Favorite Male Characters: Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote a list of my favorite male characters. Today, I will explain why I love them.

Possible Spoilers:

First up is Jean Valjean. He is the protagonist of Les Misérables. I love him because of his transformation. He is an ex-convict who has been imprisoned unjustly. He was sentenced for five years because he stole a loaf of bread to save his sister’s son. Because of trying to escape, he was imprisoned for nineteen years. When he was released, he was a hateful, harsh, and angry man. He realized that society was treat him poorly because he was an ex-convict. Through an act of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness by the bishop, Valjean was able to start his life fresh.

Years laters, he started to live by the example by the example. He was no longer angry, harsh, and hateful. He began to show compassion towards the poor. He decided to help the prostitute, Fantine, after he intervened to prevent her from being arrested. On her deathbed, Valjean promised to raise her daughter, Cosette, as his own. Valjean has this strong spirituality and is one of the reasons why Les Mis is inspirational.

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Another set of Les Mis male characters I love are Gavroche, Enjolras and the students. They are a group of revolutionaries who are planning to start a rebellion. They stand up for what they believe and they continue to stay passionate and hopeful. Even when they know they are going to lose, they still are passionate towards their cause. Of all the students, Enjolras is their leader and the most passionate about the cause.

A lot of their songs are passionate and hopeful, but in “Drink With Me”, they feel quite hopeless because they know are going to lose, but they always stay passionate. I love how they decide to take in Gavroche, a heroic boy. Gavroche is a Thenardier and the parents become his family.

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A group of characters that is similar to the students in Les Mis are the Newsies. Just like the students, they stand up for what they believe in. The Newsies are like this big one family with Jack Kelly as their leader. Of all the Newsies, my favorites are Jack and Crutchie. I love the bond they have for each other, which is clearly shown during “Santa Fe (Prologue). You discover Jack is quite protective of Crutchie. Jack is a well rounded character because he has a hobby of drawing and he eventually goes through inner conflict after seeing Crutchie being arrested after this big fight breaks out.

In Wicked, I love the character of Fiyero. But the problem is I cannot exactly pinpoint why I love him. I don’t know if has something to do with his songs or his costumes of something completely different. He starts out the story with no really caring much about anything. He is involved in a very complicated and ironic love triangle with Elphaba and Glinda. I honestly wish I know why I love this character.

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Another male character I love is the Beast. I love how complex of a character he is. I love how he eventually learned to love. At the beginning, the Beast started out as angry. I don’t blame especially after he had to live his life as beast the enchantress put a spell on him. He had to live his life as a beast and would stay that way if he didn’t learn to love. But when he met Belle, everything changed. Belle taught him the importance of love and she learned to see that is more to the Beast than the temper he always seems to have.

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What are some your favorite male musical characters?

Musical Characters Who Show Courage

What does brave mean? In the musical world, there are character who show courage. They show it in many ways. Below I will talk about some musical characters who show courage. In a lot of ways, these are characters that you can admire and fall in love with.

Possible Spoilers:

Elphaba is a character who shows courage. She shows courage despite how much she keeps on being misunderstood. She does not let anyone define who she is. She stands up for what she believes even though she risks being up against the Wizard. Elphaba knows the Wizard will use her for the wrong reasons so she defies him and decides to go on her own path. Even though this act causes the Wizard to believe she is wicked, she still stays passionate towards her cause.

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Enjolras, Gavroche, Marius and the students all show courage. They stay passionate towards what they believe in. They stand up against France’s weak government at the time. General Lamarque, the only left in the government who shows feelings for the poor, is dying. The students all decide to have an uprising. They are risking their lives for hope of a better France. They know they might die. After Eponine dies, they know they are outnumbered. But despite that, they stay stay passionate towards their cause. At the end all of the students died excluding Marius and even in death, they still were passionate towards their cause. Even Gavroche, who was just a boy, died on the barricades. The students were low on ammunition and he climbed over the barricade and died in the attempt.

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Eponine is another character from Les Mis who shows courage. She has to face terrible abuse from her parents and has to deal with extreme poverty. But when it comes to Marius, she is very protective of him. She loves him so much that she is willing to do anything for him. Even though the love for him is unrequited, she helps him find Cosette even if it risks losing Marius forever. She even shows courage when her father is about to rob Valjean’s house and out of love for Marius, she screams to alert Cosette, Marius, and Valjean. This act of courage causes her father to disown since his daughter just defied him and prevented him from robbing Valjean’s house.

Despite the heartbreak of Eponine’s love for Marius, she decides to join Marius on the barricade. In the stage version, Marius noticing that Eponine is there sends her away to deliver a letter to Cosette and he does that in order to protect her from the uprising. Eponine still returned to the barricade and that led to unfortunate circumstances. In the movie, seeing that Marius was about to get shot, she sacrificed her life for him. The wounds she received were fatal and she ended up dying in the arms of Marius. In fact, dying in Marius’ arms was the happiest time of her life. Marius was heartbroken over the fact that Eponine was dying, but he still stayed brave for her and still showed compassion in this moment.

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Jean Valjean showed courage as well. He showed courage after discovering that a man believed to be Valjean was going to be sent to jail. Valjean decided to intervene and prevented this man from being sent to prison. Valjean knows what it is like to be in prison and did want this man to face that same fate. He even showed courage after realizing that Cosette loves Marius. He learned that Marius is one of the student revolutionaries and went to the barricade to make sure Marius survives. When Marius falls unconscious, Valjean carried him to safety and the only way to escape was through the sewers.

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Crazy just how many characters from Les Mis showed courage. They risked their life in order to protect others. Both Eponine and Valjean risked their lives for Marius. Eponine did it out of love for Marius and Valjean did it out of love for Cosette. The students and Gavroche showed courage out of love for France. It seems that a lot of the characters in Les Mis show courage out of love for either a country or even someone else.

Even all the Newsies show courage. They decided to go on strike against Pultizer after he raised the price on papers. Even when they stopped work, they still stayed passionate towards their cause. This does led to a big fight, but even after that fight, they still stayed passionate about the strike, but does cause a lot of inner conflict in Jack.

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There is just something wonderful about musical characters who show courage. They can be admired. They teach you the importance of courage. In “Seize the Day” from Newsies, some of the lyrics are “courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face our fear”.  Courageous characters show the importance of standing up for what you believe in. All of the characters who show courage is one important characteristic to a well-written character. All of the characters I talked about are characters that I love.

Importance of Newsies

In my Social Change class, I have been learning about labor movements and labor unions and that made me think of Newsies. So this post will be dedicated to that musical.

Newsies is based off of the real life story of the Newsboy Strike of 1899. Part of why this plot is so strong is because it is based off a true story. As a bit of background, the Newsies are a group of orphans and runaways who tend to be homeless and they make a living by selling newspapers. They struggle to survive off of the small salary they make from selling newspapers. But if they don’t sell all of their papers, they cannot buy them back so they have to buy the unsold papers. Well to make matters even worse, one day Pulitizer raised the price of their papers from 50 cents per 100 papers to 60 cents per 100 papers, which makes their job even harder. So they decide to go on strike and stand up for their rights. That is a bit of background of the story of Newsies.

In the actual musical, Jack Kelly, the protagonist, is the leader of the Newsies. He always dreams of going to Santa Fe. He is kind of like the father to the Newsies in a kind of way and he cares about them. He is especially protective of Crutchie and is afraid that Crutchie will sent off to the Refuge and just knows how vulnerable his friend will be there. Cructhie has a bum leg and has to walk around with the aid of a crutch. I love the bond that these two characters have for each other. That is what I am emotionally connected to the most, but also feel emotionally connected to the brotherly love that all the Newsies have for each other.

s9-zachary-sayle-crutchie-and-joey-barreiro-jack-kelly-adisney-photo-by-shane-gutierrezThere is also Davey and Les, who join the Newsies later on. They actually have a family but become part of the Newsies family in order to support their family.

All of these Newsies form a union in order to strike against Pultizer. Another very important character is Katherine, Jack’s love interest and reporter for the strike.

These characters are very well-rounded especially Jack. Jack does go through some inner conflict after a big fight breaks out and he sees Crutchie being taken away and he knows that his friend will be sent to the Refuge. He is almost ready to give up on the strike, but Katerine and Davey help him through his inner struggle. The inner struggle of Jack is one of the biggest reasons why Jack is so well-rounded. Even Crutchie is well rounded especially after the touring production gave Crutchie a heartbreaking solo called “Letter from the Refuge”.

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Newsies overall is quite a memorable storyline. The fact that these Newsies actually stood up against Pultizer and won is hard to believe that this story actually happened. The dancing is quite mind-blowing and is one of the main reasons why I really love this musical. When I saw it last year, I knew I was going to strongly fall in love with the dance after hearing it had Tony-Award winning choreography. To me, I love dance so much in a musical because just like songs, it adds something quite valuable to a musical experience.

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What are your thoughts about Newsies?

The World Will Know-Newsies

Yesterday, I finally owned the original Broadway soundtrack of Newsies. Newsies is the newest musical of my life and is meaningful. It is a Disney musical about the newsboy strike of 1899. To understand the strike, it is important to understand the life of these Newsies. A lot of the newsies are either orphans, homeless, or runaways. They survive off of selling the newspapers. But they are not allowed to sell back their papers. Before the strike, the distribution price was fifty cents per one hundred papers. However Pulitzer raised the price of their papers to sixty cents per paper, which is unfair to the Newsies and makes their jobs harder. To stand up to Pulitzer, the Newsies decided to go on strike.

As far as the musical Newsies goes, the main character is Jack Kelly, who is kind of like a father to the other Newsies in the stage show. He has quite a special relationship to Crutchie, who is more vulnerable than the other Newsies. Crutchie has a bum leg and has to walk around with the aid of a crutch. Jack is kind of protective of Crutchie and does not him to be sent to the Refuge. Jack knows firsthand how bad the Refuge is and knows just how vulnerable Crutchie will be there. Jack Kelly even has a talent for art.

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Other Newsies you get you know are Davey and Les, who are Newsies who actually have families, but who join them to help support their family. The strike happens in the same manner as the real strike. Pulitzer does raise the praise of their papers and these fictional characters create a union and go on strike.

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Another memorable character is Katherine Plumber and she is not in the movie. She ends up writing the article for the strike and becomes a love interest for Jack. At the end of act two, Jack has this inner conflict because he just saw Crutchie being arrested and knows that he will be sent to the Refuge. Jack was about ready to just give up on the strike, but in the second act Katherine helps Jack rejoin his brothers in the strike. Some people think romance is just thrown into a musical and is only there to add time. But romance in musicals is a wonderful thing because it transitions well to song.

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I think one of the main things that makes the story so strong is that it is actually based off of a true story.This show is filled with mind-blowing dance, memorable characters and a wonderful score. The score does have both positive and negative emotions. Some memorable songs include “Something to Believe In”, “Carrying the Banner”, “The World Will Know”, “Santa Fe”, and of course the anthem of the musical, “Seize the Day”. In any musical, the songs truly help bring out the emotion and in Newsies, the songs bring out both positive and negative emotions and when a show has both sets of emotions, it makes a musical much more real and gives real strength to the plot. Even the dance adds something special to Newsies. One of my favorite lines in Newsies is “courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face our fear”.

 

Reflection of Newsies and Wicked

The musicals of 2016 are Wicked and Newsies.

This would be my fourth time seeing Wicked. Seeing Wicked this year was quite special because 2016 marked the tenth year that the musical has been part of my life. In addition, I had the wonderful opportunity to see the musical with my school. I look up to Elphaba because I admire her courage and strength. She is a smart, determined, talkative, big-hearted, different girl who believes in equality and staying true to herself and those characteristics are part of who I am.

I knew Wicked would still be spectacular the moment I entered the auditorium. I saw this glowing green light shining through the entrance and I was transported to OZ. As long as I feel transported to OZ before the show begins, I know the show will be spectacular. The dragon and the map also help transport you to OZ. The spectacle ranges from a lavish set to colorful costumes to the dancing. The spectacle of Wicked truly helps bring the land of OZ to life and it is so believable.

At this showing of Wicked, I felt the most vulnerable. I saw an excellent Elphaba and Glinda and truly saw their dislike for each other during “What is This Feeling” and was able to see their friendship they had for each other. Glinda was absolutely hilarious especially during “Popular”, but at the same time was able to see the pain she feels in the second act.

The song, “I’m Not That Girl had an emotional shift this time around. It would be the first time seeing Wicked live that I would view the song as a heartbreaking song. Between the third time I saw the show and this time, I finally learned that “I’m Not That Girl” was a heartbreaker and due to that realization, it made me explore the scene in a new light. Just like “On My Own” from Les Mis, “I’m Not That Girl” is an unrequited love song.

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I was surprised that I got something out of “No Good Deed”. I always hated that song and never looked forward to that scene. I was able to finally appreciate the song and I even was able to pick up on the emotions and sense its wonderful energy. The song ended up being a song dealing with anger and frustration. Due to finally remembering and feeling the emotions of this song, it made me feel more vulnerable with Wicked.

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But “For Good” was the moment I truly know how incredible Elphaba and Glinda were. That scene was sung and acted so well that I was reduced to tears. The core of this musical is truly about the deep friendship between Glinda and Elphaba, which is why “For Good” needs to truly move your heart and soul.

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Newsies is a Disney, dance-filled musical and it was the first time I would see the show.  Newsies is the real-life story of the 1899 Newsboy strike. Pulitzer raised the Newsies distribution price to 60 cents per one hundred papers. Most of these Newsies are either orphans, runaways, or homeless and they have to live off of the money they make from the papers. They even are not able to sell back their papers. That is why raising the distribution price is unfair to the Newsies. As a result, the Newsies went on strike and later would rally the other New York Newsies.

The dancing of Newsies was mind-blowing. The cast was basically all boys. They were doing tap, ballet, and different forms of dance. They were jumping high up in the air, jumping over each other, doing flips, sliding under each other, and dancing on top of newspapers. The dance alone was worth the price of the ticket. That was just how mind-blowing the dancing was.

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I loved how the Newsies formed this one family. They all have this incredible bond. You first learn of the incredible bond found between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. Their friendship is so close and deep and that is where my emotional connection truly was. Jack is the leader of the Newsies and Crutchie has a bum leg and has to get around with the aid of a crutch.

In addition, Jack Kelly is the protagonist and is also an incredible artist and is like father to the rest of the Newsies. He has this deep yearning to leave New York and head to Santa Fe, but he also truly loves his Newsies family.

s9-zachary-sayle-crutchie-and-joey-barreiro-jack-kelly-adisney-photo-by-shane-gutierrezDuring “Carrying the Banner”, you truly learn that all of the Newsies are like brothers to each other and that they are one big family. When the distribution prices were raised, the Newsies went on strike to stand up for their rights even though they were up against Pulitzer and Hearst. Newsies is truly about these underdogs who stand up to two of the most powerful men at the time. Even though the cast of Newsies is male-based, there is a major female character named Katherine. Katherine writes the news story about the strike and is the love interest of Jack Kelly .

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The set in Newsies was basically these three big towers which could change shape and is basically like a big jungle gym. My favorite song from Newsies was “Seize the Day” and the show was so good that I hope to eventually own the soundtrack. Newsies even made my favorite musical list, which are the musicals that are meaningful to me.

Both Wicked and Newsies had dance and were both happy musicals. They both shared the emotions of joy, love, excitement, and sad. In Wicked, the negative emotions had more of a vulnerable feel while in Newsies sad felt more innocent. This year, Newsies was the more inexperienced musical, which is why sad had this innocent feeling.

Special Bond of Jack Kelly and Crutchie

My emotional bond from Newsies was created when I fell in love with the special bond that Jack Kelly and Crutchie have. Jack truly cares about Crutchie and is fully aware of how vulnerable he is due to a bum leg. It is very much like a brotherly love and a deep friendship.

You first meet both characters in the opening scene. It was during the song “Santa Fe (Prologue). Here you learn about Jack’s dream of leaving New York and go to Santa Fe. He was talking to Crutchie that maybe he could go with him. Jack believes that if he gets some fresh air in Santa Fe that Crutchie will be off of his crutch. Jack looks after him and they sleep on the same rooftop together. You even are aware that Jack does not want Crutchie to be sent to the refuge because Jack knows just how bad a place it is and considering the fact that Cruthcie has a bum leg, Cruthcie will be quite vulnerable there. At this point “Santa Fe” is more of a hopeful song.

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But later in act one, this big fight breaks out. All throughout act one, you realize that Synder is trying to take Jack back to the refuge. This big fight breaks out soon after the Manhattan Newsies begin their strike. It is them against the Delancy brothers and the police forces. Jack witnesses Crutchie being arrested and knows that Cruthcie will be sent to the refuge. This absolutely saddens Jack and he reflects again on Santa Fe.

This time he sing “Santa Fe” alone, which is a sad song when Jack realized that the reason the fight happened was due to the strike. Jack knows he wants to end the strike as soon as possible even though he does not want to abandon his Newsies family. Seeing Crutchie being arrested and the big fight, this leaves Jack with a lot of inner conflict and you can clearly see that throughout the second act.

Hard Work of a Musical Actor

The word pretend truly reminds of how much work an actor needs to do in order to get into character. Each time I see a musical live, I am surprised at what an actor is able to do. In the past two years, I have seen six different musicals which are Music Man, Pippin, Newsies, Sound of Music, Wicked, and Les Mis. In these shows, the actors need to live the character’s lives eight times a week. The characters from these shows have been either comic, tragic, dramatic, romantic, etc. In all six of these musicals, there were both simple and complex characters. Some of the characters from these musicals were simple such as Winthrop , Theo, and the younger Von Trapp Children and some were more complex such as Elphaba, Glinda, Jean Valjean and Eponine.

In some of those musicals, characters age over a wide range of time such as Javert and Jean Valjean. In that same musical, even Cosette and Eponine get older over a nine year gap. In some of the character’s lives of these musicals, some tragically die, but while several characters die in Les Mis, their deaths are memorable. I cannot imagine what it is like to portray the tragic characters where you have to die eight times a week and where the character lives a very unfortunate life.

Some of these characters do not live tragic lives, but live a life filled with conflict and hardship and these are characters such as Elphaba and all of the Newsies. For the Newsies, that is especially difficult on Crutchie as he has a bum leg and has to rely on crutch. That makes him more vulnerable to certain situations, but he has such spirit and helps keep the group together and truly depends on Jack Kelly. Elphaba has to face a life of being a outcast all because she is green, but at least she finds love in Fiyero and friendship in Glinda.

Some of the actors from these musicals had to learn to dance and others had to know how to do aerobatics. I was the most impressed with the dancing from Newsies because it blows your mind away and those actors are jumping high, jumping over each other, back flips among other incredible things. I may have loved the dancing from Newsies the most, but I still loved the dancing and spectacle of Wicked along with the circus and dance elements of Pippin

Newsies was the only cast where the entire cast was basically all male and only like three females. I did love the other casts as well especially the ones from Les Mis and Wicked. When it comes to Les Mis and Wicked, I have high expectations. In Wicked, I saw one of the best Glinda and Elphaba pairings and they delivered “For Good” perfectly. As for Les Mis, I did have higher expectations only because I was seeing the show in the West End and the thing I truly wanted from the West End production was that the emotions needed to truly and deeply and powerfully move me. I was living my dream by seeing it in the West End and the entire cast delivered and that was the best cast I ever saw live.

Sometimes I get the most impressed by the understudies. In Newsies, Wicked, Les Mis, and Pippin, there were understudies for lead characters. Those characters were Pippin and the Leading Player from Pippin, Jean Valjean from Les Mis, Elphaba from Wicked, and Katherine from Newsies. Those understudies have to memorize more then everyone else and have to memorize different blocking depending on if they are one for a lead character or if they are one for their ensemble track. They are not always in for the character they understudy for, which means they have less opportunities. In fact, I was impressed with all of these understudies. All of these understudies truly impressed me mainly Jean Valjean, Leading Player, and Elphaba. Some people tend to forget how much harder these actors need to work compared to the regular actor in for a role. For an understudy to play Valjean or Elphaba, it can be quite scary to fill in the shoes of the main actor. Elphaba and Valjean are two of the most complex and demanding and well-known roles.

It takes way more then the actor alone to get into character. It even takes all of the work of the backstage crew to help them get into character. It helps when they actually look like the character through their costume and makeup. Backstage crew helps any lead or ensemble members handle the quick changes because characters go through more then one costume through the course of one show.

It takes several rehearsals to understand the particular production. The actors have to memorize lines, choreography,  blocking, and truly understand the character. You have to learn to portray the character in a way that makes it your own, but at the same time stays true to the character and lives up to the audience’s expectations. They need to express what the character is feeling along with what kind of a life the character lives. In musicals like Wicked and Les Mis, there is a lot of pressure for the actor because the characters are so well-loved by many. It is so cool how actors truly make the story come alive each and every night and the characters become real to you. The actors truly rely on the audience because the audience helps them make choices due to their reactions. There are many wonderful things to say about actors and so blessed that they are willing to tell their character’s stories over the course of a year and eight times a week. Think about how hard it can be to portray a complex character compared to a simple or how hard it can be to portray a character who has a very miserable and tragic life.

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