Romance is one of the most common themes in musicals. As a matter of fact, I believe it is the most common theme. It shows up in a variety of ways- in simple form: some of the couples turn out to work out and some turn out to be tragic. Some of the couples are actually part of a love triangle- most of the complexity comes from this situation; at the same time, there have been instances where an actual couple is complex. Whenever I have written posts about a list of romance songs- I usually write about all romance numbers, but do not know if I just included a couple’s main love song list. I decided to do that today.
Heart Full of Love- Marius and Cosette
All I Ask of You- Raoul and Christine
As Long as Your’e Mine- Fiyero and Elphaba (saying that they are a couple actually is a spoiler)
Just like Fiyero from Wicked, Marius is more complex than he seems. In addition, the two of them are the romantic male leads of Wicked and Les Mis. Marius is a revolutionary, who is part of a love triangle- Eponine and Cosette take up the other two thirds. Now I will talk a lot more in detail about him. Marius gets a lot of hate from Les Mis fans for the most absurd of reasons- I do not agree with what a number of others say about him.
Marius, in general, is a kind, sweet, romantic, compassionate, awkward, and brave revolutionary- not the jerk everyone claims that he is (the real jerks of musical theatre are the villains). He is close friends to both Enjolras and Eponine. He is a member of the Friends of the ABC, which Enjolras is leader of. Well- I have heard people say he did not treat Eponine fairly- well, I disagree once again. I believe he was a good friend to her: he was kind, and he was someone that she needed in her life- his kindness moved her to fall in love with him: she was never shown kindness growing up. While other people in Eponine’s life were cruel towards her, at least she had Marius even though he only loved her as a friend. He was in love with Cosette- their love brought a lot of hope into Les Mis- they were meant for each other. Yes, he asked Eponine to find Cosette for him, but he never treated her unfairly: even Eponine would say that. He might have been oblivious to Eponine’s love for him- but that does not mean he should have fallen in love with her. The love he had for Eponine was as a friend more than anything.
Marius was struggling between his love for Cosette and his passion for the uprising. At the same time, he had a political conflict going on with his grandfather. All of this combined does make him more complex than he seems on the surface.
You strongly saw Marius’ bravery and compassion in act II. At the beginning of the uprising, he saw Eponine there. He actually was worried about her and for her safety. That is why he sent her away with that letter to Cosette. He was trying to protect her from getting hurt or worse killed from the uprising. Right when Marius saw that Eponine did actually come back to the barricade- he did ask why she came back- that was because he was worried. It was a few moments later when Eponine collapsed in his arms (a few scenes back, she sacrificed herself for him). This totally devastated him once he saw she was shot and noticing how severe it was- he knew he was going to lose her. You realized that she did mean something to him. In this scene- Marius could have left her to die alone- but he didn’t. He stayed there to hold her and comfort her- that is compassion (how can some people not see that). Marius knew she lived a tough life- after she died, he said “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. Marius was Eponine’s light in her life.
Even after losing Eponine, he still had to fight- so his bravery comes from being a revolutionary. What happens to Marius at the barricades is quite traumatic for him- first he lost Eponine and later Enjolras and the rest of his friends. He is the only survivor- he was only able to come out alive due to Eponine and Jean Valjean- it was Jean Valjean, who ultimately saved his life after being severely injured. Survivor’s guilt happened to him while still being happy with Cosette- those two do not deserve to be hated at all. Cosette took care of Marius while he was recovering from his wounds at the barricades-that does show her love for him. It might seem as if Marius and Cosette have their happily ever after, but they still have their tragedies. Marius only has Cosette at the end- Cosette suffered as a child and lost her adopted father. These two have to be together especially because Cosette represents hope and light- Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get rid of one tiny thing, the entire story falls apart.
Of all the survivors in Les Mis, Marius is my favorite character.
One character that is very hard to get to know in Wicked is Fiyero, a Winkie Prince. He is more complex than he seems to be. He might seem simple on the surface, but in reality that is not the case- I know this from seeing Wicked four times and being around Wicked for thirteen years. PROCEED, BUT MAJOR SPOILERS:
He truly is a jerk when you first meet him. He is so annoying, and this bugs Elphaba. He did knock her over along with her school supplies- you do not think anything will happen between the two of them. He literally has been kicked out of several schools. He does not care about school one bit and cares more about the fun. In the beginning- it is Glinda and Fiyero. He organizes a school dance, and this is actually the moment when Elphaba and Glinda first bond and become friends.
The Lion Cub Scene, I believe, happened a few months later. He actually has softened up a bit. Elphaba recently cast a spell on an entire classroom after seeing a scared lion cub in a cage. Fiyero is trying to figure out why that spell did not affect him. The Lion Cub Scene is when the love triangle between Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda truly begins- it actually does some foreshadowing for Fiyero’s decision in act II. Based on the way that Fiyero and Elphaba are interacting shows that Fiyero does have a crush on Elphaba, but deep down does not seem fully aware of it. It is this scene when Elphaba comes to the conclusion that she, in fact, is falling in love with Fiyero, which leads to “I’m Not That Girl”. Elphaba actually made up her mind not to steal Fiyero away from her best friend- that is how strong their friendship is- they will not let a boy get in the way.
Little does Elphaba know what will happen in act II. She will end up with Fiyero, and her best friend will get the unrequited love she faced in act I. The Lion Cub Scene was one clue that pointed to that. Another scene that showed that Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba was before she left for the Emerald City- Fiyero could not stop thinking about the Lion Cub Incident.
“Thank Goodness” was truly the moment when Fiyero picked up on his love for Elphaba he was blind to. He was upset about the rumors spread about Elphaba, and could not believe Glinda was not doing anything to prevent that (Glinda was Elphaba’s best friend after all). Glinda did not like it either, but Fiyero could believe she was supporting all of that. Fiyero automatically left to go looking for Elphaba to confess his love for her.
Fiyero went from being a jerk to softening up to becoming this courageous and mature young man. When he found Elphaba, she was able to realize that he did love her. They both ran out to confess their love for each other (“As Long as Your’e Mine”-my favorite Fiyero costume is what he is wearing in this number). Both protected each other from this number on- when Elphaba was about to get arrested- Fiyero arrived and told others to “Let her Go”, and as an attempt to protect him from getting hurt, Elphaba tried spell after spell. Their relationship is so unexpected- considering the fact that 1) Elphaba did not like him in the beginning and 2) Elphaba had unrequited love for him in the beginning.
Here’s what I believe- I think the love triangle in Wicked develops and matures in the same way the characters do.
Coming off of yesterday’s post about what makes me love a friendship in a musical, there are love songs connected to friendship. Is there an ultimate song about friendship?
I believe there is, and I think it is “For Good”, the one found between Elphaba and Glinda. Wicked is NOT about Elphaba, but it is actually about Elphaba and Glinda. It is about their friendship. Their friendship is powerful and beautiful, and the two of them are best friends. “For Good” is the most emotional song in the musical- before this song, the two have realized that this is the last moment they will ever see each other and have realized how much they have changed each other. Glinda was Elphaba’s only friend and Elphaba was the only friend that truly mattered to Glinda.
Their bond is so strong that they do not let a boy in the way of their friendship- I believe that is why there is a love triangle in the first place: it strengthens their friendship and shows their loyalty to each other. They each deal with unrequited love for Fiyero, but do not pursue him or steal him away from each other. I think the unrequited shift is important in that way.
As “For Good” says- “I have been changed for good”. It truly is the ultimate song about friendship. It easily is a tearjerker especially if you get an brilliant Elphaba and a brilliant Glinda- my last Elphaba (Standby Mary Kate Morrissey) and Glinda (Amanda Jane Copper) were like that- they are my favorite Elphaba and Glinda.
While the prologue of Beauty and the Beast starts the show, the show doesn’t truly start until the opening number. Both Arabian Nights and Belle are long numbers- but at the same time effective. Why is Belle an effective opening number?
Possible minor Spoilers:
When it comes to Disney musicals, long opening numbers may not make sense. However, there are times where they actually are quite effective. The entire song makes you get to know the entire village Belle lives in. Belle actually opens the song up, and she is the protagonist of the musical. The song also introduces you to Gaston, the villain of the musical. So, in just one number, you know exactly who your protagonist and antagonist are. You get to know exactly what the village thinks of Belle, and you get to know important parts of Belle. Those are things such as that she is a bookworm, and that the town think that she is odd- that to me shows that she is unique. Just like Arabian Nights, you get to know the setting so well in just one number.
Yes, Beauty and the Beast is a romance between Belle and Beast, and that it mostly takes in the castle- but this opening number is crucial. When it comes to a romance- usually one of the characters is more prominent meaning they fit the profile of main character better. That is the case for Belle- the story truly kicks off when she takes her father’s place. So, Belle is truly is the main character of Beauty and the Beast.
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 Stevens
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.