My favorite Friendship and Love Triangle in Musical Theatre

There are various types of relationships in musicals. It is mistaken that the main type of relationship is romance- but that is not TRUE. Something equally as strong as romance is friendship. In terms of romance- it can either exist in the form of a couple or the form of a love triangle. What is my favorite friendship and love triangle?

Major Spoilers

Coincidently, my FAVORITE friendship and love triangle is found in the same musical. Both of them are also complex. Which musical am I talking about. My favorite friendship and love triangle are BOTH in Wicked. Wicked’s storyline revolves around a powerful, strong, and beautiful friendship. Let me talk about both of them down below.

Glinda x Fiyero x Elphaba

The love triangle in Wicked revolves around Glinda, Fiyero, and Elphaba. It is not an easy one to understand. It does make you ask a lot of questions. In the beginning, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple leaving Elphaba with unrequited love- later Fiyero leaves Glinda for Elphaba. So, this love triangle has an unrequited love shift. It isn’t straightforward. You want to understand why the plot twist happens.

When you first meet Fiyero, he is a jerk. In that moment, you can tell that Elphaba can’t stand him. You don’t think that she will fall in love with him. It is that moment where it is Glinda and Fiyero. You are not expecting a love triangle to happen. Then in class, when Elphaba sees a scared lion cub in a cage, out of anger, she accidentally casts a spell on the class- but for whatever reason it didn’t affect Fiyero.

The Lion Cub Scene- now, this moment is essential to understanding the plot twist in the love triangle. Fiyero and Elphaba have ran away to help free the lion cub, and if you pay close attention, there are clues- look at the words they are saying and how they they are interacting with each other. It actually looks as if Fiyero does have a crush on Elphaba, but deep down doesn’t seem fully aware of it, and even Elphaba can’t pick up on the crush Fiyero has for her. When Fiyero finally asks, why the spell didn’t affect him, it is that moment when she realizes that she is falling in love with him. In this entire scene- you can tell that he has softened up. “I’m Not That Girl” is actually the first song of the love triangle. Even after this scene, Fiyero can’t stop thinking of this moment- once again another clue.

Another thing I noticed is that Fiyero does have stronger chemistry with Elphaba and a weaker chemistry with Glinda. He defiantly has a crush on Elphaba during his time at Shiz. I really don’t think he is fully aware of it. There still is always something to pick up on- when it comes to Fiyero. Elphaba makes the decision to not pursue Fiyero. In act II, it took hearing rumors spread about Elphaba for Fiyero to realize his true feelings for her. Now, Glinda has unrequited love for Elphaba- that is why there is reprise of “I’m Not That Girl”. She made the same decision Elphaba made- to not steal him away. Elphaba and Fiyero are a more strong and mature couple- they do protect each other- “As Long as Your’e Mine” does show how mature their love for each other. It is their actions after that shows a lot more- Fiyero protected Elphaba from being arrested and Elphaba tried spell after spell after spell to protect Fiyero from getting hurt.

That love triangle makes you question a lot of things. Why the plot twist? Did Fiyero previously have a crush for Elphaba? If so, was he aware of it, or not? Etc. There is a lot to be explored- Fiyero throws a huge curveball into the equation. That is part of what makes him complex- his role in the love triangle. Not only does the love triangle make you question things, I believe it develops in the same way the characters do. It doesn’t fully mature until the characters do- is it me or do others see that way? Wicked’s love triangle is the first one I emotionally bonded with.

Elphaba x Glinda

My favorite friendship is found between Elphaba and Glinda. Both of them are strong, powerful, and complex young women. Wicked is mostly about their friendship- it is beautifully expressed in the song, “For Good”.

When you first meet them, they are extremely reluctant roommates. They hate each other. You do not think they will bond or even become friends. It took a long time till they even became friends. It wasn’t until a school dance that they bonded- they did something for each other there. Elphaba got Glinda into the sorcery program. What the most beautiful thing was that Glinda made Elphaba’s silly dance into something beautiful and magical. For the first time, Elphaba felt accepted. They finally became friends when they went back to their dorm room that night.

Back to the love triangle. Yes, they both loved Fiyero- at some point, they did have unrequited love for him. They still wouldn’t let a boy get in the way of their friendship. There is a reason why Elphaba didn’t pursue Fiyero when Glinda was in relationship with him. She didn’t want to break up her friendship with Glinda. Glinda, when she later had unrequited love for Fiyero, didn’t steal him away from her best friend. That was how they both responded to their unrequited love. I think this love triangle helped strengthen their friendship.

“For Good”- this song explains everything. It is about how much they mean to each other and how they have changed each others lives for the better. It is a very emotional song and it is bittersweet. It is the last time they will ever see each other. It is the most emotional song in the musical. Elphaba had one friend, and Glinda had so many friends, but only one truly mattered. They made each other better people.

The Importance of Negative Musical Emotions With Joy

Since yesterday, I tried to explain what negative emotions would be without joy, I decided to talk about the complete opposite today. I feel like it is loaded trying to describe why all negative emotions have joy involved.

Joy is a huge reason why I love feeling the negative emotions in a musical. I feel like there are different sides of joy in a musicals. There is your excitement, love, and joy when experiencing a musical and there are the actual moments of joy found within a musical. When I fall in love with a musical song, I tend to fall in love with the emotions themselves and I have joy when I feel sad or heartbreaking songs or bittersweet songs if I love the song itself.

There isn’t a single musical out there with just negative emotions. That just wouldn’t work in the world of musicals. Whether it was South Pacific, Wicked, Man of La Mancha, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Rent, and Les Mis, they all still deal with positive emotions even if they all have to put up with negative emotions. Some of those musicals are happy musicals themselves, some get caught up in the middle, and some are sad themselves.

Look at Les Mis for instance. The negative emotions are constantly being thrown at you. It feels like you all you feel are negative emotions. But if you look closely you can see the positive emotions being aimed at you. Besides, the first emotion you feel tends to happen before the action begins. In Les Mis, the first emotion I feel is excitement. The negative emotions tend to start in the opening scene and there is joy there and that joy is due to me loving the musical. When the bishop scene enters, you feel compassion, hope, and forgiveness.

Possible Spoilers:

Les Mis even has joy and compassion shown at death scenes and the joy would be impossible to spot if you don’t know the characters. One important thing to note about most of the Les Mis deaths is that most of the characters don’t die alone. Valjean is by Fantine’s side when she dies, Eponine is in the arms of Marius when she dies, the students, Gavroche, and Enjolras are around each other when they die, and Valjean dies alongside Cosette and Marius.

But where is the compassion and joy found at these deaths. Well, if you don’t understand Fantine’s love for her daughter and how desperate she is, you may not find the joy in her death. Valjean shows compassion by being with her as she dies. He promises to Fantine  that he will raise her daughter, Cosette, as his own. The fact that Valjean promises to Fantine that he will raise Cosette is why this death happens to be memorable.

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Look at the second death. Once again, joy and compassion is shown at that death. The second death happens on the barricades. Eponine has gotten shot and Marius finds her and holds her in his arms while she dies. You wouldn’t notice the joy in this scene if you don’t understand how much Eponine loves Marius and if you don’t pick up on how dark and miserable and lonely and empty her life is. She is in the arms of the man she loves at her death so she has joy there since she is with Marius. The compassion shown at this scene is that Marius decides to stay with Eponine even though he is quite upset and comforts her and stays brave for her up until her death. This death scene is memorable due to the fact that Eponine is dying in Marius’ arms and that “A Little Fall of Rain” is such a memorable and touching song.

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See what I mean. Even Les Mis, the saddest musical I ever seen, shows that even that musical has room for positive emotions. The trick with sad musicals is they can be hard to love. It can be hard to know whether or not you love their plot.

But with Les Mis, the musical just doesn’t work without the positive emotions. The positive emotions show up through deaths and that does sound surprising. I never would have imagined a musical song could be a death song or that they can be memorable. The positive emotions are just not just limited to the deaths, but also related to some of the actions of the other characters.

Look at songs such as “This Nearly Was Mine”, “Memory”, and “I’m Not That Girl”.  Every single one of them are heartbreaking songs, but I love them. Another bittersweet song is “For Good”, which is the most emotional song from Wicked.  “I’m Not That Girl” began as a sad song and eventually became heartbreaking thanks to “On My Own” and “Memory was a song that I had forgotten the emotion to and realized it was heartbreaking through “I Dreamed a Dream”.

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I love the negative emotions in the world of musicals. I love them the most when they are quite strong and quite truthful as well. The negative emotions don’t grow quite as quickly as the positive emotions. The negative emotions are covered with vulnerability, fragility, innocence at times, insight and truth, and on top of that, there is yourself. You become a character in the musical yourself and you learn to love the negative emotions. The one thing I don’t like about the negative emotions is that I don’t like that the character or characters have to feel the negative emotions or that they have to go through what they are going through

Joy in negative emotions means in a lot of ways means that you have a strong emotional connection to the material. Joy in negative emotions shows acceptance and understanding and a feeling of sympathy and empathy.  It shows you care and it shows that you want to go on the character’s journey. Sometimes you have to search deeper for the negative emotions. They grow at a very steady rate and never grow quickly. Sad and heartbreak are core emotions in the world of musicals and between those two, heartbreak is the newest one. I said that because heartbreak was unknown to me growing up.

Most musicals I have seen are happy musicals and I associate musicals with them all the time. I first discovered sad when I was in middle school, but now in college, I love the negative emotions even more thanks to falling in love with Les Mis and Rent.

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Being a true musical fan means learning how to have joy feeling the negative emotions. You want them to add to a musical experience and not take away from a musical experience. You want to provide you a positive experience and not the other way around. An amazing amount of musicals expresses the negative emotions in at least one song.

How do you view joy in negative emotions?