I have known musicals are emotional since middle school. Wicked was the reasoning behind this. Wicked told me about four core emotions, which were excitement, love, joy, and sad. The emotional musicals are the ones that I tend to be drawn to the most. What exactly makes an emotional musical?
The emotional musicals tend to have a score that has BOTH positive and negative emotions. When I say negative emotions, I mean strong enough to create a response- not mild. Not all sad songs are heartbreaking, but all heartbreaking songs are sad. Now I will talk about some of the examples of the musicals I call emotional.
Major and Minor Spoilers:
For a lot of act I, Newsies does not seem to fit under emotional musicals. The songs already are catchy and exciting. The only kind of emotional song that comes to mind already are “Santa Fe (Prologue)”, but that song is hopeful- however I believe that song and “Something to Believe In” does play their part in Newsies being emotional. So why is Newsies emotional? Look right after “Seize the Day?”
This big fight breaks out. Jack, the leader of the strike, witnesses all of this. This upsets him a great deal, but hurts him the most when he sees Crutchie being arrested. All of this shows that Jack cares a lot about the strike. If you remember Jack and Crutchie share quite an intimate bond- that is shown in the first song. All of this leads into “Santa Fe”, which is a sad song. So that song does make Newsies an emotional song.
There is a 2nd moment in Newsies that makes it an emotional musical. Crutchie has a solo that was added when the musical was launched as a tour. Crutchie is one of the principal actors. The song, “Letter From the Refuge”, was added, and that song is heartbreaking. So those two songs make Newsies an emotional musical.
Beauty and the Beast
This musical, like Newsies, is a Disney musical. This musical is a romance- so ALL the romantic songs are emotional. From “Something There” to “Beauty and the Beast”- those help make the musical emotional. Beauty and the Beast still has their heartbreaking songs- in the stage show, “home” is one of the more emotional songs and so is the heartbreaking “If I Can’t Love Her” and “If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”. All of those songs combined are why Beauty and the Beast is emotional.
This is yet another Disney musical that is emotional. After all, the emotional nature of the show starts after Scar kills his brother. That was when the storyline kicked off. Seeing the effect it has on Young Simba is heartbreaking (before he runs away). Mufasa’s death almost made me cry last year when I saw Lion King. Lion King is home to songs such as “Shadowland” and “Endless Night”. Even the romantic “Can You Fell the Love Tonight” plays a part in the emotional nature of Lion King. So Disney does do a good job on making a musical emotional at times.
Wicked is for sure a musical with a lot of comic moments. It still has a serious side to it. Its’ center core is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. At the same time, it has a love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. There are songs such as the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” and bittersweet “For Good”. “For Good” is the most emotional song of the musical. “No Good Deed” shows negative emotions as well- which took 9 and 1/2 years for me to notice any sort of emotions in it. One of its more major topics is discrimination- but each time I keep on focusing much more on the friendship and the love triangle that I keep on not exploring the more serious side of Wicked.
South Pacific is a romance that is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. That would mean one couple is more light-hearted than the other. Romance musicals have multiple emotional moments. Emelie does sing the heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine”. Once you see South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime” does become almost more emotional- that is the song that focuses on List and Joe Cable- that couple is actually tragic. One of South Pacific’s major topics it focuses on is racism.
Rent is a sad musical, so it obviously is an emotional musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It talks about how to live life in the time you have. Rent is one of those musicals that can make me an emotional wreck- songs like “Will I”, “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are moments that usually get to me.
Les Mis is even more tragic than Rent. Les Mis feels like you are hit with tragedy after tragedy after tragedy- it is like the tragic events never stop. At the same time, there is this beautiful underlying spirituality. Compassion is shown at death scenes, hope is shown when something tragic does happen, and so on. I am truly an emotional wreck at Les Mis.
They are what I would call the “unexpected couple”. You never expect them to get together. When Elphaba first meets him, she can’t stand him. He doesn’t make a good impression at first. Then the Lion Cub Scene happens, and he softens up a bit. You discover that she is starting to fall in love with him, but unrequitedly- you feel like he will always be with Glinda. Then he hears all of these rumors spread about Elphaba and knows they are not true. He realizes that he loves Elphaba instead of Glinda- so now the unrequited love shifts to Glinda.
Elphaba and Fiyero may be a young couple, but they are a mature couple. It clearly shows during “As Long as Your’e Mine”. They do protect each other- after all he protects Elphaba from being arrested, which leads him to possibly being tortured, which leads Elphaba to do spell after spell after spell to protect Fiyero.
Belle and Beast
This musical is actually a romance. The Beast is actually a human transformed into a Beast after an enchantress discovered there is no love in his heart. So she transformed him into a heart. The spell would be broken if he will fall in love and will be loved another. The love also affected those who lived in the castles.
Belle became prisoner in Beast’s castle after taking her father’s place. First Belle despised the Beast. She saw how unkind and how selfish he was. After she ran away after Beast scared her for being in the West End, Beast began to soften up. He ended up saving her life, but he still had a hard time controlling his temper. Slowly over time, they began to have feelings for each other (“Something There”). Then at “Beauty and the Beast”, you knew they were in love. The whole “Beauty and the Beast” scene is so magical to look at. I don’t know what it is about Disney love songs- there is something magical about them. Beast was willing to let her go- Belle and Beast protected each other. After all, when Belle realized Gaston was going to hurt the Beast, she wanted to hurt him and when Belle came back, Beast fought Gaston in order to protect Belle. Their love for each other caused the spell to be broken.
Cosette and Marius
One of the things I love about these two is how they bring hope to this tragedy. Cosette represents love and hope- so it makes sense why she and Marius ends up together. These two are some of the only survivors in Les Mis. While they have lost so many important people in their lives in the end, at least they still have each other. They are such an adorable couple in so many ways.
Katherine and Jack
This is another Disney couple that I love. They are my favorite contemporary Disney couple. Even the song, “Something to Believe In” carries the same magic that the classic Disney songs have. Katherine is the reporter of the strike and Jack is the Newsies’ leader. She does help him with the inner conflict he is going through in act II. Their love clearly shows during “Something to Believe In”
Christine and Raoul
Before the events in the story begin, they once upon a time were childhood sweethearts. When Raoul first recognized Christine, he wanted to be in relationship with her. Raoul is the one who would protect Christine no matter what. After hearing from her about the Phantom, he would do anything to protect her. I have always loved them- “All I Ask Of You” is one of the biggest reasons that explains it.
Mimi and Roger
They are one of the hardest couples to explain why I love them. There are three couples in Rent, and Mimi and Roger are the main couple. They do connect in “Light in my Candle”, but do not become a couple until “I Should Tell You”. It takes about a lot of act I to become a couple. Roger is the one who is unwilling to get in a relationship while Mimi wants to. Both of them have HIV. These two struggle in their relationship at times and do fight at times- they still love each other despite the problems. I wish I knew further why I love them; I think a lot of it comes from them being realistic and their songs.
These are just a few of my favorite couples. All of them share a few things in common. They all are young couples, and they all have a main song that I am attached to. The main song is a key element to loving a musical theatre couple. A couple’s main song does show you that those characters have fallen in love. Usually it can be hard to tell if they have fallen in love or not- which is definitely true if the musical is not a romance.
One of the most fascinating things about being a musical theatre fanatic is just how different each musical year is. That is because the musicals you see vary, and the same is for just how many musicals you see. Some years you might see just two musicals or three or four or five. The number has to do with where you live, can you afford them, the months you see them and where exactly you see them (as in community college/ regional/local theater, West End/Broadway, and tours plus the city).
Major and Minor Spoilers
If you think about it, the shows vary a lot. In 2018, all I saw were happy musicals- Oklahoma, Grease, Newsies, Lion King, and A Christmas Story. At the same time, they still came with their more serious and emotional (as in sad and heartbreaking. After all, Newsies is home to “Santa Fe” and “Letter from the Refuge” and Lion King does have Mufasa’s death, which did get to me and “Endless Night”. I ended up seeing these musicals in June, July, September, and December.
2017, on the other hand was highly different. Instead of being home to all happy musicals, I started with a horror comedy, Little Shop of Horrors, and ended on the more sad side of things- Rent and Les Mis. These were one college production and two tours- one in Charlotte and one in Greenville. So in 2017, I was an emotional wreck twice- both Rent and Les Mis gave me an emotional wreck twice. This set of musicals ended up being in February, September, and November.
So you see, two different years, but still so different. So every single musical year is so different. You might have one year will all happy musicals. Still, I have never found a year where there has never been at least one sad or heartbreaking moment in at least one musical. After all, the five core emotions are excitement, joy, love, sad, and heartbreak. If I broke down year after year after 2012 to now, it would take forever. So I was just giving you an idea.
It is February, and I think it is appropriate to talk about the most common theme in musical theatre. Most likely when you see a musical, you will see romance: either you just see a couple or you come across a love triangle. It is not just love triangles that are complex- even a couple alone is complex. It is their love song that makes you realize they have fallen in love- but that is not always the case.
I feel like there is something quite magical about Disney couples. Songs like “Something to Believe In”, “A Whole New World”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” have something special about them. I love all of the couples associated with them. These couples belong to Katherine and Jack, Jasmine and Aladdin, Belle and Beast, and Nala and Simba. If you think about it, Belle and Beast are home to a love triangle- after all, Gaston wants to marry Belle for the entire musical. Belle and Beast is a couple that falls in love over time- first Belle despises Beast- then they develop feelings for each other during “Something There”- and then you finally have “Beauty and the Beast”. There is a heartbreaking song in the midst of all of this- “If I Can’t Love Her” in this stage show- or its “Evermore” if you watch the 2017 movie.
Love Triangles (Les Mis, Phantom, Wicked)
Les Mis: Cosette x Marius x Eponine
The couple is Cosette and Marius and the unrequited love belongs to Eponine. Cosette and Eponine have literally switched places in life- Cosette had a horrible childhood while Eponine had a better childhood- then Eponine’s life gets even worse and Cosette’s life improves when Valjean rescues her from the Thenardiers, who are Eponine’s parents. When Cosette leaves, Eponine is mistreated by her parents, and is raised to be a thief and criminal. When Marius enters her life, he treats her with kindness- that is why she fell in love with- the sad truth is he is the only person who treats her with kindness- as a matter of fact, he is the only good thing in her life.
Then the love triangle happens- Marius bumps into Cosette, and the two of them automatically fell in love with each other. Eponine notices that they both love each other. She will do anything for Marius- she does end up finding Cosette for him. She risks her life several times for Marius. She ends up protecting Marius from her father when he was about to rob Valjean’s house (Marius was there at the time). This was why she went to the barricade, and why she sacrificed her life for him. I love how in this love triangle, you end up feeling for all three of them at once- first when Marius and Cosette and 2nd at “Heart Full of Love”- it starts out as a duet- then when Eponine joins in- you get so confused- you end up feeling heartbroken for Eponine, but incredible for Marius and Cosette- that is why you are confused. Marius and Cosette are such an adorable couple- those are my favorite survivors or Les Mis- Marius in particular.
Phantom of the Opera: Raoul x Christine x Phantom
Unlike Les Mis, the entire story is a love triangle. Raoul and Christine are the couple while Phantom gets the unrequited love. Raoul and Christine are an adorable couple. Raoul would do anything to prevent Christine from the Phantom. Phantom does not accept, cope, or deal with his unrequited love well. His response is extremely negative- he responds in anger and revenge- he plans to murder Raoul- at the end of the show- he makes Christine choose between choosing him or killing Raoul (not the best response).
Wicked: Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda
Wicked is the most complex out of all three of these love triangles. In act I, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple while Elphaba is dealing with unrequited love. She does not pursue Fiyero because of her best friend. In act II, the unrequited love jumps to Glinda- now Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple- that becomes the final result. So this love triangle has a plot twist- the other two love triangles has only one character dealing with unrequited love- Wicked on the other hand has two characters- both Elphaba and Glinda do not pursue Fiyero to keep their friendship alive. They do not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. I believe it shows their loyalty towards each other and helps strengthen their friendship. What I love about this love triangle is that it develops in the same way the characters do- it does not truly mature until the characters do. Wicked’s love triangle is my FAVORITE love triangle.
Elphaba wasn’t planning on falling in love with Fiyero. She could not stand Fiyero at first. He was a jerk at first- his overall arc is one of the things I love watching. He went from this jerk to softening up to becoming this mature and courageous young man. Elphaba truly matured during “Defying Gravity”. See what I mean- the love triangle did not truly mature until the characters did.
Why does the plot twist happen- I never knew why the first three times I saw the musical. I decided to get some answers the 4th time. I believe Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba at Shiz in act I, but deep down didn’t realize it. I believe he realized he was in love with Elphaba at the beginning of act II. He decided to have a stronger chemistry with Elphaba and a weaker chemistry with Glinda in the first act foreshadowing the plot twist. This was all based off of Ashley Parker Angel’s portrayal I saw the 4th time. At least- some things are clearer this time around.
Mimi and Roger
Mimi and Roger is one of the couples that is NOT part of a love triangle that is complex. So you see, there couples that are complex that don’t need to be a love triangle. Mimi and Roger are one of those couples. Mimi and Roger are my favorite Rent couple, and I still struggle to understand that. They have have HIV, and have other struggles. They find an attachment in “Light My Candle”- BUT Roger is unwilling to be in a relationship because of some complications that happened in his most recent relationship. It is during “I Should Tell You” is finally when Roger commits to a relationship. They are a couple who fights at times, but still love each other. Mimi and Roger are the main couple in Rent. I find them to be a realistic couple.
Maureen and Joanne
This couple is the most problematic relationship in Rent. They fight the most. Joanne always gets so annoyed with Maureen. They are a Lesbian couple- that is something that is unique about this couple. Maureen is very crazy- it is very easy to notice it about her.
Collins and Angel
Just like Mimi and Roger, they have HIV. They are a gay couple as well. They make the most out of their relationship, which is especially clear during “I’ll Cover You”. They never have problems- unlike the other two couples. Knowing about their situation (with the HIV)- they live everyday as if its their last.
Harold Hill and Marian
What I love about this couple being in Music Man is that it gives this musical an emotional feel. After all, it is a very light-hearted musical. So the main emotional feel belongs to the romance. Marian helps protect Harold Hill from being caught when she finds out he is a conman. I don’t think she was planning on falling with him.
If I go on talking about Romance in musicals- it would go on forever. Most of the characters who fell in love are young- as in their 20s and teens. Romance is a combo of innocence, magic, vulnerability, and fragility. The emotions vary as well- love, joy, heartbreak, sad, anger, and revenge- wonder why the negative emotions take up most of them in terms of the ones I can name. Romance does not have to take up JUST the couples- it also has to do with tragic love stories, unrequited love, and breakups.
One of the most frustrating questions I am asked as a musical theatre fanatic is if I prefer classical musicals over contemporary or vice versa- what happens if you are both. I decided to talk about the question here. I will talk about a number of the musicals I love and the ones I am interested in seeing.
These are musicals people tend to think of that come before the 21st century. I will talk about the ones that I love that come before then.
I love Music Man for how light-hearted and happy it is. I love its song and plot.
Sound of Music
This was and still is a childhood meaningful musical. The songs are fun and very easy to sing along to. Its plot is very easy to fall in love with. Sound of Music is very easy to fall in love with.
One of the things that drew me to South Pacific is the fact that it is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Its songs are both fun and emotional. This musical is a romance, and like any Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, it focuses on two couples- one of which is more light-hearted and the other of which more serious.
Singing in the Rain
I love Singing in the Rain for some of the same reasons why I love Music Man. It has the light-hearted and fun nature. You want musicals like that to help balance out musicals out.
This is another musical I quite enjoy. It has a collection of fun and emotional songs. I love it when songs in musicals (like South Pacific) are home to positive and negative emotions. Incredible plot- after all, this is based off Dickens’ Oliver Twist.
Fiddler on the Roof
Like all of these musicals, I love the songs in Fiddler on the Roof.
This musical, like Sound of Music, is a meaningful childhood musical. I have always related to Annie. I think that is why I always loved Annie. Its catchy songs, and its incredible plot are reasons why I love Annie so much.
There are several reasons why I love Les Mis. I love how powerful, epic, powerful, and highly emotional it is. I love how so intricate its plot- literally if one thing is out, the entire plot is ruined. The characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Usually in a musical- I know my favorite song, but in Les Mis- there is no way I can pick. Les Mis is the reason why I am passionate about musicals. Les Mis always makes me an emotional wreck- either by songs alone, the film, or the stage show. It disproved many things I thought a musical was growing up.
Phantom of the Opera
I love the spellbinding and mysterious nature of Phantom of the Opera. Its’ love triangle is dark, suspenseful, angelic, and beautiful. This musical is hauntingly beautiful in so many ways. I was spellbound and choked up when I saw it.
Beauty and the Beast
It is quite an enchanting and magical musical. Its characters are extremely memorable- from Belle to Beast to the enchanted objects. Its songs are extremely energetic, but at the same time there are the more emotional songs at times.
I love how the animals are created in Lion King. Also love the energetic and emotional nature of the songs in this musical. It has such a memorable plot.
Now we are in the more contemporary musicals. It sounds like I love a number of classical musicals- there are other classical musical I love (just gives you an idea). Now we are into the musicals of the 21st century
Just like Music Man and Singing in the Rain, it has the overall light-hearted nature. I love how fun the numbers are- that is the main reason why I love Mamma Mia.
Of all the contemporary musicals, Wicked is my favorite. Wicked was responsible for sparking my love for musicals. I love that the two protagonists in Wicked are two strong females. The story is about Elphaba (AKA The Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda’s relationship. Everything- from songs, to costumes (everything) feels OZian. Wicked was the reason why I knew what an emotional connection was; what it meant for a musical theatre character and plot to be complex; and where I learned the emotional side of musicals. Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical character. Wicked is home to my favorite musical theatre love triangle. The only characters I emotionally connected to in Wicked are Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda.
Newsies is one of the newest musicals of my life. I love the bond all of them share especially the intimate one found between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. I love seeing characters who stand up for what they believe in. The dancing I saw in Newsies was mind-blowing. The songs are energetic and emotional.
While I still haven’t seen the stage show, I still love the musical. It all started with the film- I fell in love with the movie; the plot, the characters (except for some- the bad guys are the ones I did not like), and the songs from the film. When I first heard it was coming to stage, I was excited. I eventually began to listen to some of the new songs, and I fell in love with the new songs I listened to. I believe the stage show will be more emotional, which will mean it will be stronger and more believable, than the movie. I recently heard that Fall 2019, a US Tour be launched- cannot wait- hopefully in Charlotte’s 2019-2020: Frozen will be part of it.
Other Contemporary Musicals I Want to See
Anastasia- got interested after hearing some songs in 2018
Something Rotten- got interested after some songs as well (don’t remember what year
So, about am I a classical musical theatre fan or about a contemporary musical fan? I believe I am both. I know, I have seen more musicals that are pre-21st century. The musicals I see has to do with what musicals are on tour- and which ones I choose to see during the season. I am both- just doesn’t seem that way.
2018 was been a very exciting year for me. Parts of it were tough. Parts of it were unexpected. It is time to talk about highlights in 2018.
Spring 2018 semester was my final semester at Gardner Webb. I knew it was going to be tough- I was stuck in Western Civilization II (one of the hardest General Ed. classes at Gardner Webb).
Birthday Celebrations- one of the things I love about the opening of each year is that it celebrates my birthday. I had two birthday celebrations- one was with my family, and the other was with my suitemates. With my suitemates, we went out to lunch, and while we were out, their boyfriends decorated my room. Later that day, we watched the live Beauty and the Beast movie. My suitemates gave me a present- a snowglobe, which has a picture of all three of us in it.
Snow Day- There was a snow day in January. There were no sleds in the suite, so one of my best friends (Sydney) decided to use the cushions in our suite. We covered them with a grocery bag and used them as a sled. After sledding, we made snow creme. The next day, I made a mini snow man.
Big E- The Big E is in Gaffney, SC. At 11:00, they close it off to Gardner Webb students. Students can choose from a number of movies to watch and I choose Greatest Showman. I ended up falling love with the movie musical.
Candy and Critters- Every year around Valentine’s Day at Gardner Webb, there is an event called Candy and Critters. You make a stuffed animal and make a box of candy. This time, when I was a stuffed animal, I planned to name the stuffed animal after a musical character, but here’s the catch, the stuffed animal had to resemble a musical character plus it had to be a musical character I love.
I ended up making two stuffed animal. Someone at student activities said if we stayed long enough, and if there was enough animals left, we could make another one. My first stuffed animal was Eponine, who was named after Eponine from Les Mis: the bear had a brown color scheme with heart-shaped patches that had stitch marks around the patches- which to me resembled the character. The other bear was named Tiedye. Eponine means a lot more to me- those who know me know about my obsession with Les Mis and my love for Eponine.
Eleemosynary- This was the first play I saw in the Spring 2018 semester. It only consisted of three actresses.
Spring Break- I went to Ponte Vedra, Florida. I ended up visiting the Guana Preserve, and went to the movies to see “A Wrinkle in Time”.
Asheville- One of the things that happened in March (but unexpectedly), two of my friends and I went to Asheville after class. We drove part of the trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and walked a little bit in Downtown Asheville. It seems crazy that a determined college student would literally go for a little adventure like that (after all Asheville is an hour away from Campus).
Big E- This had another Big E event. This name I choose to watch “I Only Imagine”. Most students picked horror movies, but I choose “I Only Imagine”, which is about how that song got written. There were only about 15 of us who went to that movie.
Peter and the Starcatcher- this was the last show I saw at Gardner Webb. I wasn’t expecting this, but I was asked to usher. Turns out they didn’t have enough ushers, so I was asked to usher. This was one of my favorite shows they did.
Spring Formal- this was a real highlight. The theme was Casino night. It is always nice to have Spring Formal as a break from studying for finals.
Graduation- for a good chunk of the semester, it almost seemed as if Graduation was not going to happen. It was all because of Western Civilization II. There were times when it seemed like I wasn’t going to pass the class- but I managed to pass that class in order to graduate.
Other Gardner Webb 2018 Memories
Skate Night- I participated in Skate Night this semester
The Gathering- Almost every Tuesday, I made sure to attend the Gathering, Gardner Webb’s student-led worship service.
Oklahoma- My first musical of the year. It was a date with my mom. It felt nice going back to Central Piedmont Community College. After all, it was the beginning of the college journey. I already knew what to expect from CPCC’s musicals- I had in the year’s 2012 and 2013 seen Godspell and Les Mis- so I knew just how strong their musicals can be. When I went to see Oklahoma, I wondered would I see any of the actors or actresses I had seen previously at CPCC. Turns out I did see two of the actors previously (those who played Laurey and Will Parker (they both were in Godspell and the one who played Laurey was also in the Les Mis ensemble). They used a minimal set, and it was the actors who moved the set pieces, and the show moved smoothly, and like excepted- it felt way more than a community college production.
Sugar Mountain- my family went to Sugar Mountain for a few days. It is near Banner Elk, Boone, and Grandfather Mountain. Part of the trip was exploring nearby towns and a little bit of hiking.
Grease- I saw my 2nd musical this month. I ended up seeing it with my sister and one our friends. I had seen the movie, but never seen the stage show. I did not know how different the stage show would be. When the show started, I realized how different it was- there were songs that are not in the movie. CPCC got special permission to use four songs not originally in the stage show.
Pops Symphonies- every June in Charlotte, there are outdoor Symphonies. I went to two. The first one was Broadway-themed and the second was Celebrate America. I took one of my best friends (Sydney) to the Broadway one).
Newsies- My 3rd and final CPCC production. This was the most UNEXPECTED musical. I wanted to see it at CPCC so badly this year- I saw Newsies on tour two years ago- I mainly wanted to see how CPCC could handle the dance element. I kept on convincing my mom to buy tickets, and she never seemed to buy tickets (even during the week of production). After Friday, I accepted the fact that Newsies wasn’t going to happen (or was that true).
Saturday- earlier in the day, my mom was having me try on dresses to look for job applications. She was not letting me take the last one off. My best friend, Sydney, showed up (I didn’t know she was coming). She asked me do you know what we are doing (I said I have no idea). I told her we could go to the mall. I did not find it strange that she was getting dressed into something different in the car. I soon said all I wanted to do this week was see Newsies at CPCC. When I realized we were close, she was asking me to direct her to CPCC- she was telling me I want to see the Campus. The next thing I knew we were heading towards the theater. The next thing, she said was I want to see the theater- I said only those seeing Newsies can see the theater- we were in will call line at that point- I was telling her ask an usher to see the theater- guess what, we were in will call line for her to pick up tickets for Newsies- it was her graduation present to me- my family (including my sister), and Sydney kept that a secret for me from me for a month. I was 100% convinced Newsies wasn’t happening- so there’s that- my 3rd musical for the year. My Jack Kelly of this production was also Curly from Oklahoma.
Lake Hartwall- I ended up spending some time with my third cousins. Yes, I have third cousins. I ended up helping bake a blueberry pie. I did not spend much time on the lake. I only was the on the lake once
July or August
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again- I don’t remember when I saw it in July or August. Usually I don’t think musicals should do sequels. Usually musicals struggle as a sequel. But this one is an exception in so many ways- a number of sequels just don’t work.
I do not know if I have anything exciting that happened in August or not
Kanuga- after a two year break from not being at Kanuga, I finally got to go back. Kanuga is an Episcopalian Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. Every year, my church has a Parish Weekend at Kanuga. Kanuga is where I began to believe in God. It is where I found my enjoyment of hiking. It is one of my “happy places”. I have missed that place, and was glad I was able to go back- my church went over Labor Day. It consisted of singing, some alcohol ink art, hiking, square dancing, and fellowship, etc.
Lion King- after CPCC, I finally saw my first tour. This would make it my fourth musical. You would think Lion King would be my first “professional” musical. To tell you the truth, CPCC’s musicals do feel “professional”. So technically, Lion King is the fourth “professional” musical I saw- but by definition Lion King was my first professional production. The reason why I wanted to see Lion King was because I don’t remember seeing it my first time. This was a girl’s night out- that meant it was my mom, sister, and I. At Belk Theater, all three of us were in the orchestra at the aisle.
Sugar Mountain- I went back to Sugar Mountain, the same place to went to over the summer. We hiked two trails: the Viaduct and Linville Falls.
Halloween- Obviously October is Halloween. I wasn’t planning to dress up. Last October, I was Rizzo for Homecoming (which was Broadway-themed), and for Octoberfest. I still had the Jacket I made for Rizzo, so I decided that day to be Rizzo for Halloween.
“A Christmas Story, The Musical” Informance- during the summer, I joined Club Blume, a young adult group for those interested in theatre. When I saw “A Christmas Story” on the shows coming to Charlotte for the 2018-2019 season, I wasn’t interested in the show- the only ones that interested me was Miss Saigon and Aladdin (nothing else). I still decided to go the informance to start getting involved in Club Blume. I was kinda of aware of the movie. The moment I heard that those who wrote the music for Greatest Showman also wrote the music for A Christmas Story, I was interested in seeing this musical. I picked up a voucher after the show- in order to get the discount rate on the tickets.
Church Services- there were two special church services that happened this month. Evensong and the Installation of our new rector. Evensong is very special to me- whenever I go to Evensong, I am reminded of Bristol so Evensong is connected directly to the Bristol Pilgrimage.
Thanksgiving- my family and I went to Burlington to have Thanksgiving with my grandpa and his sister.
A Christmas Story, The Musical- This ended up being my 5th and final of my year. 2018 ended up being my record of number of musicals in one year. The average tends to be 1-2 musicals a year- not over 3 musicals. After Lion King, I was 100% I wouldn’t see another musical. Don’t forget, I wasn’t convinced I would see A Christmas Story. I would go to a pre-party- which was basically appetizers and drinks- that was due to going with Club Blume. The musical is a good musical- funny and has energetic and emotional songs- emotional (not as in sad emotional, but a different type of emotional).
Putting up Christmas Lights- my dad and I putting up the outdoor lights on the bushes and the trees.
Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindewald- love this movie. After seeing the first movie, I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters especially Newt. Love the series a lot.
Hay Ride- we went on a hay where we did some carols
10:45 Candlelight Service (December 24)- This service is my favorite service all year. All year, you only hear the organ, but at this service, you hear the organ with string with a trumpet with an oboe. You are given a candle. You is a very beautiful. The candle is used for Silent Night- the lights are off, and the candles are lit. It is hard to beautiful how beautiful it is.
Christmas- despite going to bed late, still going to bed early. I grabbed my stocking at 6:00. Then went to bed and woke at 6:30- stayed up then. I decided to open my stocking at 7:00- I secretly hoped there was going to be a musical ticket in my stocking. In my stocking, there was some chocolate, time turner necklace, block that said “when something bad happens you can let it define you, let it happen, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you”, and 3 tickets to Miss Saigon- the other 2 tickets were for my mom and dad. Some other presents I got (that were not in my stocking) were a book of Christmas Classic, Creating Characters book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them DVD, and Mamma Mia: Here to Find Them DVD, etc. 24- that is a lot of people, but Christmas Dinner worked out.
One of the things I want to add is that I finally started to write my first book- over the summer. The reason why it doesn’t belong in a single month is because I worked on it in a number of months. Summer was basically my first draft. I made it through my second draft. Part of my time was spent trying to figure out what my characters look like.
It was crazy in the fact that during the first half of the year that I was still a college student, and in the second half I was no longer a college student.
I decided to talk about the years where I saw over three musicals- those years belonged to 2014, 2015, and 2018.
2014– this year is strange. It does not feel like I saw over two musicals. This was the year I saw Phantom of the Opera, Porgy and Bess, Scrooge, and Annie. This year for some reason only feels like I saw only two musicals- but it was a year of four musicals.
Phantom of the Opera- I fell in love with Phantom of the Opera in 2013 when my mom recommended it to me. I requested the songs on Pandora, and instantly fell in love with songs. The songs were why I wanted to see the stage show in the first place. Hearing the show was going to the Peace Center in Greenville (I did not wait for it to come to Charlotte) in 2014, I asked Santa for tickets to the musical. Santa did get me my ticket, and he also got my mom a ticket as well.
The Peace Center in Greenville is a gorgeous theatre. My mom and I were in the orchestra in the 19th row (I think). I was spellbound from start to finish and got choked up by the beauty of the production and the talent of the actors and actresses. I do remember having an understudy for Christine. So glad I got to experience Phantom of the Opera at such a gorgeous theatre.
Little did I know that one of the actors in the ensemble was going to become one of my leads in a future production, and I would go back to the Peace Center 3 years later. The reason why I was at the Peace Center in 2017 was because I saw Les Mis: Nick Cartell was the actor in the ensemble of Phantom of the Opera who became Jean Valjean, a very talented Jean Valjean. Just a fun fact.
Porgy and Bess- Part of why this year did NOT feel like I saw four musicals was because of this musical. I remembered seeing it, but a few years later (maybe two years), I had forgotten what year I had seen it. So 2014 felt like I only two musicals. Porgy and Bess was a musical I enjoyed seeing, but not a musical I exactly liked- do you understand what I mean by that.
Scrooge- This musical I think was another reason why 2014 did NOT feel like four musicals. I do remember seeing Scrooge, but FORGOT the year- this year I was reminded it was 2014. I do remember being moved by one of the songs that Tiny Tim sang, but don’t know what song that was. I was an usher for Scrooge at Children’s Theatre in Charlotte. I am a Christmas Carol fan so of course I loved watching Scrooge- don’t remember much of it- just remembered being moved by one of Tiny Tim’s songs.
Annie- Annie is not JUST a musical. It is not meaningful in the way Les Mis is. There is something about the childhood musicals that makes them extra special in a way- understand what I am talking about. Annie was my favorite musical up until Wicked entered my life. My mom told me Annie was going to be playing at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. I ended up flying up to St. Louis alone to spend a week with my grandma- so Annie was a theatre date with me and my grandma. Watching Annie made me feel like a child- my grandma and I were in the front row. I only saw the movie of Annie- the 1982 version. I never saw the stage show- it has been in my life since elementary school. The Fox Theatre is another gorgeous theatre to see tours in. Annie means a lot to me- the childhood musicals have a different kind of meaning than the musicals that enter our lives much later in life.
2015– NOW this year feels like FOUR musicals, and I really love the order of the musicals. Half of the musicals are what I would inexperienced, and the other half are what I would call experienced.
Music Man- I transferred to Gardner Webb University Spring 2015. I knew they were doing a production of Music Man coming into Gardner Webb. So I already knew I was going to see Music Man. All I knew about the show was that the main character was a conman creating a boy’s band, and that there was romance, and I had heard about four to five songs. For me, I was curious about how Gardner Webb could handle musicals- after all I transferred from Central Piedmont Community College, a college that can do well-done productions that feel professional, so my question was how well can Gardner Webb pull a musical off. I loved Gardner Webb’s production of Music Man. I love how light-hearted Music Man is, and is the best start to the beginning of 2015’s musicals. Little did I know what 2015 had in store for musicals.
Pippin- I knew Pippin was coming to Charlotte on tour for a 2nd time. I missed Pippin the 1st time. I wanted to see Pippin so badly because of how much I love “Corner of the Sky”. A preview convinced me further- I knew it was a circus-natured revival, and that it won a Tony for best revival. It got closer and closer to Pippin’s opening in Charlotte, and I kinda got the feeling that I WASN’T seeing Pippin. I almost thought Pippin was sold out. Then the week before Pippin opened, my mom decided to get tickets- GUESS WHAT- she managed to get the last two tickets with seats together. That was a close one- I almost didn’t get to see Pippin- Pippin almost didn’t become a part of my life- that is kinda of a strange thought.
Pippin was darker than Music Man. It was due to the Leading Player, the antagonist of the musical. Think of the revival as a circus with songs- that is the best way to describe it. I had understudies for BOTH Pippin and the Leading Player with me being more intrigued by the Leading Player. That’s a first- being much more fascinated by the antagonist- then again Lisa Karlin was the true standout of the cast- everything I know about the Leading Player comes from her. My mom’s last minute tickets got us seats in the 5th row in the orchestra. Pippin was what I would call “the spectacle show of the year”. The revival version of Pippin has one of the best openings ever. Right at intermission- I bought the soundtrack. Pippin would be the last inexperienced musical of 2015. Coming in, I knew I would love Pippin- after all already fell in love with Wicked and Godspell, two other Stephen Schwartz musicals.
Les Mis (West End)- this could take a while. I developed my dream of seeing Les Mis in London in 2013. In that year, I was aware of the Bristol Pilgrimage my family church was going on- the choir was in residence at Bristol Cathedral, and parishioners were allowed to go, but I did not think of the possibility of Les Mis- only because there was no talk of going up early or staying extra days. I was interested in the pilgrimage because of Stonehenge and the castle.
Fast forward to Nov. 2014- my parents said my family is going up two days early- that is when I started convincing my mom and dad to take me to Les Mis. Then Dec. 2014- I was told I would be seeing a West End show- but I wasn’t told which one. I badly wanted to know- it just had to Les Mis- it couldn’t be any other musical. I transferred to Gardner Webb Spring 2015, and all semester was nagging my parents to tell what West End show- after all seeing Les Mis in London was my dream. Then it became June 2015- my mom texted me French Flag emojis and musical note emojis- I texted her back saying “I don’t get it”. I was told to check my email- the moment I saw Les Misérables- I ran to my mom crying. I couldn’t believe- two years after seeing Les Mis on stage for the first time, I was seeing Les Mis in London.
July 30th, 2015- show day. The moment I saw the Queen’s Theatre, I felt like that couldn’t be real. It felt that way when buying souvenirs, when seeing the set and when sitting down and noticing how close I was (we were in the 9th row). I knew I had an understudy for Jean Valjean. The moment I heard the first note of the orchestra- I knew that I was living a dream- that note also told me this is going to be more than expected. I am that girl who does treat the orchestra as a character- it was more than expected- the orchestra, the cast, and staging. It was epic in scope, full of such passion and emotion, and powerful. It felt like winning the lottery. I mean to live a dream is crazy- it is quite special to you- it seems surreal at first, but something does tell you it is real- it was the first note. I could on and on about what day was like. You get the picture.
Sound of Music- Here’s the thing, I was so convinced Les Mis was my LAST musical this year. Turns out I was so wrong. It wasn’t my last musical. It would be Sound of Music, another childhood musical. Both Sound of Music and Les Mis were the experienced musicals. The thing with Sound of Music was I only knew the movie. I never saw the stage show before. I remember it being about October (I think)- I think being in my dorm room- my mom telling me I was seeing Sound of Music. I saw it with my mom and sister.
Sound of Music had a different order of songs- one such surprising moment was at “Edelweiss”. Sound of Music never had sadness in its songs for me- turns out I felt it during “Edelweiss”- it seemed to be a combo of the actor and the nostalgia attached to that song- “Edelweiss” was and still is my favorite song from the song. So I cried during two musicals this year- Les Mis and Sound of Music. Sound of Music NEVER had sad in its songs before- so I was shocked that it entered- but it entered in the middle of “Edelweiss” at a short pause- that moment was so short, but so powerful- it was right before the children started singing.
2018– This was my 5 musical year. I graduated from college this year. I did not think it would end up with 5 musicals.
Oklahoma- This was my 5th theatre date with mom. I was back at Central Piedmont Community College, the college where I started my college journey. I saw Godspell and Les Mis there in the years 2012 and 2013. As expected, Oklahoma was a well-done production. It had minimal set, and the actors moved the set pieces, and things flowed smoothly. It felt nice to see a show again at Oklahoma: two of the actors I seen previously at CPCC were in Oklahoma- they played Laurey and Will Parker, who were in Godspell and fun fact: the girl who Laurey was also in the ensemble of Les Mis.
Grease- This time at CPCC, I saw Grease with my sister and one of our friends. Just like Sound of Music, I had seen the movie, but not the stage show. So I did not know different the movie was. CPCC had gotten special permission to use four songs that were not originally in the stage production. The moment the show began, I knew CPCC did it again with shows feeling professional. I could easily tell just how different the stage show was than the movie: the songs- some songs that are in the stage show are not in the movie.
Newsies- I have been a fan of Newsies since I saw the tour August 2016. So basically 100% convinced not going to see it: Best friend from college shows up at house: drives to CPCC: saying want to see campus: then saying wanting to see theatre while in will call line: all to pick up Newsies tickets. That is basically what she did: her graduation present to me was tickets to Newsies at CPCC. I just wanted to see Newsies at CPCC to see how they could handle the dance knowing how complicated it is. Fun fact: my Curly was Jack Kelly.
Lion King- I only wanted to see Lion King on tour because I DON’T remember seeing the stage show the first time. My mom, my sister, and I went to see it. We had orchestra seats at the aisle. The opening draws you in right away. I had an understudies for Rafiki and Pumba. I ended up getting a Lion King snow globe and buying the soundtrack. I already knew I would love Lion King.
A Christmas Story, the Musical-I saw this with Club Blume, a young adult group interested in theatre. This might sound like a not good idea for a musical considering that its based off of a movie. The composer/lyricst team are the same team who brought you Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, and Greatest Showman- I know this because of an informance I did in Nov. through Club Blume. The musical was funny and good and so were the songs. It was such a delight. Just like 2015, I was 100% my 2nd to last musicals was my FINAL musical- well it wasn’t. When I saw what musicals were in the 2018-2019, I saw A Christmas Story, I was not interested- then at the informance when I heard it was the same team who did Greatest Showman I wanted to go.
There is a reason why I talked about 2014, 2015, and 2018. I saw over 3 musicals each year. My average tends to be 1-2, but those years were over 3. That doesn’t happen much. You might think 2018 was the best year I ever had for musicals, but it wasn’t. 2015 still is my favorite year for musicals: it had to do with the musicals that came with it: the new musicals- Music Man and Pippin were ones that I love and have the songs for. What really makes 2015 the best musicals was Les Mis in the West End- that was my dream- I lived it that year, and even words alone cannot describe what that night was like for me.