Last night was the 2nd night at the Pops. This time, my family and friends were treated to Broadway songs. When it comes to Broadway, it is a Pops I don’t want to miss. I ended up wearing the Les Mis shirt I got in the West End to this symphony. I was wondering what musicals they were going to do.
First up- Sound of Music, a childhood favorite. They played all of the songs I thought they would. It included two from the stage show, which never made it to the movie. The songs included “Sound of Music”, “Climb Every Mountain”, “So Long Farewell”, “Edelweiss”, “My Favorite Things”, “Do Re Mi”, “Lonely Goatherd”, “Maria”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, and “How Can Love Survive”.
Second up- My Fair Lady, a musical that entered my life in college. The symphony played a good collection of those songs. From “I Could Have Danced all Night”, “Wouldn’t it be Loverly”= among others. I still don’t know the names of the songs well enough to be able to recognize songs without the lyrics.
Third up- Grease. It played “Hand Jive”, “Summer Nights”, “Greased Lightening”, “Beauty School Dropout”, and “We Go Together”.
Fourth up- Carousel. All they played from this musical is the “Carousel Waltz”.
Fifth up- Les Mis. The symphony started with the overture. “At the End of the Day”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Master of the House”, “On My Own”, and “Do You Hear the People Sing” were the only songs they did. Even with just the melody, I still cried.
Sixth up- Oklahoma. “Oklahoma”, “I Cain’t Say No”, “Farmer and the Cowman”, “Surrey with Fringe on Top”, “Kansas City”= among others. Just like My Fair Lady-still barley know names of songs and even the melodies themselves to pick up on songs.
Seventh up-Wicked. “No one Mourns the Wicked”, “Popular”, and “Defying Gravity” were the songs the symphony used.
Eighth up- Music Man. The very last song was “76 Trombones”.
New followers don’t this, but four years ago, I did go on a Bristol Pilgrimage. The adult choir at my family church was singing at the Bristol Cathedral for a week. The spiritual areas we went to were day trips outside of Bristol. The pilgrimage actually began in London- that lasted only 2 and 1/2 days.
This year, the choir got to sing in Italy in Venice, Florence, and Rome. That was the pilgrimage I didn’t go on. It was due to the price. It was more expensive to go.
If I could pick one or the other, which would I choose?
I would choose England. For starters, there is no language barrier. Second, there is home base. All the pilgrims had their day trip and then afterwards got to back to Bristol each day. So, there was time to relax. There are many many many reasons why England meant a lot to me.
Let’s start at pre-pilgrimage. Yes, my family went up two days early. That was to get used to the time difference and to get a little bit more of London. That allowed me to see a musical in the West End. It wasn’t just any musical- I saw Les Mis in the West End that summer. The date was July 30th, 2015 where I ended up with an understudy as Jean Valjean. So, seeing Les Mis in the West End fit perfectly into pilgrimage- Les Mis is Jean Valjean’s spiritual journey- so I went from his spiritual journey to my own. This cast was epic, brilliant, powerful, passionate, and highly emotional. I still remember what it was like the moment I saw the theatre- I thought I was pretending- I didn’t know I was living it until I heard the orchestra.
Do you think seeing Les Mis was the only thing that made England special? It wasn’t- there was a lot of other things that made the Bristol Pilgrimage what it was. After all, Les Mis wasn’t part of the Pilgrimage. It happened the day before. The fellowship that was created between 72 pilgrims was strong- “we are pilgrims on the journey. we are travelers on the road. we are here to help each other. walk the mile and bear the load.” That quote from the servant song was something I realized much later on explained all of us perfectly- we were pilgrims, we were travelers, and we did help each other.
We did go to unknown places. Leaving London was scary. I did not know anything about Bristol. I did not know if I would like it. I already had fallen in love with London- I only spent 4 and 1/2 days there- with the group, we had seen Windsor Castle, gotten a walking tour, had Evensong at Westminster in the quire, and attended Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral under the dome. Leaving Bristol to me was going into the unknown- we arrived to Bristol in the Evening. Little did I know how much I was going to love that town.
By the end of the week, I had gone to Berkeley Castle, Bath, Stonehenge, Old Sarum, attended Evensong at Salisbury Cathedral, Tintern Abbey, and Chepstow Castle. In total, our flock of Shaun the Sheep went to 21- that is how we found we found out of 70. At Bristol Cathedral- I went to six Evensongs and one Eucharist. I did not think I would go to all of the church services, but I did. Here’s how I know how transforming the entire pilgrimage was- it was at the final Evensong. It was during the anthem, and I was crying- it was happy tears, and that reaction told me how much I was transformed during that trip.
What was my mountain-top moment? It was Stonehenge.
What was the best part of the pilgrimage? It was the Fellowship. If the Fellowship wasn’t that strong, everything that happened wouldn’t have mattered as much.
What was the best part of the entire trip (that is both the pilgrimage and the two extra days)? Les Mis
So, if I could actually could choose between Italy and England, I would still pick England. England was so transforming in so many ways, and because it happened- I heard the people sing. After Italy, my mom told me I would not like Italy because it was constant on the go- you do not get a moment to relax period. England it still my way to go. I loved where I went with England- since I was a pilgrim, I searched deeper in those scared places- that is what a pilgrims does- they search deeper in themselves to find the sacredness of a certain place.
We all love favorite characters. We do want them to be played well. However, there are certain characters that we can be particular about which actor/actress can play certain characters. I barely have some- I only have two: that is it: it really is one, but it does come down to down (you will soon come down to two).
The character I am particular about who plays the role is Elphaba. My reasoning is due to the fact that she is my all-time favorite musical theatre character. Why do you think I am particular about who plays her? Each time I see her, I am always seeing an actress I am not at all familiar with the actress who plays her. But still particular about who plays her- as in how she is portrayed. She has to be embodied perfectly- I can see an excellent Elphaba, but that still isn’t enough.
This comes to the second character I am particular about. That is Glinda. Here’s the thing- Elphaba can never throughly be brilliant without Glinda just like Glinda can never throughly be portrayed brilliant without an excellent Elphaba. It just will not work. Those two after all are like super glue- both have to be embodied incredibly. I am not joking.
My last Elphaba and Glinda were like that. Mary Kate Morrissey (standby Elphaba) and Amanda Jane Copper (Glinda) were a perfect fit. It made Mary Kate Morrissey’s excellent Elphaba stronger. I already knew she was excellent, but if Amanda Jane Copper’s Glinda didn’t fit like glue into her Elphaba, something would have totally wouldn’t have felt like that. I need those to come first- not Mary Kate Morrissey’s Elphaba and Ashley Parker Angel’s Fiyero (that comes 2nd). You need “For Good” to hit you harder than “I’m Not That Girl”.
Elphaba means more to me than a number of other musical theatre character. She is one of the hugest reasons why Wicked is still hanging there at my favorite musical. Why do you think Les Mis is still tied? Elphaba is not just a character I have an emotional connection to, but a character I strongly relate to. It will be hard for other Elphaba’s to be at the same level as Mary Kate Morrissey’s. For starter’s- she was paired with the right Glinda. Same with the voice- it was altered from innocent to mature. Pretty much embodied everything.
So, the characters I am most particular about belongs to Elphaba and Glinda. You never can have a brilliant Elphaba without a brilliant Glinda and you never can brilliant Glinda without a brilliant Elphaba.
I can tell you this- after the tour, Amanda Jane Copper ended up playing Glinda on Broadway along with Ashley Parker as Fiyero after they left the tour- so the tour can lead actors and actresses to Broadway. Mary Kate Morrissey ended up being the main Elphaba on tour- she deserved it. Those three will ALWAYS be my favorite Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda. I don’t even remember my three Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda’s before them, but I do know this- who those three characters are today are a combo of all four.
It is true. A lot of times-I do end up seeing actors/actresses in principal roles I am not at all familiar with. So, I have NEVER once seen the same actor/actress in more than lead role- unless you count college productions.
What characters are you particular about who plays them?
I realized in the middle of this morning that is the first day of Summer. Hard to believe it is Summer already. I actually began my Summer volunteering- something my dad and I do on Fridays at Loaves and Fishes.
There are still two more Pops Symphonies to go in Summer- two my family usually goes to. Each has a different theme, and I love both themes. The first is Broadway and the second is Celebrate America. After all, it is a well-known fact I am a massive musical theatre fanatic and live in the United States.
What else do I am doing in Summer? I am going to a part of the States I still haven’t gone to. Living in the Southeast would mean I barley go the Western part of the United States. Every couple of years, I see my extended family on my mom’s side. This year, it was decided to go to Lake Tahoe, which is on both Nevada and California, two states I still didn’t go to.
In terms of musicals-I want to see Aladdin in September at Belk Theatre. Last March 2018 when I discovered Blumenthal’s 2018-2019 season, I wanted to see Aladdin, but after seeing the live action film, I wanted to see it even more. Don’t know if that will happen yet- but strongly hoping it will.
There is a difference between a memorable song and a memorable song that is easy to sing along to, in my opinion.
I will start by saying this: I am not a good singer. If you are not a good singer, songs you love will not be easily singable. Back to the original question: “can a musical song be memorable without being easily singable or hummable?”
Another thing to say: when you love so many musical theatre songs, there are lots of melodies to remember. Basically- if a song is unmemorable, the song will be forgettable. That would mean you no longer would have the interest to listen to it. Yes, a number of songs I love in musical theatre are singable- examples: Do Re Mi, My Favorite Things, Do You Hear the People Sing, For the First Time in Forever, Beauty and the Beast- yes, that was part of why I fell in love with them.
Can you still love songs that aren’t exactly singable or hummable. Songs with tough melodies are what we are talking about. Songs like “Speechless” fall under this category. Are they memorable despite not being singable? They are not that singable for those who can’t sing well or that good- for people like me. I loved “Speechless” and “Evermore” when I saw the live action movies of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. So, yes, a song can be memorable without being hummable or singable. “Speechless” and “Evermore” aren’t the only ones that are like this. What about “Shadowland” and “Endless Light” in Lion King?- same thing.
We know when we love a musical theatre song. It is a combo of melody and lyrics. So- they are not forgettable. If we want to keep on listening to them- we do know we love the song. Ever since I saw the live action Aladdin- I keep on listening to “Speechless”, and what it does is make Jasmine a stronger character.
Disney does this all the time- when it goes to stage, it adds new songs to strengthen the plot. Look at the live action movies- it does not make an adaptation of the stage shows- it makes an adaptation of the cartoons and adds a song- to do the same thing the new songs in the stage shows do- strengthen characters.
See what I mean- songs can be memorable without being necessarily singable or hummable.
Do you agree? Can a musical theatre song be memorable without being singable or hummable?
Yes, Sunday was Father’s Day. That day I made mention of fathers I do love in musical theatre. You might realize they all share a common theme- Valjean, Maurice, and Mufasa all LOVE their children. I thought to do the complete opposite here- what about talking about the fathers who shouldn’t have children- the ones who DON’T CARE about or LOVE their children. Some of these fathers are worse than others. Only one of them is not part of musical theatre.
For starters, I know there are readers who know who Sarge is and there are a ton who have no idea how he is. He is my antagonist in my Fairy Frogs book- a bully. What caused that? Now let’s talk about his father- the reason behind his actions. Sarge was only around 3 or 5 when his mother left him.
His father first started mistreating and abusing him through words alone and then it got more physical- at 13, his father left him. Sarge only found comfort in “The Bog” in Graysloup- the only place his father never knew existed. The physical abuse is shown on Sarge- in my book, he has permanent scars. So, that is how extreme his father can get. Sarge is jealous, angry, conflicted, and confused. He is still trying to deal with the wounds of his past, which most likely will never heal. Sarge’s father never showed him love or compassion- nothing-it led Sarge to put his pain on others.
Why do you think Sarge became the bully that he is- his easiest target is Marge, his younger cousin. After all, her father is his Uncle, his father’s brother- who is a loving father. It is the hardest for me to talk about Sarge’s father out of everyone on this list- that is what happens when you are an author- you create the characters- and you do become quite attached to all of the characters- yes, even the ones who aren’t the nicest of guys.
Thenardier- well, yet another abusive father. You would think it would hurt just as much to talk about Eponine and Gavroche’s father than Sarge’s, but it doesn’t hurt as much to talk about Thenardier only because I didn’t create him. Thenardier is one of the worst parts of humanity in Les Misérables. He is a pick-pocket, is despicable, abusive, and greedy. I can understand why in 1832 he had to steal at times- in order to live since the entire family fell into extreme poverty, but to not love your children. He literally raised Eponine to be a thief and criminal- he never showed her kindness at all. In 1832, you see he just used her to his advantage. Eponine was only shown kindness by one person-Marius, which is why she falls in love with him: at least he was in her life and was with her in the end. To make matters worse- he kicked Gavroche out. Then at the barricade, he didn’t care that BOTH Eponine and Gavroche were killed. One of the worst musical theatre dads out there. He is that father you love to hate and hate to love- in the musical he is comic relief.
Elphaba’s dad- her dad isn’t quite as bad as Thenardier. Her dad HATES her just because she is different. She is different only because she was born green. He later does blame her for why her mother is dead and why her sister is disabled. He spoils her sister while ignoring Elphaba. Elphaba is only HATED just because she is green by her father.
What are other musical theatre dads you don’t like?
Today is Father’s Day. This post will bring up loving fathers- my father and musical theatre fathers.
I love my dad. We have had created many wonderful adventures together, and some have been shared with my mom and sister. Just like I love my dad, he loves me. At Kanuga Parish Weekends, the two of us have been the hiking leaders. We once had a date to the theater to see Wicked- that was my 3rd time, and I wanted to go to give my dad a chance to see it, but he still gave me the better seat. There was a time my family went to Kanuga for Thanksgiving, and he helped me make a hiking stick. He was among the 72 pilgrims on the Bristol Pilgrimage- that is a lot of pilgrims (which includes the choir). Memories are shared with my family with Kanuga and Bristol (as you can see), but also in Florida and Missouri and other states- family memories.
What about the musical theatre dads? Are there loving dads there? MAJOR SPOILERS
Valjean- whenever I think of dads in musical theatre, my mind hops to Jean Valjean. He had to became a dad in the most unexpected of ways. He adopted Cosette out of compassion to her mother (it was promise he made to Fantine). He promised he made to Fantine on her deathbed that he would take care of Cosette. Cosette was horribly abused- she needed someone like Valjean in her life. Valjean kept his promise to Fantine- he raised her even though that would not be easy- he was an ex-convict.
Mufasa- another incredible father. He is father to Simba. Not only is he an incredible father, but an incredible King, but that time was short-lived thanks to his jealous brother, Scar, who killed him. Mufasa taught Simba life lessons that were important and how to be a good king.
Maurice- everyone in the town calls him crazy, but Belle never saw her father this way. Maurice loved his daughter a lot. He wanted to protect her- he didn’t want to lose her. Yes, I can understand why people of that town would call him crazy- after all raving about a beast and winter in summer-that is unlikely, but it is true what he saw. He wanted people to help him after Belle was taken prisoner. He was a little overprotective-yes, but he just wanted her safe.