For the 90s kids, we grew up on Ariel, Jasmine, Belle- we know the princesses I am talking about. Who of the batch do I relate to the most?
I believe, for me, it would be Belle. I am that bookworm-I love to read fantasies and classics. For a typical millennial- the word classic is something that they wouldn’t read unless it is required for class. I love fantasies like Hobbit/Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia among others- even standalone: I am writing a fantasy now. I love the classics- I am literally reading “The Iliad”- that is something you probably would not expect and later will read “The Odyssey”. I do love Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol, Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and you are expecting me to say this book: Les Misérables. So yes, I love to read.
Like Belle, I know what it is like to be kinda of well different. As in, I can understand when people say “she is odd”. She most certainly is not- she is brave, strong, caring and independent. You see most of who she is at the castle when she takes her father’s place- that is bravery the moment she agrees and in some ways, that does take strength. More moments show that- like preventing Gaston from killing Beast, etc….Her caring part comes from when she has the chance to escape after the wolf attack, but decides to take Beast back to the castle instead- I honestly think it was when Beast saved her from the wolves when he started to change. Belle and Beast had a relationship that developed over time; not at first sight.
Next post will be for the contemporary Disney princess I relate to the most
What does Les Mis, La Bohème, Phantom of the Opera, and Newsies have in common? They all take place during the 1800s and they are musical shows (either a musical or an opera). All of them, but Newsies, take place in France. Newsies is the one looks out of place- it is Disney and takes place in Manhattan. However- Newsies still takes place in the same century as the other three. I do love all four shows- will try to explain below.
It is obvious by now that Les Mis holds a lot of meaning. Strong emotional connection. Tragic and inspiring storyline. Powerful, emotional, epic, and passionate songs. While a tragedy- still has its’ themes of compassion, hope, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption. The characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get of one small thing- even one tiny thing-the entire thing starts unraveling itself. Those songs are emotional to the point of getting goosebumps and reducing you to tears- that is what they have done to me.
This is an opera- but still fits under the umbrella of telling a story through song. La Bohème is the tragic love story of Rodolfo and Mimi set in France in the 1830s. The songs between Rodolfo and Mimi are beautiful and truly brings out their love for each other even in the end-no matter the complications that come up in their relationship, they always had true love for each other. La Bohème so far is my favorite love story despite it being tragic.
Phantom of the Opera
Now, going further into the 1800s- as in late 1800s, we move into the Paris Opera House. This is truly a hauntingly beautiful musical. Phantom of the Opera is a love triangle found between Phantom, Christine, and Raoul. It is full of suspense, mystery, revenge, beauty, and love. While Christine and Raoul truly love each other, it makes Phantom not react well to his unrequited love, which makes it angelic and beautiful, but haunting. The music is haunting at times and beautiful at times-which fits perfectly into Phantom of the Opera.
Yes, Newsies is a 1800s musical, and it is set in 1899 in Manhattan. It is about the Newsboys Strike of 1899, and yes this event really did happen. When Pulitizer raised the price of newspapers, the newsboys went on strike. Eventually, this event was known through the musical, Newsies. There are a lot of reasons why I love Newsies- the mind-blowing dance, the energetic and at times emotional songs, the characters, and the story.
I love the Newsies mostly Jack Kelly (their leader) and Crutchie, and part of that comes from their intimate and special bond. When you see Newsies, you will see dance that will blow your mind: it did win Tony Award Choreography, and you will understand why once you see the show. Due to it being a dance-natured show, it has to have energetic songs, and “Seize the Day” is my favorite song in Newsies (there is one moment, they are dancing on Newspapers). There are even more emotional songs (“Santa Fe” is a sad song). Eventually, once it had a tour, they added in “Letter from the Refuge”, Crutchie’s solo- it used to be just “Santa Fe”, that was sad, but “Letter From the Refuge” fits that too-now both are used for all productions. The storyline is so inspiring- the fact that these newsboys stood up for what they believe in, despite barely having much, and never gave up is incredible.
I have made lists of my favorite young characters before, but this time it will not include the children. It is amazing the kind of variety you can find in the young characters- where they live, their lives, and their personalities, etc…..
Friends of the ABC
It is amazing how so many characters happen to be young characters. Most of the characters I love in musical theatre fall under that world- young. It is amazing how they all vary.
Today, I decided to talk about something kind of different. In the past, I did make a list of where all of my favorite musicals take place. What about if I just focus on only the fictional locations.
I decided to start with OZ because Wicked takes place here. So many people know my special love for Wicked. Wicked is about the relationship between Elphaba (AKA the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda. One of its subplots is the love triangle between Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda. The friendship between Elphaba and Glinda is powerful, strong, and beautiful. “For Good” perfectly illustrates this friendship.
Everything about the musical feels OZian- from costumes to set to characters’ names to location names.
Agrabah- Middle East
Home to Aladdin. Its’ set and costumes brings you straight to Agrabah and its many settings from the Palace to the Market to the Cave of Wonders.
Not yet seen Frozen on stage, but Arendelle is the setting of Frozen.
Fictional Town in France
While we never KNOW the name of the town Beauty and the Beast takes place in, we do know it takes place in France, and that the town is fictional. Most of the musical takes place at the castle- I only have seen both movies (cartoon and live action).
What are other fictional locations musicals take place in that you can think of?
I have had a love for Frozen since I saw the movie in 2013. I could easily see why so many people were loving the film. I never once thought Frozen was overrated and YES, still not tired of the song, “Let it Go”. Why do I love Frozen? THERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS:
Songs- well, obviously to love a musical, you have to love the songs. I love the songs in Frozen. From “For the First Time in Forever” to “Let it Go” to “Love is an Open Door”- it defiantly has a catchy soundtrack. While the movie only has exciting songs; still good enough for me to love Frozen. Here’s what I can add- when they created the stage show- new songs were added, and some of them were able to create a more emotional feel.
Characters- I totally love these characters, in particular Elsa and Anna. They BOTH are relatable. One born with powers that is misunderstood and another who is optimistic and outgoing: the two sisters do love each other even though things are complicated. While many people call Olaf annoying, I think he is such a lovable snowman.
True Love: Well, in many previous Disney films the idea of true love steams from romance. In Frozen, on the other hand, it is about the love between the sisters: another reason why I love Anna and Elsa. You truly saw this when Anna had to find true love to save herself- she actually sacrificed herself to save her sister from being killed by Hans. So the real true love was from the sisters; not the romance.
Part of my bond (I think I know): I really think a good part of my love for Frozen comes from Wicked. That is due to the parallel elements. Think about it: Elsa/Elphaba; Anna/Glinda; Sisterhood/Friendship; and “Let it Go”/”Defying Gravity”- those all have parallel elements. Considering how meaningful Wicked is to me- it actually makes sense.
This year: I am actually seeing the stage show of Frozen for the first time.
I am ALWAYS a bit nervous when it comes to musical sequels. They easily can be screwed up. However, in the past I saw two sequels in the past that actually worked: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and Mary Poppins Returns. That was because they had good songs and felt like a wonderful continuation of the original songs. When I found out that Frozen would have a sequel, I actually was nervous- I had formed a strong bond to Frozen- so of course I would be kind of nervous even though it still would have Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven and the same actors/actresses playing them.
Frozen II was the last thing I did in 2019. Would it work or it would be it in shambles? It was another sequel that worked in my opinion- if you want SPOILERS, PROCEED.
Just like the original, it opened with the exact same song- not “Frozen Heart”, but BEFORE any action or seeing any characters. It actually BEGAN as flashback to Elsa and Anna’s childhood: you learn about this Enchanted Forest. What you learn in this flashback is important for important for the entire movie. When I learn the first song- I knew the sequel did something right.
This is actually a more mature version of Frozen. It all began when Elsa heard this voice, and wanted to know where it was coming from. Most of it takes place in that Enchanted Forest. While Elsa in the original had her big number, this time, more of them had their own. Kristoff and Anna had their own- they had their own struggles allowing them to need a main solo. It still mainly focused on the sisterhood- Elsa still needed some help and had to be saved. I did like the songs.
Well- at one point, I thought we were going to lose both Elsa and Olaf. Elsa did take things a bit too far: I realized she was complex in the original, but this film made her more complex: she has two power ballads in this one. Anna literally thought she lost her sister- that was when her ballad entered; that song was heartbreaking. She had to save The Enchanted Forest alone- Kristoff wasn’t around. At the end, while Anna saved the Enchanted Forest, Elsa saved Arendelle. Well, at the end, Anna had to become Queen of Arendelle while Elsa had to look after The Enchanted Forest. Like expected- Kristoff, while struggling to propose to Anna, ended up proposing to Anna.
I still feel like a lot of my bond to Frozen came from Wicked.
It is a known fact that most likely a child will have grown up on Disney. Part of the musicals I love are Disney. You might be wondering if I love the classic or contemporary ones. Well, I am a 90s kid so, I was raised on the classic Disney cartoons. Now, what Disney soundtracks do I own?
This is my latest Disney Soundtrack I own: as in the Original Broadway Soundtrack. Aladdin was one of the musicals I saw this year. Due to songs like “Proud of your Boy”, “High Adventure”, and “A Million Miles Away”, I had to own this particular soundtrack. My favorite song from Aladdin is “A Whole New World”- yes, the main love song- but still my favorite song. That song has stuck with me since I was a child. A classic musical while still being contemporary: that is because it did not become a stage show until the 2010s.
Beauty and the Beast
I actually have never seen this stage show, but own the Original Broadway Soundtrack. This show is truly magical, enchanting and romantic. It after all (well, not all) takes place at an enchanted castle. It is about the romance between Belle and Beast. My favorite song is “Beauty and the Beast”- once again the main love song- but still my favorite. A fun and romantic collection of songs.
This is truly a show that you need to see. It has a fun, intense and emotional soundtrack. I love how the stage show created the animal. My favorite song is also the main love song, “Can you feel the love Tonight”. I do not know what it is, but there is something about Disney love songs.
While a movie from 1992, I see it as a contemporary musical. A dance-based musical that is inspired by a true story. It is literally male-focused while still having a female voice in there. The stage show has the addition of Katherine Plumber in it, who becomes the reporter and Jack’s love interest. Entered my life 2016. A fun and at times emotional score.
Disney musicals are an important part of my musical theatre journey. As a matter of fact, when I think of musicals they fit the profile. I tend to think of dance/spectacle, complexity, comedy, romance, happy plots (yes, that it what automatically comes to mind), positive and negative emotions in the score, and a strong emotional connection. That does weird that I said I tend to think of happy plots: but that is what I grew up with; even though I know NOW that there are tragic and heartbreaking musicals that exist.