Songs about Friendship

Surrounding yesterday’s post, I decided to write a post about the musical theatre friendships. They even can include songs before the characters become friends in the first place. SPOILER HEAVY.

What is this Feeling

  • Yes, in this song, Elphaba and Glinda literally hate each other in this number. You do not think they will become friends at all. This is where it all begins- as enemies.

Popular

  • This is Glinda’s solo. In “Dancing Through Life”, the song previously, Elphaba and Glinda finally bonded through each other. Elphaba literally went to the school dance, and did dance silly, and out of that, Glinda made something magical out of that. “Popular” is when Glinda and Elphaba finally have become friends in the first place.

One Short Day

  • This is when Glinda and Elphaba visit Emerald City for the day. They are finally best friends in this number. I still count this a best friend number- even though it mainly is a day out number- still Elphaba and Glinda are together in this number.

For Good

  • This song is truly about the importance of friendship. It is about what Elphaba and Glinda mean to each other and how they have changed each others lives for the better. It still is bittersweet because they know it is the last moment they will see each other.

Santa Fe (Prologue)

  • This song is a duet between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. It highlights the special and beautiful bond between both of them. They are best friend- out of all the Newsies, Crutchie is the most vulnerable. Jack looks out for him the most. I love the two of them the most out of all the Newsies.

Carrying the Banner: plus all of the group Newsies numbers

  • All of the group Newsies number highlight the brotherly love they have for each other. Carrying the Banner, in particular, shows that since it is the first number you see them together. The World Will Know is when they develop their union. Seize the Day is when they begin their strike. Those three are in act I. King of New York is when they are in the newspaper for the first time and Once and For All is when they print their own paper and makes it more public. All of them- shows their brotherly love for each other.

Red and Black

  • In many ways, the Friends of the ABC are like the Newsies. Yes, you first meet some of them in Look Down, but you first see them as a whole group in Red and Black. Red and Black is when they start planning the uprising- Enjolras is their leader. You begin to see their brotherly love and passion in this number.

Do You Hear the People Sing

  • Yes, back to Enjolras and the students. Now, you defiantly know their passion. It is strongly shown through this number.

Drink With Me

  • This shows a more vulnerable side to Enjolras and the students. By this point, they know they most likely will fail and will lose their lives. They wonder if those they love will miss them. It is their last intimate moment they have with each other- the result is all of them do die in the end except for Marius.

A Little Fall of Rain

  • I wanted to somehow express the friendship between Eponine and Marius. It is “A Little Fall of Rain” that come to mind. It takes place at the barricade. Eponine sacrificed her life for Marius. She is in the arms of Marius- that is why this scene is bittersweet. She may be dying, but at least she is in the arms of the young man she loves. This in so many ways is the happiest moment of her life. Marius is devastated during this scene, but I am glad he is there. All that mattered to Eponine in this moment is that he was with her.
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A Little Fall of Rain- From the Barricade

MAJOR SPOILERS

A Little Fall of Rain is one of the many tear-jerker songs in Les Mis. It is a duet found between Marius and Eponine. It takes place on the barricade after Eponine sacrifices her life for Marius, the young man she loves. The love she has for Marius is unrequited. In this scene, Eponine is dying, but in the arms of Marius. This is actually in so many ways the happiest moment of her life: if you think about it, she grew up with unloving, abusive parents who raised her to be a thief and criminal and fell into extreme poverty. She wasn’t shown kindness. Marius ended up being the only person who showed her kindness- that is why fell in love with him. That is why dying in his arms was probably the happiest moment of her life. That is a huge reason why this scene is bittersweet.

At the same time, there is this level of heartbreak. After all, she is dying and Marius is devastated. Despite how heartbroken he is, he still shows her compassion by holding her and comforting her while she is in pain from the gunshot wound. All that matters to Eponine is that he is with her- not so much the physical pain she is in. Even though her life was dark and tragic, at least in the end, she was with Marius.

All Love Triangles

Major Spoilers:

Jud x Laurey x Curly- I believe this is one of the weak love triangles. It is only easy to tell that Laurey and Curly are in it. So Oklahoma does make it difficult to know there is even a love triangle in the main romance to begin with.

Ali Hakim x Ado Annie x Will Parker – Oklahoma has a 2nd love triangle, which is not as serious as the main one, but is still weak. Just like the first one, you can only pick up on Ado Annie and Will being in it.

Gaston x Belle x Beast- Now, things are much stronger. I never thought about Beauty and the Beast having a love triangle. I just thought it was only a romance between Belle and Beast.

Ellen x Chris x Kim- Now, we defiantly know there is a love triangle. When I first saw Miss Saigon, which was in Feb., I didn’t want Ellen in the picture. I didn’t want Kim and Chris’s relationship to become tragic- it all had to do with my actor and actress. At the end of the musical, I could tell that Chris always loved Kim- even more than Ellen. His reaction to Kim’s death told me that- that cry was heartbreaking.

Phantom x Christine x Raoul- I am one of those Christine and Raoul fans. I do feel for all three of the characters. However, I do not like how Phantom responds to his unrequited love- he does not accept or cope with it. Christine and Raoul are meant to be with other.

Eponine x Marius x Cosette- I also love this love triangle. I love Marius and Cosette. They are so adorable together and help bring hope to the tragedy. Cosette represents hope and light- so it makes sense why she ends up with Marius. These two are my favorite survivors= in particular Marius. Cosette and Eponine are mirrors= Cosette goes from bad to good and Eponine goes from good to bad.

Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle. I love her strength, bravery, and loyalty to Marius. She may be a Thenardier, but she still has some kind of goodness inside of her. She risks her life several times all because of the deep and strong love for Marius. It may be unrequited, but he is all she has. He is the only person who has shown her kindness. He is the only good thing in her life. Even though she dies at the end, I love how Marius is there.

Look, some people will say the love triangle is silly, some people say Marius should have ended up with Eponine, and some say that Marius is a jerk- I disagree on all of that. Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get rid of ONE thing, the entire story falls apart. That is why it is not silly and that is why Marius needed to end up with Cosette. Marius is not a jerk- I have seen him as a brave, compassionate, sweet, kind, and awkward young man. If he wasn’t brave, he wouldn’t have been a revolutionary and gone to fight at the barricade. If he wasn’t kind, Eponine NEVER would have fallen in love with him. If he wasn’t compassionate, he never would have made the decision to stay with Eponine during her death scene=yes, he was devastated, but he stayed with her- that is compassion.

Glinda x Fiyero x Elphaba- Why do you think I put them last? They are my favorite love triangle. This love triangle is the one I emotionally bonded with first, and where I first discovered the concept. It also is the most complex one I discovered. All three characters are complex- yes, all three of complex even though some would say only Glinda and Elphaba are complex. Fiyero is complex as well- his development and his role in the love triangle are why he is a complex character. Unrequited love: well, both Elphaba and Glinda end up with in this love triangle, and they respond by not stealing him away from their best friend. So, the love triangle shows they will not let a boy get in the way of their friendship.

What are other musical theatre love triangles you can think of?

Different Types of Fathers in Musical Theatre/WIP

Yes, Sunday was Father’s Day. That day I made mention of fathers I do love in musical theatre. You might realize they all share a common theme- Valjean, Maurice, and Mufasa all LOVE their children. I thought to do the complete opposite here- what about talking about the fathers who shouldn’t have children- the ones who DON’T CARE about or LOVE their children. Some of these fathers are worse than others. Only one of them is not part of musical theatre.

Sarge’s father:

For starters, I know there are readers who know who Sarge is and there are a ton who have no idea how he is. He is my antagonist in my Fairy Frogs book- a bully. What caused that? Now let’s talk about his father- the reason behind his actions. Sarge was only around 3 or 5 when his mother left him.

His father first started mistreating and abusing him through words alone and then it got more physical- at 13, his father left him. Sarge only found comfort in “The Bog” in Graysloup- the only place his father never knew existed. The physical abuse is shown on Sarge- in my book, he has permanent scars. So, that is how extreme his father can get. Sarge is jealous, angry, conflicted, and confused. He is still trying to deal with the wounds of his past, which most likely will never heal. Sarge’s father never showed him love or compassion- nothing-it led Sarge to put his pain on others.

Why do you think Sarge became the bully that he is- his easiest target is Marge, his younger cousin. After all, her father is his Uncle, his father’s brother- who is a loving father. It is the hardest for me to talk about Sarge’s father out of everyone on this list- that is what happens when you are an author- you create the characters- and you do become quite attached to all of the characters- yes, even the ones who aren’t the nicest of guys.

Musical Theatre:

Thenardier- well, yet another abusive father. You would think it would hurt just as much to talk about Eponine and Gavroche’s father than Sarge’s, but it doesn’t hurt as much to talk about Thenardier only because I didn’t create him. Thenardier is one of the worst parts of humanity in Les Misérables. He is a pick-pocket, is despicable, abusive, and greedy. I can understand why in 1832 he had to steal at times- in order to live since the entire family fell into extreme poverty, but to not love your children. He literally raised Eponine to be a thief and criminal- he never showed her kindness at all. In 1832, you see he just used her to his advantage. Eponine was only shown kindness by one person-Marius, which is why she falls in love with him: at least he was in her life and was with her in the end. To make matters worse- he kicked Gavroche out. Then at the barricade, he didn’t care that BOTH Eponine and Gavroche were killed. One of the worst musical theatre dads out there. He is that father you love to hate and hate to love- in the musical he is comic relief.

Elphaba’s dad- her dad isn’t quite as bad as Thenardier. Her dad HATES her just because she is different. She is different only because she was born green. He later does blame her for why her mother is dead and why her sister is disabled. He spoils her sister while ignoring Elphaba. Elphaba is only HATED just because she is green by her father.

What are other musical theatre dads you don’t like?

Character Death- How do I deal with It?

We have favorite characters. They either live or they die in the musical. I once thought character death would be UNMEMORABLE, and I thought it wouldn’t happen through song. One musical would change it all- Les Mis made me view chapter death differently- in a positive way. How do I deal with character death?

Major Spoilers:

Do the characters we love who die really die at the end? Yes, we just witnessed the death of characters. But are they truly DEAD. In a way, those characters aren’t dead. Characters like Fantine, Eponine, and basically a ton of other Les Mis characters die- but I have kept them alive. How do you keep those character ALIVE? That basically means they are alive in you. If it is a musical that is meaningful to you, their stories and songs are alive in you. So, even after death, we hold on to them- so they are not truly dead. Understand what I mean? That is how we deal with the death- we hold on to their stories by listening to the songs. As long as the show means something, the characters stay alive in us even if they do die in the show.

A Little Fall of Rain from the Les Mis Movie- Eponine's Death
A Little Fall of Rain

There is ONE more way we can deal with character death. Think about Les Mis. Songs like “Come to Me”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, and “Finale” help. We are comforted by the fact that the characters who do die are not alone. Fantine is with Valjean, Eponine is in the arms of Marius, and Valjean is with Marius and Cosette. Enjolras, Gavroche, and the students are with each other. See what I mean- songs help us deal with it. For some of these characters- their only true moment of peace and comfort is at their death- for some, it actually is their happiest moment of their life (you have to understand characters to figure this out).

Why is it so easy for me to describe why I deal with character death the easiest in Les Mis as opposed to the other musicals I have seen it in?

Spiritual Themes of Les Mis

The other day I was asked what the top three spiritual themes I connect to in Les Mis the most. That is kind of a hard question because they all seem to connect.

Major Spoilers:

Love:

  • One of Les Mis’ most famous quotes is “to love another person is to see the face of God”. Love shows up in various ways in Les Mis. Now that I think of it, love seems to one of Les Mis’ strongest spiritual themes. What are the forms of love in Les Mis?

Family Love

Fantine and Cosette- Cosette is Fantine’s daughter. Fantine is a struggling single mother- Cosette’s biological father abandoned both of them. At the time period, it is dangerous to have an illegitimate child. Fantine was desperate for the care of Cosette- she left Cosette in the care of the Thenardiers (little did she know how poorly they would treat her daughter). She did end up working at Valjean’s factory- soon enough, she got fired after the factory women find out about Cosette. She had to sell her hair, her locket, and eventually herself to provide for Cosette. She cared more for her daughter than herself. She had hopes her daughter would have a better life than she had.

Valjean and Cosette- Valjean became Cosette’s adopted father after her mother died. Valjean promised Fantine he would raise Cosette. Cosette was the first person he loved after leaving prison. Cosette never knew love, but Valjean gave that to her

Valjean and Cosette in the movie musical of Les Mis
Valjean and Cosette

Love for God

The Bishop- the Bishop did love God. He was able to welcome Valjean into his home. He provided Valjean with a meal and a place to sleep. He was showing Valjean compassion. After Valjean stole the Bishop’s silver, he was able to forgive, show mercy and grace. The Bishop told the police that Valjean didn’t steal the silver, but that he gave it to him- the Bishop provided Valjean with the candlesticks.

Valjean- Valjean lived by the example the Bishop showed him. It is why he was able to help Fantine. It was why he was able to become a better person. His love for God was clearly shown during “Bring Him Home”. His love for God is why he was able to do all the things he did after he broke parole- it was why he able to forgive Javert.

Bring Him Home in the stage show of Les Mis
Bring Him Home

Friendship Love

Enjolras and the Students- their bond is so tight that you can see them as a family. They have this brotherly connection to each other. They are so passionate about their cause especially Enjolras, their leader. They never lose their passion- even in the end.

Red and Black in the musical movie of Les Mis
Red and Black

Eponine and Marius- their friendship is not in the book- but it does exist in the musical. It is an unpopular opinion, but I do like their friendship. Marius is the only person in Eponine’s life who treats her kindly- this was the reason why she fell in love with him. He was all she had. He knew her life was tough. People say “I don’t like how Marius treated Eponine”. Here’s the thing- I don’t see that. Here’s how I see Marius- he is sweet, kind, brave, awkward, compassionate, and a revolutionary. Just because he asked Eponine to find Cosette for him does not him rude. Let’s go to act II- at the beginning of it, I believe he sent her away with that letter to Cosette to protect her from the uprising in hopes that she will not get hurt or worse killed. However, she did come back- she did get shot- her wound was fatal. Once Marius realized she was shot, and that her wound was fatal, he was devastated. Despite breaking, he stayed with her- he held her and comforted her- that is compassion- I don’t understand how people can’t see that. Do you know how I knew that Marius knew how dark her life was- it was the words he said after she died- “her name was Eponine. Her life was cold and dark. Yet she was unafraid.” If he wasn’t capable of so much compassion- Marius would have left her to die alone. “A Little Fall of Rain” is the most intimate moment Marius and Eponine have.

A Little Fall of Rain from the musical movie of Les Mis
A Little Fall of Rain

Romance

This exists through a love triangle- Marius x Eponine x Cosette. Marius and Cosette fall in love while Eponine is stuck with unrequited love. The love Marius and Cosette have for each other brings hope to this tragedy. Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light. Cosette life goes from bad to good while Eponine’s life goes from good to bad- those two characters are mirrors of each other. Of all the characters in the love triangle, it is Eponine I love the most- but I still love Marius and Cosette. It is Eponine, who would do anything for Marius no matter the cost- even if that means sacrificing her life for him. If it wasn’t for Eponine, Marius and Cosette never would have ended up together. Marius and Cosette are perfect for each other. The love triangle is so effective that you end up feeling for all three of them- for instance, during “A Heart Full of Love”- it starts out as a duet between Marius and Cosette, and later Eponine joins in- so you are feeling for all three of them.

  • So when it comes to love, I think the types of love that speaks to me the most are love for God, love for friends, love for family, and romance. I think I also can add love for a country- which is part of Enjolras and the students’ love for each other.

Sacrifice:

Sacrifice connects to love. The love the characters have leads them to sacrifice their lives. Fantine’s love for Cosette eventually is why she gets deathly ill. Enjolras’ and the students’ love for the country is why they sacrifice their lives. Eponine’s love for Marius is why she gives up her life for him- when she sees him about to get shot, she takes the fatal shot herself. Valjean’s love for Cosette leads him to the barricade to make sure Marius lives.

Hope:

There is hope for many of the characters, which also seems to connect to the love theme as well. Fantine has hope for her daughter. Eponine’s light is Marius, the boy she falls in love with. Enjolras and the students have hope for the cause they believe in because of their love for their country. Marius and Cosette’s love for each other brings hope to the story. Valjean’s hope is initially through the bishop and later through Cosette, which does lead him to protect Marius.

Conclusion:

I could have included more spiritual themes. Love seems to be the main overarching theme in Les Mis. It connects to many other spiritual themes. People constantly associate love to romance. But, love is not just romance- in Les Mis, it goes way way beyond- love for friends, family, God and the country. The underlying spirituality in Les Mis is why Les Mis goes beyond its tragic nature.

My Overall Opinion of the PBS Masterpiece Les Mis Series

For the past six weeks, I have been watching the PBS Masterpiece Series of Les Mis. Each week on this blog, I did talk about each episode, and what happened. This post will focus on what my overall opinion was.

Major Spoilers:

In my opinion, I felt like this series needed more than six episodes. The last two episodes felt rushed with two subplots. I wished the series could have spent more time on the romance between Marius and Cosette and the Uprising. Those were speed up too quickly just to fit everything in- those are my favorite subplots that happen in Les Mis: the love triangle and the uprising.

What I do love is that the series focused much more on backstory. This series was not based on the musical- it was more book based- even though some things I saw never happened in the book or musical.

We were able to see what happened to Fantine before Felix (Cosette’s biological father) abandoned her- we saw her when she was truly happy. It makes her story much more heartbreaking- not only did we see Felix leaving her, but we also saw Fantine leaving Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers. Seeing those two elements puts much more pain into her storyline- after all, if you know Les Mis, you do know how poorly the Thenardiers treat Cosette. It was harder for me to watch the “Lovely Ladies” scene in this version- I felt more uncomfortable with it- the scene always made me uncomfortable, but this one was more intense. I actually do love the fact that Azelma is in this series- she is one of the Thenardier children after all.

Thinking of Thenardiers, at the beginning of the series, it starts at the Battle of Waterloo, which helps clear up the fact that Les Mis does not take place during The French Revolution. It does show Thenardier “rescuing” Marius’ father- that scene is important to Marius’ backstory. When it comes to the Thenardiers’, you saw how abusive they really are-when you first saw them, it does appear as if they are “good” people, but after Fantine left them, you eventually saw Azelma and Eponine mistreating Cosette. You saw Cosette being abused at a much deeper level. You saw Gavroche in their house- now you know he is their son. You saw them falling into poverty. This version made me hate the Thenardiers even more- seeing just how poorly they treat Azelma and Eponine- right when Cosette left, we saw a scene with one of their daughters being treated as a servant- so we do realize that if Cosette wasn’t there, both daughters would have treated the same way.

Back to Jean Valjean- in the musical, you have an idea of how prison affected him. What this version is able to do is show you how poorly Toulon really is. You saw that Valjean did believe that love can’t change a man- that was before he was forgiven. You saw multiple scenes of Toulon, and you saw them affecting Valjean at a much deeper level- so you can understand better why he left prison as man with so much anger at society- because of his days in prison. Now one thing never made sense- one plot point never happened- in this series, he fired Fantine- well, in the book, it was a woman foreman who fired Fantine. I did not understand that change.

At the same time- I can now understand why Javert believes “once a criminal always a criminal”- he says Valjean that he was born in jail and that his parents were criminals, and that he learned to hate them- I never really understand that viewpoint- now it makes sense.

Now, I would like to talk about the love triangle. It actually showed a side to Marius that we never get in the musical- a side that shows up only in the book: it is a part of him that makes him complex. This does start when he was a child- you saw his grandfather raising him to believe his father hated him, which he eventually realized wasn’t true. That is what soon led to him having this political conflict- that side is what made him complex-one of the reasons why I love him as a character. Many people say he is annoying and a jerk- but I disagree: yes, even from the book, I never saw him that way. Marius still is a revolutionary- not at first- he is not close to the revolutionaries here- which I did expect- still sticking close to the book.

The love triangle was subtle in the book, and it is in this series, but I did feel like the romance was rushed. I love Marius and Cosette as a couple- but I felt like the series could have spent more time on their relationship. They only had like one scene in the Gardens and two in Rue Plumet- this was before the barricade- wish there was more of them. As far as Eponine goes- I am glad this series focused on what her life was like outside of Marius more than the unrequited love. They do show the unrequited love-yes, but we got several scenes that showed her life outside of him. I knew it was there for all the scenes she had with him (since I saw the musical and read the book), but the first scene she made it clear was right after she led him to Rue Plumet-That was when I realized she was in love with him. The love triangle still feels rushed- even though it still stays subtle like the book- but it is too rushed. Marius and Eponine’s relationship is closer to being acquaintances here- which I was expecting due to knowing this series was following the book. Just like in book, Eponine sacrificed her life for Marius at the barricade, and Marius stayed with her. In both the book and musical, I believe Marius is still this kind, sweet, compassionate, brave, and romantic revolutionary.

Cosette- you have a lot more sympathy for Young Cosette. You actually saw how abused she is. As she gets older, I am glad you saw how overprotected and sheltered she. It does make sense- for starters, Valjean is an ex-convict and is trying not to be recaptured and Cosette means everything to him. What I do love in this series is that it shows Valjean raising Cosette.

Another subplot that I felt is too rushed is the uprising. I love Enjolras and the students. All the uprising events take place in the 5th/6th episode- so much had to happen in those episodes for the story to finish. You already saw a bit of uprising in the 4th episode, but you only got introduced to Enjolras and the students. The 5th episode is more about planning and the beginning of the uprising, but had to end with Valjean leaving for the barricade- I thought that was odd. I wanted more time with them- it was like it was quick action before the uprising even started. The musical makes it always clear who Enjolras is, but at times in the series- I kept on forgetting- you are supposed to always knew which one of the group he is. Literally in the 6th episode after Valjean released Javert, the final battle began- that was too rushed to get there.

Conclusion:

I thought it was a wonderful way to watch Les Mis. I still had moments I was in tears- some of those were moment I was expecting to cry during- “A Little Fall of Rain” for instance. I still think this series needed one or two more episodes. I wished some moments were not rushed- the uprising and romance was too rushed. The 5th and 6th episode were extremely rushed at the start just to fit everything. Some moments happened way too soon- as in should have happened later- reasons why there should have been more than six episodes.