Why do I want Spectacle or Dance in a Musical?

In my opinion, having spectacle and dance in a musical is adding something very special.  It make a musical even more wonderful to watch. Spectacle and dance are wonderful things to look at. It means looking at beautiful costumes, wonderful dance moves, circus elements, a colorful and fun set and so much more. I discovered spectacle and dance growing up. Just like comedy, dance and spectacle are known to be part of a musical. It gives a musical a kind of “wow” factor and makes you feel excited in a beautiful way. You can see flips on stage, boys dancing on newspapers, making something magical out of a silly dance and all sorts of fun things.

Dance and spectacle are things I have loved in musicals for as long as I can remember. Dance in my opinion is a type of spectacle. The dance and spectacle is one of the hugest reasons why I love musicals.

Why do you love spectacle and dance in a musical?

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Extra Extra Read All About It

Today, I am doing a Newsies post. Just last year in August, I decided to watch Newsies for the first time when it toured to Charlotte. I was with my mom, dad, and sister. I first heard the songs through Pandora and enjoyed them. But I wanted to see the stage show and after hearing it won choreography in the Tony Awards.

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So yesterday night, I got to see the stage show again. This time I watched a movie that was made of the stage show. I got to see the original Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan), Katherine Plumber (Kara Lindsey), Crutchie (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) and Davey (Ben Fankhauser). There were some others from the original cast and there were some from my touring cast. As reading the actors names from the ending, I noticed that I saw my same Pultizer, then my Crutchie and my Katherine were in the cast as well except in different parts.

Seeing Newsies last night made me see so much more than last time. One of my favorite scenes from Newsies is “Santa Fe (Prologue)” because it sets up the close bond between Jack and Crutchie. Jack is quite protective of Crutchie considering how vulnerable his friend. Jack in fact is protective of all his brothers, but Crutchie means so much more. The first dancing number in Newsies is “Carrying the Banner” and seeing it in the movie is so fun even though seeing Newsies live makes the dancing even more exciting. But the dancing in this movie is still mind-blowing. My favorite dance number is “Seize the Day” especially when you see the boys dancing on newspapers.

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Last year, Joey Barreiro was my Jack, but I loved Jeremy Jordan just as much. The difference was I loved them in a different way. Joey’s Jack had more innocence than Jeremy’s Jack. For both of them, I was able to see Jack’s inner conflict that he was able to go through. Jack is a dreamer and a romantic. Twice, he sings about his desire to go to Santa Fe. The first time, he is very hopeful, but the second time, Jack is obviously quite upset after seeing what has happened to his Newsies during the big fight especially to Crutchie. So throughout act II, Jack is about ready to give up on the strike and this inner conflict helps make him a complex character.

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Andy Richardson was my Crutchie and Andrew Keenan-Bolger was this Crutchie so I was able to find a brand new love for Crutchie. I don’t remember “Letter From the Refuge” that much from last year so the movie allowed me to see it and actually remember it. Andrew was such a wonderful Crutchie and loved seeing “Letter From the Refuge” performed. Despite Crutchie being sent to the Refuge, he still has optimism about the strike. Crutchie being sent to the Refuge left Jack with a lot of inner conflict.

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I find Ben Fankhauser to be a really good Davey. It was nice getting to know him this time around. I felt like I had to relearn Davey a bit. Davey and his little brother, Les, are the newest members to the Newsies. Davey helps establish the strike and when Jack is just not there, in a way he is like the leader even though he isn’t the leader of the strike.

Kara Lindsey brings a fresh light to Katherine. Through Kara’s Katherine, you can tell that Katherine loves being a reporter. Jack falls in love with her and you can tell in the second act that Jack has felt an attraction to her. But it wasn’t until “Something to Believe In” that the two of them fall in love. Katherine really helped Jack with his inner conflict so after the song, you realize that Jack doesn’t fully give up on the strike.

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As much as I don’t like Pulitzer, Steve Blanchard is still a wonderful Pultizer. He was my Pulitizer last year, but I don’t remember him that much. You can see him not being nice to the Newsies especially to Jack.

In Newsies, I love how the towers change shapes in order to advance scenes or to create different locations. The dancing in Newsies not only advances the story, but it also serves as a way to transition to the next scene. One of the biggest reasons why I love Newsies is the dance. The dance shows the youthful energy that the boys have. All the Newsies are quite special because they are like this one family with Jack as this leader. This story of them standing up for what they believe in through a strike is inspiring. They did not like the prices going up so they went on strike. While at the end, the price stayed the same, Pultizer agreed to sell back their papers. The things I want in ALL musicals are songs I love, characters I love, and a plot I love. Dancing is an added bonus when it comes to  a musical.

The meaningful musicals tend to be the most likely to have positive and negative emotions in the score. The main songs where the negative emotions take place is “Santa Fe” and “Letter From the Refuge”. When those negative emotions happen, it makes the story even more believable. Because this is based off of a true story, it makes sense why there is both positive and negative emotions.

Are you a Newsies fan and why?

Favorite Ensemble Songs

Today will be another list. I wrote musical songs posts before, but I don’t think I ever wrote a list of ensemble songs. The ensemble songs tend to be where the dance is, but sometimes those songs don’t have dance in them at all.

  1. Look Down
  2. At The End of the Day
  3. One Day More
  4. Do You Hear the People Sing
  5. Red and Black
  6. One Short Day
  7. Dancing Through Life
  8. What Is This Feeling
  9. Seize the Day
  10. The World Will Know
  11. Carrying the Banner
  12. King of New York
  13. Once and For All
  14. NYC
  15. Hard Knock Life
  16. Your’e Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
  17. Wells Fargo Wagon
  18. Magic to Do
  19. Be Our Guest
  20. Belle
  21. Oklahoma
  22. Farmers and Cowboys
  23. Tradition
  24. There Is Nothing Like a Dame
  25. Morning Glow
  26. Rent
  27. Seasons of Love
  28. La Vie Boheme
  29. Finale B
  30. Finale (Les Mis)
  31. Drink With Me
  32. Master of the House
  33. Consider Yourself
  34. There’s No Business Like Show Business
  35. Masquerade
  36. We Beseech Thee
  37. Prepare Ye
  38. Prologue: Jellicle for Jellicle Cats
  39. Gaston

Opinions I Once Had About Musicals

This is a list of beliefs I had about musicals at one point my journey. I will talk about why I had those options and will talk about why I no longer have those opinions. But now, each of those points have been disproven by Les Mis.

Possible Spoilers:

My first opinion was all musicals are happy. I only said that because that was all I had seen and due to that I believed every musical was happy. Les Mis disproved that and even Rent did the same thing. But it really was Les Mis that disproved it. I saw the movie musical back in 2012 and that was my first full exposure to the musical. While watching I discovered Les Mis was a heartbreaking musical and did not know how to respond. Over time Les Mis became such an important part of my musical journey and my life. I realized NOT all musicals are happy like I once believed.

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A second opinion I had about theatre in general is that I will always hate tragedies and will never learn to love one. Both Les Mis and Rent disproved that opinion as well. I love both of them. Both of them are sad and I can be particular when it comes to tragic musicals. I love them because they have amazing songs, characters, and storylines. Both go beyond their tragic nature. Les Mis has this underlying spirituality due to its forgiveness, compassion, love, hope, sacrifice, humanity and sacrifice and Rent has the message of living in the moment and measuring your life in love.

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A third opinion I had about theatre is that a death scene can never be memorable. Prior to Les Mis, I have seen death scenes in musicals, but I have forgotten about some of them and overlooked some of them. All of the death scenes in Les Mis but Javert’s are memorable. Those memorable deaths happen to characters who do not die alone and they all have some kind of joy in their death scenes. Fantine dies with Valjean by her side who promises to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. Eponine, despite being shot, dies in the arms of Marius, the man she loves even though that love is unrequited. Gavroche and the students died standing up for what they believed in. Valjean died with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius by his side.

So far, the only memorable death scenes in musicals happened to be from Les Mis. The fact that Javert was the only character to die alone shows just how memorable the other deaths are. All of my favorite characters are dead by the end of the musical. But they still have a wonderful fate.

A fourth opinion that formed is that every musical must have some dance or spectacle element and those two are still part of my musical vision. Once again, Les Mis disproved that point again. Through Les Mis, I realized just how incredible a musical can be without a dance or spectacle element.

A fifth opinion I had is that negative emotions can never go beyond sad. I started to understand the negative emotions in middle school. By high school, I knew sad was common and was important. But I believed the negative emotions could never be more. Les Mis once again disproved that point. I realized there is more to sad when it comes to the negative emotions. I had no idea I was 100% blind to heartbreak. It isn’t just heartbreak that entered: it is just how deep the heartbreak actually is in Les Mis.

This might be connected, but even other emotions changed as a result of realizing heartbreak is musical emotion. It affected joy and love as well. Look at heartbreaking love songs and look at heartbreaking song with joy in it. Look at just how insightful and truthful and powerful they can be. Prior to Les Mis, I don’t remember if a musical song made me cry, but in Les Mis, I cry each time I listen to the song or even watch the musical in any way.

So Les Mis really showed me a side of musicals I had never seen before. I had all of these opinions only because of what I had known about musicals. It had to do with what I remembered. It had to do with how I interpreted them. Since happy musicals used to take up every single musical, I ended up calling most musicals happy and calling all musicals joyful. It makes sense why I thought a death scene could never be memorable. So in many ways, this post shows a huge reason why Les Mis played such a huge part in my musical journey.

What are some opinions you once had about musicals and did anything disprove them?

The World of Plays and Musicals

In today’s post, I will talk about both plays and musicals. I will explain why I am drawn to musicals more than plays. I am experienced both in my lifetime and have studied some in school.

In my opinion, plays are more boring and less interesting than a musical. I have studied them and been to them. But I am not quite as drawn to them. The emotions feel even less interesting and harder to get to know. In high school, through the likes of Romeo and Juliet, The Crucible, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth, I treated them poorly just because they were tragic. I thought tragedies were just a mess of sadness. They never seemed to interest me, but then again never took the time to get to know them. However, there is one play I studied in high school that I did enjoy, which was Taming of the Shrew, a Comedy.

Throughout college, studying and seeing plays continued. I did study Death of a Salesman and did not like it. One year I think it was 2013, my parents took me to see Mousetrap and I enjoyed it. Throughout my time at Gardner Webb, I saw plays such as Full Moon Over Montmarte, Servant of Two Masters, I Ya Ya Yo, Glass Menargarie, and Trojan Women, and #8. Servant of Two Masters was the most enjoyable.

I hated #8 so much. It gave me a very negative experience. It was a play dealing with the Holocaust. All I felt in that play was negative emotions and there never seemed to be light. I was so uncomfortable that I honestly wanted to leave. But I had to stay due to being required to. I do not want to experience the negative emotions in a way that actually is quite harmful to the experience.

I honestly struggle with having emotional connections to a play. Just spoken word is sort of boring. So what is the real reason why I love musicals over plays? Well, musicals are way more than spoken word. They have dance, song, and spectacle, three aspects that allow you to fully invest in the story and the character’s stories. The dance and spectacle is fun to watch and helps you believe in the story.

The songs in a musical are the main reason why I emotionally connect to well in a musical. In a play, there always seems to be an emotional disconnect. In a musical, due to the power of song, it is easier to find an emotional connection. It allows you to easily fall in love with positive and negative emotions. It is easier to cope with negative emotions in a musical due to beautiful songs that create these heartbreaking and bittersweet moments.

The negative emotions in a musical do not cause any harm in a musical experience. They actually support a musical experience. They actually strengthen your emotional connection to characters and actually make you love musical characters even more. They are supposed to feel real and are capable of so much and can drive you to tears at times, but they actually give you a positive experience.

So in conclusion, I find plays boring due to just having spoken word. The regular spoken word makes it hard to emotionally connect to characters. But in a musical, the songs actually make it easier to find an emotional connection and allow you to find joy in both positive and negative emotions. The dance and spectacle is another reason why musicals are betters than plays. The dance and spectacle is entertaining. Musicals are intended to be joyful.

What are your thoughts? Why do you love musicals more than plays?

Meaning of Being a Kid

Yesterday, I volunteered at my church’s weekday school with my mom. Even though the preschool ended, there was still lots of cleaning up to do. For me, I ended up putting together puzzles in order to see if there is a missing piece. If there isn’t I put them away and if there is, the puzzle gets thrown away.

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Even though I was volunteering, I felt like a kid again. There was something about preschool puzzles that made me feel like that. Honestly, there are many times when I wish I was back in either preschool or elementary school. In those days, everything is so much easier. It always seem to be fun and there is no worry all the time. As you get older, things get harder and even though I am a college student, it can drive you nuts.

Below is a picture of one of the most recent pictures of me. This came from this summer. As some people already know, this picture is me dressed as Eponine for a Les Mis party.

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During my elementary school years, everything was so fun. I did not have to deal with finals or having to work. I just could have fun playing either games or playing with dolls or reading or birthday parties or field trips or even parties at school. A lot of who I am today existed when I was much younger: meaning elementary school and younger. In elementary school, I was optimistic, funny, outgoing, and had a wild imagination, which are all part of me today at age 23.

The way I saw musicals was very different too. From the emotions I remember the best, in elementary school, excitement was the most memorable emotion in the earlier years. On top of that, the part that I looked forward to the most was dance and spectacle. Dance and spectacle in those days were more important than the emotional nature. That was only because I hardly understood the emotional side of things. In those days, I remember that Annie was my first musical soundtrack.

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Even though I wish I was a kid again, I am so glad I am older. True life gets harder as you get older and that is why you wish you were a kid. Being older gave me a better understanding on things especially musicals. But musicals truly began as a world of spectacle and dance, the most important aspects in the elementary school years. Those two things are a big reason why I loved musicals in elementary school.

I can be young at heart at times and that is part of why I love Disney and why my vision of musicals was created through the musicals I grew up with, which are the ones before high school and last one I grew up with would be Wicked. Below is a picture of me at age 12 in New York. That was during middle school and I began to realize there is more to musicals than just spectacle and dance. It was at that age where I began to understand that musicals have an emotional nature. I was at the right age to begin to understand that. Even seeing Wicked was still part of my younger, but was quite essential to my musical journey.

What are some things you enjoyed as a kid? Are there some current characteristics that you first developed starting in either preschool or elementary school.

Ozian Nature of Wicked

There are many places where I have seen musicals take place. I am not talking about where I saw musicals. I am taking about the settings that are in the musical itself. They have taken place in several places like New York, France, Austria, Africa, Russia, and even the land of OZ. Which of these places do I believe has been the best location?

Well in my personal opinion, it just has to be the land of OZ. It is a very colorful and fun location. Literally everything about Wicked feels OZian. The names of characters, the set, the melodies of songs, the costumes and the nature of the spectacle of OZ.

On the top of the Wicked set is this wonderful dragon and the curtain is a map of OZ with The Emerald City shining in the middle. Wicked does a good job of transporting you to OZ before the show begins. The set is very mechanical in a way since the two sides are made up of inner pieces from a clock. In a way, OZ is a very mechanical world since the Wizard has no magical power.

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Below are some costumes in Wicked.

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images I’m Not That Girl

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images As Long As Your’e Mine

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It is hard to exactly describe all of this clothes feels like they are from OZ. My favorite Wicked costume is Elphaba’s act II costume. Her costumes from act I feel like a much younger version of Elphaba and does in a way show some innocence in Elphaba at that point.

But in act II, her costume makes her feel more mature and the costume feels more detailed. My favorite Glinda costume happens to be her “Popular” dress, the pink dress and that is partly due to my favorite color being pink and the fact that the song, “Popular”, is my favorite song from Wicked due to it being my favorite song as a 12 year old when I saw the show on Broadway. My favorite Fiyero costume might have to be his costume during “As Long as You’re Mine” and I love the lantern involved and I do not exactly know why that is my favorite Fiyero costume. In the entire show, Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda are the characters I care the most about.

I think even names like Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero, Nessa, Boq, Madame Morrible, and Doctor Dillamond feel OZian. There is just something very unique about these characters’ names.

I feel like the melodies of songs play a big role in the OZian feel. Every single one of them actually feels OZian. Songs like “Dancing Through Life” feel very magical. Even the most emotional song in the entire musical, “For Good” feels OZian. The songs feel very OZian and is very hard to exactly describe why.

The nature of the dancing and spectacle feels OZian as well. All of the dancing has a magical feeling to it especially during “Dancing Through Life”. There is one beautiful moment in the show when Elphaba shows up at the party and begins dancing, but she is dancing all alone and to everyone else the dance seems quite silly. Glinda decides to join Elphaba and turns Elphaba’s silly dance into something magical. That is one reason why the dance feels magical in a way. The picture below is coming form “Dancing Through Life”.

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Because everything feels very OZIan in Wicked, it is a big reason why Wicked is a spectacular musical. It has just a very colorful and magical collection in shows, which wonderfully show a character’s development over time. Elphaba’s songs start out with innocence in them, but when you get to “Defying Gravity”, her songs begin to have a more mature feeling to them.

Of all musical locations, what is your favorite?

 

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