First time You witness a death in Storytelling

One of the hardest topics found in any kind of storytelling (Opera, Musical, Book, and Ballet) belongs to death. The hardest time to experience that element is the first viewing. Depending on the character, how it is portrayed, and genre. So, how do I feel when it comes to that first moment?

Genre

Well, there is pretty much one genre where you can get excited when a character dies. That only happens in mystery- now the fun really begins because you get to start being the detective.

In pretty much all the other genres, you can get excited, angry and saddened by death. The genre where death is usually found belong to tragedies- however they still can happen in happy series and books. This does happen at times- you may not get angry at the author.

Character- Spoilers

Who gets killed does affect your emotion. Usually if it is an actual villain, I get pretty excited. Also depending on the character, a death scene can be unmemorable.

There are the obvious characters you love- that is usually when I get angry at the author. There has been one exception to this. I recently finished Shades of Magic series. Holland, White London’s Antari, does act as a secondary antagonist- so in the first two books, I didn’t even like him. But when Conjuring of Light came around, I slowly started to like him. So guess what I didn’t want to happen- I wanted him to live. Well, when he died, I didn’t get angry at the author- that was because I understood the purpose and meaning behind it: it was ultimately him who destroyed Osaron.

This sounds crazy to say- there have been some stories where I originally found deaths unmemorable. Meaning, I nearly forgot they happened. Due to that, I thought ALL deaths be that way. However, Les Mis decided to prove me wrong.

Death Scene- Spoilers

Yes, how a death is seen can affect your emotion as well. Some death scenes can be pretty intense and some less intense- does that make sense. For example, Mufasa’s death in Lion King is one of the most intense ones.

What were other memorable death scenes? Les Mis- Fantine, Eponine, Enjolras, Gavroche, The Students, and Jean Valjean. Nicholas Nickleby- Smike. Etc………There is something in common between all of these: they are not alone. Most of them actually are tragic characters: usually that is expected if a character is tragic. There have been a few exceptions: Mufasa isn’t a tragic character, but does get killed.

So it is important for a death to be memorable or else you will forget they happened. In addition, that could lead to possibly not liking a book.

Les Misérables

I am going talk more in detail here about the Les Mis deaths. Before this musical, I really believed ALL deaths were unmemorable and literally thought they couldn’t happen through song. Songs like “Come to Me”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, and “Finale”- those are ALL death songs.

Prior to “Come to Me”, Fantine has been abandoned by her lover focusing her to leave her daughter in the hands of the abusive Thenardiers, got fired from her job, and eventually turned to prostitution. She really did believe a letter she got from the Thenardiers was true, but in reality a hoax. Fantine had better hopes that her child would have a better life. She almost got sent for prison, but Valjean intervened. During “Come to Me”, Fantine was still thinking about Cosette and was still worried about her daughter’s future. Valjean, our of compassion, promised Fantine he would raise Cosette. That act of kindness made Fantine die in peace and comfort.

Even Eponine lived a tragic life. She did appear to be loved as a child, but as she got older, everything became worse. She became the neglected, unloved, and lonely teenager. No one showed her kindness- there was only one person who did. Due to the kindness Marius showed, she fell in love with him. She was also living in extreme poverty- her love for Marius was unrequited. In the end, she gave her life for Marius, the only good thing in her life. “A Little Fall of Rain” is such a touching and moving scene- Marius may have been devastated, but so glad he decided to be with her. “A Little Fall of Rain” truly does show that Marius did care about Eponine and shows how much compassion he is capable of.

Look- Gavroche, Enjolras, and the Students (excluding Marius) died for what they truly believed in. Even when Enjolras told them to leave to not waste lives, the students kept their ground and stayed. Their relationship was that strong, which was truly shown in the intimate and heartbreaking “Drink With Me”.

As with Valjean- Cosette and Marius arrived in time. Valjean was with his adopted daughter and son-in-law by his side.

I think there is some symbolism found in the Les Mis deaths. The only character who died alone is Javert- he killed himself. Out of all the characters who died, he didn’t know how to show forgiveness, love, or mercy. The vast majority of characters were not alone.

Conclusion

Yes, it is true we can get excited, angry, and saddened by deaths. Yes, we may not get angry at the author- that usually happens when we can learn the meaning and purpose of them to happen. Saddened is usually more likely to happen- of course all deaths are heartbreaking. But when it comes to villains, I am not exactly saddened, but pretty excited. That is only because villains are likely to be extremely disliked unless the antagonist isn’t a villain. We have to get excited at a mystery’s death- if we don’t, the fun doesn’t truly begin.

Crazy how just one musical changed how I perceive deaths. It is easier to find a memorable death. It is easier to find a touching and movie death. I usually am an emotional wreck when a Les Mis death happens. But when it comes to books- I never am in tears, but still feel heartbroken.

Importance of Ovens Auditorium

Blumenthal Performing Arts is home to about seven theaters. Their main theater is Belk Theater. At Belk, you can see operas, musicals, symphonies, and ballet. I saw Sound of Music, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Lion King, Newsies, Pippin, Rent, Come From Away, Mamma Mia, Porgy and Bess, and La Cage at Belk. As for operas and ballet, saw La Bohème and Nutcracker there.

Despite Belk being the main theater, it isn’t even the largest. That really surprised me when I learned that Ovens is actually bigger- Belk may have more levels, but Ovens is wider and deeper. If Ovens didn’t exist, there is a good chance many musicals never would have made it to Charlotte. Ovens is able to host musicals when something is happening at Belk. So Ovens allows for a lot more availability.

While I did not see many musicals at Ovens—–I am glad that Ovens does exist or else none of them might have made it to Blumenthal. I saw Addams Family, A Christmas Story-The Musical, Les Mis, and Wicked at Ovens. Whenever I think of Ovens, I think of Wicked: I was able to catch that musical three times on tour. The latest time I saw Wicked, I was watching it with my school. When I saw Les Mis at Ovens, it was a date with my mom: that was our 2nd date to Les Mis: the 1st was in London.

I did not like ALL the Blumenthal shows I saw, but defiantly liked most. Addams Family, Porgy and Bess, and La Cage were musicals I did not even like.

Favorite Actors/Actresses in Roles

Well, now I will write a list of my favorite actors in various roles. I know some people have seen these actors before. You don’t have to agree with everything-these are only opinions. Yes, there were be some casts where I might leave a character off- that happens to be the case if I don’t remember the others or have a hard time deciding. In addition, will be missing some shows I love.

  1. Elphaba- Mary Kate Morrissey
  2. Glinda- Amanda Jane Copper
  3. Fiyero- Ashley Parker Angel
  4. Jack Kelly- Joey Barreiro
  5. Javert- Jeremy Secomb
  6. Cosette- Jillian Butler
  7. Eponine- Samantha Barks
  8. Marius- Joshua Grosso
  9. Thenardiers- Phil Daniels and Katy Secombe
  10. Kim- Emily Bautista
  11. Chris- Anthony Festa
  12. Ellen-Stacie Bono
  13. John- J. Daughtry
  14. The Engineer- Eymard Cabling
  15. Sophie- Amanda Seyfried
  16. Maria- Julie Andrews
  17. Aladdin- Mena Massoud
  18. Jasmine- Naomi Scott
  19. Babkak, Omar, and Kassim- Zach Bencal, Ben Chavez Colt Prattez
  20. Beast- Dan Stevens
  21. Belle- Emma Watson
  22. Simba- Jared Nixon
  23. Nala- Nia Halloway
  24. Joseph- Donny Osmond
  25. Leading Player- Lisa Karlin
  26. Pippin- Sam Lips

This list is all I have for now.

Some of these actors have no choice, but to be my favorite. That ends up being the case if I only have one cast or if they are the only ones I remember. A few of these are understudies: Mary Kate Morrissey, Lisa Karlin, and Eymard Cabling. A few of them were the first in a role- so that sometimes gives them a huge advantage.

What about you, what are some of your favorite actors in a role?

Added Songs in Musicals

Sometimes when a musical movie ends up being a stage show, there are usually added songs. Same applies to when a stage show becomes a movie. So, what are some of my favorite added songs.

  1. Suddenly
  2. Evermore
  3. If I Can’t Love Her
  4. A Change in Me
  5. Me
  6. Home
  7. Proud of Your Boy
  8. Million Miles Away
  9. High Adventure
  10. Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim
  11. These Palace Walls
  12. They Live in You
  13. Shadowland
  14. Endless Night
  15. Watch What Happens
  16. Letter From the Refuge
  17. Something to Believe In
  18. Dangerous to Dream
  19. Monster
  20. What do you Know about Love
  21. True Love- I still can’t believe Frozen cut this song out. Hello, Anna is one of your two protagonists. This was her only solo in the stage show, which happened at a prominent time in her storyline. For me, this still counts as a piece of Frozen

Of all of these songs, it was the hardest writing down some of the added songs in Frozen. I was supposed to see Frozen in October, but got postponed. I am like, why would Frozen be postponed in May? This wasn’t even a decision made by Blumenthal, but by Disney instead.

While it is difficult knowing Broadway is dark until 2021, I know that it will come back. Same applies to Blumenthal- Blumenthal is why I am able to see musicals. They host the touring productions that come to Charlotte. While Frozen and Anastasia got postponed, at least I got to see one musical this year. I got to see Come From Away. I even got to see La Bohème, which my parents were not going to get tickets for: my mom and I got tickets out of the blue by a member of my family church.

Here is what another problem- you can’t own Letter from the Refuge or A Change in Me. I really want to own those, but can’t. They just aren’t part of their soundtracks.

What are some of your favorite added songs?

Three Sections I Can Divide Musicals In

Well, I can easily separate meaningful musicals into three categories. Those are my childhood musicals, Fletcher musicals, and college musicals. These are all self-explanatory meaning you can easily describe all three. Let me put this into more perspective.

My childhood musicals were ALL musicals that entered my life before I started middle school. Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wizard of OZ, Aladdin, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie fit under this category.

What about the Fletcher musicals? Well, I call these Fletcher musicals because they entered my life when I was still a student at Fletcher. I went to that school from 6th -12th grade. That school was a small K-12 school. Most of the musicals I saw in this time frame were movie musicals. These musicals were Wicked, Mamma Mia, Enchanted, and The High School Musical series. So this set of musicals were the smallest.

College Musicals- I went to two colleges. Central Piedmont Community College and Gardner Webb University were the ones I went to. There were a lot of musicals I fell in love. They were Rent, Godspell, Les Mis, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Newsies, Phantom of the Opera, Frozen, Man of La Mancha, White Christmas, Music Man, Pippin, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Greatest Showman, and Fiddler on the Roof. This time frame was where my passion for musicals came from- thanks to Les Mis, which challenged everything. That is why there is a lot. What was amazing about CPCC is just how professional they feel: I literally called their production of “Les Mis” phenomenal. CPCC is where I started to get more into theatre: I ushered twice for Les Mis and once for Some Enchanted Evening.