The Musicals I Love

I decided to write a fresh post of the musicals I love. They will be in no order of ranking- even though I will reserve the first spot for my favorite musical.

  1. Wicked/Les Mis
  2. Sound of Music
  3. Annie
  4. Phantom of the Opera
  5. Newsies
  6. Beauty and the Beast
  7. Frozen
  8. Lion King
  9. Aladdin
  10. Godspell
  11. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  12. Man of La Mancha
  13. Mamma Mia
  14. Singing in the Rain
  15. Rent
  16. My Fair Lady
  17. South Pacific
  18. Oklahoma
  19. Fiddler on the Roof
  20. Pippin
  21. Music Man

If I Can't Love Her

We once again are back in France and another Disney musical. It is a romantic comedy that is truly magical. What musical am I referring to- Beauty and the Beast. Why do I love Beauty and the Beast?

Songs:

The songs are truly wonderful to listen to. They are magical, exciting, romantic, and heartbreaking. For the most part, they are exciting and romantic. Belle and Beast’s relationship develops over time: that is why you have both “Something There” and the truly magical and enchanting “Beauty and the Beast”. Even “If I Can’t Love Her” plays a part in this- that is the heartbreaking song in this. Songs like “Belle”, “Gaston”, “Be Our Guest”- especially “Be Our Guest” are exciting numbers despite “Gaston” belonging to the villain of the musical.

Characters:

Belle- She is an incredible main character. She is brave, independent, strong, and a bookworm, but the town she lives in thinks she “rather odd”. She can see beauty from within- she strongly loves her father and you see that constantly throughout the musical and eventually through her love for the Beast.

Beast- At first, you might hate him, but in reality he is an amazing character. He is so complex and yes, he does has a temper problem. Look- when Belle comes, she teaches him how to love and become a better person. Beast was trapped as a Beast (he is really a prince in disguise-at the time he was selfish and cruel leading to a curse on the castle). He is in a lot of despair and grief- he isn’t the real monster of Beauty and the Beast- he is truly kind and gentle after falling in love with Belle.

Gaston- well, well, well-Gaston is our true monster. If you think about it, this musical technically in some ways is a love triangle between Belle, Beast, and Gaston. Gaston’s only goal was to marry Belle-however not with the right intentions. Gaston is so in love with himself that I don’t think he even loved Belle to begin with- I think because Gaston is so handsome, I think he just wanted to marry Belle because of her beauty.

Maurice- The only one who thinks he isn’t crazy is Belle. He got captured by the Beast and tried to stop Belle from taking his place. Eventually, tried to get help, but the whole town thought he was having delusions about a beast and enchanted objects. He loved his daughter that much- to keep her safe.

Lumiere/Cogsworth/Mrs. Potts/Chip- I love the enchanted objects. There is something amazing about them. It makes the musical to be quite magical in so many ways.

Plot: Major Spoilers:

It all started when an old beggar woman entered the castle to escape the bitter cold. It was home to a selfish and unkind prince. She offered him a rose to escape the cold, but he would not let her in. Trying again to enter, the prince still said “no”. Now seeing there was no love in his heart, the old woman turned into a beautiful enchantress and cursed the entire castle. The curse could only be broken if he could fall in love and be loved in returned, but the rose was magical- he only had until the last petal fell. The prince was turned into a Beast. Who would love a beast?

Now, our story begins

Our story begins with a prologue explaining the castle and curse. Belle is our main character. It is in our entire first song (“Belle”) that we get to meet our main character and villain. “Belle” may be a long song, but it makes us get to know the town and lifestyle Belle lives and who is in her way. We also get to know what the town thinks of her.

The story truly starts when Belle actually takes her father’s place at the Beast’s castle. Maurice was supposed to go the market, but because of going the wrong way, he ended up at the Beast’s castle and got captured. Good thing, Belle realized her father was missing and that the horse her father was riding knew the way to the castle. Having so much love for her father, Belle ended up taking her father’s place- that is a huge moment when you can see that she is a brave character.

The way Belle and Beast’s relationship develops is interesting. First, Belle wants nothing to do with him. However, after an incident in the West Wing, that is when we start to a change in the Beast: that is when he finally sees he made a big mistake and ended up going after Belle to save her from the wolves: after that, Belle could have escaped, but from being a caring person she took Beast back. They have warmed to each other a little bit more despite a little bit of screaming due to Beast’s temper. It was during “Something There” when they develop feelings for each other and finally at “Beauty and the Beast” when they have fallen in love.

However, over in the background with Gaston, he still is trying to find ways to marry Belle, but clearly she isn’t interested and she already made that clear to Gaston. When Belle finds that her father is in danger, Beast does let Belle go, but little does Beast know that she will come back. Gaston, out of anger after finding out about Belle’s feelings for the Beast, decides to kill him- this is when Belle wants to warn him. Gaston is a horrible person and doesn’t care about anyone but himself and not even his sidekick, Lefou.

This is truly a magical and enchanting musical.

Conclusion:

This is one of three musicals I love that takes place in France. The songs are truly romantic. I love most of the characters. I love the plot due to the romantic and magic found in it. Out of all the classic Disney princesses, I think it is Belle I relate to the most.

Favorite Song: Beauty and the Beast

Circle of Life

It is time to talk about another Disney musical. This time we are headed to the African Savannah. We are now talking about Lion King, one of the classic Disney musicals. What makes me love Lion King?

Songs:

For one thing, its opening song, “Circle of Life” is one of the best opening numbers.This score holds a collection of various emotions: it actually has all five core emotions- from excitement to joy to love to sad to heartbreaking. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is one of the best love songs found in musical theatre. I love the additional songs from “Shadowland” to “Endless Night”-they help develop Simba and Nala further. I love “They Live in You” as well.

Characters:

Simba- I love our protagonist. It does help that we get to start knowing him as a cub and eventually see him age up to a Young Adult. I love the relationship he has with his father and with Nala. Nala and Simba were best friends as cubs and eventually fell in love. Simba was born to be King and was excited about it until tragedy struck- he was struggling ever since and had to remember.

Nala- As I said, we meet her as a cub. She is a strong and brave character- characteristics I love seeing. She had to eventually leave her only home to get help-after all, the Pride Lands were in trouble after Scar took over. She ran into Simba after running into Simba.

Mufasa- He was a great king and father, but it was short-lived.

Scar- He is one of the worst villains in Disney. He was planning to kill both his brother and nephew to become king. Seriously- they are your family.

There are other characters I love such as Zazu and Rafiki.

Plot: Major Spoilers

You meet a lot of characters in the beginning. You get to know important characters like Rafaki, Mufasa, Simba (our protagonist), Scar, and Nala. Rafaki is the one who starts Lion King. Simba was next in line to become king after Mufasa, which doesn’t suit well with Scar, Mufasa’s younger brother. Scar has evil intentions of killing both his brother and nephew.

Mufasa is an incredible king and father. He taught Simba how to be a good king and life lessons on how to be a good person overall. Well, guess what happened- Scar actually killed Mufasa and made Simba (who was still a cub) believe he killed his father and told him to leave the Pride Lands and never return. Simba ran as far as he could until he basically had not much energy left- that is when thankfully Timon and Pumbba showed up and raised him. You can tell as a Young Adult he was still struggling with what happened earlier- he did forget who he truly was.

As king, Scar ended up destroying the Pride Lands. Nala had to run away to get help and ran into Simba. Now, you are seeing the romance. From the stars, Simba finally got a message from his father saying “remember”- Simba knows what he must do- go back to the Pride Lands and face his Uncle and take his place as King.

Nala and Simba- Lion King
Nala and Simba

Dance/Spectacle:

Obviously since it takes place in the African Savannah, there has to be a way to create that. Plus, since all the characters are animals, there has to be some way to represent that. The costumes in Lion King are spectacular to look at. The way they move from the Pride Lands to Jungle is amazing. “Circle of Life” not only is one of the best songs from the musical, but the staging of it is amazing: if you literally are in the orchestra near the aisle it is like you are truly experiencing that number (in 2018, I was in the orchestra at the aisle).

Conclusion:

This is one of those musicals that you need to see. Its staging, songs, characters, and plot are why. I am saying that mostly because of the dance and spectacle-I saw the stage show twice mainly because I do not remember the first time so I wanted to see it the second time so I do have a memory. It is the longest running Disney musical on Broadway.

Favorite Song: Can You Feel the Love Tonight

Let it Go

Some people have been asking me how do I know I will love this musical if I have never seen it live. There are actually some musicals I did fall in love with by the movie: Frozen was one of them. I never saw it as overrated and never grew tired of “Let it Go”. I actually could understand why so many children were falling in love with and why young adults loved it: I am young at heart and love Disney. Children do grow up with Disney: this generation of children are growing up with a different collection of princesses, but there is a good chance they are familiar with the classic princesses. Now, let me say why I love Frozen.

Songs:

Once again, the songs are important to a musical. They are what make you able to connect to a plot and character. They are exciting songs- that is what the animated songs are. “Let it Go” and “For the First Time in Forever” are my favorites. I still have yet to see the stage show- once they did give Anna a solo, “True Love”, but when the US Tour began, they actually cut it from the entire show- that was a heartbreaking song happening at a pivotal moment for her: good thing: don’t understand the the reasoning behind that. To me, I still consider that a part of Frozen. The new songs develop the characters further: even that cut song that Anna once had developed her further.

Characters:

Elsa- Who can not fall in love with a older sister who has ice/snow powers? Elsa has conflict here- not knowing how to control them. She does love her sister, but is afraid she will hurt her. There are some people in Arendelle who misunderstand her- they think she is a monster after accidentally showing her powers. Fear is one of the biggest battles she has to face- she can’t let that control her. I actually see her as a parallel to Elphaba.

Anna- She is the younger, outgoing, optimistic, and impulsive sister of Elsa. She is not really thinking when Hans asks her to marry him: not a good idea (one bit). She believes its true love- however is the true love Anna and Hans or is the true love between Anna and another character. She is the one to go after Elsa. SPOILERS: It is really Kristoff that in love with Anna, and Hans was never in love with Anna. Elsa accidentally hit Anna with her powers leaving her with a frozen heart: the only way to save her is through an act of true love: Hans admits he doesn’t love her when she does come back to the castle. Guess where the true love in Frozen came from: the love between the two sisters: Anna and Elsa. It does remind me of the friendship in Wicked.

Of all contemporary Disney princesses, it is Anna I relate to the most: however if someone ever asks me who you like more Elsa or Anna, I probably would not know the answer. In some ways, it is Anna- after all, isn’t she technically the only princess in Frozen because Elsa becomes Queen early on in Frozen?

Kristoff- I don’t quite know how to describe him. He has an amazing relationship with Sven, his reindeer. It is hard to even notice that Anna and Kristoff will fall in love.

Olaf- That adorable and funny snowman who wants to experience summer: seems ironic for a snowman. So many people find him annoying, but I love him.

Hans- As expected, I don’t like him. At first, he appears to be the “good guy”- he is only pretending- it is only near the end when you see who the real Hans is.

Plot:

One of the things I am loving about Disney storylines these days is that the “true love” is no longer the romance. It is more focused on something other than romance- as in sisterhood. I think that is part of what made Frozen that successful. It is about two sisters who once had a beautiful bond, but later broken to protect the younger, but eventually the once beautiful bond was the answer all along: the way to control Elsa’s powers and to break Arendelle out of the eternal Winter was love. Both of them loved each other: Elsa was staying isolated from Anna due to fear of hurting her, but Anna was trying to get closer to form that really close bond again: if only Elsa know that was the answer all along: she needed Anna’s love for her: “true love” was between the two of them.

Conclusion:

For a couple of months, I know why I loved Frozen, but did not know why I loved it in the level I loved it. A couple years later, I realized there were some parallels to Wicked: Elphaba/Elsa, Glinda/Anna, Friendship/Sisterhood, and “Let it Go”/”Defying Gravity”- being both empowering songs about accepting yourself for who you are and actually sounding very similar (not because the same actress originated both roles, but if you actually really listened you would know what I mean). All of a sudden that made sense- after all Wicked in so many ways was the beginning of my musical journey.

This year, in October, I am going to see Frozen-hopefully.

A Whole New World

I thought it was finally time to talk about one of the classic Disney musicals. Disney is an important part of the musical world- I already made mention of one I love: Newsies. Aladdin is a classic musical, but in some ways contemporary because the animated movie came out in the 90s, but the stage show came out around 2014 (I believe). So, it has the famous songs, the character, and the plot we know, but has a contemporary edge to it. Why do I love the musical Aladdin- I will bring in aspects of the stage show?

Songs:

They are a nature of exciting and emotional songs, but mostly exciting. The two duets are love songs- the stage show makes Aladdin and Jasmine a better couple by adding “A Million Miles Away”- you start to see a connection much quicker, well you saw that connection really in “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, and Kassim”. But “A Million Miles Away” really shows it if you missed it earlier. When I mean emotional- I am referring to “Proud of Your Boy”- that song made me a little emotional, as in almost to tears when I saw the stage show and then the two love songs. So the additional songs do help develop the characters further- Jasmine has a solo (“These Palace Walls”), etc…….I loved the Original Broadway Songs so much that I now own the songs.

It still has the famous songs- “A Whole New World”, “Prince Ali”, “Arabian Nights”, “Friend Like Me”- the additional songs bring Aladdin to a whole new level of complexity

Characters:

Aladdin- I love the clever and charming “street-rat”. I put the word “street-rat” in quotes because he doesn’t deserve to be treated that way- he is just in a rough situation. He and Jasmine make a lovely couple.

Jasmine- She is this smart and strong princess. She wants to go outside the palace, but not allowed. She does not to marry a prince just because he is a prince- would rather marry for love instead. Her connection to Aladdin early on shows that those two will emotionally fall in love.

Babkak, Kassim, Omar- We all know about Aladdin’s monkey Abu, but he never made it to the movie. Aladdin still has friends and they are Babkak, Kassim, and Omar. For some reason, they make Aladdin more complex, and I have no idea why. They are wonderful characters and loyal to Aladdin (you strongly saw this in “High Adventure”) and do allow for wonderful scenes and songs to happen.

Genie- Who can not love the Genie? He is funny. He does end up with Aladdin. He does help Aladdin throughout his journey.

Plot:

I love the story of Aladdin. The story of an underdog (Aladdin was poor) raising up to become a prince- that is the basic story. He still has some hurdles- Jafar getting in the way is the main conflict. Jafar wanted the lamp not Aladdin so Jafar is spending the plot trying to get it back. Aladdin had to deal with the struggles of being poor before having the lamp and the hurdles after becoming “Prince Ali”- so basically a prince in disguise. His three friends along with the Genie do help him with his journey

Dance/Spectacle:

It is a Disney musical. That means there will be dance and spectacle. It is an incredible show to look at especially during “Friend Like Me”. When you enter the Cave of Wonders, it is an incredible set. I also loved how they staged “A Whole World”.

Conclusion:

This will be the first of other classic Disney musicals I love. I thought it was finally time to talk about why I love one of them.

Favorite Song: A Whole New World

Seize the Day

There are a couple of musicals set in New York City. I love more than one of them. I decided to highlight one of them today. Newsies is one of those rare musicals that is successful- but wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for those fans created by the 1992 movie. It won Best Choreography, but only has played in the US, but it needs to transfer to the West End. The stage show is better than that 1992 movie. This musical in some ways was expected by some followers and not by others. In my opinion, it is an underrated musical.

Story

Let’s start at this story. The Newsboy Strike of 1899 did happen. Due to Newsies, you learn about a piece of history that was forgotten. Their story is inspiring. The fact that these Newsboys, who literally don’t have much, would stand up against people like Pulitzer is inspiring.

Characters

Jack Kelly- while the story focuses on ALL the Newsies, Jack is our main protagonist. He is a dreamer, romantic, and artist. He truly cares about his brother especially for Crutchie, who is the most vulnerable. Jack is the leader of the Manhattan Newsies. He would rather protect his brothers than see them getting hurt- you notice this after that fight happens in act I. He wants to call off the strike to protect his Newsies and seeing his best friend being arrested hurts him a great deal- all of this gives him some inner conflict. He does fall in love (like you would expect) to Katherine Plumber, the reporter of the strike.

Crutchie- He is a wonderful spirit and is optimistic no matter the situation. He may have a bum leg, but has so much courage like the other Newsies during the strike. Even when at the Refuge, he still believes in the strike.

Newsies- Well, I love all the Newsies. They are like a tight knit band of brothers that they feel like family. Some of them are homeless, some are runaways, and some are them have no family—–so they have to stand by each other. Yes, we might have our favorite Newsies, but it is hard not to fall in love with them as a whole. My favorite Newsies in the group are Jack and Crutchie due to their intimate and special bond.

Davey- He is the only one of the Newsies who has a family. He had to start selling papers to provide for his family. He basically throughout the strike is second in command since Jack is their leader.

Katherine- She is one of the MAIN reasons why the stage show is better than that 1992 movie. The stage show gives a strong female voice- you have a strong reporter and love her and Jack as a couple. She gets her own solo: “Watch What Happens” and has that love duet with Jack: “Something to Believe In”. You have that female voice the 1992 movie is lacking.

Songs:

They have ALL five core emotions. Hope, exciting, determination, joy, love, sad, and heartbreak are in the songs. Who can not love these songs- “Seize the Day”, “Something to Believe In”, “The World Will Know”, “Santa Fe”, etc. The song, “Letter From the Refuge” was added when the first tour opened- while “Santa Fe” is a sad song, “Letter from the Refuge” hits that heartbreaking side.

Courage Cannot Erase Our Fear

Courage is When We Face Our Fear

Seize the Day, Newsies

Dance

This is the first time I brought this up. Some of these songs you fall in love with even more once you see the dance. After seeing it, you can understand why it won that Tony Award for Choreography. I could not believe what I was seeing- those guys are quite talented. The dancing drives a lot of the show.

Conclusion

This is my first time with a conclusion. I still can’t quite understand why Newsies has only played in the US. It played on Broadway two years and toured two years. Now I am noticing that it is playing at local, regional, and community theaters and at schools- I saw Newsies at my hometown’s community college and on tour. So, if Newsies is able to be that successful, wouldn’t a place like London consider doing the show? Even though I only been to the West End once, I know the talent is there- it requires a lot of actors who are extremely talented in dance and just a few actresses (considering that the show is male-based). To your surprise, Newsies is a Disney musical.

Favorite Song: Seize the Day

Characters I Find Impossible to Dislike

Yes, there are characters that some people do not like and some that others dislike. However, haven’t you come across some characters that you find impossible to dislike- that no matter what ALL people will love. I will make mention of those characters.

  1. Enjolras and the Friends of the ABC
  2. Jack Kelly and the Newsies
    • Both of these groups- how can you dislike a band of brothers filled with so much courage and who stand up for what they believe in. That is why BOTH groups are impossible to dislike.
  3. The Genie

Wish I could think of more. It is just ALL I can think of for now.