Well, usually every year on my blog I do a short review of all the musicals I saw. This year it a bit different- I think it is the right year to include one straight play. That list is Fiddler on the Roof, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Les Mis, and A Christmas Carol. Why was I allowed to include A Christmas Carol if it was a straight play? That was because of the importance and meaning of it in my life.
Fiddler on the Roof
I fell in love with this musical through the movie. I never thought I would get to see the stage musical. I actually was not expecting this to be my first musical- I thought it would be Miss Saigon. Turns out I was wrong. In the early part of February, my mom and I once again took a vacation alone to St. Louis (Yes, another place) to visit my grandma. So, I would be back at the gorgeous Fox Theater. It was worth everything- seeing a classic to start off the musicals was a great way to begin. Below is a link to the review.
My first tragedy of this year. I knew I would be crying since I knew my reaction to Les Mis. I knew that those who wrote the music to Les Mis also wrote Miss Saigon. That is exactly why I wanted to see Miss Saigon someday. This time, I was seeing it at Belk Theater. I had such a strong Kim and Chris that I really did not want their relationship to become tragic though I knew it was to be. Yes, I was in tears at times- like expected.
I had only seen the cartoon movie and live action movie of Aladdin before seeing it live. Another musical seen at Belk Theater. Ever since hearing about Blumenthal’s 18/19 season, it was Miss Saigon and Aladdin I wanted to see the most. I was not expecting to get emotional in any song- after all Aladdin is a musical comedy. Well, in this production, I got somewhat emotional during “Proud of Your Boy”. Ever since seeing it, I want to own the Original Broadway Soundtrack. Spectacle, comedy, dance, romance, emotional connection.
Another Blumenthal Musical, but at Ovens Auditorium. This was actually the 2nd date my mom and I had to Les Mis (the 1st being in the West End). As a matter of, 5/9 of the principal cast were in the principal cast I had in 2017: Josh Davis (Javert), Jillian Butler (Cosette), Joshua Grosso (Marius), Matt Shingledecker (Enjolras), and Allison Guinn (Madame Thenardier). I would have had a sixth, but got an understudy instead- I got an understudy for Nick Cartell (Andrew Maughan was my Valjean that night).
I did get the Fantine I wanted- back in 2017, Mary Kate Moore was nothing more than the 1st cover for Fantine (that was when Melissa Mitchell was the main Fantine)- when Melissa left the cast- well Mary Kate Moore moved up to be the main one. Her story really does show how we should never underestimate understudies.
So, I saw two tragedies this year written by the same team. Two tragedies that reduced me to tears. Les Mis still hit me the hardest- my tears started earlier than “I Dreamed a Dream”- that usually says something because typically that song is where I start tearing up. This was my 6th time seeing Les Mis. For more, look at the review below.
Yes, I am including a straight play in this mix of musicals. A Christmas Carol holds a lot of importance to me. It has been in my life for a long time- every Christmas season, my family watches the George C. Scott movie. This was the only show I saw at a community theatre (Theatre Charlotte). In many ways, I believe A Christmas Carol could have begun my love for the classics. It truly teaches you what Christmas Spirit is, why you become who are, and that you are capable to change. It does have a lot of nostalgia in it due to how long I have loved it. Its meaning to me is exactly why it can be included- I might prefer musicals, but this story is one that I love.
They are important to a musical. What is the importance? In my opinion, at the end of the act I, you usually know you love the musical. The act I are either sad or heartbreaking; empowering or exciting; or it is hard to explain. There are some act I finales that will always be in my top favorite act I finales. I think some people will actually agree with me. I will list some of those below.
La Bie Boheme B
If I Can’t Love Her
I’d Give My Life For You
Let it Go
Crashing of the Chandelier
One Day More
When I actually think of act I finales, it is Defying Gravity and One Day More that come to mind the most. As a matter of fact, Let it Go sounds so much and reminds me so much of Defying Gravity. All three songs are empowering songs. It is “If I Can’t Love Her”, “Santa Fe”, and “I’d Give Give My Life For You” that fall under the category of sad/heartbreaking songs- only “If I Can’t Love Her” and “Santa Fe” are under musical comedies- well, “If I Can’t Love Her” is a musical comedy romance. When it comes to the tragedies- you do not want the act I finales to drive you away from the plot- you want them to keep you want to watch act II- not the other way around.
This list has shown up multiple times on my blog. The only reason why this tends to repeat is when I add on a favorite character. So, where I a list of characters I love.
Friends of the ABC
Kim (Miss Saigon)
Maria (Sound of Music)
Von Trapp Children
A lot of my favorite characters in the musical theatre world are survivors while many do lose their lives as well: I actually believe most are survivors. It is interesting how varied these characters all- their lives are so different: that is based off of where they live, their age, their family, etc. Some are not human. You will notice I love a lot of characters- most of them are young: I do have an all-time favorite: Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character.
Ever since middle school, I have known about the emotional side of musicals. However, there was something I was blind to. I did know that musical songs could be sad, and that the emotion was common. There was something I would learn the hard way. I would learn I was 100% blind to heartbreak and 100% to just how intense emotions can get in musicals- I would learn this in just one musical: this was discovered in Les Mis. What are some examples of songs I have actually cried during- this is based off seeing it live or any way I have listened to the songs.
I Dreamed a Dreamed
Come to Me
On My Own
A Little Fall of Rain
Drink With Me
Bring Him Home
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
One Song Glory
I’ll Cover You (Reprise)
Sun and Moon
Last Night of the World
I’d Give My Life For
As Long As He Needs Me
I’m Not That Girl
Beauty and the Beast
As you can see, I am hit the hardest in Les Mis- in any version of that show: I Dreamed a Dream is usually the first moment I become an emotional wreck. Some of these songs actually surprised me. I am starting to have a more emotional response to more and more musicals these days- even the happy musicals are affecting me- as in even they can reduce me to tears at just one moment. For some of these songs, I am only reduced to tears seeing them live, and for others, it doesn’t matter if it is live or not- all it would take is just a listen and I would be crying.
Ever since middle school, I knew about the emotional side of musicals. Emotional songs are part of the strongest musicals- they are part of either love, sad, or heartbreaking song; however there have been a few exceptions. What are the musicals I have been around that have emotional songs?
Of course, Les Mis was going to be on here. Les Mis is literally the trophy for emotional moments. It is nonstop tragedy from start to end- at least there are moments that give you a break. Sometimes in the tragic moments, there is hope or compassion. Les Mis is both tragic and inspiring. I have seen the stage show five times: at Halton Theater, Queen’s Theater, and Peace Center. Now, in one month, I may or may not see the stage show again at Ovens Auditorium- one of Blumenthal’s theaters. If it is the stage show or the 25th concert film or the film or the soundtrack, I am still an emotional wreck, and I do not think I will ever be immune to it.
A show very close to how emotional I get in Les Mis belongs to Rent. Just like Les Mis, Rent is a sad musical. I am also not immune to it. In 2017, I had to watch the stage shows of Rent and Les Mis quite close to each other: I saw Rent in September and Les Mis in November. I am an emotional wreck in both of them.
Miss Saigon is yet another tragedy, but a tragic love story. This year, when I saw the musical for the first time, I knew I would cry at certain times. That was because of Les Mis (after all, those who wrote Miss Saigon also wrote Les Mis). I almost cried during Movie in My Mind, but those tears came out during Sun and Moon (among other songs)- I had such a strong Kim and Chris that I did not want their relationship to end even though I knew it was to be.
This musical has two songs to get emotional during: “I’m Not That Girl” and “For Good”. Those were actually the first two songs where sad came to the forefront. It is more likely to get emotional during “For Good”- that is the most emotional song in Wicked even though “I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking song. That is because Wicked’s center core is about the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda- “For Good” illustrates their friendship perfectly, but that song is bittersweet.
This musical has emotional songs as well. Whether that is the sad “Santa Fe” or the heartbreaking “Letter From the Refuge”- it shows that Newsies does have emotional moments. Jack and Crutchie are my favorite Newsies- part of it does come the bond that they share.
Beauty and the Beast
It depends on whether or not you are watching the stage show or the live action movie of 2017. Both have a heartbreaking song (If I Can’t Love Her or Evermore). The past couple of times, I have seen the live action Beauty and the Beast, I have gotten a little emotional during the song, Beauty and the Beast. Belle and Beast are actually my favorite classic Disney couple.
While Aladdin is a Disney musical comedy, there was a song where I was getting a little emotional. It was during “Proud of Your Boy”, one of the added songs to the stage show. So, a musical can be a comedy and still have their emotional moments.
These are not all the musicals I know of that have emotional songs. They are only just some of them. It just gives a general idea. It is amazing where the emotional songs exist.
It is amazing that duets in musicals have a lot of variety found in them. They are a combo of romance, friendship, family, and death. That would mean the emotion varies. After seeing Aladdin, I can make an updated list.