All musical theatre fans have their favorite musicals. In each musical, there is usually a song that becomes their favorite. I decided to write a list of some of my favorite musicals and what my favorite song is.
Les Mis- (Do I have to say more); this is an exception where I can’t pick
Sound of Music- Edelweiss
Phantom of the Opera- either Music of the Night or All I Ask of You
What do I mean by the non-survivors? These are the characters who die in musicals. So this will be SPOILER HEAVY. I used to think a character death would be not memorable, but I learned my lesson.
Enjolras and the students
It was Les Mis that taught me that I can love a character death. I love more characters who survive than characters who don’t survive. A lot of that it because I can’t think of more. Death in musicals are not EASY to watch, but you have to understand WHY they had to happen- all of these deaths had to happen. Yes, character death is sad, and you are heartbroken because you loved the character. The only way they will continue to live is in you.
Yesterday, my question was who was my favorite survivor in Les Mis. I realized that I actually loved more survivors than non-survivors. I also knew about more characters who lived than died in musicals.
Maria (Sound of Music)
Von Trapp Children
This is a list of more than 33 characters. After all, the Newsies take up the majority of the cast, the Von Trapp children are 7 characters, and the same applies to the Annie orphans in Annie (at least five characters).
I have known musicals are emotional since middle school. Wicked was the reasoning behind this. Wicked told me about four core emotions, which were excitement, love, joy, and sad. The emotional musicals are the ones that I tend to be drawn to the most. What exactly makes an emotional musical?
The emotional musicals tend to have a score that has BOTH positive and negative emotions. When I say negative emotions, I mean strong enough to create a response- not mild. Not all sad songs are heartbreaking, but all heartbreaking songs are sad. Now I will talk about some of the examples of the musicals I call emotional.
Major and Minor Spoilers:
For a lot of act I, Newsies does not seem to fit under emotional musicals. The songs already are catchy and exciting. The only kind of emotional song that comes to mind already are “Santa Fe (Prologue)”, but that song is hopeful- however I believe that song and “Something to Believe In” does play their part in Newsies being emotional. So why is Newsies emotional? Look right after “Seize the Day?”
This big fight breaks out. Jack, the leader of the strike, witnesses all of this. This upsets him a great deal, but hurts him the most when he sees Crutchie being arrested. All of this shows that Jack cares a lot about the strike. If you remember Jack and Crutchie share quite an intimate bond- that is shown in the first song. All of this leads into “Santa Fe”, which is a sad song. So that song does make Newsies an emotional song.
There is a 2nd moment in Newsies that makes it an emotional musical. Crutchie has a solo that was added when the musical was launched as a tour. Crutchie is one of the principal actors. The song, “Letter From the Refuge”, was added, and that song is heartbreaking. So those two songs make Newsies an emotional musical.
Beauty and the Beast
This musical, like Newsies, is a Disney musical. This musical is a romance- so ALL the romantic songs are emotional. From “Something There” to “Beauty and the Beast”- those help make the musical emotional. Beauty and the Beast still has their heartbreaking songs- in the stage show, “home” is one of the more emotional songs and so is the heartbreaking “If I Can’t Love Her” and “If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”. All of those songs combined are why Beauty and the Beast is emotional.
This is yet another Disney musical that is emotional. After all, the emotional nature of the show starts after Scar kills his brother. That was when the storyline kicked off. Seeing the effect it has on Young Simba is heartbreaking (before he runs away). Mufasa’s death almost made me cry last year when I saw Lion King. Lion King is home to songs such as “Shadowland” and “Endless Night”. Even the romantic “Can You Fell the Love Tonight” plays a part in the emotional nature of Lion King. So Disney does do a good job on making a musical emotional at times.
Wicked is for sure a musical with a lot of comic moments. It still has a serious side to it. Its’ center core is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. At the same time, it has a love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. There are songs such as the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” and bittersweet “For Good”. “For Good” is the most emotional song of the musical. “No Good Deed” shows negative emotions as well- which took 9 and 1/2 years for me to notice any sort of emotions in it. One of its more major topics is discrimination- but each time I keep on focusing much more on the friendship and the love triangle that I keep on not exploring the more serious side of Wicked.
South Pacific is a romance that is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. That would mean one couple is more light-hearted than the other. Romance musicals have multiple emotional moments. Emelie does sing the heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine”. Once you see South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime” does become almost more emotional- that is the song that focuses on List and Joe Cable- that couple is actually tragic. One of South Pacific’s major topics it focuses on is racism.
Rent is a sad musical, so it obviously is an emotional musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It talks about how to live life in the time you have. Rent is one of those musicals that can make me an emotional wreck- songs like “Will I”, “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are moments that usually get to me.
Les Mis is even more tragic than Rent. Les Mis feels like you are hit with tragedy after tragedy after tragedy- it is like the tragic events never stop. At the same time, there is this beautiful underlying spirituality. Compassion is shown at death scenes, hope is shown when something tragic does happen, and so on. I am truly an emotional wreck at Les Mis.
It is February, and I think it is appropriate to talk about the most common theme in musical theatre. Most likely when you see a musical, you will see romance: either you just see a couple or you come across a love triangle. It is not just love triangles that are complex- even a couple alone is complex. It is their love song that makes you realize they have fallen in love- but that is not always the case. MAJOR OR MINOR SPOILERS.
I feel like there is something quite magical about Disney couples. Songs like “Something to Believe In”, “A Whole New World”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” have something special about them. I love all of the couples associated with them. These couples belong to Katherine and Jack, Jasmine and Aladdin, Belle and Beast, and Nala and Simba. If you think about it, Belle and Beast are home to a love triangle- after all, Gaston wants to marry Belle for the entire musical. Belle and Beast is a couple that falls in love over time- first Belle despises Beast- then they develop feelings for each other during “Something There”- and then you finally have “Beauty and the Beast”. There is a heartbreaking song in the midst of all of this- “If I Can’t Love Her” in this stage show- or its “Evermore” if you watch the 2017 movie.
Love Triangles (Les Mis, Phantom, Wicked)
Les Mis: Cosette x Marius x Eponine
The couple is Cosette and Marius and the unrequited love belongs to Eponine. Cosette and Eponine have literally switched places in life- Cosette had a horrible childhood while Eponine had a better childhood- then Eponine’s life gets even worse, and Cosette’s life improves when Valjean rescues her from the Thenardiers, who are Eponine’s parents. When Cosette leaves, Eponine is mistreated by her parents, and is raised to be a thief and criminal. When Marius enters her life, he treats her with kindness- that is why she fell in love with him- the sad truth is he is the only person who treats her with kindness- as a matter of fact, he is the only good thing in her life.
Then the love triangle happens- Marius bumps into Cosette, and the two of them automatically fell in love with each other. Eponine notices that they both love each other. She will do anything for Marius- she does end up finding Cosette for him. She risks her life several times for Marius. She ends up protecting Marius from her father when he was about to rob Valjean’s house (Marius was there at the time). This was why she went to the barricade, and why she sacrificed her life for him. I love how in this love triangle, you end up feeling for all three of them at once- first when Marius and Cosette bump into each other and second at “Heart Full of Love”- it starts out as a duet- then when Eponine joins in- you get so confused- you end up feeling heartbroken for Eponine, but incredible for Marius and Cosette- that is why you are confused. Marius and Cosette are such an adorable couple- those are my favorite survivors of Les Mis- Marius in particular.
Phantom of the Opera: Raoul x Christine x Phantom
Unlike Les Mis, the entire story is a love triangle. Raoul and Christine are the couple while Phantom gets the unrequited love. Raoul and Christine are an adorable couple. Raoul would do anything to protect Christine from the Phantom. Phantom does not accept, cope, or deal with his unrequited love well. His response is extremely negative- he responds in anger and revenge- he plans to murder Raoul- at the end of the show- he makes Christine choose between choosing him or killing Raoul (not the best response).
Wicked: Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda
Wicked is the most complex out of all three of these love triangles. In act I, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple while Elphaba is dealing with unrequited love. She does not pursue Fiyero because of her best friend. In act II, the unrequited love jumps to Glinda- now Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple- that becomes the final result. So this love triangle has a plot twist- the other two love triangles has only one character dealing with unrequited love- Wicked on the other hand has two characters- both Elphaba and Glinda do not pursue Fiyero to keep their friendship alive. They do not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. I believe it shows their loyalty towards each other and helps strengthen their friendship. What I love about this love triangle is that it develops in the same way the characters do- it does not truly mature until the characters do. Wicked’s love triangle is my FAVORITE love triangle.
Elphaba wasn’t planning on falling in love with Fiyero. She could not stand Fiyero at first. He was a jerk at first- his overall arc is one of the things I love watching. He went from this jerk to softening up to becoming this mature and courageous young man. Elphaba truly matured during “Defying Gravity”. See what I mean- the love triangle did not truly mature until the characters did.
Why does the plot twist happen- I never knew why the first three times I saw the musical. I decided to get some answers the 4th time. I believe Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba at Shiz in act I, but deep down didn’t realize it. I believe he realized he was in love with Elphaba at the beginning of act II. He decided to have a stronger chemistry with Elphaba and a weaker chemistry with Glinda in the first act foreshadowing the plot twist. This was all based off of Ashley Parker Angel’s portrayal I saw the 4th time. At least- some things are clearer this time around.
Mimi and Roger
Mimi and Roger is one of the couples that is NOT part of a love triangle that is complex. So you see, there couples that are complex that don’t need to be a love triangle. Mimi and Roger are one of those couples. Mimi and Roger are my favorite Rent couple, and I still struggle to understand that. They have have HIV, and have other struggles. They find an attachment in “Light My Candle”- BUT Roger is unwilling to be in a relationship because of some complications that happened in his most recent relationship. It is during “I Should Tell You” is finally when Roger commits to a relationship. They are a couple who fights at times, but still love each other. Mimi and Roger are the main couple in Rent. I find them to be a realistic couple.
Maureen and Joanne
This couple is the most problematic relationship in Rent. They fight the most. Joanne always gets so annoyed with Maureen. They are a Lesbian couple- that is something that is unique about this couple. Maureen is very crazy- it is very easy to notice it about her.
Collins and Angel
Just like Mimi and Roger, they have HIV. They are a gay couple as well. They make the most out of their relationship, which is especially clear during “I’ll Cover You”. They never have problems- unlike the other two couples. Knowing about their situation (with the HIV)- they live everyday as if its their last.
Harold Hill and Marian
What I love about this couple being in Music Man is that it gives this musical an emotional feel. After all, it is a very light-hearted musical. So the main emotional feel belongs to the romance. Marian helps protect Harold Hill from being caught when she finds out he is a conman. I don’t think she was planning on falling with him.
If I go on talking about Romance in musicals- it would go on forever. Most of the characters who fell in love are young- as in their 20s and teens. Romance is a combo of innocence, magic, vulnerability, and fragility. The emotions vary as well- love, joy, heartbreak, sad, anger, and revenge- wonder why the negative emotions take up most of them in terms of the ones I can name. Romance does not have to take up JUST the couples- it also has to do with tragic love stories, unrequited love, and breakups.
One of the most frustrating questions I am asked as a musical theatre fanatic is if I prefer classical musicals over contemporary or vice versa- what happens if you are both. I decided to talk about the question here. I will talk about a number of the musicals I love and the ones I am interested in seeing.
These are musicals people tend to think of that come before the 21st century. I will talk about the ones that I love that come before then.
I love Music Man for how light-hearted and happy it is. I love its song and plot.
Sound of Music
This was and still is a childhood meaningful musical. The songs are fun and very easy to sing along to. Its plot is very easy to fall in love with. Sound of Music is very easy to fall in love with.
One of the things that drew me to South Pacific is the fact that it is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Its songs are both fun and emotional. This musical is a romance, and like any Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, it focuses on two couples- one of which is more light-hearted and the other of which more serious.
Singing in the Rain
I love Singing in the Rain for some of the same reasons why I love Music Man. It has the light-hearted and fun nature. You want musicals like that to help balance out musicals out.
This is another musical I quite enjoy. It has a collection of fun and emotional songs. I love it when songs in musicals (like South Pacific) are home to positive and negative emotions. Incredible plot- after all, this is based off Dickens’ Oliver Twist.
Fiddler on the Roof
Like all of these musicals, I love the songs in Fiddler on the Roof.
This musical, like Sound of Music, is a meaningful childhood musical. I have always related to Annie. I think that is why I always loved Annie. Its catchy songs, and its incredible plot are reasons why I love Annie so much.
There are several reasons why I love Les Mis. I love how powerful, epic, powerful, and highly emotional it is. I love how so intricate its plot- literally if one thing is out, the entire plot is ruined. The characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Usually in a musical- I know my favorite song, but in Les Mis- there is no way I can pick. Les Mis is the reason why I am passionate about musicals. Les Mis always makes me an emotional wreck- either by songs alone, the film, or the stage show. It disproved many things I thought a musical was growing up.
Phantom of the Opera
I love the spellbinding and mysterious nature of Phantom of the Opera. Its’ love triangle is dark, suspenseful, angelic, and beautiful. This musical is hauntingly beautiful in so many ways. I was spellbound and choked up when I saw it.
Beauty and the Beast
It is quite an enchanting and magical musical. Its characters are extremely memorable- from Belle to Beast to the enchanted objects. Its songs are extremely energetic, but at the same time there are the more emotional songs at times.
I love how the animals are created in Lion King. Also love the energetic and emotional nature of the songs in this musical. It has such a memorable plot.
Now we are in the more contemporary musicals. It sounds like I love a number of classical musicals- there are other classical musical I love (just gives you an idea). Now we are into the musicals of the 21st century
Just like Music Man and Singing in the Rain, it has the overall light-hearted nature. I love how fun the numbers are- that is the main reason why I love Mamma Mia.
Of all the contemporary musicals, Wicked is my favorite. Wicked was responsible for sparking my love for musicals. I love that the two protagonists in Wicked are two strong females. The story is about Elphaba (AKA The Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda’s relationship. Everything- from songs, to costumes (everything) feels OZian. Wicked was the reason why I knew what an emotional connection was; what it meant for a musical theatre character and plot to be complex; and where I learned the emotional side of musicals. Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical character. Wicked is home to my favorite musical theatre love triangle. The only characters I emotionally connected to in Wicked are Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda.
Newsies is one of the newest musicals of my life. I love the bond all of them share especially the intimate one found between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. I love seeing characters who stand up for what they believe in. The dancing I saw in Newsies was mind-blowing. The songs are energetic and emotional.
While I still haven’t seen the stage show, I still love the musical. It all started with the film- I fell in love with the movie; the plot, the characters (except for some- the bad guys are the ones I did not like), and the songs from the film. When I first heard it was coming to stage, I was excited. I eventually began to listen to some of the new songs, and I fell in love with the new songs I listened to. I believe the stage show will be more emotional, which will mean it will be stronger and more believable, than the movie. I recently heard that Fall 2019, a US Tour be launched- cannot wait- hopefully in Charlotte’s 2019-2020: Frozen will be part of it.
Other Contemporary Musicals I Want to See
Anastasia- got interested after hearing some songs in 2018
Something Rotten- got interested after some songs as well (don’t remember what year
So, about am I a classical musical theatre fan or about a contemporary musical fan? I believe I am both. I know, I have seen more musicals that are pre-21st century. The musicals I see has to do with what musicals are on tour- and which ones I choose to see during the season. I am both- just doesn’t seem that way.
This post is dedicated to the musicals that I love that began with film. It is interesting looking at those- because some of them are childhood musicals and some entered my life past childhood when I was in high school and some entered my life as a college student.
Annie- This is one of my childhood musicals. It at one point was my favorite musical. I was optimistic as a child, and I think that was a huge reason why I was drawn to Annie. There is something special about loving a musical since you were a child. There is kind of nostalgia attached to it. The beginning of my love was the 1982 movie. Later in 2014 at the age of 20, I finally saw the stage show, and I did feel like a kid again. My favorite song in Annie is “Tomorrow”.
Sound of Music- This falls in the same category that Annie falls into- childhood musical. Who can’t love Sound of Music when they see it in film or stage. My favorite song was Edelweiss and still is- it was my first piano recital song. The songs are easy to sing along to. I saw the stage show in 2015 at the age of 21, and now love Sound of Music more than ever. I did feel like a kid again watching it- Edelweiss is more emotional than it used to be.
Mamma Mia- I fell in love with this in high school (I think). Cannot believe that just year, Mamma Mia reached a huge milestone in my life- last marked ten years since I fell in love with it. It is very happy and light-hearted. So I was 14 when I fell in love with Mamma Mia.
Les Mis- I was 18 when I first saw the movie of Les Mis, but 19 when I became a fan of the movie. Yes, that sounds confusing, but I am going to explain.
I did first see the movie December 2012. I came into the film blind to a number of things. I did hear “I Dreamed a Dream” before. I was unsure coming in. After Fantine died: I realized something: Les Mis was a tragedy- I was shocked and confused- I did not know to respond. Tragedy was a genre I never saw in musicals and a genre I was close-minded to. At the end, I did not know if I liked Les Mis. Despite the confusion, I started researching the musical (not knowing why). So rocky start.
I do not know why, but I gave the film a 2nd chance. I still sometimes wish I know why I gave it a 2nd chance, but glad I did it give a 2nd chance. If I didn’t give the film a 2nd chance, Les Mis would not have been a part of my life. This time, I was aware that Les Mis was a tragedy so it would not come as much of a shock. I began to realize there was something special in Les Mis. So my love for Les Mis began the 2nd time I saw the film, and that was in 2013. There are so many reasons why I love Les Mis- the brilliant songs, the tragic, but inspiring story, and the characters. I cannot put into words why I love Les Mis.
Man of La Mancha- I don’t know what year it was when I first saw the film of Man of La Mancha. However, I know I was still a college student. I remember doing a Spanish project on the character, Don Quixote, who is a character from the book, Don Quixote. I was fascinated by the fact that he is a tragicomic character. Tragicomic does sound like an unusual sort of type of character- those characters are tragic and comic at the same time. Due to that project I wanted to see Man of La Mancha, which is based off of the book. Man of La Mancha is one of the musicals that barely gets attention on this blog.
For someone who loves the language, Spanish, I loved being able to see the movie musical. The songs do have a hispanic feel in some way. I do love Man of La Mancha. I just haven’t really mentioned that I love it.
Beauty and the Beast- I am a 90s kid, so you know I grew up with the Disney classics that include Beauty and the Beast. I did kind of at one point sort of forget about Beauty and the Beast at one point- did not mean to do. However, my love for Beauty and the Beast still began with the classic movie from the 1990s. Even I did kind of forget, I never forget about the song, “Beauty and the Beast”- I don’t know what it is, but there is something about Disney love songs that are so magical and just have this kind of innocence. In 2017- when I saw the live action Beauty and the Beast movie, I was reminded of my love for Beauty and the Beast many many years ago.
Lion King/ Aladdin- The same thing did happen with Aladdin and Lion King. I did kind of forget about them, but never forgot about the main love song- “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “A Whole New World”- so if I remembered those songs, there had to be have been some kind of memory. That is because after elementary school (at some point)- I just stopped watching them. At least I remembered the main love song.
White Christmas- this is one of my favorite holiday movies. It is one of the main three Christmas movies I want to see every Christmas holiday. It is hard to exactly describe why I love it.
Fiddler on the Roof- I got to see this in 2014 when a church friend leant us 5 movies before a snow storm, which was back when I was a student at CPCC. School was cancelled for about two days. So part of what I did was watch the movie musicals that I was leant. Fiddler on the Roof was one of the movies. I love Fiddler on the Roof- despite the actual movie musical being 3 hours long- yes, I don’t mind stage musicals being 3 hrs, but a movie musical being 3 hrs can be a bit too long. In 2014- I was 20. The other movies that were leant at the time were Oklahoma, South Pacific, Camelot, and West Side Story- I ended up watching all of them.
What are some stage musicals you fell in love with beginning with film?