Musical Songs I Love Singing To

Even though I can’t sing well, I do love singing to musical theatre songs. They are fun to sing. I even try to sing to songs I don’t any words to, and I feel like a dying moose or something to those songs. It doesn’t matter what emotion the song is: the song can exciting, sad, heartbreaking or romantic: it doesn’t matter. What are some of the musical songs I love singing to.

1. “Popular”- I sang this song for an acting class in school. For a general ed requirement either take public speaking or acting I. No way did I want to be stuck in public speaking so acting it was. The assignment was to do something that showed a different side to ourselves. I choose “Popular” because it was my favorite song from Wicked when I was 12, which is why it is still my favorite song from Wicked.

2. “I’m Not That Girl” – I remember it being Fall 2015, and I was like I now know all of the words to one of Glinda’s songs. I want to memorize one of Elphaba’s songs- “I’m Not That Girl” had the simplest melody and the fewest lyrics. I was thinking “does the first song I have to memorize that belongs to Elphaba have to be a sad song?”. Memorizing the song proved to be a big moment for the song- I did not know how much insight the song had- lyrics like “I wasn’t born for the and pearl” go beyond the unrequited love so there is more to the song. I had already connected “On My Own” to “I’m Not That Girl”. So memorizing the lyrics and “On My Own” made me realize “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking. I love singing this song and feeling the emotion that goes with it- it is tricky when I know Elphaba is going to end up with him in the end.

3. “Do You Hear the People Sing”- this is the first Les Mis song I memorized. I choose to memorize this song. This song was stuck in my head leaving the movie theatre- after my 1st time- when I didn’t know if I liked Les Mis or not. It is such a passionate and hopeful song that you can’t help but love singing it

4. “On My Own”- I did not memorize the lyrics by choosing to. I memorized them by listening to it so many times. I love singing this song in my room. I formed a beautiful bond to Eponine- a huge reason why I love singing this song. If it wasn’t for this song, “I’m Not That Girl” would still be just be a sad song.

5. “Finale/Do You Hear the People Sing (Reprise)”- Once again another Les Mis song I did not memorize choosing to.

6. “One Day More”- A lot of Les Mis songs I have memorized the lyrics just by listening to them so many times. When it gets to the huge overlapping part- I tend to sing Eponine’s part- I know when she comes in and what lyrics she sings at that section.

7. Other Les Mis songs- yes, I love singing other Les Mis songs. Some I want to be able to sing to, but when I try, I can’t- get too emotional trying to.

8. “Do Re Mi”- This is the first musical theatre song I ever memorized. Once you know do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, you literally know the entire song. It is so easy to learn. It is a very very fun song to sing along to.

9. “My Favorite Things”- I love singing along to this song as well. Sound of Music’s score is one of the easiest scores to memorize some of its songs. I love singing along to its song.

10. “Edelweiss”- The nostalgia behind this song- it not only is my favorite song in Sound of Music, but my first piano recital song. It is a sweet-sounding song. It has a bittersweet feel to it- I didn’t know that when I was young. I discovered the sadness behind the song when I saw the show live 2015.

11. “Tomorrow”- Such an incredible song to sing to. It has the same nostalgia all the Sound of Music songs have. Annie has been in my life since elementary school- to love a musical that song.

12. etc- others can fit here

What are musical songs you love singing to?

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Going Back in Time- PreWicked

It is hard to imagine a time where Les Mis wasn’t part of my life.

What is weirder is visualizing a time when Wicked wasn’t part of my life. That is all because Wicked was the beginning of understanding emotions and what it meant to have an emotional connection. Without Wicked, Les Mis most likely wouldn’t have entered my life.

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In the time period before Wicked, I didn’t quite love musicals. I mean I watched them, and I enjoyed them. I did not understand what it meant to have an emotional connection at the time. I mean I could love characters. I understood the emotion of excitement the most. I did not grasp the fact that characters could be complex. I only understood musicals at a simple level. The negative emotions were basically non-existent in my mind pre-Wicked. I had seen (film/stage), Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Sound of Music, Annie, Grease and Seussical the Musical, but I did not understand emotions that well. I grasped excitement very well. In Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, the songs that stuck with me the most were “A Whole New World”, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”, and “Beauty and the Beast”- I do not know if I understood love or not. I know I picked up on excitement. So pre-Wicked, I had a very limited knowledge of musicals.

 

Importance of Combining Actors and Actresses to Form One Character

We have those musicals. They are the musicals we have seen more than once. That means we have more one actor and actress portraying the character. We end up combining the actors and actresses for our full interpretation. They might show the same personality trait in a different way. The same applies with the emotions: one actor might bring out a different collection of emotions: yes, some emotions always have to be there, but certain emotions will vary. Why is it so important to combine actors and actresses

There are complex characters. They have many layers. It is hard for one actor and actress to show everything. I have seen Wicked four times and I have seen Les Mis five times. The thing with Les Mis is that I have 5 casts: the 3 stage casts and the film and the 25th concert film. With those two shows, I have combined actors to create one character. I only remember one Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda, who are Mary Kate Morrissey, Ashley Parker Angel, and Amanda Jane Copper, but what I do know is that from the beginning, each time I see the show, I discover something new about Elphaba- see what I mean, when you discover something new, it makes the character more complex. Mary Kate Morrissey embodied everything about Elphaba while still bringing something new: she made me appreciate a song I always hated: I felt emotions in “No Good Deed” for once- they finally stuck, and because I came in finally realizing “I’m Not That Girl” was a heartbreaking song, I paid closer attention to the song.

Who are all my Les Mis actors and actresses? I had to go into one playbill to figure one of my casts out- my Central Piedmont Community College Cast. These are casts from the film, Central Piedmont Community College, 25th concert film, West End, and US Tour. My interpretations of these characters is a combination. I am the one who has seen five actors and actresses play all of these parts: the only exception is Eponine: I have seen four actresses plays her. My latest cast, the US Tour, I did not compare to the West End. Below are all my Les Mis principal actors/actresses. I want to say that my 2nd group of actor/actresses (my CPCC batch), I saw live 3 times- I saw it once with family and twice as an usher.

Jean Valjean: Hugh Jackman, Ryan Deal, Alfie Boe, Adam Bayjou (understudy), Nick Cartell

Javert: Russell Crowe, Brian McCarthy, Norm Lewis, Jeremy Secomb, Josh Davis

Fantine: Anne Hathaway, Lucia Stetson, Lea Salonga, Rachelle Ann Go, Melissa Mitchell

Cosette: Amanda Seyfried, Caroline Kasay, Katie Hall, Zoe Doano, Jillian Butler

Marius: Eddie Redmayne, Erik D’Esterre, Nick Jonas, Rob Houchen, Joshua Grosso

Eponine: Samantha Barks, Kayla Ferguson, Samantha Barks, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Talia Simone Robinson (understudy)

Monsieur Thenardier: Sacha Baron Cohen, Kevin Roberge, Matt Lucas, Phil Daniels, J. Anthony Crane

Madame Thenardier: Helena Bonham Carter, Karen Erbe, Jenny Galloway, Katy Secombe, Allison Guinn

Enjolras: Aaron Tveit, Harrison Bumgardner, Ramin Kairmloo, Bradley Jaden, Matt Shingledecker

What was interesting about my Les Mis actors and actresses is that I saw them in a limited amount of time. They literally came from the years 2013-2017. I saw the stage show at CPCC and the 25th anniversary concert film in 2013, saw the West End production in 2015, and saw the US Tour in 2017: so limited amount of time. I remember thinking “I don’t relate to Eponine, why do I love her”- it took an entire year to figure that out. The film actors were my first impression of the characters. My second cast, I barely remember, but do remember they felt professional: you never would expect a community college cast to feel that way. They still played a part in my interpretation of the characters. I ended up watching the 25th concert film all because Samantha Barks played Eponine.

The West End production. It was interesting that I had read the unabridged book the same summer. My excitement level was pretty high. The fact I was living my dream added something incredible to their portrayals. I was expecting a lot from those actors and actresses considering the fact it was the West End. One note told me- “this was going to be more than expected”- and I was right. The ensemble exceeded- I never knew an ensemble could exceed expectations- I thought only principal actors and actresses could do that. I did have an understudy (Adam Bayjou), and there was no way of knowing. For the first time, I felt sympathy for Javert- that says something because I do not like Javert. I could  continue talking about those actors, but it could take forever. The dynamics were extremely strong: the love triangle dynamic, the Valjean/Javert dynamic and the dynamic found between the students were stronger than I thought they could be.

I thought it was a coincidence that I had an understudy for the West End and the US Tour. I made a smart decision coming into the tour: DON’T COMPARE THE CAST TO THE WEST END CAST- smart decision. I wanted to make the most of the US cast, and considering the fact I had an understudy for Eponine, I knew how to treat her. Talia’s Eponine was stronger than Kayla’s Eponine’s: don’t know how I knew that when my community college cast is a blur. The most interesting thing about my love triangle on tour is that Joshua Grosso (Marius) was the strongest actor: he added awkwardness to Marius- that made him more charming- he embraced everything I previously knew about the character, which I figured out through the four other actors. So literally, my favorite character in the love triangle is Eponine, but the strongest actor in the love triangle was Marius. In this version of Fantine, she showed the more naive side instead of the very desperate side I saw in the West End. They dynamic that was equally as strong as on the West End was the one found between the students. I wasn’t going to say everything or else that would take too long.

So literally, my interpretation of the Les Mis characters is a combination of these actors and actresses- some of them have played a huge impact in how I view the character, and some have played a small impact. I don’t have a clear memory of all of those actors and actresses- in particular my CPCC actors..

See what I mean- different actors and actresses show you something different about the same character. You combine actors- they might show the same emotion, but in a different way. They can bring different personality traits. That is why combining portrayals are very important.

The Power of a Pause in Theatre

There can a lot of power in a pause in theatre. They can help bring out emotion. They can set up an upcoming emotion. Below I will give two examples of two actors I have seen who did give a pause. Each example helped with the emotion the song portrayed.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Ben Davis was my Captain when I saw Sound of Music in 2015. Sound of Music ended my year of musicals in 2015. His pause happened during Edelweiss. There is a moment in Edelweiss when he stopped singing. He took a pause, and Ben did a nonverbal, and that nonverbal allowed sadness to enter the song. The nonverbal only lasted a few seconds. It was in between the moment he stopped singing and the children joined in. Taking that pause was just enough for the song to have a bittersweet nature about that.

Joshua Grosso was my Marius in the US Tour in 2017. I already mentioned multiple times on this blog where this pause took place. It was right at the end of “A Little Fall of Rain”. At the end of the song, Joshua ended up pausing at the end for about 5 seconds- to me that showed he was stunned at Eponine’s death. After that pause, he ended the song with the “grow”- he didn’t sing it- he said it in a heartbreaking way- the pause allowed the emotion to build up. That one word showed just how heartbroken he was- crazy how one word can show all that emotion.

Those are two examples of how there is a lot of power in a pause in theatre.

Favorite Friendships in Musicals

You know how love shows up a LOT in musicals through ROMANCE? What about love that shows up through friendship? What are the memorable ones for me? Today, I thought I will talk about those.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

1. Elphaba and Glinda- seriously, what can this post be without Elphaba and Glinda? They are the first friendship I ever fell in love with in a musical. You never thought they would be best friends. They started out as basically enemies, than later became best friends. When they both fell in love with Fiyero, they did not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. They changed each others lives for the better. The fact that Wicked centers on their friendship is why Wicked is one of my top two favorite musicals. “For Good”, the most emotional song in the musical, really shows just how they changed each others lives for the better. It is a bittersweet moment for the two of them- it is the last moment they will see each other, but at least they can say what they meant to each other.

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2. Enjolras and the Students- I just love their brotherly love for each other. You just can’t help but love them. Then you love their hope and passion for their cause. I just love how they take in Gavroche. I really love how they keep their passion strong- even at the end when they know they are going to die.

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3. Newsies- I am going straight to the Newsies because the Newsies parallel Enjolras and the students. Just like the students, the Newsies have a cause they truly believe in and have hope in it plus have a brotherly love for it. The result is different: only difference in the Newsies is that they win. On a side note: I love the intimate bond found between Jack and Crutchie: I just love how they are best friends and that Jack is so protective of Crutchie. Jack is the one who cares more about his brothers than the strike, but it is Crutchie he cares about the most.

 

4. Rent Batch- This is another friendship I love. I love how they live how they do their best to live their lives in love and in the moment. They may not get along at times, but they do make up for it. They are this family.

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5. Lumiere and Cogsworth- I don’t what it is about these two, but there is something interesting about this friendship. I mean we are talking about a talking candle and a talking clock throughout most of Beauty and the Beast. I find something fascinating about this friendship- don’t you find something fascinating about this particular friendship?

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6. Marius and Eponine- I know this is a unpopular opinion, but I do enjoy their friendship. Look, Eponine has a dark and tragic life: at least Marius is in her life. People believe Marius is a jerk to Eponine. I do not believe that at all. Marius and Eponine are seen as close friends in the musical- I know that doesn’t exist in the book- I like how that is changed in the musical. It makes the love triangle stronger and “A Little Fall of Rain” more emotional. Marius is kind to Eponine, and that is why she falls in love with him. I know it doesn’t seem that way when Marius asks Eponine to find Cosette for him and those other errands.

I believe at the barricade, Marius asks Eponine to deliver the letter to try to protect her from the uprising. He does not want her to get hurt or worse KILLED. That is why he was worried when she came back. That is why he asked, “why she came back”. When she collapsed in his arms, he realized she was shot, and that her wound was fatal. He was devastated. He could have left her in that moment, but he didn’t. He stayed with her- that shows he is kind and sweet. By being with her in that moment, it shows an incredible act of COMPASSION. He offers her comfort and peace while she was dying. It shows that he truly did care about her.

This line after she died shows that he knew how dark her life was- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”.

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What is Fascinating About the Actors and Actresses We get in Musicals

I think one of the most powerful things about musicals belong to the actors and actresses. They shape our views of the characters and our views of the musical itself. If we are seeing a show a second or third or even fourth time, we find something new. Our first actor or actress in a role gives us our first impression of a character. Every audience member sees the same actor very differently. I might absolutely love a particular actor or actress, but the audience member next to me might not. There is nothing wrong with that: we just are interpreting it differently.

The actors and actresses we end up with is based on many factors: when we see the musical, where we are seeing it, the country we live in, the musicals we want to see and the time plus whether or not we get an understudy. Must If you get an understudy, RESPECT them no matter what. Our first impression of a character is usually important. If we see a musical more than once, we end up combining actor’s portrayals: that is the case for Les Mis and Wicked characters. I have seen those musicals more than once. Wicked was seen four times on stage. Les Mis, I watched the film, the 25th concert, and three stage casts. So my first impression of the characters of Les Mis belonged to the film. There is usually a certain actor or actress that makes us fall in love with a character.

Here are some actors and actresses that have made a lasting impact on me: movies and stage

Lisa Karlin- She was my Leading Player. She was the standout when I saw Pippin. I loved the way she presented herself. Like in “Magic to Do”, she was very playful, but I could detect a small amount hint of “evil”, Then in songs like “Glory”, she got rid of the playfulness and showed her craftiness and darkness more. She was playful around Pippin to make it seem that he could trust her. She played her as very crafty, manipulative, dark, sneaky, and playful. She even can trick the audience into believing that she was leading Pippin on the right path.

Joey Barreiro- He was my first Jack. I have seen two fantastic Jacks after him. But still to this day, Joey is still my favorite Jack. I fell in love with Jack all because of Joey. He had this incredible dreamy, romantic, and innocent nature. He showed Jack’s inner conflict perfectly and was able to act as a leader.

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Samantha Barks- she was my first Eponine. She was the reason why I developed a beautiful bond with Eponine in the first place. She is such a very talented Eponine. She perfectly showed how alone Eponine is. She was very believable as that girl. If it was not for her, I do not know if I would have fallen in love with Eponine. To this day, still is my favorite Eponine.

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Mary Kate Morrissey- True, I fell in love with Elphaba before her, but she is the Elphaba I remember the most. I saw her as standby on tour in 2016. She embodied Elphaba perfectly. She was able to bring something new to the role. She understood the role perfectly. She made me appreciate a song I always hated, and for once felt emotions in “No Good Deed”. She even altered her voice: in act I, her voice sounded innocent, but in act II, her voice was mature.

Amanda Jane Copper- She was in the same cast as Mary Kate Morrissey. you NEVER can have a brilliant Elphaba without an excellent Glinda and vice versa. Amanda was an excellent Glinda, which meant “For Good” was perfectly. Her Glinda kept on making me laugh in all of Glinda’s funny lines and she perfectly expressed Glinda’s pain in act II.

Ashley Parker Angel- I loved what he did to the role. He acted the lion cub scene as if he had a crush on Elphaba, but deep down does not seem to know it. So act I had some foreshadowing going on. I wanted to get to the bottom of this love triangle plot twist. He already decided to make his chemistry weaker with Glinda then with Elphaba.

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Jeremy Secomb- I saw him in the West End. I struggle with Javert so much. Jeremy is the only Javert I have seen that I have felt sympathy for, and that is why he had a lasting impact on me.

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Joshua Grosso- I already made this clear. He became my favorite Marius. What happens when your favorite character in the Les Mis love triangle is Eponine, but your strongest actor is Marius? That is what happened in November of last year. He was charming and awkward. He treated falling in love with Cosette like “I’m in love, but what to do with it”. At the barricades, people might think he isn’t showing enough emotion during “A Little Fall of Rain”, but it works. He focused more on comforting Eponine. Wait till the end- he almost acted a bit stunned- he did not say a word until about 5-10 seconds- then said “grow” and the way he said it hurt. So he still was able to show his hurt. His “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was very heartbreaking. So he embodied Marius perfectly and changed my perception of him.

He made Marius nearly a core favorite Les Mis character. I saw something in his Marius that made him shine.

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I could have talked about all actors and actresses that have had a lasting impact on me, but the list could have taken too long.

Who is my favorite survivor in Les Mis and why?

My blog is filled with Les Mis content.

Major Spoilers:

Les Mis is that musical where everybody dies: it kills off Fantine, Eponine, Enjolras and the students (excluding one), Gavroche, Javert, and Jean Valjean.

Only four live: Thenardiers, Cosette, and Marius. So who of the survivors is my favorite? There is no way, it can be the Thenardiers: they are the villains of the musical, and I am not a villain fan person. Then you have Cosette and Marius. Between Cosette and Marius, Marius is my favorite survivor in Les Mis.

Well, Marius gets hated for no good reason at all. He is only disliked because he loves Cosette and not Eponine; including the fact that he is oblivious that Eponine loved him. People also think that he is a jerk. Let’s get down to why he is my favorite survivor in Les Mis.

Between Marius and Cosette, he is the most complex character: I tend to love complex characters more than simple characters. By reading the book, I realized he is more complex than he seems to be. That is shown through the political conflict he goes through. He is kind, compassionate, brave, awkward, and romantic: those characteristics make him such a wonderful character. People think he isn’t kind or compassionate at all; I disagree. If he wasn’t kind, Eponine would not have fallen in love with him. His awkwardness makes him so much more charming, in my opinion. He shows compassion during Eponine’s death: he is devastated in this moment; but as she is in his arms dying, he never leaves her side- that to me is COMPASSION. He is brave by being a revolutionary. His love he has for Cosette brings HOPE to the tragic tale- if he did not fall in love with her- he would have died. He has to watch Eponine and all of this friends die- he faces a ton of trauma at the barricade. During his solo, he reflects on what he has faced during the barricade- he just lost all of his friends. My interpretation of Marius is based off the different actors I have seen, and what I have discovered from the book. I love the fact that he is based off of Victor Hugo when he was younger.


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If you had to pick, who is your favorite survivor in Les Mis?