, I finally found some appreciation for that number and I finally noticed and even remembered the emotions that actually were a part of that number to begin with, which were anger and frustration.
Even though “I’m Not That Girl” shifted from being a sad song to a heartbreaking song, the song wasn’t as highly unpredictable as “No Good Deed” because I always knew “I’m Not That Girl” was sad”. “I’m Not That Girl” shifted from being sad to heartbreaking through the help of “On My Own”, another unrequited love song.
Another such highly unpredictable moment in the negative emotions happened to be from “Sound of Music”. Unlike Wicked, I never noticed the negative emotions in the songs in “Sound of Music” growing up. So I finally saw the stage show in November of 2015. The song, “Edelweiss” was always my favorite song from “Sound of Music”. I was quite surprised when sad decided to enter the picture when it comes to the song. It showed up in between the moment the captain stopped singing and right before the children joined in. Sad decided to show up literally in the middle of a song at a moment where there was no singing. Due to picking up on sad so many years later, it made sad highly unpredictable in “Sound of Music”, Literally once I picked up on sad, the rest of the song made me tear up.
What I am trying to say is that you never know what is going to happen to the negative emotions each time you see a new musical or when you see a musical again even if you saw the movie first and later saw the stage show for the first time. The first time I saw “Little Shop of Horrors”, there was a heartbreaking moment, which actually was a reprise, where I wanted to cry and that seemed unusual in a way because I didn’t even fall in love with the story of that musical or fell in love with enough songs so I was quite surprised that even happened.
Each time I see a brand new musical, I always know there is some chance the negative emotions will happen to exist in the musical. Last year when I saw Newsies, “Santa Fe”, which was at the end of act 1, was a sad song and that came from a musical that actually became meaningful. I love feeling the negative emotions the most in musicals that I fall in love with that eventually becomes meaningful. I also prefer sad where it is beyond being mild, but in the Edelweiss example, it would appear to not be that capable due to where it entered the song, but it was strong enough for the emotion to be remembered.
It is crazy to say that the negative emotions can bring joy in a musical. That sounds misleading since the negative emotions actually hurt. That is the most true when sad is beyond being just a mild emotion. The negative emotions in a way seem even more complex than the positive emotions because they appear to have more capability than you think they do. I know that through experience. Growing up, I thought I actually saw the full potential of the negative emotions, but it turns out I was wrong through what I discovered through Les Mis.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe negative musical emotions are highly unpredictable? Why do you love the negative emotions in musicals?