Why Do I Want Comedy In a Musical?

I decided to do a new series of posts. I decided to talk about why I want the things I want in a musical in their own posts. Today, I will talk about why I want comic moments.

For starters, musicals were built around comedy. Their origins belong to comic opera. Much of the musicals I have seen are happy or comic musicals and some of them are darker than others. I grew up with those musicals and even today, I am still coming across happy and comic musicals. The comic moments give you an amazing opportunity to laugh and makes the experience wonderful. In musicals such as Les Mis, you need comic moments to get a break from all the emotional moments. Growing up, I wanted a musical to be either a happy musical or a comic musical. Now, I want the aspect of comedy to show up in a musical.

If you want comedy in a musical, why?

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Dressing Up as Rizzo and Eponine

This year, I ended up dressing up as two musical characters, who are Rizzo from Grease and Eponine from Les Mis. My excitement for dressing up as these two characters was different. Even my knowledge of them is different as well. Below I will talk about these characters and why dressing up as them had a different nature when it comes to them.

Rizzo was a character I dressed up yesterday. The thing with Rizzo is that I don’t know her that well. She is the leader of the Pink Ladies at Rydell High. I want to say that she is tough and complex. I only had to buy the button up pink shirt and some iron-on letters to make the jacket. I dressed  up as Rizzo because yesterday’s homecoming theme was Bulldogs on Broadway. My club decided to focus on the musical, Grease. Because Sandy was taken, I had no choice but to dress up as one of the pink ladies and decided to do Rizzo despite the limited amount of knowledge I have about her.

Then I had a lot more fun dressing up as Eponine. Eponine, between the two, is the girl I know the best and who I love the most. Eponine is the complex, courageous, loyal, tragic, streetwise, unloved, lonely and strong teenage daughter of the Thenardiers. Her parents horribly abuse her and they dragged her into the criminal world. Her life is dark and she is so alone in life and does not know what it is like to feel loved. She meets Marius one day, who she falls in love with love so deeply. Marius is the first and only person to show her kindness, which is why she loves him the way she does even though Marius loves Cosette. She would do anything for Marius to make sure he is happy, which is why she responds to her unrequited love the way she does.

Eponine’s costume took more pieces than Rizzo’s. I got all of my pieces at Goodwill the same trip. The dirt color I found in a makeup kit I got for my stage makeup class for one semester. I loved dressing up as Eponine and getting dirty. I had to look like I was covered in dirt because Eponine is living in poverty. I dressed up as Eponine because I attended a Les Mis party.

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Rizzo had the cleanest look between both girls. That is because Rizzo is not living in poverty unlike Eponine who is. It is interesting though that I dressed up as one character from a musical comedy and another character from a musical tragedy. Eponine is more meaningful to me than Rizzo because of the meaning Les Mis has to me. Eponine’s main song is “On My Own” and Rizzo’s main song  is “There are Worse Things I Could Do”

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Review of Grease

On the way home  from Florida, I watched the movie musical, Grease. It was a movie musical that I first watched in elementary school and I do remember that the song “We Go Together” was my favorite song. Today I will review Grease.

Grease is a light-hearted musical comedy. It is about Sandy and Danny who first met on the beach over summer vacation and out of the blue they ended up going to the same high school, which is Rydell High School. Sandy was played by Oliver Newton-John and Danny was John Travolta and they were wonderful for their role and I think was part of why Grease as as popular as it was. Even those who played the other T-Birds and those who played the Pink Ladies were wonderful especially Rizzo.

I loved “We Go Together” as a child because of the funny lyrics. Now that I am older, I only own “We Go Together” and “Summer Nights”, but I feel like now that I have watched the movie twice in college, I feel like I might want to won some of the other songs like “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “Sandy”, “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee”, “Your’e The One That I Want”, “There are Worse Things I Could Do” and “Greased Lightening”. It has a wonderful score and I do love Sandy and Danny. Grease was one of the earliest musicals I ever saw and in some ways it did help shape the foundation of musicals.

Actually watching Grease on the way back from Florida was wonderful. Florida is over six hours away so it is nice being able to watch one movie. On the way up, I watched Les Misèrables and the way back, I watched Grease-see the difference, one is a light-hearted musical comedy and the other is a powerful musical tragedy. Seeing what I mean so it really shows both sides of musicals.

What are your feelings about Grease? Have you ever seen this musical?

My Vision of Musicals

Everyone has a vision of what they want from a musical.  My vision of musicals was created while I was growing up. I grew up watching movie musicals like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie. I even grew up seeing musicals in the theatre and those musicals included things like Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Wicked. So below I will take about what I expect from a musical.

First things first is the songs. I want to be connected to the songs. The songs are key to any musical. I want to love the songs. The main emotions come through the songs. I want songs to be memorable and emotional. I want the songs to feel like they belong in the musical they are in. Growing up, there was one type of song that I commonly associated with musical and those are the songs that tend to start out slow and eventually slow up. I even look for love songs and sad songs.

Next thing belongs to the characters. No matter what they are going through, I want to care about their journeys. The characters make me love the songs even more. Just like the songs, I want the characters to be memorable. I want the characters to be complex and strong. I want the characters to feel real. I also look for relatability, but if I can’t relate to the character, I look for something that makes them stand out.

Next thing belongs to the plot. Just like the characters, I want the plot to be complex, strong, and relatable. I tend to look for multiple storylines. I want there to be a certain amount of conflict. Conflict plays a key role in the emotions. Conflict affects whether or not the songs have just positive emotions or if the songs have a combination of positive and negative emotions.

When it comes to all three, I want to be emotionally connected. I want my emotional connection to be strong enough to truly care about the different character’s emotions. When it comes to the negative emotions, I want those songs to have vulnerability, fragility, and beauty. I only can seem to love feeling the negative emotions if my emotional connection to the songs, characters, and story are strong enough.

Another part of my vision has to do with comedy. Growing up, I wanted a musical to be happy or a comedy itself. Now that I am older and know that tragic musicals exist, I look at the aspect of comedy very differently. I want some comic aspect in a musical.

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My vision also includes spectacle and dance. Just like songs, the spectacle and dance add to the experience. Dance in my opinion is an example of spectacle. Those two elements make an experience unique. Sometimes spectacle helps with believability because they can help you believe in settings such as the land of OZ, an enchanted castle, or the wilds of Africa. But not all musicals have spectacle and dance.

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Overall, what I am really looking for is the emotional connection. Recently I discovered that I can still fall in love with a musical without the dance or spectacle. When that happens, I want the emotional connection to be strong enough to make up for the loss of spectacle and dance. So the emotional connection is really the key to falling in love with a musical. So what I want really is a strong score, memorable and complex characters, and a complex and strong plot. However, spectacle and dance is still part of my vision when it comes to musicals.

Some of the best plots and songs tend to be quite powerful. I want the positive and negative emotions to be a part of the show. It sounds crazy that I want to feel the negative emotions in the songs, but it really works even though they can hurt. I tend to love the negative emotions the most when they are beyond the mild world.

What is your vision of a musical?

Little Shop of Horrors Review

This weekend, I have been busy house managing my college’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. The first two nights during the show, I sat in the lobby just listening to the show. From those two nights, I could tell it was a well-done production due to how incredible the singing voices sounded. But last night, actually watched the entire production and I throughly enjoyed it.

Before watching it, I knew about the characters of Seymour and Audrey. I also heard the songs “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Skid Row”, “Grow for Me”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly Seymour”. I knew that it dealt with a man eating plant and I also knew that this production used four different puppets when it came to the plant.

Possible Spoilers:

The opening of Little Shop of Horrors drew me in right away. Those three singers who open up the show were incredible. Those three had to sound perfect together and in a lot of ways, those characters were sort of like the narrators of the production. The set was very effective and just wonderful.

The cast in this production was incredible. I especially loved the actors who played Audrey and Seymour. They were a wonderful pairing and especially loved during “Suddenly Seymour”. Audrey and Seymour are actually my favorite characters in Little Shop of Horrors. Seymour and Audrey work at Mr.Mushnik’s  Floral Shop and Seymour has a crush on Audrey. “Suddenly Seymour” is the love duet between the two characters and it also is my favorite song from the show.

Orin was very convincing. This is one of the characters that I don’t like. I just don’t like how he treats Audrey and is quite abusive when it comes to her. I even don’t like how he works as a dentist. But, I still loved the acting and singing coming from him.

I loved what the actual plant looked like even though I didn’t love that plant as a character. Its taste for blood and human flesh is bizarre. The most bizarre on-stage deaths I have seen have come from being eaten by this extremely manipulative and very rude plant. In this production, the plant ate Orin, Mr. Mushnik, Audrey, and Seymour. All of the leads were eaten by this plant. Coming in, I basically knew the plant was going eat all of these characters, but that is part of the “fun” of this musical.  I was the least affected by the deaths of Orin and Mr. Mushink. But it was the deaths of Audrey and Seymour that affected me the most because they were my favorite characters. l literally wanted to cry at the death of Audrey. Seymour saw her being eaten by the plant and pulled her out, but she was mortally wounded thanks to the plant. She got to die in the arms of Seymour and I literally had the urge to tear up at that scene. That plant was so particular about what it ate.

Loved seeing how it grew over time. The plant is the reason why the floral shop has had a lot of success. But the voice of the plant was extremely incredible and quite convincing

So overall Little Shop of Horrors is a horror comedy. It was throughly enjoyable. The acting and singing was incredible. It was such an enjoyable experience and loved the choreography. The production picked some of the best puppets for the plant. While Little Shop of Horrors is not a favorite musical of mine, I still think it is a good show. This was actually the first time I ever fully experienced this musical.

My Special Love of Wicked and Les Mis

My top two favorite musicals are Wicked and Les Mis. Each of them are two very special musicals in my life. I even cannot pick which one is better considering how severely different they are from each other. Wicked is the powerful and emotional story of friendship between Glinda and Elphaba and is filled with spectacle/dance and also a musical comedy. On the other hand, Les Mis is the powerful, heartbreaking, epic, inspirational musical tragedy.

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Favorite songs: Popular (was my favorite song from the show when I was 12), For Good, Dancing Through Life, What is This Feeling, Wizard and I, As Long as Your’e Mine, I’m Not That Girl 

Favorite character: Elphaba (due to how much I relate to her)

Favorite costume: Elphaba’s act 2 black dress

Favorite cast: January 2016 Touring US Production with Mary Kate Morrissey as Elphaba

Why it’s my favorite: The magic, the fantasy, the dance/spectacle, the vulnerable and special and emotional connection to Elphaba-relate to this character so much, the powerful story of friendship and acceptance

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Les Mis

Favorite songs: On My Own, I Dreamed a Dream, A Little Fall of Rain, Bring Him Home, Look Down (Prologue), Look Down (Paris), Drink With Me, Stars, One Day More, What Have I Done

Favorite characters: Eponine, Jean Valjean, Enjolras, Young Cosette, Gavroche, Barricade Boys, Fantine

Favorite costume: No idea

Favorite cast: Summer 2015 West End Cast with Adam Bayjou as Valjean

Why it’s my favorite: the sheer power and brilliance of the songs, the incredible depth of the storyline and characters, the emotional and strong emotional roller coaster, the way the heartbreaking and inspirational natures interlock together 

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List of Happy Musicals

This is a list of happy musicals. From experience, I am fully aware that most musicals are happy. This list includes shows I have seen either by movie or stage and shows that I haven’t experienced at all.

  1. Wicked
  2. Wizard of OZ
  3. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  4. Music Man
  5. Pippin
  6. Sound of Music
  7. Annie
  8. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
  9. Singing in the Rain
  10. Hairspray
  11. Mamma Mia
  12. Cats
  13. South Pacific
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Annie Get Your Gun
  16. Newsies
  17. Lion King
  18. Beauty and the Beast
  19. Aladdin
  20. Little Mermaid
  21. My Fair Lady
  22. Mary Poppins
  23. Meet Me in St. Louis
  24. Easter Parade
  25. Fiddler on the Roof
  26. Grease
  27. White Christmas
  28. Godspell
  29. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  30. White Christmas
  31. Kiss Me Kate
  32. Bye Bye Birdie
  33. An American in Paris
  34. Anything Goes
  35. Funny Girl
  36. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  37. Guys and Dolls
  38. Kinky Boots
  39. Throughly Modern Millie
  40. Fantastiks