I have talked a number of times on my blog about romance in musicals. I thought to do something a bit differently. What if I brought up a few couples in musicals and my favorite pairing I have seen? That shall be interesting.
Nala and Simba: Nia Holloway and Jared Dixon
Love her Nala and his Simba. Wonderful pairing.
Katherine and Jack Kelly: Kaitlyn Frank and Joey Barreiro
While I only remember Joey Barreiro’s portrayal, I said they are my favorite pairing. I just can’t help but think about Joey. That is why I said these two are my favorite pairing- all because of Joey.
Jasmine and Aladdin: Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud
Yes, my favorite pairing is from the live action Aladdin movie. That could soon change: if I see Aladdin in person in September.
Belle and Beast: Emma Watson and Dan Stevons
So, I have two favorite Disney pairings from live action Disney movies.
Kim and Chris: Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa
Well, they are the only Kim and Chris I saw.
Christine and Raoul: Grace Morgan and Ben Jacoby
I may not remember anything about their Christine and Raoul. However, they currently are my favorite Christine and Raoul. I still remember my reaction during Phantom of the Opera: spellbound and choked up. That does say something. I remember getting attached to Christine in May of 2014.
Cosette and Marius: Jillian Butler and Joshua Grosso
I don’t really need to explain the two of them (I have said I believe, a lot about Joshua’s Marius). The reason why I remember Jillian’s Cosette so well is because of Joshua’s Marius. They are such an adorable couple- which I can’t explain.
Elphaba and Fiyero: Mary Kate Morrissey and Ashley Parker Angel
Of four casts, they are the only Elphaba and Fiyero I remember. It is crazy how just saying that Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple is a spoiler in itself.
The other day I was asked what the top three spiritual themes I connect to in Les Mis the most. That is kind of a hard question because they all seem to connect.
One of Les Mis’ most famous quotes is “to love another person is to see the face of God”. Love shows up in various ways in Les Mis. Now that I think of it, love seems to one of Les Mis’ strongest spiritual themes. What are the forms of love in Les Mis?
Fantine and Cosette- Cosette is Fantine’s daughter. Fantine is a struggling single mother- Cosette’s biological father abandoned both of them. At the time period, it is dangerous to have an illegitimate child. Fantine was desperate for the care of Cosette- she left Cosette in the care of the Thenardiers (little did she know how poorly they would treat her daughter). She did end up working at Valjean’s factory- soon enough, she got fired after the factory women find out about Cosette. She had to sell her hair, her locket, and eventually herself to provide for Cosette. She cared more for her daughter than herself. She had hopes her daughter would have a better life than she had.
Valjean and Cosette- Valjean became Cosette’s adopted father after her mother died. Valjean promised Fantine he would raise Cosette. Cosette was the first person he loved after leaving prison. Cosette never knew love, but Valjean gave that to her
Love for God
The Bishop- the Bishop did love God. He was able to welcome Valjean into his home. He provided Valjean with a meal and a place to sleep. He was showing Valjean compassion. After Valjean stole the Bishop’s silver, he was able to forgive, show mercy and grace. The Bishop told the police that Valjean didn’t steal the silver, but that he gave it to him- the Bishop provided Valjean with the candlesticks.
Valjean- Valjean lived by the example the Bishop showed him. It is why he was able to help Fantine. It was why he was able to become a better person. His love for God was clearly shown during “Bring Him Home”. His love for God is why he was able to do all the things he did after he broke parole- it was why he able to forgive Javert.
Enjolras and the Students- their bond is so tight that you can see them as a family. They have this brotherly connection to each other. They are so passionate about their cause especially Enjolras, their leader. They never lose their passion- even in the end.
Eponine and Marius- their friendship is not in the book- but it does exist in the musical. It is an unpopular opinion, but I do like their friendship. Marius is the only person in Eponine’s life who treats her kindly- this was the reason why she fell in love with him. He was all she had. He knew her life was tough. People say “I don’t like how Marius treated Eponine”. Here’s the thing- I don’t see that. Here’s how I see Marius- he is sweet, kind, brave, awkward, compassionate, and a revolutionary. Just because he asked Eponine to find Cosette for him does not him rude. Let’s go to act II- at the beginning of it, I believe he sent her away with that letter to Cosette to protect her from the uprising in hopes that she will not get hurt or worse killed. However, she did come back- she did get shot- her wound was fatal. Once Marius realized she was shot, and that her wound was fatal, he was devastated. Despite breaking, he stayed with her- he held her and comforted her- that is compassion- I don’t understand how people can’t see that. Do you know how I knew that Marius knew how dark her life was- it was the words he said after she died- “her name was Eponine. Her life was cold and dark. Yet she was unafraid.” If he wasn’t capable of so much compassion- Marius would have left her to die alone. “A Little Fall of Rain” is the most intimate moment Marius and Eponine have.
This exists through a love triangle- Marius x Eponine x Cosette. Marius and Cosette fall in love while Eponine is stuck with unrequited love. The love Marius and Cosette have for each other brings hope to this tragedy. Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light. Cosette life goes from bad to good while Eponine’s life goes from good to bad- those two characters are mirrors of each other. Of all the characters in the love triangle, it is Eponine I love the most- but I still love Marius and Cosette. It is Eponine, who would do anything for Marius no matter the cost- even if that means sacrificing her life for him. If it wasn’t for Eponine, Marius and Cosette never would have ended up together. Marius and Cosette are perfect for each other. The love triangle is so effective that you end up feeling for all three of them- for instance, during “A Heart Full of Love”- it starts out as a duet between Marius and Cosette, and later Eponine joins in- so you are feeling for all three of them.
So when it comes to love, I think the types of love that speaks to me the most are love for God, love for friends, love for family, and romance. I think I also can add love for a country- which is part of Enjolras and the students’ love for each other.
Sacrifice connects to love. The love the characters have leads them to sacrifice their lives. Fantine’s love for Cosette eventually is why she gets deathly ill. Enjolras’ and the students’ love for the country is why they sacrifice their lives. Eponine’s love for Marius is why she gives up her life for him- when she sees him about to get shot, she takes the fatal shot herself. Valjean’s love for Cosette leads him to the barricade to make sure Marius lives.
There is hope for many of the characters, which also seems to connect to the love theme as well. Fantine has hope for her daughter. Eponine’s light is Marius, the boy she falls in love with. Enjolras and the students have hope for the cause they believe in because of their love for their country. Marius and Cosette’s love for each other brings hope to the story. Valjean’s hope is initially through the bishop and later through Cosette, which does lead him to protect Marius.
I could have included more spiritual themes. Love seems to be the main overarching theme in Les Mis. It connects to many other spiritual themes. People constantly associate love to romance. But, love is not just romance- in Les Mis, it goes way way beyond- love for friends, family, God and the country. The underlying spirituality in Les Mis is why Les Mis goes beyond its tragic nature.
Musicals are assumed to be happy and comic. Non-musical fans don’t seem to know about the emotional side of musicals. There are emotional songs in musicals. There are heartbreaking, sad, bittersweet, and love songs in musicals. In addition, there are tragic musicals- tragic musicals are something that I didn’t know about until Les Mis entered my life. Emotional songs can lead you to cry- to even be an emotional wreck (as in multiple songs in the musicals). What are the musicals I have cried during? I decided to make a list of those here- it has changed since the last time I made a post about the same thing.
Sound of Music
In November 2015, I had never cried during a song in the musical. I was assuming there was no way Sound of Music could cause me to have the reaction. Enter Edelweiss- it is my favorite song from the musical; the moment Ben Davis, who played the Captain, stopped singing and before the children joined in, I picked up on a nonverbal that made sadness enter that picture. Sad was NEVER a part of Sound of Music in the songs- I was raised on Sound of Music- the movie. I started crying right when the children joined in. Ben Davis’ nonverbal was enough for me to get that reaction. I think it was a combo of the nostalgia, the bittersweetness of the song (which was new that day), and his nonverbal (a pause does hold a lot of power). Sound of Music was my 4th and final musical I saw in 2015, which was still the best year of musical.
It was the first time I saw the movie. I didn’t cry for most of the movie. Then came “As Long As He Needs Me”- knowing how heartbreaking that song was- I was in tears listening to that song. Any song that has the words sad and love attached to it are always heartbreaking.
Last time I saw Wicked, “For Good” hit me hard. That song is supposed to be more emotional than the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl”. I saw an excellent Elphaba (standby Mary Kate Morrissey) and an excellent Glinda (Amanda Jane Copper). Their “For Good” left be in tears- their Elphaba and Glinda mixed with how meaningful Wicked is to me mixed with seeing it with Gardner Webb are huge reasons why “For Good” affected me the way it did. “For Good” represents the center core of Wicked- it is after all about the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda.
I did a fresh list of this because of Miss Saigon. It is the newest musical to make me cry. Coming in, I knew it would because of Les Mis. The music was written by the same people. If Les Mis affected me so strongly- Miss Saigon would hit me too. When a musical is a tragic love story-you automatically know two of the emotions: love and heartbreak; you can’t escape and you can’t escape the ending either. In a tragic love story, things aren’t going to end well- you don’t want that to happen if you become attached to the two lovers. As for Miss Saigon, I almost cried in “Movie in the Mind”, but the real tears started in “Sun and Moon”, which is when I became attached to Kim and Chris. “Sun and Moon” is when they have fallen in love- Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa made me want those two to stay together, and as a result, did not want it to end tragically. There were other moments I did cry- “Sun and Moon” was the one I remembered the most. They are still a very very new couple I fell in love with- I only saw Miss Saigon in Feb.
Talk about emotional wreck- Rent is one of those musicals. In 2017, I saw Rent in person for the first time. I knew there were songs, like “Will I?”, and “Your Eyes” that will emotionally affect me, but there were songs that never emotionally affected until I saw Rent. I was a bigger emotional wreck in person than I am with the final Broadway cast film. The power of live theatre- songs like “Rent”, for instance, had an emotional impact on me. I was crying in songs I always cry during- “One Song Glory” was more emotional than it typically is- and so on. I was an emotional wreck watching Rent. I would be an emotional wreck more than once in 2017.
Do I have to say more? A lot of Les Mis fans are emotional wrecks watching it. Before Les Mis, I knew about the emotional side of musicals. I knew about the complex side of musicals as well. There were four core emotions I discovered: excitement, love, joy, and sad. I thought I knew musicals- I thought the knew the entire emotional nature, but boy was I so wrong. Les Mis went “are you sure you know musicals, are you sure you know how intense emotions can get in them.” A new core emotion entered the picture: heartbreak. I have been a fan of Les Mis of six years-a love that began with the film (which I had to give a 2nd chance). I never knew emotions get affect me like that-Les Mis sure taught me a lot. It disproved a lot. I still am an emotional wreck- it can be songs alone, can be the stage show, can be the film, and can be the 25th anniversary concert- all cause me to an emotional wreck. Les Mis is the musical I am the biggest emotional wreck during.
I will describe here why the love triangle in Les Mis is less complex than the one in Wicked. The love triangle in Les Mis is found between revolutionary Marius, brave and strong Eponine, curious and protected Cosette. The love triangle in Wicked is between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. What makes one love triangle less complex than the other.
For starters, all the characters in Wicked are complex. It is the most obvious that Elphaba and Glinda are complex. Fiyero is complex even though it does not seem that way. Fiyero’s complexity comes from his role in the love triangle and his development. In act I, Elphaba has unrequited love for Fiyero, and you are expecting her to always have unrequited love for him. However in act II, that unrequited love jumps to Glinda when Fiyero realizes his love for Elphaba. You end up questioning a lot of things-such as did Fiyero have feelings for her previously? Why does the plot twist happen?, etc…. This curveball is important on Fiyero’s development. It makes Fiyero mature. The love triangle in Wicked is important for the friendship found between Elphaba and Glinda- both of them decide to not steal Fiyero away from their best friend when they both have unrequited love for him- it strengthens their friendship. This love triangle is not straightforward.
Now on to the Les Mis love triangle. It is the one found between Cosette, Marius, and Eponine. There is a reason why it is less complex. It is straightforward. It is not like two people are getting hurt from unrequited love. Only Cosette and Marius are a couple and Eponine has unrequited love- it stays that way unlike Wicked where the scenario switches gears on you. See what I mean. Fiyero and Marius are characters who are more complex than what they seem to be. To fully understand the Les Mis love triangle, you have to remember Cosette and Eponine’s childhoods- that would be important latter on.
Young Cosette is a servant at the Thenardiers’ inn. The Thenardiers are Eponine’s parents. As a child, the Thenardiers treat Cosette horribly- so you already know the Thenardiers are abusive- based upon how they treat Cosette. They seem to love Eponine as a child. After “Castle on a Cloud”, you discover that the Thenardiers are also pickpockets. You slowly get an idea of the environment that Eponine is going to grow up in. As a child, Jean Valjean arrives and takes Cosette away and provides her with a better life leaving the Thenardiers to treat Eponine the same way they treated Cosette. So while Cosette goes from bad to good, Eponine goes from good to bad- that switch intrigues me. Eponine ended up being raised to be a thief and criminal and also ended up being unloved, abused, and neglected. She wasn’t shown kindness growing up.
Enter Marius-in Eponine’s situation, he was the first person who treated her kindly. He ended up being the only person who treated her like this. He was sweet and kind to her. He ended up being the only good thing in her life. She never saw any one like him before. His kindness moved her to fall in love with him- this love ended up her greatest strength. Then, what happens when he and Cosette first bumped into each other- they fall in love, and Marius constantly is oblivious to Eponine’s love her him. Now Eponine’s love for Marius falls unrequited- it was before, but now it hurts her further, but she would do anything for him even if it means losing him forever. Marius was Eponine’s light. She would risk a lot for him- she was why Marius and Cosette got together, and she protected Marius no matter what even when it meant standing up against her father.
Eponine did accept her unrequited love, which was clearly shown in “On My Own”. Based on the fact that she would protect Marius, she was led to the barricade. Marius was trying to protect her when he discovered her: that was why, I believe, he sent her away with that letter: hoping she didn’t come back, but she did. She sacrificed herself to save Marius from being killed. Her injuries were fatal, and still climbed down the barricade. She knew she was dying. When Marius saw her, he was worried: why else do you think he asked, why she came back. When she collapsed, she was happy being in the arms of Marius. Yes, Marius was devastated, but at least he stayed with her. You might call her love for Marius a weakness, but it was her greatest strength.
Wicked’s love triangle has the unrequited love jump from Elphaba to Glinda. The Les Mis love triangle does not have the unrequited jump: it stays on Eponine. See what I mean, it is easier to understand the Les Mis love triangle. Both have a reason for being in the musical- they are two of my favorite love triangles. To love a love triangle, you need to love the songs that come with them, the characters found in them, they are unique, and it is a love triangle where you understand why it is in there in the first place.
Of all love triangles, Wicked is my favorite love triangle. It is complex, strong, and in addition, the first one I emotionally bonded with. All three characters are complex. Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda are complex characters- it is most obvious that Elphaba and Glinda are complex, but not Fiyero. He is complex even though it doesn’t seem that way. Those three characters are the only characters in Wicked that I am emotionally bonded to. Back to the question, what makes Wicked’s love triangle hard to understand?
The answer belongs to Fiyero. Elphaba and Glinda love Fiyero, and at some point in Wicked, both of them have unrequited love for Fiyero. In act I, the unrequited love belongs to Elphaba, and you think, Elphaba would always have unrequited love for him. However, Fiyero realizes in act II that he loves Elphaba making the unrequited love jump to Glinda. Why does this plot twist? Did something happen in act I that is important to Fiyero? There are a lot of things that make you wonder.
There are reasons why you thought Elphaba would always have unrequited love for him. Look at her response for Fiyero when she first met him- she couldn’t stand him- he didn’t make give a good impression. He was a jerk in the beginning. Why would Elphaba fall in love with him? She was the one with the full “I’m Not That Girl” while Glinda got a reprise of “I’m Not That Girl”, which was extremely short. Now, let’s get to Fiyero.
Last time I saw Wicked, I decided to pay really close attention to Fiyero. I did not want to leave the theatre with the “WHY” question again. Fiyero did have a crush on Elphaba at Shiz. Based upon the Lion Cub Scene, he and Elphaba were playfully flirty with each other making me coming to the conclusion that he did have a crush on Elphaba. Despite seeing that, I don’t think he realized he had a crush on Elphaba, and still continued to be in a relationship with Glinda. Elphaba didn’t notice the crush either, however the Lion Cub Scene is when she realized that she was starting to fall in love with him, which made me realize how heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” was. By the way, “On My Own” was key to making me realize “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking in the first place- “I’m Not That Girl” used to be just a sad song.
After that scene, his chemistry with Glinda was weak while his chemistry with Elphaba was strong. He couldn’t stop thinking about the Lion Cub incident. This showed he and Glinda weren’t meant to be with each other. If you weren’t paying close attention, you would be extremely confused as to why that plot twist happened.
About Elphaba and Fiyero’s love for each other, it is a mature and courageous couple. It is stronger than the love Fiyero has for Glinda- what if he never was in love with Glinda or had a crush on her? “As Long As You’re Mine” showed the strength and maturity of Elphaba and Fiyero as a couple. Even after that scene, you saw their love for each other. Fiyero protected Elphaba when she was about to be arrested, and when he was about to be tortured, and then Elphaba tried spell after spell to keep him from getting hurt. Elphaba and Fiyero were a young couple that was mature and courageous.
The love triangle develops in the same way the characters do. I noticed the love triangle does not truly mature until the characters do. Have you noticed before. The love triangle does make you question a lot of things- why does the plot twist happen? Did Fiyero have a crush on Elphaba at Shiz? If so, did he know or did he not? See what I mean- it is a hard love triangle to understand.
Love is found in musicals. Is love only in romance? Does it exist in different ways? There is a common misconception in love that non-musical fanatics believe-it is believed that only love is romance. I will try to sort out that in this post. THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS POST.
Love for God
In Les Mis, you see love for God. This is first see through the bishop, and later through Valjean. The bishop welcomes Valjean into his house, gives him a place to stay, food to eat, and see as a brother (as in the bible). The bishop wants to help Valjean. He forgives Valjean when he steals his silver. He tells me to use the silver to became a better man. What the bishop does is an act of grace, mercy, and compassion. All of this is a love of God .
The love of God is later strengthened through Valjean. He looks up to the bishop. He starts to show compassion to others, which is especially shown through how he treats Fantine. He prevents her from being arrested and later promises to raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own. That takes his love for God on a whole new level. I think his love for God is shown the strongest when he sings “Bring Him Home”. “Bring Him Home” happens at the barricade- Valjean is there to protect Marius because his adopted daughter loves him. The song is a prayer sent to God to prevent Marius from being killed. Even as Valjean is dying, it does show his love for God.
Love for Friends
This is easier to notice than love for God.
Elphaba and Glinda
When I think of friendship love, it is Elphaba and Glinda that comes to mind automatically. After all, in Wicked, the story revolves around their friendship. These two young girls originally started out hating each other and eventually became best friends and soon realized how much they changed each others lives for the better. They did form a very close and beautiful bond to each other- that is exactly what “For Good” shows.
Friends of the ABC
The Friends of the ABC is another love for friends that I love. I love their brotherly love for each other. It is strong that they are like family, and I do love how they take in Gavroche. They have a cause they truly believe in, and are so passionate about in that they will fight to the end no matter the cost. One of the things I love about “Drink With Me” is how intimate and vulnerable it is- it really shows their brotherly love for other.
Eponine and Marius
There is a friendship in Les Mis that I like that is an unpopular opinion. It is the one found between Marius and Eponine- yes, I know it is only in the musical, and not the book. I don’t believe Marius was a jerk to Eponine. He was the only person in her life who treated her kindly- that was why she fell in love with him, and why she held on to him. Marius was aware she had a difficult life. Just because Marius was unaware of Eponine’s love for him makes him a jerk. I believe in act II, Marius sent her away with that letter to protect her from getting hurt or worse killed during the uprising. When she came back to the barricade, Marius was worried. When she collapsed in his arms, the moment he saw her wound, he realized she was dying. He was devastated, but he still stayed with her to the end- how does Marius being with her while she was dying make him a jerk? I believe that Marius was showing her compassion while she was dying- that scene was difficult on Marius, but at least he made her happy. The reason why I know he knew how difficult her life was had to do with what he said after she died- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”
The Newsies are a huge parallel to the Friends of the ABC. Just like them, share a brotherly love that makes them a family, have a cause they truly believe in and don’t give up till the end. I also love Jack’s intimate and special bond to Crutchie.
Lumiere and Cogworth
I don’t what it is, but there is something about Lumiere and Cogsworth that make them an interesting friendship. Is it because during most of the musical they are a talking candle and clock?
So, you see, love for friendships show up for a number of shows.
Love for Family
Fantine and Cosette
Fantine is the single mother of Cosette. Fantine’s storyline is the hardest to watch in Les Mis. She originally is working in Valjean’s factory. It soon is discovered that she has an illegitimate daughter- Cosette’s father abandoned both of them. Cosette is now living with an innkeeper and his wife (The Thenardiers). Her daughter was discovered through a letter, which was said that Cosette was deathly ill (little did she know the letter was a hoax). The other factory women pushed the foreman to fire her, and he did. She did not many options left to get money for Cosette. She had a strong love for Cosette- she had no choice, but to sell her hair, teeth, and to eventually become a prostitute. By living on the streets, she became deathly ill. She was doing everything out of love for Cosette and her only hope was that Cosette would have a better life. She eventually almost got arrested after defending herself- Valjean came to the rescue and sent to her the hospital. Even on her deathbed, she still was concerned about Cosette, and Valjean agreed to raise Cosette. This gave Fantine peace and comfort while she was dying.
Valjean and Cosette
Like I just said, Valjean became Cosette’s adopted father. Valjean did realize that Cosette was treated poorly by the people who were raising her. Cosette was the first person he loved since he was released from prison. He had to become a father in the most unexpected of ways. It was challenging to raise her due to being an ex-convict. I don’t blame him for how much he sheltered and protected Cosette. You can fully see his love for Cosette in act II. When he learned Marius, the one his adopted daughter loves, is one of the revolutionaries, he went to the barricades to make sure he survives.
Kim and Tam
Kim would protect Tam from any harm. She is a fighter for him. She wants him to a better life than the one in Vietnam. Tam’s father is Chris, and Chris is who Kim loves, and for a couple years Chris had no idea he fathered a son. Chris did love Kim at one point. Miss Saigon is a tragic love story, and Kim is the main character. At the end, Kim sacrifices herself in order for Chris to take Tam back to America. That ending- Chris comes to a realization- he has always loved Kim, and more than Ellen; that was how I interpreted it in Feb.
Romance is believed to be the only type of love in musical theatre. But based on the other ones I mentioned, it is not. There is love for God, love for friends, and love for family- I can tell you there are others- just the three I mentioned tells you there are is there than romance. Romance is wide-ranged. The Disney couples to the complex couple to the love triangles (even those vary). All of the couples are different. Why is romance so common? For starters, it is an universal emotion. It also translates well to song, forms beautiful songs no matter what (whether a couple is singing it, if it is a breakup or unrequited love song, or if a couple is starting to develop feelings for each other). The main song is key to a couple- if the main song doesn’t impress me, the couple goes dull.