Disney Male Romantic Protagonists

Like I said in the previous posts, we all were raised on some Disney- it can be the Pixar films, the musical theatre films, or the typical Disney films. In the musical theatre ones, there is always that romantic male lead and we do know that they will fall in love–but they do more than just fall in love. Who are some of these romantic male leads.

  1. Beast
  2. Aladdin
  3. Simba
  4. Jack Kelly

Minor Spoilers

Not only are they are the romantic male lead- they are the actual protagonist (except for the Beast) of the musical itself.

The Beast is a prince in disguise who lives at an enchanted castle, which is home to enchanted objects like Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Chip. He later takes Belle as prisoner when she takes her father’s place. A romance soon is going to happen Beast and Belle, which slowly develops.

Beast and Belle

Aladdin is the clever and caring street-rat who is looking for something more than life on the streets. It is Jasmine he falls in love with, Princess of Agrabah. A lot of people in his town see him as no more than a street-rat, but he is so much more.

Aladdin

Simba is the son of Mufasa and is destined to become King. It follows Simba from the days of him as a cub, but mostly after the death of his father- all the way to when he was a young adult. He and Nala were best friends as cubs and later the two of them fell in love- I think that is part of what makes their love incredible.

Simba

Jack Kelly is leader of the Newsies and best friends to Crutchie. The bond found between Jack and Crutchie is a special and intimate bond. He is a dreamer, who is an artist, and cares a lot about his brothers. He falls in love with Katherine, reporter of the strike.

Newsies- Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro)-my favorite Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly

Any other Disney romantic male leads you can think of?

Something to Believe In

We all know the iconic Disney love songs- “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “A Whole New World”. They all have this sense of magic in them. There is something about the couples found in them. You just can’t help but love. What about the contemporary Disney love songs- can they fit the same nature?

Yes, they can. I learned this through “Something to Believe In”- the love song found between Jack and Katherine. You might be puzzled about where is this song and who is Jack and who is Katherine. Well, they come from Newsies, which is about the Newsboys Strike of 1899. Jack is the leader of the Newsies while Katherine ends up being the reporter of the strike.

Something to Believe In- Jack and Katherine
Jack and Katherine

While not taking place on a magic carpet or through a dance or two animals or something magic, the song defiantly has the same nature. It takes place on the rooftop Jack and Crutchie live. Jack is a dreamer and romantic—yes, he is more mature than the other Newsies, but still has innocence. The song does have an innocent nature packed into it- when you hear the song, you can say this does fit under Disney love songs. What I love about the addition of Katherine in Newsies is that it gives the musical a strong female voice-Katherine is a strong character herself.

1800s Shows

What does Les Mis, La Bohème, Phantom of the Opera, and Newsies have in common? They all take place during the 1800s and they are musical shows (either a musical or an opera). All of them, but Newsies, take place in France. Newsies is the one looks out of place- it is Disney and takes place in Manhattan. However- Newsies still takes place in the same century as the other three. I do love all four shows- will try to explain below.

Les Mis

It is obvious by now that Les Mis holds a lot of meaning. Strong emotional connection. Tragic and inspiring storyline. Powerful, emotional, epic, and passionate songs. While a tragedy- still has its’ themes of compassion, hope, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption. The characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get of one small thing- even one tiny thing-the entire thing starts unraveling itself. Those songs are emotional to the point of getting goosebumps and reducing you to tears- that is what they have done to me.

Ovens Auditorium

La Bohème

This is an opera- but still fits under the umbrella of telling a story through song. La Bohème is the tragic love story of Rodolfo and Mimi set in France in the 1830s. The songs between Rodolfo and Mimi are beautiful and truly brings out their love for each other even in the end-no matter the complications that come up in their relationship, they always had true love for each other. La Bohème so far is my favorite love story despite it being tragic.

Belk Theater

Phantom of the Opera

Now, going further into the 1800s- as in late 1800s, we move into the Paris Opera House. This is truly a hauntingly beautiful musical. Phantom of the Opera is a love triangle found between Phantom, Christine, and Raoul. It is full of suspense, mystery, revenge, beauty, and love. While Christine and Raoul truly love each other, it makes Phantom not react well to his unrequited love, which makes it angelic and beautiful, but haunting. The music is haunting at times and beautiful at times-which fits perfectly into Phantom of the Opera.

Peace Center

Newsies

Yes, Newsies is a 1800s musical, and it is set in 1899 in Manhattan. It is about the Newsboys Strike of 1899, and yes this event really did happen. When Pulitizer raised the price of newspapers, the newsboys went on strike. Eventually, this event was known through the musical, Newsies. There are a lot of reasons why I love Newsies- the mind-blowing dance, the energetic and at times emotional songs, the characters, and the story.

I love the Newsies mostly Jack Kelly (their leader) and Crutchie, and part of that comes from their intimate and special bond. When you see Newsies, you will see dance that will blow your mind: it did win Tony Award Choreography, and you will understand why once you see the show. Due to it being a dance-natured show, it has to have energetic songs, and “Seize the Day” is my favorite song in Newsies (there is one moment, they are dancing on Newspapers). There are even more emotional songs (“Santa Fe” is a sad song). Eventually, once it had a tour, they added in “Letter from the Refuge”, Crutchie’s solo- it used to be just “Santa Fe”, that was sad, but “Letter From the Refuge” fits that too-now both are used for all productions. The storyline is so inspiring- the fact that these newsboys stood up for what they believe in, despite barely having much, and never gave up is incredible.

Belk Theater

Disney Soundtracks I Own

It is a known fact that most likely a child will have grown up on Disney. Part of the musicals I love are Disney. You might be wondering if I love the classic or contemporary ones. Well, I am a 90s kid so, I was raised on the classic Disney cartoons. Now, what Disney soundtracks do I own?

Aladdin

  • This is my latest Disney Soundtrack I own: as in the Original Broadway Soundtrack. Aladdin was one of the musicals I saw this year. Due to songs like “Proud of your Boy”, “High Adventure”, and “A Million Miles Away”, I had to own this particular soundtrack. My favorite song from Aladdin is “A Whole New World”- yes, the main love song- but still my favorite song. That song has stuck with me since I was a child. A classic musical while still being contemporary: that is because it did not become a stage show until the 2010s.

Beauty and the Beast

  • I actually have never seen this stage show, but own the Original Broadway Soundtrack. This show is truly magical, enchanting and romantic. It after all (well, not all) takes place at an enchanted castle. It is about the romance between Belle and Beast. My favorite song is “Beauty and the Beast”- once again the main love song- but still my favorite. A fun and romantic collection of songs.

Lion King

  • This is truly a show that you need to see. It has a fun, intense and emotional soundtrack. I love how the stage show created the animal. My favorite song is also the main love song, “Can you feel the love Tonight”. I do not know what it is, but there is something about Disney love songs.

Newsies

  • While a movie from 1992, I see it as a contemporary musical. A dance-based musical that is inspired by a true story. It is literally male-focused while still having a female voice in there. The stage show has the addition of Katherine Plumber in it, who becomes the reporter and Jack’s love interest. Entered my life 2016. A fun and at times emotional score.

Conclusion

  • Disney musicals are an important part of my musical theatre journey. As a matter of fact, when I think of musicals they fit the profile. I tend to think of dance/spectacle, complexity, comedy, romance, happy plots (yes, that it what automatically comes to mind), positive and negative emotions in the score, and a strong emotional connection. That does weird that I said I tend to think of happy plots: but that is what I grew up with; even though I know NOW that there are tragic and heartbreaking musicals that exist.

Parallels in Musicals- Examples

What exactly do I mean when I say parallels in musicals? Parallels exist when you see this sort of similarity between more than one musical- as in character or song. It can explain why we love some characters and the musical itself. What are some of examples?

  • Newsies/Friends of the ABC- well, both groups have a brotherly love for each other that feel like family and have a cause they strongly believe in
  • Jack Kelly and Enjolras- these two are the leaders of the Newsies and Friends of the ABC. They are good leaders, but the main difference comes from what they care about the most.
  • Enjolras and Fiyero- out of all parallels, I do not quite understand this. I honestly love both characters. But it never made since why I parallel them to each other. The only thing I know that they share in common is that they are courageous young men.
  • Elphaba and Eponine- Well, two girls with not good family lives; unrequited love happens to both (will something change for one of them?); taken advantage of. In terms of personality- complex, strong, and brave. I think my love of Elphaba is where my beautiful bond to Eponine came from- Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character just to let you know
  • Elphaba and Elsa- well, two young adults who have powers they don’t know how to control and are literally labeled to be “monsters”. They are similar in that way.
  • Glinda and Anna- these two are actually funny and outgoing.
  • Sisterhood/Friendship of Frozen and Wicked- The friendship in Wicked is almost identical to the sisterhood found in Frozen. That most be where a lot of my love for Frozen comes from- Wicked itself. The true love in both musicals is not romance, but sisterhood and friendship
  • Let it Go/ Defying Gravity- these two songs are literally about the same thing and they do sound very similar to each other

Musical Theatre- the Meaningful Ones

There is one thing that is true for ALL musical theatre fanatics. We know there are musicals in our lives that meaningful and others that are not. The ones that are meaningful end up in our favorites pile. They are the ones that tend to stay with us. What are some of those meaningful musicals in my life (I think you can predict some of them)?

Wicked:

  • I may have had meaningful musicals in my life BEFORE Wicked. However, where did my journey with musicals truly begin? When I first saw Wicked, I was only 12 in NYC on Broadway with my mom. All I can remember is that “Popular” was my favorite song at the time. Before Wicked, I do not think I even knew what an emotional connection was or the emotional and complex side of musicals was. I discovered all of THAT due to Wicked. Wicked made sad come to the forefront, and I do not even remember if love came to the forefront or not due to Wicked, but there is a good chance it might have. I am totally aware that it was Wicked that first made me pick up on the concept of love triangles. Wicked sparked my love for musicals- Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero became important parts of my life especially Elphaba.

The three pictures above were from three of the four times I saw Wicked. I saw it once with mom, once with mom and my sister, once with my dad, and once with my university. Each time I saw Wicked, the show got better and due to the emotions deepening I became more vulnerable to the musical; so my emotional connection remained.

Les Mis:

Well, a love may have been sparked by Wicked, but there was no passion. I THOUGHT I knew musicals. I once told myself I will never love a tragedy. I told myself there was only four core emotions: excitement, love, joy, and sad. I told myself ALL musicals were happy and comic that had a few sad moments here and there. I told myself there was no way a death scene would be memorable, and that a song could not happen during one. I even thought I knew just how intense emotions can get in musicals- well Les Mis would challenge everything.

My family was on vacation in Florida in 2012, and we went to see the Les Mis film. I honestly did NOT want to see the film. I was so unsure about it. I only knew it was a musical: not if it was a COMEDY or a TRAGEDY: so I was blind to it being tragic. So I was blind to HEARTBREAK as well. After the first death, I completely realized Les Mis was tragic. I honestly did not know how to respond- I was shocked and confused. I still left the movie theater with “Do You hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. I still was NOT the biggest fan of the musical. The strangest thing though was a few days or maybe at least a week or two weeks after, I started researching Les Mis (do not know why).

Well- there came a point in 2013 when I decided to give the film a 2nd chance. Good thing I knew it was tragic. I started to fall in love with Les Mis. I slowly begin to realize that the musical had something special about it and that it did make you feel uplifted. By summer 2013, I became obsessed with Les Mis. Les Mis is WHY I am a musical theatre fanatic (maybe not the most accurate word). This might sound strange, but I was not an emotional wreck in the beginning; that was a reaction that was built up over time. I never thought a musical could be just how intense (I think true Les Mis fans know what I am talking about) it could get. I have an emotional connection to almost every story in Les Mis- to Valjean’s to Fantine’s to the love triangle to the Uprising. Usually in a musical, I know what my favorite song is, but in Les Mis I can’t even narrow it down.

Sound of Music:

  • Childhood musicals are nothing like the ones that enter you life in college. They have this kind of nostalgia that no other musical can achieve. Sound of Music is one of those musicals. I have loved Sound of Music since I was a child. It had been meaningful for that long- even longer that Wicked.

Annie:

  • Annie has a similar kind of meaning that Sound of Music has. It is another childhood favorite. Before Wicked entered my life and became my favorite musical, Annie was my favorite musical. Each time I see the 1982 musical, I feel like a child again. I am like Annie in the fact that we are both optimistic- I never figured out why I loved the character until my college years.

Rent:

  • This is another sad musical that entered my life. A big thing that makes Rent meaningful is its message. While being sad, Rent is truly a celebration of life. It is about living your life in love even in the face of fear- that is what the Rent characters have to deal with: after all this musical takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s/1990s so getting it is quite scary so there is a good chance that if you get that disease there is a high chance you are not going to survive. So these characters, instead of living in fear, they choose to live in love and in the moment- only four of the major characters have the devastating disease, but it still affects their friends. It is truly the message of Rent that makes it meaningful- No Day But Today!!!!! Rent, like Les Mis, makes me an emotional wreck.

Newsies

Courage cannot erase our Fear. Courage is when we face our Fear

Seize the Day

I fell in love with Newsies August 2016 during the US Tour. At the time, Joey Barreiro, my favorite Jack Kelly, was leading the tour. At the time, I remember being mind-blown by the dance. I felt an emotional connection quickly- it started out between the intimate and special bond between Jack and Crutchie and soon after, my emotional connection grew between all of the Newsies. I knew I loved Newsies, but did not even realize that Newsies was already meaningful to me. However, a few weeks later after hearing “Seize the Day” and picking up on the lyrics “Courage cannot erase our Fear. Courage is when we face our Fear”, I knew for a fact that Newsies was meaningful. I really do not know what drives me to those lyrics in “Seize the Day” so much- what I do know is that “Seize the Day” is my favorite song from the musical. Newsies is not my only favorite and meaningful Disney musical.

What are some your meaningful musicals?

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 his 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?