Today, I decided to talk about something kind of different. In the past, I did make a list of where all of my favorite musicals take place. What about if I just focus on only the fictional locations.
I decided to start with OZ because Wicked takes place here. So many people know my special love for Wicked. Wicked is about the relationship between Elphaba (AKA the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda. One of its subplots is the love triangle between Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda. The friendship between Elphaba and Glinda is powerful, strong, and beautiful. “For Good” perfectly illustrates this friendship.
Everything about the musical feels OZian- from costumes to set to characters’ names to location names.
Agrabah- Middle East
Home to Aladdin. Its’ set and costumes brings you straight to Agrabah and its many settings from the Palace to the Market to the Cave of Wonders.
Not yet seen Frozen on stage, but Arendelle is the setting of Frozen.
Fictional Town in France
While we never KNOW the name of the town Beauty and the Beast takes place in, we do know it takes place in France, and that the town is fictional. Most of the musical takes place at the castle- I only have seen both movies (cartoon and live action).
What are other fictional locations musicals take place in that you can think of?
I have had a love for Frozen since I saw the movie in 2013. I could easily see why so many people were loving the film. I never once thought Frozen was overrated and YES, still not tired of the song, “Let it Go”. Why do I love Frozen? THERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS:
Songs- well, obviously to love a musical, you have to love the songs. I love the songs in Frozen. From “For the First Time in Forever” to “Let it Go” to “Love is an Open Door”- it defiantly has a catchy soundtrack. While the movie only has exciting songs; still good enough for me to love Frozen. Here’s what I can add- when they created the stage show- new songs were added, and some of them were able to create a more emotional feel.
Characters- I totally love these characters, in particular Elsa and Anna. They BOTH are relatable. One born with powers that is misunderstood and another who is optimistic and outgoing: the two sisters do love each other even though things are complicated. While many people call Olaf annoying, I think he is such a lovable snowman.
True Love: Well, in many previous Disney films the idea of true love steams from romance. In Frozen, on the other hand, it is about the love between the sisters: another reason why I love Anna and Elsa. You truly saw this when Anna had to find true love to save herself- she actually sacrificed herself to save her sister from being killed by Hans. So the real true love was from the sisters; not the romance.
Part of my bond (I think I know): I really think a good part of my love for Frozen comes from Wicked. That is due to the parallel elements. Think about it: Elsa/Elphaba; Anna/Glinda; Sisterhood/Friendship; and “Let it Go”/”Defying Gravity”- those all have parallel elements. Considering how meaningful Wicked is to me- it actually makes sense.
This year: I am actually seeing the stage show of Frozen for the first time.
I am ALWAYS a bit nervous when it comes to musical sequels. They easily can be screwed up. However, in the past I saw two sequels in the past that actually worked: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and Mary Poppins Returns. That was because they had good songs and felt like a wonderful continuation of the original songs. When I found out that Frozen would have a sequel, I actually was nervous- I had formed a strong bond to Frozen- so of course I would be kind of nervous even though it still would have Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven and the same actors/actresses playing them.
Frozen II was the last thing I did in 2019. Would it work or it would be it in shambles? It was another sequel that worked in my opinion- if you want SPOILERS, PROCEED.
Just like the original, it opened with the exact same song- not “Frozen Heart”, but BEFORE any action or seeing any characters. It actually BEGAN as flashback to Elsa and Anna’s childhood: you learn about this Enchanted Forest. What you learn in this flashback is important for important for the entire movie. When I learn the first song- I knew the sequel did something right.
This is actually a more mature version of Frozen. It all began when Elsa heard this voice, and wanted to know where it was coming from. Most of it takes place in that Enchanted Forest. While Elsa in the original had her big number, this time, more of them had their own. Kristoff and Anna had their own- they had their own struggles allowing them to need a main solo. It still mainly focused on the sisterhood- Elsa still needed some help and had to be saved. I did like the songs.
Well- at one point, I thought we were going to lose both Elsa and Olaf. Elsa did take things a bit too far: I realized she was complex in the original, but this film made her more complex: she has two power ballads in this one. Anna literally thought she lost her sister- that was when her ballad entered; that song was heartbreaking. She had to save The Enchanted Forest alone- Kristoff wasn’t around. At the end, while Anna saved the Enchanted Forest, Elsa saved Arendelle. Well, at the end, Anna had to become Queen of Arendelle while Elsa had to look after The Enchanted Forest. Like expected- Kristoff, while struggling to propose to Anna, ended up proposing to Anna.
I still feel like a lot of my bond to Frozen came from Wicked.
What exactly do I mean when I say parallels in musicals? Parallels exist when you see this sort of similarity between more than one musical- as in character or song. It can explain why we love some characters and the musical itself. What are some of examples?
Newsies/Friends of the ABC- well, both groups have a brotherly love for each other that feel like family and have a cause they strongly believe in
Jack Kelly and Enjolras- these two are the leaders of the Newsies and Friends of the ABC. They are good leaders, but the main difference comes from what they care about the most.
Enjolras and Fiyero- out of all parallels, I do not quite understand this. I honestly love both characters. But it never made since why I parallel them to each other. The only thing I know that they share in common is that they are courageous young men.
Elphaba and Eponine- Well, two girls with not good family lives; unrequited love happens to both (will something change for one of them?); taken advantage of. In terms of personality- complex, strong, and brave. I think my love of Elphaba is where my beautiful bond to Eponine came from- Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character just to let you know
Elphaba and Elsa- well, two young adults who have powers they don’t know how to control and are literally labeled to be “monsters”. They are similar in that way.
Glinda and Anna- these two are actually funny and outgoing.
Sisterhood/Friendship of Frozen and Wicked- The friendship in Wicked is almost identical to the sisterhood found in Frozen. That most be where a lot of my love for Frozen comes from- Wicked itself. The true love in both musicals is not romance, but sisterhood and friendship
Let it Go/ Defying Gravity- these two songs are literally about the same thing and they do sound very similar to each other
They are important to a musical. What is the importance? In my opinion, at the end of the act I, you usually know you love the musical. The act I are either sad or heartbreaking; empowering or exciting; or it is hard to explain. There are some act I finales that will always be in my top favorite act I finales. I think some people will actually agree with me. I will list some of those below.
La Bie Boheme B
If I Can’t Love Her
I’d Give My Life For You
Let it Go
Crashing of the Chandelier
One Day More
When I actually think of act I finales, it is Defying Gravity and One Day More that come to mind the most. As a matter of fact, Let it Go sounds so much and reminds me so much of Defying Gravity. All three songs are empowering songs. It is “If I Can’t Love Her”, “Santa Fe”, and “I’d Give Give My Life For You” that fall under the category of sad/heartbreaking songs- only “If I Can’t Love Her” and “Santa Fe” are under musical comedies- well, “If I Can’t Love Her” is a musical comedy romance. When it comes to the tragedies- you do not want the act I finales to drive you away from the plot- you want them to keep you want to watch act II- not the other way around.
As followers know by now, I have to rely on Blumenthal Performing Arts to see musicals. I saw three musicals during their 18/19 season: A Christmas Story, Miss Saigon, and Aladdin. I saw two with Club Blume and one with family. During Aladdin, I did take my mom. Now its October- what does that mean for Blumenthal Performing Arts? The pictures below are from the 18/19 season- I ended up seeing A Christmas Story at Ovens Auditorium and Miss Saigon and Aladdin at Belk Theater.
Here is what October means for Blumenthal- a new season has officially began. In my opinion, the 19/20 is one of their strongest seasons. There is actually a musical for everyone. Les Mis, Jersey Boys, Once on This Island, Come From Away, Anastasia, My Fair Lady, Spongebob, Frozen, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Wicked are the musicals of this season- so musical for everyone. I discovered the season back in March, and already choose the top musicals I hope to see. What are those top musicals?
Again? When I announce I want to see Les Mis on stage, I am usually told that I don’t really expand my love for musicals. In reality, it actually is the opposite. Les Mis was responsible and still responsible for expanding my love for musicals. Les Mis is actually the first musical of the 19/20 season. It is a musical that I am not sick and tired of. I am not sick and tired of the emotions I am feeling, and I am not immune to it. I am still an emotional wreck, but I love that feeling. I have already seen the stage show five times- so of course seeing it a sixth time might seem unusual. True Les Mis fans do understand why I would want to see it again. However, I still have not yet seen Les Mis on tour in Charlotte. I actually think I know who will be in my principal cast- I have been keeping up with this tour since the beginning- most of them are still in- even my three standouts from last time are still there. If the cast is who I think it is, we have a strong cast of principal actors and actresses.
This will be a new experience. I have NEVER seen Anastasia. I only know pieces of the plot and names of some of the characters and only heard five songs. Ever since hearing those five songs, I have wanted to see Anastasia- of all the main musicals I hope to see, this will be the most inexperienced one. Here are the songs I do know: “Crowd of Thousands”, “In my Dreams”, “Once Upon a December”, “My Petersburg”, and “Journey to the Past”- I intentionally did not listen to the others to be surprised when I actually did watch it in person. I want Anastasia to be the Club Blume musical.
I have loved Frozen since I saw the movie. I knew why I loved it- the overall theme of where the true love was coming from and the songs and the characters. As years went by, I was wondering “why was I drawn to it so much”. I eventually found the answer in another musical- it reminded me of Wicked- Elphaba/Elsa, Glinda/Anna, Defying Gravity/Let It Go, and the friendship/sisterhood. That was why I was drawn to it in the way that I was. As soon as I heard it was going to be a stage show, I was dying to see it even though I knew I had to wait. I listened to some of the new songs- and I fell in love with them. I realized just how much the stage show was going to make these characters more developed. I soon realized how strongly I could relate to Anna- she is defiantly my favorite contemporary princess. Of all the musicals I want to see in the 19/20 list, Frozen is the highest up on this list.
Again? Look, Wicked hasn’t toured to Charlotte since 2016. That has been long enough. The shows I have seen the most are Les Mis and Wicked. I know I can find more in Wicked. I defiantly know I find more in the love triangle- it is complex and does make you question things. Wicked’s love triangle is the most complex one I have been around in musical theatre. Wicked actually is the final musical of the 19/20 season. To have Les Mis/Wicked in the SAME season is crazy: those musicals are the most responsible for my passion for musicals.
Those are my top musicals I hope to see. I still do not know if any of them are happening. I will know this month if one of them will happen: it is Les Mis month after all- I can’t believe that it is possible that I might get Nick Cartell as Valjean again- along with Josh Davis (Javert), Jillian Butler (Cosette), Joshua Grosso (Marius), Matt Shingledecker (Enjolras), and Allison Guinn (Madame Thenardier) again- those six have been part of the principal cast since the beginning, which was in 2017, and still have not left.
It is the other shows where I have no clue who will be in the cast (or a general idea)- but I do know those will be talented. In all the musicals I have seen, I have seen incredible casts- nothing weaker than that.
This list has shown up multiple times on my blog. The only reason why this tends to repeat is when I add on a favorite character. So, where I a list of characters I love.
Friends of the ABC
Kim (Miss Saigon)
Maria (Sound of Music)
Von Trapp Children
A lot of my favorite characters in the musical theatre world are survivors while many do lose their lives as well: I actually believe most are survivors. It is interesting how varied these characters all- their lives are so different: that is based off of where they live, their age, their family, etc. Some are not human. You will notice I love a lot of characters- most of them are young: I do have an all-time favorite: Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character.