Extraordinary delight of musicals and spirituality
I am a strong spiritual person who is a big fan of musicals. This blog mainly is about musicals. Every so often I talk about spirituality. Sometimes I add in movie reviews, book reviews, and about my life in general. I hope you find my blog inspiring.
As people know, I went to Gardner Webb University and in May graduated. I participated in a number of student activity events and there was one thing I did weekly that was not connected to student activities, and that was The Gathering.
What is the Gathering? It is Gardner Webb’s student-led worship service. The band that is used is all student, and each week it is a different group of students. The songs are contemporary Christian songs such as “Come to the River”, “Child of God”, and “Fierce”, etc. The songs open up and close the service. The Gathering is a great place to have a break from studying, and is great place to deal with the stress caused by college. I love how the sermons were geared towards college students.
These services helped strengthen my spirituality. I was one of the regular Gathering participants, meaning I went almost every week. After the service, there is usually snacks.
The Gathering was one of the best parts about Gardner Webb.
As a ton of people know, Les Mis is quite a meaningful musical. It is quite different from a lot of other musicals. It went against the musicals I grew up with. Here are some things it disproved:
All musicals are happy and comic- I grew up with just those; I interpreted all the musicals I grew up like that. So imagine my shocking surprise when Les Mis entered my life- a TRAGEDY.
2. You will never love a tragedy-yes, I told myself I will always hate tragedies. I thought they were pure sad: Les Mis goes beyond tragedy- it has a beautiful underlying spirituality.
3. Death scenes can never be memorable, especially towards a favorite character- Les Mis is home to memorable deaths. Compassion is shown at them, and they are touching and moving and bittersweet.
4. Musical theatre songs can never be a death scene- well look at Come to Me and A Little Fall of Rain- two songs that are death scenes
5. About emotions, they can never push past sad- well, wrong again. Heartbreak entered the picture. Emotions have much more capability than I believed.
6. All musicals have to be home to showtune songs- Les Mis does not have those. I was waiting for those songs- I never once heard a showtune in Les Mis. Showtune was the type of song I associated with musical- I knew about other types of songs, but showtune was the one that came to mind the most.
All of these show part of the impact Les Mis had on my life. It disproved many things- turns out I had many misconceptions about musicals that I didn’t know I made until Les Mis. There was a reason why I was so shocked and confused the first time I saw the movie. I am glad I watched it a 2nd time- if I didn’t, Les Mis wouldn’t have been in my life.
Did Les Mis do that to you- challenged the way you view musicals?
This might sound nuts, but I always fall into sort of a Wicked trap each time I watch it. I am emotionally connected to Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda- NOT to the other characters. I know there are storylines OTHER than the friendship and the love triangle. I am quite aware of the discrimination, and that the romantic subplot is more of a LOVE PENTAGON. I know there is more in the storyline than the friendship and the love triangle- but I always overlook things.
Each time, I ALWAYS closely examine the love triangle and friendship. I tend to not WANT to explore the other storylines as well. It does sound crazy. After all, the main storyline is the friendship between Glinda and Elphaba, and they are 2/3 of the love triangle. Fiyero completes the love triangle. There is a LOT to be explored in the love triangle- especially in regards to Fiyero. You question things about him: you wonder why the unrequited love jumps from Elphaba to Glinda. You have to closely look at Fiyero to understand that part better- I personally believe he had some kind of crush on Elphaba in Shiz, but wasn’t exactly fully aware of it- that explains part of that puzzle.
I am like if Elphaba is my all-time favorite character- why do I always OVERLOOK her sister? That does sound odd in a way. But then again, Nessa’s song, “The Wicked Witch of the East”, isn’t on the soundtrack, and she is a supporting character. Boq is overlooked too- after all he has no song of his own. I know of their unrequited love storylines- but keep on overlooking them so I basically forget about them each time.
I OVERLOOK the two main antagonists as well: Madame Morrible and the Wizard as well. That’s odd as well. I know what happens to them, and it is part of Elphaba’s storyline, and why she is the way she is. Still.
See how crazy that is: I get so invested in the friendship and the main love triangle that I want to explore both more deeply each time I see the musical. That is why I fall into this Wicked trap each time. It is not like I am unaware of the other characters and storylines- I am aware of what happens to them- just overlook them. I am not just that emotionally connected to the other characters. I am only emotionally connected to Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero especially towards Elphaba.
Has this ever happened to you in a musical? You see a musical again- closely examine the same storylines, but ALWAYS overlook the other ones you know are in there.
I am a millennial. Millennials favorite Christmas movies tend to be movies like Elf, Home Alone, or Polar Express. However, my favorite Christmas movie is not any of those. It happens to be A Christmas Carol (George C Scott Version). It has been tradition to watch A Christmas Carol every Christmas Season for as long as I can remember.
What makes A Christmas Carol my favorite Christmas Movie? It is hard to explain exactly. People do know that I love the classics in terms of books, and A Christmas Carol is one of those classics. It was written by Charles Dickens. It is home to memorable characters and a plot to fall in love with. I love how the spirits teach Scrooge that he needs to change- they show him just how greedy and cold-hearted he has become, and he learns through the true meaning of Christmas. Every spirit is different giving you a different feeling- the Ghost of Christmas Future creeps me out. At the end, Scrooge redeems himself and helps the Cratchit family.
In terms of characters: I love how Scrooge changes through the story. Who can not fall in love with the Cratchit family especially Tiny Tim, who has so much spirit and hope. There are other characters to fall in love with.
This movie just shows you the true meaning and value of Christmas. It shows the spirit of Christmas perfectly. There is something about it that makes it my favorite Christmas movie. It has an amazing plot- a good movie has an amazing plot with memorable characters. I love the foreshadowing put into this movie.
When I first saw the 2018-2019 season, I was not interested in seeing A Christmas Story, The Musical. For starters, I did not exactly know the movie, and it also seemed kind of unusual. That is why after Lion King, I thought it was my last musical. Turns out I was wrong. I am a member of Club Blume, and I don’t know why I went, but went to the Christmas Story Informance- which talked about how it became a movie to how it became a musical- when I heard that it was written by the same people who did “The Greatest Showman”, one of my favorite movie musicals, I wanted to go. In addition- at the informance, I was given a voucher at the informance for the musical for discounted tickets- if I went to the informance, why skip the musical? I wanted to be more involved with Club Blume- I am still a very new member of the group. The voucher gave us two options- get tickets for the Mezzanine or tickets for the Balcony: of course I wanted Mezzanine. When I bought tickets, I had no choice of where in the Mezzanine- I just hoped I would get somewhere in the center.
When I arrived at Ovens Auditorium and got my ticket, I ended up getting Mezzanine Center in row C- good seats. As a part of Club Blume, I went to a pre-show party. It was basically snacks and drinks. It was a time to talk together before the show.
The playbill did not make it clear which Ralphie I got either Micheal Norman or Ian Shaw- that playbill did not say what days they play the part nor was there a slip of paper to say who I saw. Whoever I saw, I loved him as Ralphie.
A Christmas Story was actually narrated by an older Ralphie even though the playbill says Jean Shepherd. That is because Jean Shepherd was the reason behind why A Christmas Story was a movie at all. A Christmas Story in so many ways is autobiographical- I learned this at the informance. He told some of his stories on his radio show. He basically was narrating A Christmas Story as an older version of Ralphie- if you understand what I mean.
I loved all of the actors in this musical. From Randy, who was played by Jasper Davenport, Mother, who was played by Briana Gantsweg, and Old Man (who is Ralphie’s father), who was played by Paul Nobrega. I already said I loved Ralphie. They truly acted like a family.
As for the other actors, I loved them. It included a lot of kids- who were quite talented- I feel like just like understudies, child actors also get underestimated- they were so good. I loved all of them.
As for the songs- so enjoyable. Most of them were exciting, which can give you a great laugh. Some were on the more emotional side- not emotional as in sad- NOT all emotional songs are sad. I loved the different lighting and staging. A Christmas Story is my 5th and final musical of the year. The dogs also gave me a laugh.
To continue on yesterday’s heartbreaking love songs, today I thought I would talk about ALL heartbreaking songs. I was 100% blind to heartbreak before my first year of college, but I did know about the emotion of sad. So at least I knew about sad- one of the emotions part of heartbreak. Heartbreak is basically a more devastating form of heartbreak. What are the other emotions associated with heartbreak? The ones I have found are anger, guilt, and loneliness among others. Heartbreak can hit you like a pile of breaks and can reduce you to tears. So now here is a list of the heartbreaking musical theatre songs.
I’m Not That Girl
On My Own
I Dreamed a Dream
Come to Me
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
Drink With Me
A Little Fall of Rain
Bring Him Home
All I Ask Of You (Reprise)
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
If I Can’t Love Her
If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)
Letter From the Refuge
This Nearly Was Mine
These heartbreaking songs come from a number of musicals- Wicked, Newsies, Les Mis, Lion King, West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Rent, and Cats. Some of these songs are more devastating than others. Some of him hit me harder than others. Some hit me like a pile of bricks, and some don’t. Some of them make me tear up while others don’t. Heartbreak is one of the most beautiful emotions in musical theatre and one of the strongest.
If a musical theatre song is both a love and sad song, it will ALWAYS be heartbreaking. That is always the truth- that’s for sure. These songs can be ironic or non-ironic. Those songs fall under unrequited love songs, breakup songs, or if the plot is a tragic love story. What are examples of these songs? Below I will list some of those songs.
I’m Not That Girl/ I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)
On My Own
As Long As He Needs Me
This Nearly Was Mine
If I Can’t Love Her/ If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)
All I Ask Of You (Reprise)
I’m Not That Girl was the FIRST heartbreaking love song I was emotionally connected to, but was sad in the beginning. I never called I’m Not That Girl a sad love song- I never combined emotions together- I called it sad. On My Own, just like I’m Not That Girl, began as a sad song, but after a year I realized it was heartbreaking- On My Own was key to realizing I’m Not That Girl was heartbreaking. As a matter of fact, On My Own made me realize all sad love songs were heartbreaking. The heartbreaking love songs have a combination of emotions- they can be home to sad, anger, and loneliness: it depends on the song and the actor and actress who is playing the character. Some of those heartbreaking love songs are much more heartbreaking than others: for instance, On My Own is more heartbreaking than I’m Not That Girl.
It sounds crazy how some of them are ironic- that means the love situation improves in the end or you don’t expect the character to sing it. I’m Not That Girl is the best example- after all the unrequited love shifts from Elphaba to Glinda, which is why the song is sung twice. In addition, the spell gets broken in Beauty and the Beast, which makes If I Can’t Love Her/ If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise), and Evermore ironic. The same situation happens with This Nearly Was Mine because Nellie goes back to Emelie in the end.
Non ironic- that means the situation NEVER improves in the end. That would mean that character might have unrequited love the entire time. In Les Mis, Eponine has unrequited love for Marius till the end of her journey in Les Mis- she does have a tragic ending, but at the same time, her fate is touching and moving and is home to joy. Eponine’s fate is death, but she gets to die in the arms of Marius after getting shot- that is where the joy comes from. So On My Own is not ironic at all. So the heartbreaking love songs are both ironic and non-ironic.
The heartbreaking love songs are some of the most beautiful songs in musical theatre. They are fragile, vulnerable, and some of them are home to innocence. It just depends on the character and how much they love the person they are in love with at that point in the story.