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
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?
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.
When people think of duets in musicals, they think of romance duets. However, there are duets that do not fall under romance. Some are dealing with friendship; some with death; some with family and some between the protagonist and antagonist. This post will be talking about the non-romance numbers. THERE MIGHT BE MAJOR SPOILERS.
The first duet dealing with friendship that comes to mind is Wicked. For Good is the most emotional song in Wicked. It is a bittersweet song because it will be the last time Elphaba and Glinda will see each other, but at the same time they will be able to say what they meant to each other.
Santa Fe (Prologue)
This is another friendship duet. This time it is between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. Jack is leader of the Newsies. The two of them have a special bond. Jack cares a lot about his brothers especially for Crutchie. Crutchie may be the most vulnerable of the Newsies, but he has a wonderful spirit and optimism.
What You Own
This is kinda a friendship duet. That is because it is between Mark and Roger, two best friends. Both are them did end up having an epiphany in this song. Roger has figured what his song will be and Mark realized what kinda of film he wanted to make. So in many ways, this was a friendship duet.
A Little Fall of Rain
Here is a type of song that did shock me in the world of musical: I once believed that a musical song wouldn’t happen during a death. Turns out I was so wrong. This is between Eponine and Marius. For some people, they might call it a romantic number: not for me. Right before the song, Eponine sacrificed her life for him out of love for him. When Marius discovered she was dying, he was devastated; but decided to stay with her- he ended up showing her comfort to the end. This is a bittersweet song- you have to understand Eponine to understand why. This is literally the happiest moment of her life: she is with Marius, that is all that truly matter even though he never loved her. It does have both friendship and death when it comes to this duet.
Come to Me
Once again, another death duet. This is the first death that happens in Les Mis. It happens to Fantine, and this song is between Valjean and her. In the opinion, the hardest scenes to watch belong to Fantine. “Come to Me” does give Fantine peace and comfort for once. Valjean agrees and promises to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. He stayed with her to the end. While her time in the musical is short-lived, she is still one of the principal characters.
No Matter What
This is one of the family duets. This happens between Belle and Maurice. While the town might think they are odd, Belle and her father do not see each other that way. This song does truly show how much Belle and her father do love each other.
Phantom of the Opera
This is a protagonist and antagonist. That is my opinion- I believe Christine is the protagonist and Phantom is the antagonist. In the song, I love the haunting and mystic feeling; going through the lair/boats, etc. It is an amazing scene to watch.
Another protagonist and antagonist song is “Confrontation” that happens between Valjean and Javert. You strongly start to see their dynamic unfold in this song. It does happen at a bit of an inconvenient time. After all, this song happens after Fantine dies. At the end, you strongly know that Valjean will keep to his word that we will raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own.
What are some your favorite non-romantic musical theatre songs?
They are important to a musical. What is the importance? In my opinion, at the end of the act I, you usually know you love the musical. The act I are either sad or heartbreaking; empowering or exciting; or it is hard to explain. There are some act I finales that will always be in my top favorite act I finales. I think some people will actually agree with me. I will list some of those below.
La Bie Boheme B
If I Can’t Love Her
I’d Give My Life For You
Let it Go
Crashing of the Chandelier
One Day More
When I actually think of act I finales, it is Defying Gravity and One Day More that come to mind the most. As a matter of fact, Let it Go sounds so much and reminds me so much of Defying Gravity. All three songs are empowering songs. It is “If I Can’t Love Her”, “Santa Fe”, and “I’d Give Give My Life For You” that fall under the category of sad/heartbreaking songs- only “If I Can’t Love Her” and “Santa Fe” are under musical comedies- well, “If I Can’t Love Her” is a musical comedy romance. When it comes to the tragedies- you do not want the act I finales to drive you away from the plot- you want them to keep you want to watch act II- not the other way around.
One type of love found in a musical is friendship. What exactly makes me love the friendships I do love? That is a tough question. I will try to answer. Only one of these friendships- I have no idea what made me fall in love with them, who are Lumiere and Cogsworth.
Bond- this is key. Multiple friendships I do love share a close bond. That is what the Newsies, Friends of the ABC, Elphaba and Glinda, and the Rent Batch have in common. It is their close bond that made me fall in love with them. To a further extent, in Newsies, there is a more intimate bond, which is found between Jack and Crutchie.
Good Friends- I do not know where to put Omar, Babkak, Aladdin, and Kassim; and Eponine and Marius. I think this is part of it. They are amazing friends to each other. They are there for each other when they need it- Aladdin’s three friends (SPOILER) do try to rescue him when Jafar actually captures Aladdin and locks him up: that is where the song, “High Adventure” shows up.
I know Marius and Eponine is an unpopular opinion, but I love that Marius is in her life: he is her light in her life and the only person to show her kindness, and is there for her when she is dying (“A Little Fall of Rain”)- that is compassion. He was devastated- but at least he stayed with her. I believe he sent her off with that letter in hopes to protect her, and when she returned, he was worried. He was a good friend to Eponine- he knew her life was tough, and I am glad he was part of it.
Emotional Connection- this is the most important thing to loving any character. In all of these friendships, I found myself emotionally connected. None of these characters were horrible friends to each other- if they were, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with these friendships. They were always there for each other when they need it the most. Of all these friendships, my all-time favorite one is Elphaba and Glinda.
What makes you fall in a love with a friendship in a musical?
This list has shown up multiple times on my blog. The only reason why this tends to repeat is when I add on a favorite character. So, where I a list of characters I love.
Friends of the ABC
Kim (Miss Saigon)
Maria (Sound of Music)
Von Trapp Children
A lot of my favorite characters in the musical theatre world are survivors while many do lose their lives as well: I actually believe most are survivors. It is interesting how varied these characters all- their lives are so different: that is based off of where they live, their age, their family, etc. Some are not human. You will notice I love a lot of characters- most of them are young: I do have an all-time favorite: Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character.