What are the Contemporary Musicals I Love?

There are both classic and contemporary musicals. There are mixed feelings on contemporary musicals- do I love the contemporary musicals. I do love contemporary musicals- but I do not love all of them- that’s for sure. Today, I thought I would write a list of those that I know I love. These are based on the years they came out on Broadway. I am specifically talking about stage shows.

1. Wicked (2003)- So, this musical started everything. It started my love for musicals. It was when I realized what an emotional connection was. It was when I started to understand emotions- the core emotions of excitement, joy, love, and sad were all in Wicked. I already understood excitement and joy previously. I don’t know if I previously understood love previously. I do know I didn’t know musical songs could be sad previously. It was the beginning of understanding musicals as a whole. The center core of Elphaba and Glinda’s friendship is what makes it as powerful as it is. Then the texture added by the love triangle found between the girls and Fiyero makes it more delightful. Everything in Wicked feels well OZian- it all works. I fell in love with it in 2006.

2. Mamma Mia (2001)- I fell in love with it a decade ago. So this year was a milestone. It is a fun and delightful musical. It is pure joy and that is what it basically is. It helps balance out other musicals- the ones that combine joyful and sad songs together.

3. Newsies (2012)- This is a fairly new musical in my life. I have loved it since 2016- see what I mean by new? The mind-blowing dance, the inspiring story, the bond found between all the students in particular the intimate bond between Jack and Crutchie, and the fun, energetic and at times emotional score makes it such a delightful musical. Such a wonderful Disney musical to watch. Yes, the movie came out in 1992, but the stage show came out on Broadway in 2012 so it is a contemporary musical.

4. Frozen (2018)- Yes, I am stretching things. I fell in love with the movie 2013- I fell in love with the musical at that time. Yes, not sick and tired of “Let it Go”. I have listened to a couple of the new songs. I already know I am going to love the stage show- if I loved the movie- how can I not love the stage show? If I already had fallen in love with songs like “Monster” and “True Love”, I know I will love the stage show. Sometimes, you have that feeling before seeing the show. I know I have to wait for a tour- hopefully what I heard was true- I heard Fall 2019, Frozen is to embark on a tour across the US.

Most of the musicals I love are not contemporary- they come from the 1990s and before. I have seen some other contemporary musicals, but they were not ones I love. Most of the musicals I have seen are not contemporary: that is a big reason why this list is tiny.  Songs are key to loving musicals- they make me form emotional connection to characters and plot.

What are contemporary musicals you love?

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Favorite Friendships in Musicals

You know how love shows up a LOT in musicals through ROMANCE? What about love that shows up through friendship? What are the memorable ones for me? Today, I thought I will talk about those.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

1. Elphaba and Glinda- seriously, what can this post be without Elphaba and Glinda? They are the first friendship I ever fell in love with in a musical. You never thought they would be best friends. They started out as basically enemies, than later became best friends. When they both fell in love with Fiyero, they did not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. They changed each others lives for the better. The fact that Wicked centers on their friendship is why Wicked is one of my top two favorite musicals. “For Good”, the most emotional song in the musical, really shows just how they changed each others lives for the better. It is a bittersweet moment for the two of them- it is the last moment they will see each other, but at least they can say what they meant to each other.

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2. Enjolras and the Students- I just love their brotherly love for each other. You just can’t help but love them. Then you love their hope and passion for their cause. I just love how they take in Gavroche. I really love how they keep their passion strong- even at the end when they know they are going to die.

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3. Newsies- I am going straight to the Newsies because the Newsies parallel Enjolras and the students. Just like the students, the Newsies have a cause they truly believe in and have hope in it plus have a brotherly love for it. The result is different: only difference in the Newsies is that they win. On a side note: I love the intimate bond found between Jack and Crutchie: I just love how they are best friends and that Jack is so protective of Crutchie. Jack is the one who cares more about his brothers than the strike, but it is Crutchie he cares about the most.

 

4. Rent Batch- This is another friendship I love. I love how they live how they do their best to live their lives in love and in the moment. They may not get along at times, but they do make up for it. They are this family.

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5. Lumiere and Cogsworth- I don’t what it is about these two, but there is something interesting about this friendship. I mean we are talking about a talking candle and a talking clock throughout most of Beauty and the Beast. I find something fascinating about this friendship- don’t you find something fascinating about this particular friendship?

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6. Marius and Eponine- I know this is a unpopular opinion, but I do enjoy their friendship. Look, Eponine has a dark and tragic life: at least Marius is in her life. People believe Marius is a jerk to Eponine. I do not believe that at all. Marius and Eponine are seen as close friends in the musical- I know that doesn’t exist in the book- I like how that is changed in the musical. It makes the love triangle stronger and “A Little Fall of Rain” more emotional. Marius is kind to Eponine, and that is why she falls in love with him. I know it doesn’t seem that way when Marius asks Eponine to find Cosette for him and those other errands.

I believe at the barricade, Marius asks Eponine to deliver the letter to try to protect her from the uprising. He does not want her to get hurt or worse KILLED. That is why he was worried when she came back. That is why he asked, “why she came back”. When she collapsed in his arms, he realized she was shot, and that her wound was fatal. He was devastated. He could have left her in that moment, but he didn’t. He stayed with her- that shows he is kind and sweet. By being with her in that moment, it shows an incredible act of COMPASSION. He offers her comfort and peace while she was dying. It shows that he truly did care about her.

This line after she died shows that he knew how dark her life was- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”.

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What is Fascinating About the Actors and Actresses We get in Musicals

I think one of the most powerful things about musicals belong to the actors and actresses. They shape our views of the characters and our views of the musical itself. If we are seeing a show a second or third or even fourth time, we find something new. Our first actor or actress in a role gives us our first impression of a character. Every audience member sees the same actor very differently. I might absolutely love a particular actor or actress, but the audience member next to me might not. There is nothing wrong with that: we just are interpreting it differently.

The actors and actresses we end up with is based on many factors: when we see the musical, where we are seeing it, the country we live in, the musicals we want to see and the time plus whether or not we get an understudy. Must If you get an understudy, RESPECT them no matter what. Our first impression of a character is usually important. If we see a musical more than once, we end up combining actor’s portrayals: that is the case for Les Mis and Wicked characters. I have seen those musicals more than once. Wicked was seen four times on stage. Les Mis, I watched the film, the 25th concert, and three stage casts. So my first impression of the characters of Les Mis belonged to the film. There is usually a certain actor or actress that makes us fall in love with a character.

Here are some actors and actresses that have made a lasting impact on me: movies and stage

Lisa Karlin- She was my Leading Player. She was the standout when I saw Pippin. I loved the way she presented herself. Like in “Magic to Do”, she was very playful, but I could detect a small amount hint of “evil”, Then in songs like “Glory”, she got rid of the playfulness and showed her craftiness and darkness more. She was playful around Pippin to make it seem that he could trust her. She played her as very crafty, manipulative, dark, sneaky, and playful. She even can trick the audience into believing that she was leading Pippin on the right path.

Joey Barreiro- He was my first Jack. I have seen two fantastic Jacks after him. But still to this day, Joey is still my favorite Jack. I fell in love with Jack all because of Joey. He had this incredible dreamy, romantic, and innocent nature. He showed Jack’s inner conflict perfectly and was able to act as a leader.

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Samantha Barks- she was my first Eponine. She was the reason why I developed a beautiful bond with Eponine in the first place. She is such a very talented Eponine. She perfectly showed how alone Eponine is. She was very believable as that girl. If it was not for her, I do not know if I would have fallen in love with Eponine. To this day, still is my favorite Eponine.

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Mary Kate Morrissey- True, I fell in love with Elphaba before her, but she is the Elphaba I remember the most. I saw her as standby on tour in 2016. She embodied Elphaba perfectly. She was able to bring something new to the role. She understood the role perfectly. She made me appreciate a song I always hated, and for once felt emotions in “No Good Deed”. She even altered her voice: in act I, her voice sounded innocent, but in act II, her voice was mature.

Amanda Jane Copper- She was in the same cast as Mary Kate Morrissey. you NEVER can have a brilliant Elphaba without an excellent Glinda and vice versa. Amanda was an excellent Glinda, which meant “For Good” was perfectly. Her Glinda kept on making me laugh in all of Glinda’s funny lines and she perfectly expressed Glinda’s pain in act II.

Ashley Parker Angel- I loved what he did to the role. He acted the lion cub scene as if he had a crush on Elphaba, but deep down does not seem to know it. So act I had some foreshadowing going on. I wanted to get to the bottom of this love triangle plot twist. He already decided to make his chemistry weaker with Glinda then with Elphaba.

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Jeremy Secomb- I saw him in the West End. I struggle with Javert so much. Jeremy is the only Javert I have seen that I have felt sympathy for, and that is why he had a lasting impact on me.

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Joshua Grosso- I already made this clear. He became my favorite Marius. What happens when your favorite character in the Les Mis love triangle is Eponine, but your strongest actor is Marius? That is what happened in November of last year. He was charming and awkward. He treated falling in love with Cosette like “I’m in love, but what to do with it”. At the barricades, people might think he isn’t showing enough emotion during “A Little Fall of Rain”, but it works. He focused more on comforting Eponine. Wait till the end- he almost acted a bit stunned- he did not say a word until about 5-10 seconds- then said “grow” and the way he said it hurt. So he still was able to show his hurt. His “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was very heartbreaking. So he embodied Marius perfectly and changed my perception of him.

He made Marius nearly a core favorite Les Mis character. I saw something in his Marius that made him shine.

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I could have talked about all actors and actresses that have had a lasting impact on me, but the list could have taken too long.

July in Review

Today I will talk about my highlights of July 2018.

Symphonies: Celebrate America Pops Symphony

Every year in Charlotte, there is an outdoor symphony series called the summer Pops. One of them is for Fourth of July, which is usually celebrated before Fourth of July. That one uses songs such as God Bless America, National Anthem, America the Beautiful and a section that honors our veterans and this symphony had a overture from the musical, Guys and Dolls.

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Trips: Lake Hartwell, Georgia

So I went to a long weekend trip to Lake Hartwell. I went there to be with members of my extended family: this sounds crazy, I was with third cousins during that weekend. I spent time on the lake for only two days. I helped bake a blueberry pie.

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Musicals: Newsies (BIG SURPRISE)

Well, I wanted to see CPCC’s production of Newsies to see how they could handle the dancing. The week came and all week, my family never seemed to tell me that I was going to see Newsies or anything. So I naturally assumed that it wasn’t going to happen.

Than this happens: Saturday: one of my best friends from college shows up at my house without her telling me. I did not know why on earth she would suddenly show up. She asked me if she where we were going: I said “no” and she was glad. I really had no idea what surprise she had up her sleeve. She drove the two of us downtown, and then we were near CPCC. We drove in the theatre parking deck: I was telling her only those seeing Newsies can park: she just told me “she just wants to see the theatre”. That made no sense to me one bit. Okay, now the two of us were waiting in the will call line and she was saying “I just want to see the theatre” and I was like “just talk to an usher”. It turns out in the end she bought the two of us tickets to see Newsies in June. So there you have it: when I totally thought I wasn’t going to their production: I ended up seeing it.

Below is a link to the Newsies review

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/newsies-surprise/

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This was basically an overview of my July 2018.

Top Ten Songs from Newsies

Now, I am on to my first Disney musical, Newsies. Newsies is the most recent musical I have seen live. I have only loved it for two years after seeing it on tour August 2016. So here are my top ten Newsies songs.

1. Seize the Day- this is my favorite song from Newsies. This is also my favorite dance number in the entire musical. It includes them dancing on newspapers. It is such a fun number, and it is truly when the strike begins. It is just a very fun number.

2. Carrying the Banner- what I love about Carrying the Banner is that it introduces you to the bond that all the Newsies share. It shows just how much they really care about each other and shows what they are all about. You are introduced to how incredible the dancing is in this musical

3. The World Will Know- once again, another dance number. This is right after Jack brings up an idea of the strike. It is when they truly form their union. You are shown another amount of dancing. Each time you see the incredible dancing, the more and more you root for the Newsies it seems.

4. King of New York- well, another dance number. This is what I like to call their big tap-dance number. This is when Katherine tells them they finally made the front page

5. Santa Fe (Prologue)- this opens up the musical. It introduces you to both Jack and Crutchie. It tells you about Jack’s dream to go to Santa Fe. It really shows the intimate bond these two Newsies share. So you quickly can get emotionally connected to the show.  This is shown as a very hopeful song.

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6. Santa Fe- this time Jack is singing Santa Fe all alone. This happens right after a big fight breaks out. Jack witnesses all of this and sees Crutchie being arrested. This hurts him quite a big deal, which makes Santa Fe a sad song. A lot of the times, the best musicals have sad songs in them. It is an incredible act one closer. He reflects on his dream again; he just wants to end the strike as soon as possible. He just doesn’t want his brothers to get hurt again, and that shows just how much he cares about them.

7. Something to Believe In- there is something magic about Disney love songs. This is a very beautiful love song found between Jack and Katherine.

8. Letter From the Refuge- this song is a song added to the tour and is now used for any production of Newsies. This song is Crutchie’s solo he sings at the Refuge. This song is heartbreaking, but it shows that he still has hopes for the strike. So he is still optimistic despite his current situation. It helps further the bond between Jack and Crutchie. I really love that this song was added.

9. Once and For All- the melody of this song shows the Newsies determination. They have sneaked into the World to use Pulitzer’s Printing to print their own paper to ask all young workers to stop working for the day.

10. Watch What Happens- This shows Katherine’s frustration at trying to write a report on the strike. This is basically a song about how passionate she is about her work and dealing with writer’s block. This really lets us get to know who Katherine is.

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As you can tell, just about all of these songs deal with the Newsies. It is very important to root for the Newsies because well the show is all about them. Katherine is rooting for them as well because she after all becomes the reporter of the strike. Newsies is a fun, dance-filled, and at times emotional musical. I said at times emotional musical due to songs like Santa Fe and Letter From the Refuge.

Contribution Understudies Put to Theatre

I talked about this before, but I feel like understudies keep on being under appreciated. Without them, so many shows would be cancelled. You have to know how to truly respect them and what they are able to bring to their roles. From the years 2014-2017, I have had a lot of understudies and throughout those years, I have truly learned to really respect them. Without them, you know how much trouble theatre would be in? They would be in a lot. Below I will put a list of mine and if I remember anything about them, I will talk about them.

Possible Spoilers:

1. Grace Morgan (Christine)- I don’t fully remember her when I saw Phantom of the Opera. However, I remember getting choked up by this cast. I remember being drawn to Christine so I bet she was really good as Christine.10354149_10203791645890941_4955988638206113711_n

2. Lisa Karlin (Leading Player)- This was my first time seeing Pippin. She was the true standout in this production. Everything I know about the Leading Player was based off of her portrayal. She was able to hide her evilness around Pippin to make it seem like she was someone he can trust and to do that she was very playful around him. She was quite crafty and in “Magic to Do”, I detected a small hint of evil, and then in “Glory”, she was much more dark and evil. Everything I know about this character is Lisa Karlin. Just by one actress, I know so much about one actress: that is impressive.

3. Sam Lips- due to being so intrigued by Lisa Karlin, I don’t remember a clue about Sam.

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4. Adam Bayjou- I literally was in the West End, and I was thinking “wait a minute, I am in the West End about to live my dream and I have a understudy for Jean Valjean”. I was a little bit nervous. Here is how I can say how brilliant he was: I forgot I was watching an understudy: think about that: if you forgot you watched an understudy, that is real talent right there. Below is a picture of me with Adam at Stage Door.

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5. Mary Kate Morrissey- When I have an understudy for Elphaba, it can be kind of scary for me because Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical character. She was actually the standby for Elphaba. Mary Kate embodied everything about Elphaba while bringing something new to the character. She made me appreciate a song I always hated, a song that always seemed emotionless to me: “No Good Deed”. She changed her voice to fit the character: act I: her voice was so much more innocent, but in act II, she changed it to be mature.

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6. Kaitlyn Frank- I did basically forget about her version of Katherine Plumber. I got so into Joey Barreiro as Jack that I did forget about the other acting. I also got mind-blown with the talent into the dancing. However, I recently saw my original Newsies review and it did say she had incredible chemistry with Joey.

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7. Talia Simone Robinson- this was a bit of a coincidence. How is it that my 2nd professional cast of Les Mis did I end up with an understudy? I thought that was the craziest thing, but this time instead of Jean Valjean, my understudy was Eponine. Talia wasn’t the strongest actor in the love triangle: it was Marius instead. However Talia had extremely strong moments as Eponine. She did not start out that strong as Eponine, but she eventually was able to embody the role. She was flirty and playful around Marius. As I recall, I think I heard some tears at the end of “On My Own” and during that song, I got some goosebumps. Than during “A Little Fall of Rain”, each time she tried to move, she barely could showing that she was weak and just getting weaker indicting that she was dying.

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So RESPECT the understudies. They have much more talent than you realize. They are able to embody the roles more than you think. Look at all of these understudies. When I saw Lisa, I didn’t even know who the Leading Player was, and Lisa was able to get me so intrigued by that actor and usually the first time I discover the antagonist, that usually that doesn’t happen. Then at Mary Kate, she made me appreciate I song I always hated for once. I was able to respect what Talia was able to bring to Eponine even though she didn’t start out that strong; she eventually was able to embody the role. It is not easy to be an understudy: they have to work harder than anybody. You have to be aware how many productions would be canceled if they didn’t exist. Just appreciate them much more.

Newsies Surprise

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So far in the summer I had seen two shows at CPCC (Central Piedmont Community College): Oklahoma and Grease. I had been dying to catch Newsies at CPCC, a musical that entered my life two years ago. It felt like I would never get to see it. Well, one of my best friends from college literally came to my house and honestly had no idea she was coming. She had another surprise coming and managed to keep it a secret. She drove the two of us to CPCC and what do you know: she bought us tickets to see Newsies. So what a surprise that was. So: I did not know Sydney was coming to Charlotte to literally take me to Newsies at CPCC. I never known about seeing a musical very last minute like that before. I mainly wanted to see Newsies to see how CPCC could handle the dance. I just was so wowed by the surprise, which added to my experience of actually seeing the show.

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As expected with any CPCC show, I could not see as a college production. They kept the towers that other productions of Newsies has. They needed somehow to represent the rooftop where Jack and Crutchie lived, the place where the other Newsies lived along with Medda’s theatre among other things. So I am so glad the set had the towers.

Jack Kelly was played by Ashton Guthrie. He played Jack as very mature, which I liked seeing as. He gave it his all in “Santa Fe”, which got me quite emotional. It almost made me tear up. He showed the nature of being a leader and acted older than many of the Newsies. While he costume did not make him look dreamy, it did make him look like he was one of the older Newsies. I liked seeing the difference in costume. That is what is fun about college or local productions: costumes that are only in that particular costume. But in “Something to Believe In”, Jack was much more innocent to show his love for Katherine. So he was able to work with his emotions in different ways. He was able to bring out the inner conflict that Jack eventually has to deal with.

I loved the fact that Crutchie was black. It showed that CPCC was accepting of their performers. Treston Henderson was just incredible during “Letter from the Refuge”, another moment that got me emotional. He showed his optimism during that number. The only thing that seemed maybe a bit off is that Crutchie might have done a bit more dance than he should have done. After all Crutchie has a bum leg: however he doesn’t do the really really advanced dancing. Just saying. Treston was an amazing performer as well.

Collin Newton was Davey. He did show Davey’s shyness at the beginning, but soon was able to show how Davey was eventually was able to come out of his shell. Even in that one moment when thing weren’t going this actor’s way, it showed how he was able to deal with it. He got frustrated for a few seconds, but dealt with it nicely. That showed how mature of an actor he was.

Robin Dunavant was Katherine. I really loved her in both “Watch What Happens” and “Something to Believe In”. She gave it her all in her solo number and showed Katherine’s frustrations as she was struggling with figuring out to write in “Watch What Happens” and that is when Robin really started to shine as Katherine. I loved all her acting leading up to “Something to Believe In”. In “Something to Believe In”, she was very innocent, which matched perfectly with Ashton’s Jack.

About all the Newsies, they really showed their bond. It was quite strong throughout. Once again, they were quite talented at their dance. They were doing all these wonderful tricks like flipping, dancing on newspapers among other things. What was interesting about “King of New York”, instead of just Katherine, there were two other females dancing: I thought that was unique. It is just interesting seeing what other productions will do.

CPCC really knows what they are doing when it comes to theatre. Newsies has got to be one of their best.