Posters and Paintings in my Room

In my room at college, I have posters of Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Pippin and two paintings with quotes from Les Mis. I love all four musicals and they all bring something unique to the musical world. In this post I will talk about why I love each of these musicals.

Wicked- this was the musical of the four that I have loved the longest. It has been part of my for eleven years and was the first musical I saw on Broadway. Everything about this musical feels Ozian. The dancing, the spectacle, the songs, character names all feel Ozian. Now I love the musical for the dance, spectacle, songs, characters, and story. The center core of Wicked is friendship, which is between Elphaba and Glinda and then on top of that there is the complex, mature, and strong love triangle where the two best friends are involved, who are both in love with Fiyero. These three characters are the characters I find the biggest emotional connection to.

I have such a strong emotional connection to Wicked. I began to understand the emotional nature through Wicked. So Wicked has changed me for the better and sparked my love for musicals.

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Phantom of the Opera- I first heard the songs in 2013, but did not see the musical until 2014. I find this musical to be both haunting and beautiful. The plot is basically a dark and mysterious and beautiful love triangle between the Phantom, Raoul, and Christine. Its songs are gorgeous and is spellbinding and when I saw it for the first time, I was choked up. Raoul and Christine make up such a beautiful couple, which is part of the reason why I love both of them. What makes the Phantom so interesting is that he is so mysterious and dark.

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Pippin- I first saw this musical two years ago. It was “Corner of the Sky” that got me interested in seeing the musical. This musical uses circus elements for the spectacle and that is one reason why it is unique. Like Wicked, it is a Stephen Swartz musical so it has an incredible score. Its antagonist, the Leading Player, is the narrator of the piece, which is interesting and she is such an intriguing characters because she is so crafty, manipulative, dark and at times playful. She is even more intriguing then the protagonist, Pippin, who is trying to find where he belongs.

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Les Mis- there is lots to say when it comes to this musical, which would turn my love of musicals into a passion. Les Mis taught me that tragic musicals exist and yes, I already discovered the emotion of sad before Les Mis, but this musical brought me to the emotion of heartbreak. It has an emotional nature that is so powerful that it is so hard to describe its capability level. This story feels so human so I find the center core of this musical to be about humanity. Its score is brilliant and well-crafted and reduces me to tears. Its characters are so complex and incredible, which range from the ex-convict and compassionate Jean Valjean, the obsessive and strict Javert, the loving and tragic Fantine, the innocent Cosette, the sweet, revolutionary and romantic Marius, the brave and loyal Eponine, the greedy and neglectful Thenardiers, and the passionate Enjolras . There are so many ways I love this musical.

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But what do all four of these have in common? For starters, the most obvious is that they have songs I love, which is the first step to loving a musical. Found within the story is a romance aspects-only one of them does not have a love triangle, which is Pippin. They all share the emotions of excitement, love, and joy. It is amazing how varied their plots and characters and songs are. One of them has a score that feel Ozian, one has a score that is so haunting and beautiful and the other one has a passionate, epic and powerful score.

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My Weekend in Review

I decided to talk about this past weekend. The reason why is because I have been so busy this weekend. I will talk about each day separately.

Friday: I had three classes, which were Deviant Behavior, which I had a test in, Geology, and The Community. But the real fun wasn’t until 9:00 at night. I got to watch the live Beauty and the Beast movie on the QUAD. I got to watch it on a blanket and there was popcorn. Due to captions being up, I got to sing along to the songs. I still love this movie and hope to own it.

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Saturday: Part of the day was spent studying. For lunch, I ended up going to a Mexican restaurant with one of my best friends. But for dinner, I went to her suite and had some Lasagna before heading out to a football game and saw it with other friends. I am not a big fan of watching football games, but glad I went and stayed for only the first half and the halftime show. I ended up getting cookie dough Dippin Dots.

Sunday: in the morning, I went to a worship service that Gardner Webb had at their Dover Chapel. Glad I went to that. I also spent part of the day studying and just spending time with suite-mates. Then later that night, I went to Bingo at the suites. I ended up getting an unlucky set of cards because I did not win anything, but it was still fun. But the most inconvenient thing that happened that night was that after going to bed around 11:30, the fire alarm went off around midnight-oh well.

So it turns out, that this weekend was filled with fun. One of my main goals of this Senior Year was to make the most of it. I have other fun weekend coming up. This coming weekend I am volunteering at Miracle Hill, a homeless shelter to serve lunch with my club. The following weekend, I am going home to Charlotte to see Rent live for the first time with my mom and dad. The weekend after that I am house managing the first show of this year. But on that same weekend on Saturday, I am participating in the homecoming parade and being house manager. Then the first weekend of November, I am going to Greenville with my school to see Les Mis.

Describing Musical Soundtracks

Today, I decided to describe some of my favorite musical soundtracks.

  1. Les Mis- revolutionary, passionate, epic, heart-renching
  2. Wicked- fun, exciting, Ozian
  3. Sound of Music- exciting, heartwarming
  4. Newsies- passionate, exciting, fun
  5. Beauty and the Beast- fun, exciting, magical, romantic, heartwarming
  6. South Pacific- exciting, romantic
  7. Pippin- exciting
  8. Man of La Mancha- hispanic-sounding
  9. Annie- exciting, optimistic
  10. Music Man- fun, exciting, light-hearted
  11. Phantom of the Opera- haunting, romantic, beautiful
  12. Rent- life
  13. Grease- exciting, fun

How would you describe some of your favorite musical soundtracks? Are the words I picked accurate?

Sympathy and Empathy in Musicals

The word sympathy reminds me of musicals. A musical has the advantage of song to make you feel for the characters. They want you to feel empathy for the characters, but sometimes all you can feel sympathy for them especially if you are feeling for a character you don’t like.

The emotions the actors are played to the audience makes the audience feel what the character is feeling. In my eyes, I feel like the characters personally know everyone in the audience and are comfortable with sharing their emotions to the audience even if they are not willing to share it to the other characters.

Some musical emotions are hard to feel and are tough. You don’t want the characters to go through what they are going through at times, but you still learn to care about them and they end up living in you. The negative emotions are the best example of feeling sympathy and eventually empathy for them. I don’t mind feeling the negative emotions especially if I fall in love with the sad and heartbreaking songs and fall in love with the character and plot because you feel like you are ingrained into the plot and when that happens, you end up having a positive experience.

What makes the songs make you feel for the characters? Well, for starters, songs are usually more powerful than words alone. Sometimes a musical’s use of crescendos makes a song feel strong and powerful, which is a very unique thing to see. The crescendo makes you see just how strong a character is and that can make you feel the emotions the song is trying to convey. There are key changes when it comes to a crescendo. Songs like “On My Own”, “One Day More”, “Defying Gravity” among others have a use of crescendos and crescendos help with emotions a lot. It lifts the song and makes a song even more powerful.

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I feel like the melody shows the nature of the emotions. A slow and quiet song is how you end up feeling love and the sad or heartbreaking songs fit under that category as well. “I’m Not That Girl” is an unrequited love, but because the melody stays consistent throughout, it ¬†shows that Elphaba’s love for Fiyero is not that strong at that point in the story. But with the case of “On My Own”, which is another unrequited love song, the melody which has this whole introduction shows just dark and empty Eponine’s life is and when that sudden key changes after “all I see is him and me forever and forever”, the melody has a sudden key change and slowly builds up over time sells how just strong and deep Eponine’s love for Marius is. So melody does play a part in the emotion of the song. The exciting songs have the pattern of starting and suddenly speeds up and that gives you the wow factor that an exciting is supposed to have.

What is your opinion about feeling sympathy and empathy in musicals? Do you like the use of crescendos in musicals? Why you think songs bring out the emotions in the characters better than words alone?

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Letter to Les Mis Characters

Dear Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Eponine, Marius, Cosette, Monsiuer and Madame Thenardier, Enjolras, and rest of the students,

All of you are an important part of my life. You all create such a heartfelt and inspirational story. You all showed me just how amazing a tragic tale could be and that tragedies are way more than being sad. Now I will talk about you all individually.

Major Spoilers:

Jean Valjean, you are one of my favorite literary and musical protagonists. I love the spiritual transformation you take throughout the tale. You taught me that people can raise above their upbringing. You showed me just how one person can impact someone’s life and that is something you learned from the bishop. I love that you promised to raise Fantine’s daughter as your own. I am glad you rescued Cosette and gave her a better life. I love the compassion you show to others. Love that you rescued Marius due to the love you love for Cosette. Boy there is so much I could say about your character. Your redemption is so strong and glad you got to die with Cosette and Marius by your side.

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Javert, you belong in Les Mis despite the fact that I am not a big fan of your character mainly because I love Jean Valjean. I cannot believe you always believed that people would never change. You showed me that there are people that do see the world in black and white. Still, you are very hard to find ground with just because of how complex you are as a character. All you wanted to do was recapture Valjean and send him back to prison. I wish you had realized that Valjean did become a better person. But you still fit in Les Mis. In a way I like you because you are one of the most complex literary antagonists and you do belong in Les Mis.

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Fantine, oh my, your story is so hard to watch because it is so heartbreaking. I cannot believe that the biological father of your daughter abandoned you and left you to be a single mom. I wish you did not leave Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers because they treated her horribly. Boy, at the factory, I wish those factory women never read that letter. Still you had to turn to prostitution in order to provide for Cosette. I love the love you have for Cosette. I wish you had you realized that the Thenardiers were scamming you out of money. I am so glad that Valjean came to the rescue and promised to raise your daughter as his own. He showed you compassion as you were dying and at least you were able to die in peace and comfort after Valjean made that promise.

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Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, I completely hate you, but at the same time I love the two of you. You provided the much needed comic relief, but at the same time hated you for how you treated Cosette when she was living there. You horribly abused her and made her a servant of your inn. You even were scamming Fantine out of money spreading false lies about Cosette. Well, Valjean came for Cosette and rescued her, but then you started horribly abusing Eponine and kicked Gavroche out of your house. Boy you are so neglectful and unloving towards your children. You raised Eponine to be a criminal and a thief. In a weird way, you made me realize just how fortunate I am to be living in a loving family.

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Eponine, you are one of my favorite characters in the musical. As a child, you appeared to be loved by your parents, but things were eventually going to get darker and even worse. Your parents horribly abused you and raised you to be a thief and a criminal so you lived a very horrible and dark life. Boy, at least you found light through Marius, the only good thing in your life and the only person who showed you kindness and that is what moved you to love him. At least you had him in your life even though he didn’t love you. Still, I love the way you respond to your unrequited love. You continued to stand by Marius’ side and would do anything for him so you risked your life several times. I love that you died in his arms and even though you were shot, you were at peace because you were in the arms of the man you loved. Still, you did not have many good things in your life and you were able to raise above your upbringing. Boy, there is so much I could say about you and why I love you.

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Cosette, I am so glad Jean Valjean rescued you from the Thenardiers and you were so strong as a child and always hoped you would be rescued. You ended up being in better hands with Jean Valjean. He was such an incredible father even though you and him were always on the run from Javert. Still, I love that you represent hope and light in Les Mis. You and Marius make a wonderful couple. That helps bring even more hope and light to the tale. I cannot believe that your adopted father died at the end, but at least you still had Marius. You may not be as developed as some of the other characters, but I love what you represent.

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Marius, I love the relationship you have with the students, Eponine, and Cosette. You were a revolutionary part of the students. In the case of Eponine, I love that you were in her life because she needed it because you gave light in her life. So glad that you showed your kindness and were a good friend towards her. Yes, she eventually dies and that leaves you heartbroken, but I am glad you stayed brave and stayed by her side as she lay dying from a gunshot wound. On top of that trauma, the rest of your friends died, but at least you were rescued by Jean Valjean, Cosette’s adopted father. You are such a sweet, kind, and compassionate person. You and Cosette are a beautiful couple and she helped you recover from the trauma you faced at the barricade.

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Enjolras, Gavroche, and the students, I love that you stand up for what you believe in. Enjolras, you are so passionate towards the uprising and you make such a wonderful leader. I love how all you take in Gavroche and you were like his family. Every single one of you stayed passionate towards the end even when you knew the uprising will most likely fail. I just love the brotherly love you have for each other. Still, I could on and on about why I love you all.

What are your thoughts on the Les Mis characters?

Favorite Openings in Musicals

These are some of my favorite openings in musicals.

Wicked- I love this opening because the dragon on the set breathes fire and the monkeys start the show, which quickly transport you to OZ. The monkeys open up the curtain.

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Les Mis- what makes this a wonderful opening is its overture leading up to the action. When I saw Les Mis in the West End, all it took was hearing the first couple of notes to get invested in the story. The opening notes of Les Mis are what makes this opening wonderful

Newsies- the opening is wonderful due to a wonderful overture. The opening scene is what really makes it memorable. You are introduced to Jack Kelly, the main character and leader of the Newsies. You learn of his close bond to Crutchie, who has a bum leg. Jack’s relationship to Crtuchie is how you quickly get emotionally bonded to the plot

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Pippin- the opening of the reveal of Pippin is one of the best ever. At the beginning, there is an illusion of the leader player in the curtain and she just appears and acts as the narrator of the musical. So the moment the curtain drops, you automatically become wowed by all of the circus elements you are seeing.

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Phantom of the Opera- the opening for me begins after the auction scene at the beginning. The overture is so beautiful and I just couldn’t take my eyes of the chandelier for the entire overture. It happened three years ago and I was spellbound by the time the overture started.

What are your favorite openings in musicals?

Musical Couples That Do Not Include the Main Character

In connection to yesterday’s post, I decided to talk about some of the musical couples I did not talk about. Today, I will bring up couples that are not home to the main protagonist. That list is even smaller than the couples where the main character is involved.

  1. Marius and Cosette
  2. Will Parker and Ado Annie
  3. Joe Cable and Liat
  4. Marueen and Joanne
  5. Collins and Angel
  6. Penny and Seaweed

What are couples where the main character is not involved?