While the prologue of Beauty and the Beast starts the show, the show doesn’t truly start until the opening number. Both Arabian Nights and Belle are long numbers- but at the same time effective. Why is Belle an effective opening number?
Possible minor Spoilers:
When it comes to Disney musicals, long opening numbers may not make sense. However, there are times where they actually are quite effective. The entire song makes you get to know the entire village Belle lives in. Belle actually opens the song up, and she is the protagonist of the musical. The song also introduces you to Gaston, the villain of the musical. So, in just one number, you know exactly who your protagonist and antagonist are. You get to know exactly what the village thinks of Belle, and you get to know important parts of Belle. Those are things such as that she is a bookworm, and that the town think that she is odd- that to me shows that she is unique. Just like Arabian Nights, you get to know the setting so well in just one number.
Yes, Beauty and the Beast is a romance between Belle and Beast, and that it mostly takes in the castle- but this opening number is crucial. When it comes to a romance- usually one of the characters is more prominent meaning they fit the profile of main character better. That is the case for Belle- the story truly kicks off when she takes her father’s place. So, Belle is truly is the main character of Beauty and the Beast.
Jud x Laurey x Curly- I believe this is one of the weak love triangles. It is only easy to tell that Laurey and Curly are in it. So Oklahoma does make it difficult to know there is even a love triangle in the main romance to begin with.
Ali Hakim x Ado Annie x Will Parker – Oklahoma has a 2nd love triangle, which is not as serious as the main one, but is still weak. Just like the first one, you can only pick up on Ado Annie and Will being in it.
Gaston x Belle x Beast- Now, things are much stronger. I never thought about Beauty and the Beast having a love triangle. I just thought it was only a romance between Belle and Beast.
Ellen x Chris x Kim- Now, we defiantly know there is a love triangle. When I first saw Miss Saigon, which was in Feb., I didn’t want Ellen in the picture. I didn’t want Kim and Chris’s relationship to become tragic- it all had to do with my actor and actress. At the end of the musical, I could tell that Chris always loved Kim- even more than Ellen. His reaction to Kim’s death told me that- that cry was heartbreaking.
Phantom x Christine x Raoul- I am one of those Christine and Raoul fans. I do feel for all three of the characters. However, I do not like how Phantom responds to his unrequited love- he does not accept or cope with it. Christine and Raoul are meant to be with other.
Eponine x Marius x Cosette- I also love this love triangle. I love Marius and Cosette. They are so adorable together and help bring hope to the tragedy. Cosette represents hope and light- so it makes sense why she ends up with Marius. These two are my favorite survivors= in particular Marius. Cosette and Eponine are mirrors= Cosette goes from bad to good and Eponine goes from good to bad.
Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle. I love her strength, bravery, and loyalty to Marius. She may be a Thenardier, but she still has some kind of goodness inside of her. She risks her life several times all because of the deep and strong love for Marius. It may be unrequited, but he is all she has. He is the only person who has shown her kindness. He is the only good thing in her life. Even though she dies at the end, I love how Marius is there.
Look, some people will say the love triangle is silly, some people say Marius should have ended up with Eponine, and some say that Marius is a jerk- I disagree on all of that. Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get rid of ONE thing, the entire story falls apart. That is why it is not silly and that is why Marius needed to end up with Cosette. Marius is not a jerk- I have seen him as a brave, compassionate, sweet, kind, and awkward young man. If he wasn’t brave, he wouldn’t have been a revolutionary and gone to fight at the barricade. If he wasn’t kind, Eponine NEVER would have fallen in love with him. If he wasn’t compassionate, he never would have made the decision to stay with Eponine during her death scene=yes, he was devastated, but he stayed with her- that is compassion.
Glinda x Fiyero x Elphaba- Why do you think I put them last? They are my favorite love triangle. This love triangle is the one I emotionally bonded with first, and where I first discovered the concept. It also is the most complex one I discovered. All three characters are complex- yes, all three of complex even though some would say only Glinda and Elphaba are complex. Fiyero is complex as well- his development and his role in the love triangle are why he is a complex character. Unrequited love: well, both Elphaba and Glinda end up with in this love triangle, and they respond by not stealing him away from their best friend. So, the love triangle shows they will not let a boy get in the way of their friendship.
What are other musical theatre love triangles you can think of?
I have talked a number of times on my blog about romance in musicals. I thought to do something a bit differently. What if I brought up a few couples in musicals and my favorite pairing I have seen? That shall be interesting.
Nala and Simba: Nia Holloway and Jared Dixon
Love her Nala and his Simba. Wonderful pairing.
Katherine and Jack Kelly: Kaitlyn Frank and Joey Barreiro
While I only remember Joey Barreiro’s portrayal, I said they are my favorite pairing. I just can’t help but think about Joey. That is why I said these two are my favorite pairing- all because of Joey.
Jasmine and Aladdin: Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud
Yes, my favorite pairing is from the live action Aladdin movie. That could soon change: if I see Aladdin in person in September.
Belle and Beast: Emma Watson and Dan Stevens
So, I have two favorite Disney pairings from live action Disney movies.
Kim and Chris: Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa
Well, they are the only Kim and Chris I saw.
Christine and Raoul: Grace Morgan and Ben Jacoby
I may not remember anything about their Christine and Raoul. However, they currently are my favorite Christine and Raoul. I still remember my reaction during Phantom of the Opera: spellbound and choked up. That does say something. I remember getting attached to Christine in May of 2014.
Cosette and Marius: Jillian Butler and Joshua Grosso
I don’t really need to explain the two of them (I have said I believe, a lot about Joshua’s Marius). The reason why I remember Jillian’s Cosette so well is because of Joshua’s Marius. They are such an adorable couple- which I can’t explain.
Elphaba and Fiyero: Mary Kate Morrissey and Ashley Parker Angel
Of four casts, they are the only Elphaba and Fiyero I remember. It is crazy how just saying that Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple is a spoiler in itself.
I don’t think I touched on this. When you think of musical theatre, you think of “humans”. There are characters in the musicals theatre world who are not “human”. They are animals themselves or are humans disguised as an animal. I decided to touch on those animals today.
He is the main character of The Lion King. After Mufasa, he is meant to be King, but this makes his Uncle Scar jealous. The story kicks off when Scar murders Mufasa. Simba was led to believe that he killed his father by Scar. After all, Simba was only a cub. Another thing to say about Simba is that his best friend is Nala. Before this tragic event happened, Simba was excited to be king. However the death of Mufasa and being led to be believe that he killed his dad is traumatizing. He had to run away and does not want to return. He ends up living with Timon and Pumba. He did feel like his dad wasn’t watching over him, and did forget who he was. He did fall in love with Nala. Simba did eventually return to the Pride Lands to fight Scar to be King, and learned who really killed Mufasa.
Like I just said, Nala and Simba are best friends. She has this incredible strength. When Scar asks her to be his Queen, she flees the Pride Lands to get help. This is when she encounters Simba, and that was when the two of them fall in love.
Mufasa is an excellent King and father. While the time was short-lived, he taught Simba incredible life lessons. Even in death, Mufasa still looked over Simba- in one scene- he told Simba- “Remember”. So, Mufasa never forget about his son.
Beast is one of those animals who is a human who was turned into an animal. That is because of a selfish mistake he made. At the time, he didn’t have love in his heart. He didn’t let an old woman into his castle- but he was warned not be deceived by appearances because beauty comes from within. He didn’t realize that the old woman was really an enchantress- she ended up turning the prince into a beast. It was a strong curse- as other humans in the castle were turned into enchanted objects. He had to fall in love with someone else and had to be love in return for the spell to be broken- or else he would stay a beast forever. Years passed, and there was no sign of the spell breaking. Then Belle came, and became a prisoner in his castle, and taught him love- she was the one to break the curse. Those two fell in love.
This time, the character is played by an actual dog. It is Annie’s dog. She found him as a stray on the streets. She decided to own the dog. That is one of the things I love about the character of Annie- that she would own the dog- she has compassion for Sandy. It in so ways impresses me much more to see an actual animal acting in a musical than an actor/actress.
What are other animal characters you love in musicals?
There is something special about Disney love songs. It is one of the patterns that exist in musicals. They are all share a similar quality. It doesn’t seem to matter who sings it- they share that same quality. “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “A Whole New World”, and “Something to Believe In” all have that special quality. They have this kind of innocence and magic found in them. I was only listing songs from stage shows. My favorite classic Disney couple is Belle and Beast and my favorite contemporary Disney couple is Katherine and Jack. Whoever sings any of these songs- the magic remains.
What do you think is special and magical about Disney love songs?
What on earth do I mean by an ironic heartbreaking love musical theatre song? These are love songs where you don’t except to happen or where things improve in the end. There are going in be spoilers due to explaining why they are ironic in the first place.
1. This Nearly Was Mine- Emelie sings this breakup song after Nellie leaves him. The irony comes from the fact that Nellie comes back to Emelie in the end.
2. I’m Not That Girl/I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)- When Elphaba sings “I’m Not That Girl”, the unrequited love song, little does she know that Fiyero will eventually realize that he loves her, and that they will get together. That is why you don’t except Glinda to sing “I’m Not That Girl (reprise)”, and that happens after Fiyero breaks up with her.
3. If I Can’t Love Her/ If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)- ironic in the fact that the spell will eventually be broken. Beast feels like Belle will never love him. The reprise is actually more heartbreaking than the first one because he actually has fallen in love with Belle at that point. He has just released Belle as his prisoner, and he believes that Belle doesn’t love him, but in reality she does.
There are other heartbreaking love musical theatre songs, but they are not ironic.
The Beast is a character who has been cursed. He is a prince who has been cursed because an enchantress realized how selfish and that there is no love in his heart. The only way to break the curse is love another and to be loved in return- because who would love a beast? The entire castle ends up being cursed. That is basically the prologue of Beauty and the Beast.
Beast does at first imprison Belle’s father, but Belle takes his place. The Beast over time has fallen into despair because he felt like the curse could never be broken. Even Belle saw that there is no love in his heart. But she is now imprisoned in his castle and has been given on rule- “not to enter the West Wing”. Little did the Beast know the impact Belle would have on his life. Over and over again, the staff, who are now things like teacups and clocks and candles, have told him that maybe Belle is the one to break the curse, but he doesn’t believe them on bit.
Things start to change for the Beast when Belle enters the West Wing. This is when Beast loses his temper and that causes Belle to leave the castle. Beast realizes a big mistake he made, and decides to after her. Beast actually decides to save Belle in this moment and actually saves her from wolves from this moment so now his transformation is beginning. Beast and Belle have this constant argument in the castle ending with Belle telling the Beast that he “should learn to control his temper”. But at least he saved Belle and that did took an act of courage and that did show that he did care a bit about Belle. If he did not, he would not have gone after her.
In “Something There”, both Belle and Beast start to fall in love. Beast finally has some kind of love in his heart. The love he has in his heart is for Belle. Belle is showing the Beast how to love in many ways. In that one scene, through the enchanted mirror when Belle is seeing her father being mistreated by her townspeople, Beast lets Belle go. So at least he has fallen in love with. So he went from a selfish and unloving prince to a courageous prince and his transformation happened because of Belle. He at least let Belle go even if it might mean staying a Beast forever. Gaston does make the townspeople believe the Beast is dangerous and it is in that moment that Belle realizes just how much she cares about the Beast and hurries back to warn him. Beast fights off Gaston to protect Belle and soon enough the spell is broken.
I love characters with drastic transformations, but not for the characters who are villains or antagonists. Beast proves that Beauty comes from within in. Beast was ashamed of his appearance and that no one would love him. Belle taught him love. After falling in love with her, he had the courage to let her go and the courage to protect her when she came back.