My thoughts on Stephen Schwartz musicals

One of the composers I have seen more one musical belongs to Stephen Schwartz. He is a successful composer, and today I decided to write my thoughts on his musicals- as in the ones I love. They will be in a particular order- as in I will end on my favorite musical that he did. I loved all three of the musicals I am about to mention.

Godspell

  • I loved Godspell ever since I started college. Godspell was my first musical I saw at Central Piedmont Community College. What I remember most about that production belonged to some of the costumes. As a matter of fact, I did see three of the actors in future productions at CPCC. I did love Godspell- my parents did know I will love Godspell.

Pippin

  • I have loved Pippin since May 2015. I have wanted to see Pippin since I heard “Corner of the Sky”. I quickly fell in love with the song- that song told me a lot of what the musical was about. When I heard it won a Tony Award for Revival, I watched a preview, and wanted to see it even more. A spectacle- based, and a song I loved a lot. Too strong reasons for wanting to see Pippin. Pippin makes you fall in love with it very quickly- that is what “Magic to Do” allows you to do. The revival feels like you are in a circus. The Leading Player is an intriguing antagonist, and she does trick both the audience and Pippin
"Magic to Do" during the Pippin Revial

Wicked

  • Of all Stephen Schwartz’ musicals, it is the easiest for me to explain why I love Wicked. It is a story of two strong and complex young women who form a special and beautiful bond. That is rare in a musical to see that kind of friendship. On top of that complex friendship- you also come across an extremely complex love triangle. This is a musical where the friendship is much stronger than romance. As Wicked says- “I have been changed for good”. That is what Wicked did for me.
"For Good" during Wicked- Elphaba and Glinda

Conclusion

  • The songs in his musicals are both energetic and emotional. That is the type of music I want in a musical. At the same time, I want all the songs to sound like they all belong in the same musical- does that make sense?
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My favorite Friendship and Love Triangle in Musical Theatre

There are various types of relationships in musicals. It is mistaken that the main type of relationship is romance- but that is not TRUE. Something equally as strong as romance is friendship. In terms of romance- it can either exist in the form of a couple or the form of a love triangle. What is my favorite friendship and love triangle?

Major Spoilers

Coincidently, my FAVORITE friendship and love triangle is found in the same musical. Both of them are also complex. Which musical am I talking about. My favorite friendship and love triangle are BOTH in Wicked. Wicked’s storyline revolves around a powerful, strong, and beautiful friendship. Let me talk about both of them down below.

Glinda x Fiyero x Elphaba

The love triangle in Wicked revolves around Glinda, Fiyero, and Elphaba. It is not an easy one to understand. It does make you ask a lot of questions. In the beginning, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple leaving Elphaba with unrequited love- later Fiyero leaves Glinda for Elphaba. So, this love triangle has an unrequited love shift. It isn’t straightforward. You want to understand why the plot twist happens.

When you first meet Fiyero, he is a jerk. In that moment, you can tell that Elphaba can’t stand him. You don’t think that she will fall in love with him. It is that moment where it is Glinda and Fiyero. You are not expecting a love triangle to happen. Then in class, when Elphaba sees a scared lion cub in a cage, out of anger, she accidentally casts a spell on the class- but for whatever reason it didn’t affect Fiyero.

The Lion Cub Scene- now, this moment is essential to understanding the plot twist in the love triangle. Fiyero and Elphaba have ran away to help free the lion cub, and if you pay close attention, there are clues- look at the words they are saying and how they they are interacting with each other. It actually looks as if Fiyero does have a crush on Elphaba, but deep down doesn’t seem fully aware of it, and even Elphaba can’t pick up on the crush Fiyero has for her. When Fiyero finally asks, why the spell didn’t affect him, it is that moment when she realizes that she is falling in love with him. In this entire scene- you can tell that he has softened up. “I’m Not That Girl” is actually the first song of the love triangle. Even after this scene, Fiyero can’t stop thinking of this moment- once again another clue.

Another thing I noticed is that Fiyero does have stronger chemistry with Elphaba and a weaker chemistry with Glinda. He defiantly has a crush on Elphaba during his time at Shiz. I really don’t think he is fully aware of it. There still is always something to pick up on- when it comes to Fiyero. Elphaba makes the decision to not pursue Fiyero. In act II, it took hearing rumors spread about Elphaba for Fiyero to realize his true feelings for her. Now, Glinda has unrequited love for Elphaba- that is why there is reprise of “I’m Not That Girl”. She made the same decision Elphaba made- to not steal him away. Elphaba and Fiyero are a more strong and mature couple- they do protect each other- “As Long as Your’e Mine” does show how mature their love for each other. It is their actions after that shows a lot more- Fiyero protected Elphaba from being arrested and Elphaba tried spell after spell after spell to protect Fiyero from getting hurt.

That love triangle makes you question a lot of things. Why the plot twist? Did Fiyero previously have a crush for Elphaba? If so, was he aware of it, or not? Etc. There is a lot to be explored- Fiyero throws a huge curveball into the equation. That is part of what makes him complex- his role in the love triangle. Not only does the love triangle make you question things, I believe it develops in the same way the characters do. It doesn’t fully mature until the characters do- is it me or do others see that way? Wicked’s love triangle is the first one I emotionally bonded with.

Elphaba x Glinda

My favorite friendship is found between Elphaba and Glinda. Both of them are strong, powerful, and complex young women. Wicked is mostly about their friendship- it is beautifully expressed in the song, “For Good”.

When you first meet them, they are extremely reluctant roommates. They hate each other. You do not think they will bond or even become friends. It took a long time till they even became friends. It wasn’t until a school dance that they bonded- they did something for each other there. Elphaba got Glinda into the sorcery program. What the most beautiful thing was that Glinda made Elphaba’s silly dance into something beautiful and magical. For the first time, Elphaba felt accepted. They finally became friends when they went back to their dorm room that night.

Back to the love triangle. Yes, they both loved Fiyero- at some point, they did have unrequited love for him. They still wouldn’t let a boy get in the way of their friendship. There is a reason why Elphaba didn’t pursue Fiyero when Glinda was in relationship with him. She didn’t want to break up her friendship with Glinda. Glinda, when she later had unrequited love for Fiyero, didn’t steal him away from her best friend. That was how they both responded to their unrequited love. I think this love triangle helped strengthen their friendship.

“For Good”- this song explains everything. It is about how much they mean to each other and how they have changed each others lives for the better. It is a very emotional song and it is bittersweet. It is the last time they will ever see each other. It is the most emotional song in the musical. Elphaba had one friend, and Glinda had so many friends, but only one truly mattered. They made each other better people.

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.

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?

Musical Characters I am Particular about which Actors/Actresses play them

We all love favorite characters. We do want them to be played well. However, there are certain characters that we can be particular about which actor/actress can play certain characters. I barely have some- I only have two: that is it: it really is one, but it does come down to down (you will soon come down to two).

The character I am particular about who plays the role is Elphaba. My reasoning is due to the fact that she is my all-time favorite musical theatre character. Why do you think I am particular about who plays her? Each time I see her, I am always seeing an actress I am not at all familiar with the actress who plays her. But still particular about who plays her- as in how she is portrayed. She has to be embodied perfectly- I can see an excellent Elphaba, but that still isn’t enough.

This comes to the second character I am particular about. That is Glinda. Here’s the thing- Elphaba can never throughly be brilliant without Glinda just like Glinda can never throughly be portrayed brilliant without an excellent Elphaba. It just will not work. Those two after all are like super glue- both have to be embodied incredibly. I am not joking.

My last Elphaba and Glinda were like that. Mary Kate Morrissey (standby Elphaba) and Amanda Jane Copper (Glinda) were a perfect fit. It made Mary Kate Morrissey’s excellent Elphaba stronger. I already knew she was excellent, but if Amanda Jane Copper’s Glinda didn’t fit like glue into her Elphaba, something would have totally wouldn’t have felt like that. I need those to come first- not Mary Kate Morrissey’s Elphaba and Ashley Parker Angel’s Fiyero (that comes 2nd). You need “For Good” to hit you harder than “I’m Not That Girl”.

Elphaba and Glinda during "Popular"

Elphaba means more to me than a number of other musical theatre character. She is one of the hugest reasons why Wicked is still hanging there at my favorite musical. Why do you think Les Mis is still tied? Elphaba is not just a character I have an emotional connection to, but a character I strongly relate to. It will be hard for other Elphaba’s to be at the same level as Mary Kate Morrissey’s. For starter’s- she was paired with the right Glinda. Same with the voice- it was altered from innocent to mature. Pretty much embodied everything.

So, the characters I am most particular about belongs to Elphaba and Glinda. You never can have a brilliant Elphaba without a brilliant Glinda and you never can brilliant Glinda without a brilliant Elphaba.

I can tell you this- after the tour, Amanda Jane Copper ended up playing Glinda on Broadway along with Ashley Parker as Fiyero after they left the tour- so the tour can lead actors and actresses to Broadway. Mary Kate Morrissey ended up being the main Elphaba on tour- she deserved it. Those three will ALWAYS be my favorite Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda. I don’t even remember my three Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda’s before them, but I do know this- who those three characters are today are a combo of all four.

It is true. A lot of times-I do end up seeing actors/actresses in principal roles I am not at all familiar with. So, I have NEVER once seen the same actor/actress in more than lead role- unless you count college productions.

What characters are you particular about who plays them?

What makes Les Mis’ love triangle Easier to understand than Wicked’s?

I will describe here why the love triangle in Les Mis is less complex than the one in Wicked. The love triangle in Les Mis is found between revolutionary Marius, brave and strong Eponine, curious and protected Cosette. The love triangle in Wicked is between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. What makes one love triangle less complex than the other.

Major Spoilers:

For starters, all the characters in Wicked are complex. It is the most obvious that Elphaba and Glinda are complex. Fiyero is complex even though it does not seem that way. Fiyero’s complexity comes from his role in the love triangle and his development. In act I, Elphaba has unrequited love for Fiyero, and you are expecting her to always have unrequited love for him. However in act II, that unrequited love jumps to Glinda when Fiyero realizes his love for Elphaba. You end up questioning a lot of things-such as did Fiyero have feelings for her previously? Why does the plot twist happen?, etc…. This curveball is important on Fiyero’s development. It makes Fiyero mature. The love triangle in Wicked is important for the friendship found between Elphaba and Glinda- both of them decide to not steal Fiyero away from their best friend when they both have unrequited love for him- it strengthens their friendship. This love triangle is not straightforward.

I’m Not That Girl

Now on to the Les Mis love triangle. It is the one found between Cosette, Marius, and Eponine. There is a reason why it is less complex. It is straightforward. It is not like two people are getting hurt from unrequited love. Only Cosette and Marius are a couple and Eponine has unrequited love- it stays that way unlike Wicked where the scenario switches gears on you. See what I mean. Fiyero and Marius are characters who are more complex than what they seem to be. To fully understand the Les Mis love triangle, you have to remember Cosette and Eponine’s childhoods- that would be important latter on.

Young Cosette is a servant at the Thenardiers’ inn. The Thenardiers are Eponine’s parents. As a child, the Thenardiers treat Cosette horribly- so you already know the Thenardiers are abusive- based upon how they treat Cosette. They seem to love Eponine as a child. After “Castle on a Cloud”, you discover that the Thenardiers are also pickpockets. You slowly get an idea of the environment that Eponine is going to grow up in. As a child, Jean Valjean arrives and takes Cosette away and provides her with a better life leaving the Thenardiers to treat Eponine the same way they treated Cosette. So while Cosette goes from bad to good, Eponine goes from good to bad- that switch intrigues me. Eponine ended up being raised to be a thief and criminal and also ended up being unloved, abused, and neglected. She wasn’t shown kindness growing up.

Enter Marius-in Eponine’s situation, he was the first person who treated her kindly. He ended up being the only person who treated her like this. He was sweet and kind to her. He ended up being the only good thing in her life. She never saw any one like him before. His kindness moved her to fall in love with him- this love ended up her greatest strength. Then, what happens when he and Cosette first bumped into each other- they fall in love, and Marius constantly is oblivious to Eponine’s love her him. Now Eponine’s love for Marius falls unrequited- it was before, but now it hurts her further, but she would do anything for him even if it means losing him forever. Marius was Eponine’s light. She would risk a lot for him- she was why Marius and Cosette got together, and she protected Marius no matter what even when it meant standing up against her father.


Eponine did accept her unrequited love, which was clearly shown in “On My Own”. Based on the fact that she would protect Marius, she was led to the barricade. Marius was trying to protect her when he discovered her: that was why, I believe, he sent her away with that letter: hoping she didn’t come back, but she did. She sacrificed herself to save Marius from being killed. Her injuries were fatal, and still climbed down the barricade. She knew she was dying. When Marius saw her, he was worried: why else do you think he asked, why she came back. When she collapsed, she was happy being in the arms of Marius. Yes, Marius was devastated, but at least he stayed with her. You might call her love for Marius a weakness, but it was her greatest strength.

Wicked’s love triangle has the unrequited love jump from Elphaba to Glinda. The Les Mis love triangle does not have the unrequited jump: it stays on Eponine. See what I mean, it is easier to understand the Les Mis love triangle. Both have a reason for being in the musical- they are two of my favorite love triangles. To love a love triangle, you need to love the songs that come with them, the characters found in them, they are unique, and it is a love triangle where you understand why it is in there in the first place.


What makes Wicked’s love triangle hard to Understand?

Major Spoilers

Of all love triangles, Wicked is my favorite love triangle. It is complex, strong, and in addition, the first one I emotionally bonded with. All three characters are complex. Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda are complex characters- it is most obvious that Elphaba and Glinda are complex, but not Fiyero. He is complex even though it doesn’t seem that way. Those three characters are the only characters in Wicked that I am emotionally bonded to. Back to the question, what makes Wicked’s love triangle hard to understand?

The answer belongs to Fiyero. Elphaba and Glinda love Fiyero, and at some point in Wicked, both of them have unrequited love for Fiyero. In act I, the unrequited love belongs to Elphaba, and you think, Elphaba would always have unrequited love for him. However, Fiyero realizes in act II that he loves Elphaba making the unrequited love jump to Glinda. Why does this plot twist? Did something happen in act I that is important to Fiyero? There are a lot of things that make you wonder.

There are reasons why you thought Elphaba would always have unrequited love for him. Look at her response for Fiyero when she first met him- she couldn’t stand him- he didn’t make give a good impression. He was a jerk in the beginning. Why would Elphaba fall in love with him? She was the one with the full “I’m Not That Girl” while Glinda got a reprise of “I’m Not That Girl”, which was extremely short. Now, let’s get to Fiyero.

Last time I saw Wicked, I decided to pay really close attention to Fiyero. I did not want to leave the theatre with the “WHY” question again. Fiyero did have a crush on Elphaba at Shiz. Based upon the Lion Cub Scene, he and Elphaba were playfully flirty with each other making me coming to the conclusion that he did have a crush on Elphaba. Despite seeing that, I don’t think he realized he had a crush on Elphaba, and still continued to be in a relationship with Glinda. Elphaba didn’t notice the crush either, however the Lion Cub Scene is when she realized that she was starting to fall in love with him, which made me realize how heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” was. By the way, “On My Own” was key to making me realize “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking in the first place- “I’m Not That Girl” used to be just a sad song.

After that scene, his chemistry with Glinda was weak while his chemistry with Elphaba was strong. He couldn’t stop thinking about the Lion Cub incident. This showed he and Glinda weren’t meant to be with each other. If you weren’t paying close attention, you would be extremely confused as to why that plot twist happened.

About Elphaba and Fiyero’s love for each other, it is a mature and courageous couple. It is stronger than the love Fiyero has for Glinda- what if he never was in love with Glinda or had a crush on her? “As Long As You’re Mine” showed the strength and maturity of Elphaba and Fiyero as a couple. Even after that scene, you saw their love for each other. Fiyero protected Elphaba when she was about to be arrested, and when he was about to be tortured, and then Elphaba tried spell after spell to keep him from getting hurt. Elphaba and Fiyero were a young couple that was mature and courageous.

The love triangle develops in the same way the characters do. I noticed the love triangle does not truly mature until the characters do. Have you noticed before. The love triangle does make you question a lot of things- why does the plot twist happen? Did Fiyero have a crush on Elphaba at Shiz? If so, did he know or did he not? See what I mean- it is a hard love triangle to understand.