The next musical I love is actually hitting a milestone this year. It is Music Man and this year marks five years since falling in love with it. That’s right: I fell in love with it in Spring of 2020 by Gardner Webb University’s production. It is truly a classic musical. Why do I love Music Man?
For one thing, I love how light-hearted and happy it is. You need those sort of musicals to help balance things out. I think due to the light-heartedness, it needed the romance between Marian and Harold Hill. Their romance gives Music Man some emotion.
Another reason belongs to the characters. While Harold Hill, our main character, is a conman there is something about him that makes him lovable. I even love Winthrop. At first, Marian can seem a bit annoying, but as the musical goes on, she does really develop and I think that is due to her relationship with Harold Hill.
The songs: this is the most important part. I love the songs- from “Ya Got Trouble” to “Till There Was You” to Gary Indiana”- you easily can fall in love with them.
True, I have seen mostly musicals on tour. However, there have been a select amount of musicals I have seen either through school, local, or through Broadway/West End. This post will bring up those musicals and will try to be in order.
Oliver- 2007 (don’t remember seeing)
Les Mis-2013 (as an usher)
Les Mis-2013 (as an usher)
Music Man- 2015
Little Shop of Horrors- 2017
This is a combo of Barter Theater, Pease Auditorium (which no longer exists), Halton Theater, Dover Theater, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Gershwin Theater and Queen’s Theater. Of that list- the only musical I have no memory of seeing is Oliver at Barter Theater. The rest are musicals I remember seeing.
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.
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.
It is known I have mostly seen musicals through Blumenthal Performing Art. What about all the theaters I have seen musicals? I decided to write a post that make a mention of ALL the theaters I have been to. However there is only ONE theater I don’t even know the name of.
Fox Theater- I have seen Annie and Fiddler and the Roof here. It is such a gorgeous theater. As you can see below, you can tell just how beautiful the theater is. I saw Annie in the orchestra and Fiddler up in the balcony- so I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of the Fox.
Greenville, South Carolina
Peace Center- I saw Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis at this beautiful theater. It has incredible acoustics- I was able to truly notice this when I saw Les Mis. Like Fox, I started in the orchestra with Phantom of the Opera, and my recent show, being Les Mis, I ended up in the balcony. It is incredible for that to happen. Both times I saw these shows were special- Phantom of the Opera was a date with mom and Les Mis was with my university. The reason why I was able to really notice how incredible the acoustics were in Les Mis belonged to the fact that I was sitting in the balcony (the 4th level)- to the way I heard a gunshot, to literally hearing just one tear (I literally was able to pick up on that), to the way just one word was said, or in more quieter moments still able to pick up on the words. Despite being in balcony- was able to hear everything.
Charlotte, NC- this is going to take a while
Blumenthal Performing Arts
Belk Theater- this is Blumenthal’s main theater. It has four levels- orchestra, grand tier, mezzanine, and balcony. I only remember sitting in orchestra and mezzanine. Not only does Belk do tours, it also does Charlotte Ballet events, and Charlotte Symphony Events. I saw Lion King, Miss Saigon, Newsies, Rent, Mamma Mia, Sound of Music, La Cage, Porgy and Bess, and Pippin at Belk Theater- most of these musicals are ones that I LOVE. It might seem like Belk Theater is the biggest theater of Blumenthal Performing Arts, but it actually isn’t.
Ovens Auditorium- What was surprising to me is that Ovens is actually the biggest Blumenthal Performing Arts theater. Ovens does have less levels than Belk. It has only two levels, but three sections- Mezzanine and Balcony share the second level. What makes Ovens a bigger theatre? Ovens is wider and deeper compared to Belk making it able to fit more people. I have seen only three musicals here- even though it feels like I have gone to Ovens more often than that. I think that is because one of those musicals is a repeat.
I have seen Addams Family, A Christmas Story, and Wicked here. I did not see shows at Ovens three times- it actually would add up to five times: Wicked was seen three times. The BEST area to see a musical at Ovens is in the Mezzanine. I have seen Wicked as a date with my dad and with my university- those are the other two times after my first time seeing Wicked at Ovens. Blumenthal’s upcoming season has more shows at Ovens then there typically is.
Central Piedmont Community College
Pease Auditorium- this theatre no longer exists at Charlotte’s community college, but when I was a student there, it did. My first musical I saw when I started college was Godspell. It is actually one of the smallest theaters I have seen a musical in. I still remember some of the costumes. Loved the show- three of those actors would show up in later productions I would see at CPCC.
Halton Theater- this may be a community college theater, but it actually has an orchestra and a balcony. I have seen Les Mis, Oklahoma, Grease, and Newsies at this theater. This shows all felt professional- you never once though you were at a community college’s theater. They combined students with the community and with professionals. I have seen Les Mis three times at this theater-once with family and twice as an usher: this was my first time seeing the stage show, and as a matter of fact was truly the motor for wanting to see the musical in London. CPCC has a very strong theater program- you go in, and you believe you are just going to see a community college type of production, and you come out thinking you just watched a professional production: that is what all four shows felt like.
When I was an usher for Children’s Theatre, I did get to see one of their musicals. It was in December 2014, and I was ushering for Scrooge, which is A Christmas Carol’s musical. I remember seeing it, but don’t exactly remember any of the songs. There is something I do remember- I remember how talented the Tiny Tim was- there was a particular song that belonged to him, and I loved his voice in that song, and I was moved by it.
Boiling Springs, NC
Dover Theater- Boiling Springs is literally in the middle of nowhere. Dover Theater is where I saw musicals in Gardner Webb. The two musicals I saw were Little Shop of Horrors and Music Man. Music Man was actually the first show I saw at Gardner Webb, which was one of the best starts- especially when you transferred in Spring Semester. Music Man began the BEST year of musicals. I actually was kind of nervous when it comes to GWU musicals- these were musicals after CPCC- by that point, I only saw Les Mis and Godspell. I loved Music Man’s production, and the show itself. GWU has a smaller theatre program, but still can put on well-done productions.
Barter Theater- Okay, this is one of the theaters I don’t remember going to. I did see Oliver here, but I have no memory of seeing it. I only know about it because I was told.
Jacksonville Theater- I don’t even know the name of the theater I went to in Jacksonville. Just like Barter, I don’t even remember going. I think my parents said I went to Cats and Seussical here in elementary school.
New York City
Gershwin Theater- this was my first theater I ever saw Wicked in. Little did I know when I stepped foot in that theater that I would be changed “for good”. It was August 2006, and I was alone with my mom- that was a HUGE reason why it was special- just me and my mom. That is part of why Wicked is meaningful. It is not all of why Wicked is meaningful. I was only 12 at the time. The song, “Popular”, was my favorite song at the time. It has been 13 years since I have been to NYC- I think it is time to go back, but next time, I want to see more than one musical.
Queens Theater- I will always view this theater as The Queens Theater. It was what I knew it as when I saw Les Mis. Just like seeing Wicked on Broadway with my mom, I was seeing Les Mis in the West End with my mom. I feel like things came full circle when I saw Les Mis in London. Not only was I with my mom, but I was dreaming a dream. I sat in the 9th row from the stage. Plus, Les Mis is not just a musical- it made me passionate about musicals. When I saw Queen’s Theater, I literally thought I was imagining- it still felt that way when I bought souvenirs to when I saw that I had an understudy as Valjean to entering the auditorium to seeing the set to sitting down to noticing how close I was. Nothing felt real- that was how surreal it felt. Then it happened- I heard it- that one note (or notes) from the orchestra- I knew this was no dream happening- it was a dream actually happening. The notes did tell me something= that it was going to be more than expected- how can just a few notes make you know that? Those notes were not lying- it was more than expected. It was 110% worth it. At the end, I went to stage door, and my playbill was signed by the actor (Adam Bayjou) who played Jean Valjean. No words to describe the ENTIRE experience. This happened July 30th, 2015.
I sure have been to a number of theaters. I purposely ended on the theaters I saw on Broadway and the West End. As you can see, I mostly see musicals in Charlotte, my hometown. There have been times where I do see a musical somewhere else besides Charlotte, but that is not common. I feel like I want to eventually go see a musical at St. Louis’ MUNY- which is an outdoor theater, and I want to go back to NYC. If I go back to NYC- I want to see more than one musical. I don’t have vivid memories of Broadway- I want stronger memories. It is time for me to go back to the city. I might live in the states, but NYC is not easy to get to- so I am glad that Charlotte has Blumenthal Performing Arts.
Musical fans are aware of this. We usually have our favorite song in a musical. However, have we fully thought of the reasoning? Does it have to do with the emotion? Does it have to do with the actor and actress? Does it have to do with the character? Does it have to do with the meaning of the song? Does have to have to do with a memory? This is will be a difficult post- it will be about why a song is our favorite song in a musical. Sometimes, even I don’t have a reasoning behind that. I think a best reason is to bring up my favorite song from certain musicals, and try to describe why they are my favorite song from the musical itself.
Corner of the Sky
A huge reason behind this comes from the fact that it is the main reason why I wanted to see Pippin in the first place. It is also one of the strongest “I Want” songs I described in musical theatre. Some may not agree with me and may agree with me. It actually does not just describe what Pippin wants in life, but I believe it also relates to our life in general as well. If I never heard this song, Pippin would not have been in my life. “Corner of the Sky” is the place where we truly belong.
Seize the Day
It is actually the beginning of the Newsies strike. I found it to be my favorite Newsies number because of the dance. I think it has the most advanced staging out of all the numbers. In one moment, all of them (well, most of them) are dancing on newspapers. It strongly has to do with the dance and some of the lyrics- “Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear”. Those lyrics are what made me release Newsies is meaningful to me, and I think represent Newsies as a whole.
You would think, I would choose “Defying Gravity” or “For Good” for my favorite song for Wicked, but that is not true. It does come from the fact that I was 12 when I first saw Wicked. My favorite song from Wicked is a memory thing. My favorite song from Wicked when I was 12 was Popular, and that is true to this day. It really is a memory thing- I saw Wicked in 2006 for the first time.
Beauty and the Beast
It does sound cliche that my favorite song from Beauty and the Beast is “Beauty and the Beast”. It is Belle and Beast’s main love song. I did watch the cartoon- yes, I sort of forgot I did love the cartoon. However, this song never left my memory. There is something unique and special about Disney love songs. They have this magic in them. Belle and Beast are my favorite classic Disney couple. Their “Beauty and the Beast” song is an incredible one to watch- ever since watching the live action 2017 film, my love for Beauty and the Beast came back. The song actually affects me on a more emotional level.
A Whole New World
Even from Aladdin, my favorite song is the main love song. Flying on a magic carpet while singing this song is incredible to witness. So magical in so many ways. Still seems cliche to say this is my favorite song- but it still is my favorite song from Aladdin. Just like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin had to reenter my life, which was through the live action movie.
Can You Feel the Love Tonight
Once again, this is another main love song. It is still a classic Disney musical. You still feel the magic and innocence in this song just like the others. It is not cliche- even though to others it seems that way.
Seasons of Love
This song is one of the messages of Rent. Rent is all about what to do with life. It is about how to measure life. The song is about measuring your life in love. There are only 525,600 minutes in one year. It is hard to describe why this is the favorite song from Rent. I just know this is my favorite song from Rent.
This totally highlights the character of Annie. She is an optimistic child, and that is the main characteristic you see in you. I have always loved that song. I will never grow tired of that song.
Seventy Six Trombones
This has been my favorite song from Music Man. I love the patriotic nature of the song. When I saw the musical, the production had the Harold Hill go out in the audience making us feel like we are part of River City. I still believe a lot of the patriotic and energetic nature of the song made it my favorite song from the musical.
So, there are many reasons why a song is your favorite song in a musical. It can be a memory, the meaning, and the emotion. However- you usually just know a song is your favorite song. I only listed a few of my favorite songs from certain musical.
There are a lot of duets in musicals- but they are NOT just dealing with romance. This post will be a list of duets that are only sung by one male and one female- so some of my favorite duets will be left off. The list will not be in a specific order- as in ranking.
A Little Fall of Rain
Come to Me
No Matter What
Something to Believe In
I Should Tell You
Till There Was You
Sixteen Going on Seventeen
As Long as Your’e Mine
Light My Candle
Phantom of the Opera
A Whole New World
All I Ask of You
One Hand, One Heart
The Last Night of the World
Sun and Moon
A lot of male/female duets are romance numbers. At the same time, there are a couple that don’t belong to romance- some are them relate to family, friendship, and death.