The Talents of the Actors and Actresses I Have Seen

One thing that really impresses me is seeing the talent I have seen on stage when I have seen musicals. Some of the ones I have seen are understudies and standbys and those can really impress me. I have had understudies for characters such as Eponine, Christine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Leading Player and Katherine Plumber. Those actors have to work harder than anyone else. I just cannot believe how talented all of the different actors and actresses I have had over the years. I have seen more actors than actresses mainly because of Newsies. Newsies has a cast of mostly males and that is why I have seen more actors.

Les Mis was the last musical I saw and I loved that cast. You had the very powerful and passionate ensemble with some talented principals. It was lead by Nick Cartell and he was wonderful as Jean Valjean and his “Bring Him Home” was so soulful and truly sounded like a prayer and he quiet enough for what the song required and strong enough for what the song required. Another standout was Joshua Grosso as Marius and he brought this unique nature of awkwardness to the role and of all of the actors in the love triangle, he was the strongest and I never expect Marius to be the strongest actors because I always expect Eponnine to be the strongest actor, but this time it wasn’t the case. Jillian Butler’s Cosette somehow was able to connect to Joshua’s charming but awkward Marius. My Eponine, Talia Simone Robinson (understudy), was impressive. The fact that she was an understudy made her work harder than anybody else. She had some impressive scenes and some scenes needed some work. She was very playful around Marius and was quite strong during “A Heart Full of Love” and she was very believable during “A Little Fall of Rain”.

Matt Shingledecker was my Enjolras and he truly brought the passion and leader side of Enjolras. Even the ensemble was very talented. They were so epic passionate and powerful. The ensemble is very impressive when it comes to musicals and they are a huge part of a show: after all they take up most of the cast.

During Rent, I was impressed with the actors. Kaleb Wells brought out quite an emotional “One Song Glory” and showed his unwillingness to get into a relationship with Mimi. Lyndie Moe, my Maureen brought out her craziness perfectly and she made me laugh during “Over The Moon”.

Newsies was a musical I saw August 2016. It was lead by Joey Barriero, my Jack Kelly. It is hard to describe why I loved Jack. I loved how he showed his bond to Newsies especially his bond to  Crutchie. He brought out the inner conflict that Jack eventually went through. He was able to bring out the emotion felt in “Santa Fe” and the song to me was innocently sad. I don’t know if the innocence felt in the song was how Joey wanted to portray the song or if it was because this was my first time seeing the show. The actors in this show were triple threats. They were very impressive in the dance. They were flipping about two or three times in a row, dancing on newspapers among other amazing tricks and able to act and sing at the same time. The dancing was mind-blowing. The picture below is Joey Barreiro as Jack.

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Highlighting all of the talented actors will take a while. By showing some of the actors, you can tell that I have seen a lot of talented actors over the years. I still have not yet seen the same actor or actress in more than one  lead role. I am glad that each time I see a musical, I am exposed to new actors. I am always thinking how on earth have they memorized everything and they make it seem easy, but in reality it is not easy. It takes a lot of work and acting it much harder than it seems. They are doing the best they can and when you get an understudy or standby, you can get a bit nervous, but I alway regret it.

For example, Mary Kate Morrisey (standby) as Elphaba embodied everything about Elphaba, but brought something new. It felt like she was the main Elphaba. Another understudy that comes to mind to Adam Bayjou as Jean Valjean. He was my West End Jean Valjean, and he played the role so well that I forgot I was actually watching an understudy. So respect the standbys and understudies. You have no idea how much harder they have to work.

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How Context helps with Musical Song Emotion

It is important to pay attention to the context surrounding a musical song to understand and pick up on the emotion. Context can refer to the scene that happened right before the song because that scene can help set up the song.

Santa Fe- Newsies

At first glance, this song does not seem like it is sad, but it actually is. The context at the beginning of the show and the scene before helps in understanding the emotion of the scene. Right before Santa Fe, there is this big fight that breaks out. Jack witnesses all of this and he sees his brothers getting hurt and Crutchie being arrested. If you remember Santa Fe (Prologue), it tells you that he has such a personal bond to Crutchie.

So due to all that Jack has just witnessed, he is quite upset and that leads to Santa Fe. It is a sad song. Jack is upset that his brothers got hurt all because of the strike. He wants to give up and he does not want them to get hurt. He dreams of going to Santa Fe, but now he wants to go there more than ever due to what he just witnessed. He cares so much about his brothers that he cares more about them than the cause.

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I’m Not That Girl- Wicked

Obviously this is an unrequited love song. But the scene before helps you understand the level of heartbreak the song is. Previously, Fiyero and Elphaba are in the woods freeing a lion cub. In this scene, the two characters argue in a playful way. In my opinion, I think this is the moment where Elphaba realizes that she is falling in love with Fiyero. By that, it tells you that her love for Fiyero isn’t quite that deep or strong. She literally singing “I’m Not That Girl” after the Lion Cub scene. So that shows that the song is only moderately heartbreaking.

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Do you think context outside of the song helps with musical emotion?

How Costumes Play a Role In Creating Character

One aspect that helps you get to know the character is through their costumes. What exactly do I mean by this? To explain, I will give some examples below.

Below is Enjolras’ vest. During “One Day More” and during act II, he wears this vest. It helps us realize he is the leader of the students and the most passionate. It makes him stand out among everyone at the barricade.

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Below you will see Elphaba in her act II dress. In act I, her outfits show she is more innocent and not as mature. But in act II, her outfit looks much more mature and show how she has matured from act I to act II. I love how it looks so good with her skin. It just complements the green so wear.

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Another example is from the outfits Eponine wears a lot of browns in her outfit. That is the color of the skirt in act I and the same color she wears in her act II costumes and in her act II costume, her pants, hat and coat are brown. The fact that she does the same color shows that she is poor. Her outfits also are dirty and this helps signify that she is living in poverty and that is an important part of her character.

For Valjean, his costumes help show his character arc. From this dirty costume in the opening to what he is wearing at the barricade shows his transformation. In his first costume, he looks like a convict. Than when time passes, his costume changes. He no longer looks like a convict and you can start to see his costumes representing his journey to redemption.

Glinda’s outfits during her time at Shiz show that she is girlie girl. The outfit below shows her outfit during the dance that Fiyero arranges. It is very pretty and is pink. She wears more than one dress in the show. This outfit below helps show that Glinda is young and makes you know she is a girly girl during her time at Shiz.

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I don’t know what it is, but something about Jack’s outfit that makes you know he is the leader of the Newsies. I feel like it is a bit different than the other Newsies. But something about his outfit also makes you know he is a dreamer and a romantic.

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Do you think costumes help a role in developing character?

My Favorite Jack Actor

Newsies is still a very new musical in my life. Before seeing the stage show August 2016, I heard some of the songs but they were only enjoyable to me. I eventually wanted to see Newsies and when I heard it had Tony Award winning choreography, I got excited even more. My favorite Jack Kelly is  Joey Barreiro.

Possible Spoilers:

It is hard to describe why I love Joey so much as Jack. You can clearly see his connection to Crutchie. His bond to Crutchie is so special and so is his bond to the rest of the Newsies. Jack is a dreamer and a romantic. Eventually Jack goes through a lot of inner conflict, which happens right after this big fight happens and Jack sees all of his Newsies hurt and Crutchie being arrested and this hurts Jack a great deal. He realizes what he saw happened due to the strike.

Joey is able to make that inner conflict show. In Santa Fe, I could feel sadness coming from that song. I don’t know if it had to do with the way Joey portrayed the song if it had to do this being my first time seeing Newsies, but I felt like the sadness was shown very innocently. Joey just draws you in and makes you love his character. I wish I had a better explanation on why he is my favorite Jack but just can’t think of many. I love how the musical presents “Santa Fe” twice. The first version, “Santa Fe (Prologue) is shown as a very hopeful song, but when you get to “Santa Fe”, the song becomes sad and I feel like Joey was able to show both. I love how he makes Jack’s inner conflict really show and that inner conflict is what makes Jack complex.

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The 1899 Manhattan Couple

Not many people may know of Jack and Katherine. They are the couple found in Newsies, one of my favorite Disney musicals. I picked Jack and Katherine because I thought it was a good idea to talk about a couple not part of a love triangle and felt it was time for a Disney couple. Jack and Katherine are an extremely new couple in my life since Newsies entered my life about 1  1/2 years ago.

There is something special about Disney love songs. Their main song, “Something to Believe In”, is so adorable and beautiful. Disney love songs seem to have this kind of magic in them it seems. There is something wonderful about Katherine, the reporter, and Jack, the leader of the Newsies, being in love. Even though the plot mainly focuses on the Newsies and the strike, it is nice having a bit of romance in there.

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You expect romance in a Disney musical  and in the case of Newsies, the cast is mainly all boys. So there is something wonderful about having a female major character in the cast. In act II, Jack was struggling with his emotions and Katherine helped him get through it. These two clearly love each other. Disney couples just pull you in such a special way and “Something to Believe In” really shows that connection.

A Band of Brothers Standing Up For What they Believe in

So far on this blog series, I talked about why I love Jack and Crutchie, two of the Newsies. I have never yet said why I love a group, but they do count on this series.

Possible Spoilers:

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Jack is the leader of the Manhattan Newsies and really cares about them. He has a close bond to Crutchie. Jack and Crutchie are my favorite of all the Newsies. Their relationship is part of why I love the Newsies in the first place.

The Newsies are like this one big family. They have such a brotherly love for each each other. All they have is each other and really look up to Jack. A lot of them are homeless or runaways and rely on selling newspapers to survive but Davey and Les are the only two who have a family of their own. So eventually they band together and go on strike after the price of papers went up.

They never give up even though eventually Jack struggles with his emotions and Crutchie, the most vulnerable, gets sent to the Refuge. It is their bond especially the Jack and Crutchie bond that makes me emotionally connected to these characters. Their inspiring story of standing up for what you believe in is a huge reason why I love Newsies.

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What I Love About Crutchie

Besides Jack Kelly, my other main favorite Newsies is Crutchie.

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Spoilers ahead:

Crutchie is the most vulnerable of all the Newsies. He after all has to walk around with the aid of a crutch because he has a bum leg. But his relationship to Jack so special. The two of them are best friends and sleep together. Jack is so protective of Crutchie and that is special to watch. Crutchie has such a wonderful spirit and you see lot of his optimism through the show. For the strike he creates a sign to put on his crutch so he strongly believes in the cause. Even when he is arrested and sent to the Refuge, he still has a lot of hope. You can clearly see that through his song, Letter From the Refuge. That song shows that he still believes in the cause despite his situation. It is a letter sent to Jack and that deepens his relationship with Jack. He still wants the boys to look after each other. When I saw Newsies August 2016, the Newsies I fell in love with Jack and Crutchie the most out of all Newsies.