Non-Romantic Duets in Musical Theatre

When people think of duets in musicals, they think of romance duets. However, there are duets that do not fall under romance. Some are dealing with friendship; some with death; some with family and some between the protagonist and antagonist. This post will be talking about the non-romance numbers. THERE MIGHT BE MAJOR SPOILERS.

For Good

  • The first duet dealing with friendship that comes to mind is Wicked. For Good is the most emotional song in Wicked. It is a bittersweet song because it will be the last time Elphaba and Glinda will see each other, but at the same time they will be able to say what they meant to each other.
Elphaba and Glinda in Wicked- For Good
For Good

Santa Fe (Prologue)

  • This is another friendship duet. This time it is between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. Jack is leader of the Newsies. The two of them have a special bond. Jack cares a lot about his brothers especially for Crutchie. Crutchie may be the most vulnerable of the Newsies, but he has a wonderful spirit and optimism.
Santa Fe (Prologue)- Jack Kelly and Crutchie in Newsies
Santa Fe (Prologue)

What You Own

  • This is kinda a friendship duet. That is because it is between Mark and Roger, two best friends. Both are them did end up having an epiphany in this song. Roger has figured what he song will be and Mark realized what kinda of film he wanted to make. So in many ways, this was a friendship duet.

A Little Fall of Rain

  • Here is a type of song that did shock me in the world of musical: I once believed that a musical song wouldn’t happen during a death. Turns out I was so wrong. This is between Eponine and Marius. For some people, they might call it a romantic number: not for me. Right before the song, Eponine sacrificed her life for him out of love for him. When Marius discovered she was dying, he was devastated; but decided to stay with her- he ended up showing her comfort to the end. This is a bittersweet song- you have to understand Eponine to understand why. This is literally the happiest moment of her life: she is with Marius, that is all that truly matter even though he never loved her. It does have both friendship and death when it comes to this duet.
"A Little Fall of Rain" from the movie- Samantha Barks as Eponine and Eddie Redmayne as Marius
A Little Fall of Rain

Come to Me

  • Once again, another death duet. This is the first death that happens in Les Mis. It happens to Fantine, and this song is between Valjean and her. In the opinion, the hardest scenes to watch belong to Fantine. “Come to Me” does give Fantine peace and comfort for once. Valjean agrees and promises to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. He stayed with her to the end. While her time in the musical is short-lived, she is still one of the principal characters.
Come to Me- Valjean and Fantine
Come to Me

No Matter What

  • This is one of the family duets. This happens between Belle and Maurice. While the town might think they are odd, Belle and her father do not see each other that way. This song does truly show how much Belle and her father do love each other.

Phantom of the Opera

  • This is a protagonist and antagonist. That is my opinion- I believe Christine is the protagonist and Phantom is the antagonist. In the song, I love the haunting and mystic feeling; going through the lair/boats, etc. It is an amazing scene to watch.

Confrontation

  • Another protagonist and antagonist song is “Confrontation” that happens between Valjean and Javert. You strongly start to see their dynamic unfold in this song. It does happen at a bit of an inconvenient time. After all, this song happens after Fantine dies. At the end, you strongly know that Valjean will keep to his word that we will raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own.

What are some your favorite non-romantic musical theatre songs?

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Non-Tour Musicals I Saw

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.

  1. Wicked- 2006
  2. Oliver- 2007 (don’t remember seeing)
  3. Godspell- 2012
  4. Les Mis-2013
  5. Les Mis-2013 (as an usher)
  6. Les Mis-2013 (as an usher)
  7. Scrooge-2014
  8. Music Man- 2015
  9. Les Mis-2015
  10. Little Shop of Horrors- 2017
  11. Oklahoma- 2018
  12. Grease-2018
  13. Newsies-2018

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.

The Act I Finales

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.

  1. La Bie Boheme B
  2. If I Can’t Love Her
  3. I’d Give My Life For You
  4. Santa Fe
  5. Let it Go
  6. Crashing of the Chandelier
  7. Defying Gravity
  8. 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 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.

What are some of your favorite act I finales?

Strength in Musical Theatre Characters- What is It?

A key characteristic I look for in musical theatre characters is strength. When I mean strength, I am not talking about physical strength. I am referring to emotional, mental, or spiritual strength: it can be one of those. These are some of the easiest characters to emotionally connect to. What exactly makes me love them, and what is that strength? I will try to explain.

Major Spoilers:

Elphaba

  • She was one of the earliest strong characters I emotionally connected to. Her strength allows her to thrive in difficult times. She grew up unloved due to being different. No one saw her for who she was. Only two people accepted her for she really was. Those two were Glinda and Fiyero- the two most important people in her life. Glinda was her best friend and Fiyero was the young man she fell in love with. Even when she was constantly misunderstood and discriminated and labeled as “wicked”, she still stayed true to herself. At least, she had Glinda and Fiyero in her life. Her strength kept her going. She never became wicked- it only was a label.
Elphaba- Wicked
Elphaba

Glinda

  • I don’t know why, but I think Glinda is also a strong character. Part of why Elphaba and Glinda’s bond is so powerful and beautiful was because of their strength.
Glinda

Eponine

  • In my opinion, her greatest strength is her love for Marius. Here is a girl who grew up abused, unloved, and in the criminal world. In addition, her family ended up living in extreme poverty. So Eponine lived a dark and horrible life without kindness. When Marius entered, she found someone who did show her kindness, and that is why she fell in love with him. People can easily call her love for Marius a weakness, but it actually was her greatest strength. She was the girl who would do anything for him no matter the cost-at one point, she actually stood up to her father and his gang to protect Marius. She was actually was responsible for getting Marius and Cosette together. She literally gave up her life for him at the barricade- in that scene, Marius may have been devastated, but at least he was there. During “A Little Fall of Rain”, Eponine ended up dying in the arms of Marius- that ended up being the happiest moment of her life-what mattered most to her in that scene is that he was there. It was her love for him that allowed her to thrive in her dark life- he was literally the light of her life- it may have led to her death, but she literally gave up her life for him- that takes a lot of strength and courage. In “On My Own”, you discover how deep and strong her love for Marius was.
Eponine in the Les Mis Film ("On My Own")- Samantha Barks
Eponine

Jean Valjean

  • He is the main character of Les Misérables. Throughout the musical, he carries this spiritual strength, which is first shown at the bishop scene. That spiritual strength grows stronger as the story unfolds. His compassion and love for God is important throughout the story. His first strong element of compassion is shown when he helps Fantine. He does prevent her going to jail and later on her deathbed promises to raise Cosette and stays with her until she dies. His compassion and love is shown through Young Cosette after seeing how she has been treated by The Thenardiers. You constantly are reminded by his love for God by the candlesticks- you constantly see them. His love for Cosette is strongly shown when he goes to the barricade to make sure Marius comes out alive- Marius is the one Cosette loves. “Bring Him Home” is the song where his love for God is strongly shown. Even when he is dying- the candlesticks are still there.
Nick Cartell (2017 US Tour)- "Bring Him Home)
Jean Valjean

Young Cosette

  • You might be thinking, how can a child be strong. I see that through Young Cosette. She has such a strong spirit. She has high hopes she will be rescued. She has been unloved and abused by The Thenardiers- she has been treated by a servant. A lot of why I love her is her strong spirit and the hope she has. She does eventually get rescued by Jean Valjean.
Young Cosette from the Les Mis movie ("Castle on a Cloud)- Isabelle Allen
Young Cosette

Princess Jasmine

  • Yes, even the Disney Princesses can be strong. Ever since seeing the live action Aladdin, I knew that Jasmine was strong. The addition of “Speechless” made me realize that. I saw Aladdin on 9/11- I am still getting to know who Jasmine is. What I am trying to say is, I still do not quite know why she is a strong character.

Katherine Plumber

  • Newsies may be male-based, but there is a female voice in that musical. Katherine is the reporter and love interest of Jack Kelly, the leader of the Manhattan Newsies. She does want to prove that a female can do the same thing that the males can do. At first, the Newsies are like “but your’e a girl- why should you be the reporter”. Katherine is just like-” I may be a girl, but I can do the same as the males”. Katherine is strong in that way.
Katherine Plumber

Conclusion

  • The strong characters are different in many ways. They know how to thrive in difficult times. Some are trying to prove themselves. To some people, their greatest strength might seem like a weakness, but in reality, it really is their greatest strength. I am aware of other strong characters, but if I continue, it might make too long of a post. I feel like several strong characters are female- not the other way around. I look for strength in a character because it allows characters to keep going even things are tough or difficult.

What makes me Love a Friendship in a Musical

One type of love found in a musical is friendship. What exactly makes me love the friendships I do love? That is a tough question. I will try to answer. Only one of these friendships- I have no idea what made me fall in love with them, who are Lumiere and Cogsworth.

Bond- this is key. Multiple friendships I do love share a close bond. That is what the Newsies, Friends of the ABC, Elphaba and Glinda, and the Rent Batch have in common. It is their close bond that made me fall in love with them. To a further extent, in Newsies, there is a more intimate bond, which is found between Jack and Crutchie.

Good Friends- I do not know where to put Omar, Babkak, Aladdin, and Kassim; and Eponine and Marius. I think this is part of it. They are amazing friends to each other. They are there for each other when they need it- Aladdin’s three friends (SPOILER) do try to rescue him when Jafar actually captures Aladdin and locks him up: that is where the song, “High Adventure” shows up.

I know Marius and Eponine is an unpopular opinion, but I love that Marius is in her life: he is her light in her life and the only person to show her kindness, and is there for her when is dying (“A Little Fall of Rain”)- that is compassion. He was devastated- but at least he stayed with her. I believe he sent her off with that letter in hopes to protect her, and when she returned, he was worried. He was a good friend to Eponine- he knew her life was tough, and I am glad he was part of it.

Emotional Connection- this is the most important thing to loving any character. In all of these friendships, I found myself emotionally connected. None of these characters were horrible friends to each other- if they were, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with these friendships. They were always there for each other when they need it the most. Of all these friendships, my all-time favorite one is Elphaba and Glinda.

What makes you fall in a love with a friendship in a musical?

Updated Favorite Musical Theatre Characters

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.

  1. Annie
  2. Aladdin
  3. Aldonza
  4. Angel
  5. Anna (Frozen)
  6. Babkak
  7. Belle
  8. Beast
  9. Crutchie
  10. Cosette
  11. Christine
  12. Chip
  13. Chris
  14. Cogsworth
  15. Davey
  16. Don Quixote
  17. Eponine
  18. Elphaba
  19. Enjolras
  20. Elsa
  21. Fantine
  22. Fiyero
  23. Friends of the ABC
  24. Gavroche
  25. Glinda
  26. Grizabella
  27. Harold Hill
  28. Jack Kelly
  29. Jasmine
  30. Jean Valjean
  31. Kassim
  32. Katherine Plumber
  33. Kim (Miss Saigon)
  34. Lumiere
  35. Maria (Sound of Music)
  36. Marius
  37. Mimi
  38. Mrs. Potts
  39. Mufasa
  40. Nala
  41. Newsies
  42. Omar
  43. Oliver
  44. Pippin
  45. Pumba
  46. Raoul
  47. Roger
  48. Sancho Panza
  49. Simba
  50. Timon
  51. Von Trapp Children
  52. Winthrop
  53. Young Cosette
  54. Zazu

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.

Have you Ever been said “Broaden your taste for musicals due to being obsessed with one”

As so many know, I am obsessed with Les Mis. To some people, it might seem as if I am not expanding my passion for musicals. However- that is not actually the case. My passion for Les Mis is responsible for my passion for musicals: if I did not, certain musicals would have not been in my life or been given a chance. Before Les Mis, I would not let tragedies in my life. Lets look at some of the things I learned some Les Mis, and later focus on some of the new musicals that entered my life after Les Mis entered my life. Look, Les Mis would not have been able to enter my life without Wicked.

What I Learned From Les Mis

Tragic musicals do exist- I was not raised on tragedies in musical theatre. I was around Disney musicals, Wicked, Mamma Mia, and musicals of that kind. How was I supposed to know that tragedies were a part of the musical world.

I can love tragedies- here me out on this: as a high school girl, I told myself I will NEVER love a tragedy. I thought they were pure sad. Les Mis entered my life in my first year of college (2013). I realized tragedies were not at all what I once thought they were. They are more than just tragedies- they have a hopeful side to them and are not too depressing.

Tragedies go beyond being sad- this goes back to what I just said. In 2013, I picked up on the fact that I felt uplifted by Les Mis. I wanted to know WHY. I soon was able to understand its underlying spirituality: hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption are why it goes beyond its tragic nature. A tragedy cannot be a tragedy without the catharsis.

A death scene can be memorable- once again, I did believe that a death would be unmemorable especially to a favorite character. I even thought a death scene could not happen through song. Les Mis proved both of those wrong- the various deaths are memorable even if it is a favorite character.

Heartbreak is a musical emotion- I was not blind to sad. I picked up on the emotion of sad in middle school. I thought sad could not push any further. Boy, was I so wrong. I discovered the emotion of heartbreak through song in Les Mis. Heartbreak is a more vulnerable, fragile, and deeper form of sad. Heartbreak opened a new window- knowing that emotion exists made it easier to pick up on negative emotions in other musicals.

  • These are just a few of the things I learned from Les Mis. Just because I talk about Les Mis a lot does not been I do not branch out. I still want to see new musicals. What are some musicals that entered my life after 2013?

Musicals that Entered my Life after 2013:

  1. Man of La Mancha
  2. Newsies
  3. Pippin
  4. Music Man
  5. South Pacific
  6. Fiddler on the Roof
  7. My Fair Lady

So, I do allow other musicals to enter my life. There are musicals that I want to give a chance- those are not in my life yet. What are some of those?

Musicals I Still Hope to See:

  • Anastasia
  • Hadestown
  • Something Rotten
  • Frozen- yes, I already love it (but still need to see the stage show)

I already love a wide range of musicals already: Mamma Mia, Music Man, Sound of Music, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, Wicked, Man of La Mancha, Frozen, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Newsies, Lion King, Pippin, Rent, South Pacific, Godspell, My Fair Lady: this is a combo of those I grew up with (as in childhood to the end of high school) to college.

This has been said to me a couple of times- Broaden my taste for musicals. Expand it more. Those things are said to me when I have an opportunity to see Les Mis again- usually when I am given a chance, I want to see the show again. Well, this year: I have an opportunity to see Les Mis a sixth time. Some people think I do not expand it that much only because I am obsessed with Les Mis.