Yesterday’s post, I talked about characteristics I look for in a musical character. But as the day went on, I realized I left off a characteristic that is highly important to a wonderful musical character. That characteristic would be strength.
Why do I look for strong musical characters? To me, strong and complex characteristics seem to go hand in hand with each other. The strong characters are the ones who go through some kind of conflict. Strong characters tend to be courageous as well. Strong characters manage to somehow thrive no matter how tough their lives may be. Some strong characters as a matter of fact don’t have really tragic lives, but end up with inner conflict at some point into the story.
What are examples of strong characters? I find Young Cosette, Fantine, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Glinda, Belle and others as strong. Each of them are strong in their own way. They all are strong in various ways. Some of them are strong spiritually or emotionally. Something keeps them going in their lives, which could be something they believe in or even a person. It takes strength to make sacrifices and some of these characters have to sacrifice a lot in order to stay strong.
Fantine, Jean Valjean and Eponine sacrifice a lot for the ones they love. They do sacrifice happiness for either Cosette or Marius. Both Valjean and Fantine sacrifice for Cosette. Eponine sacrifices her happiness for Marius and that is an act of true love. Belle sacrifices her freedom in order to save her father from imprisonment in the Beast’s castle. Some strong characters don’t sacrifice, but still are strong.
Young Cosette stays strong through all the horrible abuse she faces at the hands of the Thenardiers and stays strong and gets through by imagining a better place. Even Eponine has to stay strong when she becomes horribly abused by her family and when they make her participate in their criminal schemes. Eponine’s strength is her love for Marius and he is the light of her life.
Elphaba has a very difficult life and stays strong and courageous and always stays true to herself and despite all of the discrimination she faces, she never abandons the cause she believes in.
What are some other strong characters? What do you think makes a strong character?
Today is Valentine’s Day, so I decided to post something dealing with love from a musical. While it is well known that romance is the biggest theme in all of musicals, I still don’t think it is the strongest form of love. Yes, romance is practically in almost every single musical and happens mainly to younger characters. The strongest love in my opinion is the love you have for a musical.
The love you have for a musical is highly important. Falling in love with a musical makes everything about the experience worth it. Sometimes I have fallen in love with musical starting from the very beginning. In a lot of ways, you become a character in the musical yourself. The love you have for a musical is how the emotional bond is created. The emotional bond needs to happen long before the first act ends. The last musical I saw live that became meaningful was Newsies. I remember when the first scene happened which was the “Santa Fe (Prologue)” scene and my emotional bond started there because I just was emotionally bonded to the intimate relationship between Jack and Crutchie. That relationship was essential for my entire experience.
What about the negative emotions? The negative do hurt in a musical and exist in varying degrees, layers, and strengths. There are different levels of fragility, innocence, and vulnerability found in those emotions. Something has to cause you to appreciate feeling those emotions. It all comes down to how emotionally bonded you are to the actual material especially the songs. It all comes down to whether or not the musical becomes meaningful. I feel like if you fall in love with the songs in a musical, you find yourself falling in love with the emotions.
But for the actual plot of a musical, the most well-known form of love is romance itself. I am never surprised if that concept of love exists in a new musical. Some of my favorite couples are Elphaba and Fiyero, Jack and Katherine, Mimi and Roger, and Belle and the Beast. I just feel like the love you have for a musical is so much stronger than romance itself.
Below is a blog post of memorable musical couples:
Romance in a musical is the biggest theme ever. Below is a list of memorable musical couples that I have come across yet. Romance in my opinion translates well to song. The love songs are some of the most beautiful musical songs. Some have innonence built into them and some have a more mature melody. I will identify which musical couple is my favorite.
- Elphaba and Fiyero- favorite (Wicked)
- Jack and Katherine- Newsies
- Belle and Beast- Beauty and the Beast
- Nala and Simba- Lion King
- Jasmine and Aladdin- Aladdin
- Nellie and Emelie- South Pacific
- Mimi and Roger- Rent
- Christine and Raoul- Phantom of the Opera
- Cosette and Marius- Les Mis
- Marian and Harold Hill- Music Man
- Captain Von Trapp and Maria- Sound of Music
As of now, most musicals are in fact happy. It is important that they have negative emotions in them. It helps balance things out and help make a story more real and characters more well rounded. There are a few exceptions because there are musicals with a very weak plot, but yet still have a sad or heartbreaking song. It is through happy musicals where I first discovered sad. However don’t remember much of what sad was like before college. I kind of had to relearn the emotion except for one show. I never forgot that sad was in Wicked. Its just that some musicals I lost track of. However knowing that sad existed when I was younger actually helped prepare me for what was about to come.
True there are sad musicals and they play a part in developing the negative emotions, but because they are still currently so rare, the best place where tragedy can really grow is through the happy musicals. The negative emotions are quite capable in the happy musicals. Below is a list of happy musicals that I know that have negative emotions in their scores and might include the songs that have those emotions. But for others, will not list a sad song. The reprises will not be listed, but will include the songs that have sad as a piece of a song. Some shows might be surprising on this list, but make sense.
- Newsies- Santa Fe
- Wicked- I’m Not That Girl, No Good Deed, For Good
- Annie- Maybe
- South Pacific- This Nearly Was Mine
- Sound of Music- Edelweiss
- Beauty and the Beast- If I Can’t Love Her
- Lion King- Endless Night
- Cats- Memory
- Fiddler on the Roof
- Man of La Mancha