Musicals I do Cry during

Musicals are assumed to be happy and comic. Non-musical fans don’t seem to know about the emotional side of musicals. There are emotional songs in musicals. There are heartbreaking, sad, bittersweet, and love songs in musicals. In addition, there are tragic musicals- tragic musicals are something that I didn’t know about until Les Mis entered my life. Emotional songs can lead you to cry- to even be an emotional wreck (as in multiple songs in the musicals). What are the musicals I have cried during? I decided to make a list of those here- it has changed since the last time I made a post about the same thing.

Sound of Music

  • In November 2015, I had never cried during a song in the musical. I was assuming there was no way Sound of Music could cause me to have the reaction. Enter Edelweiss- it is my favorite song from the musical; the moment Ben Davis, who played the Captain, stopped singing and before the children joined in, I picked up on a nonverbal that made sadness enter that picture. Sad was NEVER a part of Sound of Music in the songs- I was raised on Sound of Music- the movie. I started crying right when the children joined in. Ben Davis’ nonverbal was enough for me to get that reaction. I think it was a combo of the nostalgia, the bittersweetness of the song (which was new that day), and his nonverbal (a pause does hold a lot of power). Sound of Music was my 4th and final musical I saw in 2015, which was still the best year of musical.
"Edelweiss"
Edelweiss

Oliver

  • It was the first time I saw the movie. I didn’t cry for most of the movie. Then came “As Long As He Needs Me”- knowing how heartbreaking that song was- I was in tears listening to that song. Any song that has the words sad and love attached to it are always heartbreaking.
"As Long as He Needs Me" from the movie
As Long As He Needs Me

Wicked

  • Last time I saw Wicked, “For Good” hit me hard. That song is supposed to be more emotional than the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl”. I saw an excellent Elphaba (standby Mary Kate Morrissey) and an excellent Glinda (Amanda Jane Copper). Their “For Good” left be in tears- their Elphaba and Glinda mixed with how meaningful Wicked is to me mixed with seeing it with Gardner Webb are huge reasons why “For Good” affected me the way it did. “For Good” represents the center core of Wicked- it is after all about the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda.
"For Good"

Miss Saigon

  • I did a fresh list of this because of Miss Saigon. It is the newest musical to make me cry. Coming in, I knew it would because of Les Mis. The music was written by the same people. If Les Mis affected me so strongly- Miss Saigon would hit me too. When a musical is a tragic love story-you automatically know two of the emotions: love and heartbreak; you can’t escape and you can’t escape the ending either. In a tragic love story, things aren’t going to end well- you don’t want that to happen if you become attached to the two lovers. As for Miss Saigon, I almost cried in “Movie in the Mind”, but the real tears started in “Sun and Moon”, which is when I became attached to Kim and Chris. “Sun and Moon” is when they have fallen in love- Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa made me want those two to stay together, and as a result, did not want it to end tragically. There were other moments I did cry- “Sun and Moon” was the one I remembered the most. They are still a very very new couple I fell in love with- I only saw Miss Saigon in Feb.
"Last Night of the World" during the Miss Saigon North American Tour
“Last Night of the World”

Rent

  • Talk about emotional wreck- Rent is one of those musicals. In 2017, I saw Rent in person for the first time. I knew there were songs, like “Will I?”, and “Your Eyes” that will emotionally affect me, but there were songs that never emotionally affected until I saw Rent. I was a bigger emotional wreck in person than I am with the final Broadway cast film. The power of live theatre- songs like “Rent”, for instance, had an emotional impact on me. I was crying in songs I always cry during- “One Song Glory” was more emotional than it typically is- and so on. I was an emotional wreck watching Rent. I would be an emotional wreck more than once in 2017.

Les Mis

  • Do I have to say more? A lot of Les Mis fans are emotional wrecks watching it. Before Les Mis, I knew about the emotional side of musicals. I knew about the complex side of musicals as well. There were four core emotions I discovered: excitement, love, joy, and sad. I thought I knew musicals- I thought the knew the entire emotional nature, but boy was I so wrong. Les Mis went “are you sure you know musicals, are you sure you know how intense emotions can get in them.” A new core emotion entered the picture: heartbreak. I have been a fan of Les Mis of six years-a love that began with the film (which I had to give a 2nd chance). I never knew emotions get affect me like that-Les Mis sure taught me a lot. It disproved a lot. I still am an emotional wreck- it can be songs alone, can be the stage show, can be the film, and can be the 25th anniversary concert- all cause me to an emotional wreck. Les Mis is the musical I am the biggest emotional wreck during.
"One Day More" during the US Tour of Les Mis
“One Day More”
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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.

Love in Musicals

Love is found in musicals. Is love only in romance? Does it exist in different ways? There is a common misconception in love that non-musical fanatics believe-it is believed that only love is romance. I will try to sort out that in this post. THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

Love for God

In Les Mis, you see love for God. This is first see through the bishop, and later through Valjean. The bishop welcomes Valjean into his house, gives him a place to stay, food to eat, and see as a brother (as in the bible). The bishop wants to help Valjean. He forgives Valjean when he steals his silver. He tells me to use the silver to became a better man. What the bishop does is an act of grace, mercy, and compassion. All of this is a love of God .

The love of God is later strengthened through Valjean. He looks up to the bishop. He starts to show compassion to others, which is especially shown through how he treats Fantine. He prevents her from being arrested and later promises to raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own. That takes his love for God on a whole new level. I think his love for God is shown the strongest when he sings “Bring Him Home”. “Bring Him Home” happens at the barricade- Valjean is there to protect Marius because his adopted daughter loves him. The song is a prayer sent to God to prevent Marius from being killed. Even as Valjean is dying, it does show his love for God.

Love for Friends

This is easier to notice than love for God.

Elphaba and Glinda

  • When I think of friendship love, it is Elphaba and Glinda that comes to mind automatically. After all, in Wicked, the story revolves around their friendship. These two young girls originally started out hating each other and eventually became best friends and soon realized how much they changed each others lives for the better. They did form a very close and beautiful bond to each other- that is exactly what “For Good” shows.

Friends of the ABC

  • The Friends of the ABC is another love for friends that I love. I love their brotherly love for each other. It is strong that they are like family, and I do love how they take in Gavroche. They have a cause they truly believe in, and are so passionate about in that they will fight to the end no matter the cost. One of the things I love “Drink With Me” is how intimate and vulnerable it is- it really shows their brotherly love for other.

Eponine and Marius

  • There is a friendship in Les Mis that I like that is an unpopular opinion. It is the one found between Marius and Eponine- yes, I know it is only in the musical, and not the book. I don’t believe Marius never was a jerk to Eponine. He was the only person in her life who treated her kindly- that was why she fell in love with him, and why she held on to him. Marius was aware she had a difficult life. Just because Marius was unaware of Eponine’s love for him doesn’t make him a jerk. I believe in act II, Marius sent her away with that letter to protect her from getting hurt or worse killed during the uprising. When she came back to the barricade, Marius was worried. When she collapsed in his arms, the moment he saw her wound, he realized she was dying. He was devastated, but he still stayed with her to the end- how does Marius being with her while she was dying make him a jerk? I believe that Marius was showing her compassion while she was dying- that scene was difficult on Marius, but at least he made her happy. The reason why I know he knew how difficult her life was had to do with what he said after she died- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”

Newsies

  • The Newsies are a huge parallel to the Friends of the ABC. Just like them, share a brotherly love that makes them a family, have a cause they truly believe in and don’t give up till the end. I also love Jack’s intimate and special bond to Crutchie.

Lumiere and Cogworth

  • I don’t what it is, but there is something about Lumiere and Cogsworth that make them an interesting friendship. Is it because during most of the musical they are a talking candle and clock?

So, you see, love for friendships show up for a number of shows.

Love for Family

Fantine and Cosette

  • Fantine is the single mother of Cosette. Fantine’s storyline is the hardest to watch in Les Mis. She originally is working in Valjean’s factory. It soon is discovered that she has an illegitimate daughter- Cosette’s father abandoned both of them. Cosette is now living with an innkeeper and his wife (The Thenardiers). Her daughter was discovered through a letter, which was said that Cosette was deathly ill (little did she know the letter was a hoax). The other factory women pushed the foreman to fire her, and he did. She did not many options left to get money for Cosette. She had a strong love for Cosette- she had no choice, but to sell her hair, teeth, and to eventually become a prostitute. By living on the streets, she became deathly ill. She was doing everything out of love for Cosette and her only hope was that Cosette would have a better life. She eventually almost got arrested after defending herself- Valjean came to the rescue and sent to her the hospital. Even on her deathbed, she still was concerned about Cosette, and Valjean agreed to raise Cosette. This gave Fantine peace and comfort while she was dying.

Valjean and Cosette

  • Like I just said, Valjean became Cosette’s adopted father. Valjean did realize that Cosette was treated poorly by the people who were raising her. Cosette was the first person he loved since he was released from prison. He had to become a father in the most unexpected of ways. It was challenging to raise her due to being an ex-convict. I don’t blame him for how much he sheltered and protected Cosette. You can fully see his love for Cosette in act II. When he learned Marius, the one his adopted daughter loves, is one of the revolutionaries, he went to the barricades to make sure he survives.

Kim and Tam

  • Kim would protect Tam from any harm. She is a fighter for him. She wants him to a better life than the one in Vietnam. Tam’s father is Chris, and Chris is who Kim loves, and for a couple years Chris had no idea he fathered a son. Chris did love Kim at one point. Miss Saigon is a tragic love story, and Kim is the main character. At the end, Kim sacrifices herself in order for Chris to take Tam back to America. That ending- Chris comes to a realization- he has always loved Kim, and more than Ellen; that was how I interpreted it in Feb.

Romance

Romance is believed to be the only type of love in musical theatre. But based on the other ones I mentioned, it is not. There is love for God, love for friends, and love for family- I can tell you there are others- just the three I mentioned tells you there are is there than romance. Romance is wide-ranged. The Disney couples to the complex couple to the love triangles (even those vary). All of the couples are different. Why is romance so common? For starters, it is an universal emotion. It also translates well to song, forms beautiful songs no matter what (whether a couple is singing it, if it is a breakup or unrequited love song, or if a couple is starting to develop feelings for each other). The main song is key to a couple- if the main song doesn’t impress me, the couple goes dull.

The Hopeful and Heartbreaking Love Triangle

Here we are venturing into the Les Misérables love triangle. It is less complex than the Wicked love triangle. It is between Cosette x Marius x Eponine: in this one Marius and Cosette are the couple while Eponine has the unrequited love. It is one of the major storylines that I am emotionally connected to. Of everyone in the love triangle, Eponine is my favorite character.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

I will start by bringing up Eponine and Cosette’s childhood. At one point both Eponine and Cosette lived together. Eponine’s parents are the Thenardiers, who abuse Cosette and treat her like a servant. Eponine, on the other hand, is spoiled and appeared to be loved by her parents. Then Valjean arrives and rescues Cosette.

You already know the Thenardiers are abusive. In “Master of the House”, you learn that they also are pickpockets. You start to get a general idea of the environment Eponine is going to grow up in. You already know Cosette is going to have a better life. So the girls situations are reversed- while Cosette’s horrible childhood improves; Eponine’s life gets worse. That is one of the things that intrigues me- the switch that happens between the girls.

Eponine’s family ends up living in extreme poverty. Eponine’s parents have raised her to be a thief and criminal. You realize they do not care or love their daughter. They just use her for their advantage. She serves as watchdog for the law. She wasn’t shown kindness growing up- it never happens to her. That never happened- it eventually did happen- Marius was the only person who treated her with kindness. The kindness that Marius showed her made her fall in love with him. I am glad he was in her life- she needed Marius even though he didn’t love her romantically. Soon enough, Marius and Cosette bump into each other and fall in love with each other. Eponine is well aware that the two have fallen in love.

Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius is quite heartbreaking and painful. After all, he is the only good thing in her life. Despite that, she is the girl who would do anything for him. She risked her life several times for him no matter the cost. She ended up finding Cosette for him when he asked her to. She ended up protecting Marius and Cosette from her father and his gang. Her love for Marius is so strong that she ended up sacrificing her life for him. At least in the end, she died in the arms of Marius= at least she was with him. Her death scene was the happiest moment of her life.

I love Marius and Cosette as a couple. They are the ones who help bring hope to this tragedy. Marius had to survive the rebellion in order to keep hope alive. They are such an adorable couple in so many ways. Both of these characters are so sweet and kind. In the end, although they lost so many important people in their lives, at least they still have each other. Marius was the only survivor from the the barricade and Cosette lost her adopted father.

The love triangle offers a lot. I love all three characters. Yes, Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle, but of all three Marius is my favorite survivor. I have never found the love triangle to be silly. Even though I understand that Marius and Eponine are not friends, but neighbors in the book, I love that their friendship is in the musical.

A Little Fall of Rain Analysis (Part 2)

MAJOR SPOILERS:

I have done an analysis on this song before. To understand this song is to understand Eponine. Before I describe what is going on in this song, I will talk about Eponine. Eponine is the eldest child of the Thenardiers. The Thenardiers have raised Eponine to be a thief and criminal. The family is living in extreme poverty. Eponine is all alone in life, and wasn’t shown kindness or love growing up from her family- so her life is quite dark and tragic.

There is only one good thing in her life- Marius. He is the only person who does treat her with kindness. That is why she loves him. However, he doesn’t know she loves him. He falls in love with Cosette. She will do anything for him. So she lives an empty life, but the light of her life is Marius so at least he is in her life.

Samantha Barks as Eponine performing "On My Own" in the movie
“On My Own” in the movie

Back to “A Little Fall of Rain”. In the stage show, a few scenes back, Marius has sent her away from the barricade in hopes to protect her from being hurt or worse killed. However Eponine does come back, which all leads to “A Little Fall of Rain”. She sacrifices her life to protect Marius from being killed. As a result, she was fatally wounded. Marius does not realize this at first, but soon does after she collapsed in his arms.

"A Little Fall of Rain": Marius and Eponine's duet from Les Mis. Eponine's death scene where Marius is with her until she dies. From the movie
“A Little Fall of Rain” scene from movie

Marius was devastated- he knew she was dying, but decided to stay with her. “A Little Fall of Rain” is a very touching, heartbreaking, and bittersweet song. By understanding how much Marius means to Eponine makes you understand why Eponine is happy in that scene- it does not make sense all because it is her death scene. It does show he truly did care, and how much compassion he was capable of. You feel heartbroken for both of them. In that scene, I am heartbroken that one of my favorite characters is dying, but at the same time feel joy for her knowing that Marius is there- she is comforted by him, and at the same time I feel heartbroken for Marius knowing how much pain he feels. It is hard watching that scene knowing that Marius is not going to just lose Eponine, but everyone else as well.

This song highlights the friendship quite well. It shows how Marius valued his friendship with her. Eponine was able to see that Marius did care about her. She knew in this scene that Marius was breaking, and this is when Eponine confessed that she loved him. After she died, he said to the students, “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. He knew she lived a dark and horrible life- at least he was with at her at the time of her death. Having him end the song alone is devastating- thinking about the rest of the trauma he has to go through.

At one point, I thought a musical song could never happen during a death scene. This scene sure proves that wrong. What are your thoughts on this song?

The Core Musical Theatre Emotions

Musical theatre is home to core emotions. There are five of them, but there was not always five. From middle school to the first half of my first year college, there was four core emotions. In elementary school, there was less than four core emotions. 

What are the five core emotions? They are excitement, joy, love, sad, and heartbreak. The other emotions that exist in musicals sprout from those emotions. Some core emotions combine together such as heartbreak and love and sad. Love is part of joy. Love- that is confusing- that can either be joy or heartbreaking- it depends on the scenario. 

The core emotions are extremely important. Those are emotions that exist in a musical theatre song. There are more than five emotions in musical theatre. Without the five core emotions, the rest of the emotions may not exist. Emotions like loneliness and anger sprout from heartbreak, love and sadness.  I never knew I was blind to heartbreak growing up until Les Mis entered my life. There is a difference between songs being sad and songs being heartbreaking. 

The core musical theatre emotions are the main root that a musical theatre song is. The other emotions in a song come from the main emotion. Do you understand what I mean. The core emotions are excitement, love, joy, sad, and heartbreak. Excitement is the emotion that always shows up in dance and spectacle. Joy shows up in happy scenes, bittersweet scenes, and whether or not if you are having a positive experience.