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.

My Favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals

One of my favorite duos in musical theatre are Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are one of the most famous composer and lyricist teams. They are part of the Golden Age of musicals- their Oklahoma changed the world of musicals forever in 1943. The singing and acting element was already interrogated into the plot- Oklahoma added the final piece to the musical- they were able to add dance to the plot; it wasn’t like it was just there to just be there- dance finally made sense. What are my top favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals?

Oklahoma

  • I have loved Oklahoma for five years now. The love began with the film. It only was last year when I saw the stage show. Oklahoma is a romantic musical comedy with double romances with one being more important than the other. Now, let’s me say why I love Oklahoma.

Songs

  • Everyone know you can’t love a musical without good songs. From “Surrey With the Fringe on Top”, “People Will Say We’re in Love”, “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, and the title song, “Oklahoma” makes Oklahoma such a memorable musical. Of course, those are not all the songs. Just giving examples.

Characters

  • I am still trying to figure out WHO they are. I do love Curly, Laurey, Will Parker, and Ado Annie. I have such a strong hate towards Jud, which makes me love Curly even more. That sounds a bit crazy- but it is true. Look, Oklahoma consists of two love triangles, and one of them consists of Curly, Laurey, and Jud. Curly will do anything to make sure Laurey does not end up with Jud, who is the villain of Oklahoma: Jud is a horrible person who is abusive who will harm both Curly and Laurey. Any R and H musical has two romances- the other is a love triangle- but once again: I love Will Parker and Ado Annie together. Still- I barely know these characters. Yes- Curly and Jud fight for Laurey and Will Parker and Ali Hakhim fight for Ado Annie, but who each end up is who I would see fit for each of them.

Plot

  • Many people think Oklahoma’s plot is too simple- meaning it revolves around this social event. I do not really see it that way. Oklahoma is more of a romance- the one between Curly and Laurey. They are in love with each other, but do not like admitting it: at least they eventually do. It also has the subplot between Will Parker and Ado Annie despite the fact that Annie has a hard time making up her mind even though the one she truly is in love with is Will Parker. Well, it really is two love triangles- I would rather not have the third person in each scenario, but it is clear who that it is. Oklahoma’s love triangles are weak compared to others I have seen, but they are not fully weak. It also is dealing with Oklahoma eventually becoming a state: it only is United States territory at the time it takes place in.

South Pacific

  • My love for South Pacific began at the same time my love for Oklahoma began. As a matter of fact, it was in the same week. I was leant both of the movie right before a snowstorm. So, I watched both movies five years ago. So far, I only saw the movie of South Pacific. Like any R/H musical, there is a double love story.

Songs

  • I love the songs in South Pacific. The songs are a combo of exciting, love, and heartbreaking songs. From exciting songs like “There is Nothing Like a Dame” to romantic songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” to heartbreaking love songs like “This Nearly Was Mine”. My favorite song in South Pacific is “Some Enchanted Evening”- I do not know why, but I somehow know.

Characters

  • Just like Oklahoma, I know names of characters, but still barely know WHO they are. There is Emelie, Nellie, Joe Cable, Liat, and Bloddy Mary. My favorites of this list are Emelie and Nellie, who serve as the main couple in South Pacific. Out of those two, Nellie is our protagonist. There actually isn’t an antagonist in South Pacific- I think South Pacific is more of a man vs. self conflict.

Plot

  • South Pacific is a romantic musical comedy. It is crazy to think about how easily the musical could have been a tragedy, but it isn’t. It is about Nellie and Emelie’s romance and one a subplot is Joe Cable and Liat’s romance. Joe Cable and Liat’s romance is actually tragic. An underlying theme found in South Pacific is racism, and I think that theme might be our “antagonist”. One of the songs is brilliant- “You’ve got to be carefully taught”- the brilliance of that songs come from the fact that your’e taught not born racist.

Sound of Music

  • This is my favorite and the longest R/H musical that has been part of my life. It is actually one of my childhood musicals. Childhood musicals are important because they help form a foundation for what musicals are. They hold something that no other musical can achieve. I first saw it through the movie, and in 2015 saw the stage show. I was surprised by my reaction during “Edelweiss”. When I saw it live, I was crying during “Edelweiss”, and that was a reaction that was brand new to me. I never once thought the songs in Sound of Music would have sadness in them.

Songs

  • These songs are easily singable and memorable. From “Do Re Mi” to “My Favorite Things” to “Sound of Music” to “So Long Farewell” to “Climb Every Mountain” to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to “Something Good” to “Edelweiss”. As a matter of fact, the first musical theatre song I memorized the lyrics to are “Do Re Mi”. There is no way you can’t dislike these songs. “Edelweiss” is my favorite song in Sound of Music.

Characters

  • I love a number of these characters. Maria is an easy likable protagonist. She is amazing with the children and teaches them to sing. She helps bring happiness into a house that used to filled with darkness. The Captain may be stern with Maria and the children, but yet still loves his children. He eventually warms up to Maria after hearing his children sing- all he needed in his life is music.

Plot

  • How in the world can you dislike the plot? I really do not need to say more. Honestly- how can any musical theatre fanatic dislike Sound of Music? It is my favorite of the classics- when I mean “classic”, I am talking about the Golden Age of Musicals.

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.

All the Theaters I have Been to

It is known I have mostly seen musicals through Blumenthal Performing Art. What about all the theaters I have seen musicals? I decided to write a post that make a mention of ALL the theaters I have been to. However there is only ONE theater I don’t even know the name of.

St. Louis

  • Fox Theater- I have seen Annie and Fiddler and the Roof here. It is such a gorgeous theater. As you can see below, you can tell just how beautiful the theater is. I saw Annie in the orchestra and Fiddler up in the balcony- so I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of the Fox.

Greenville, South Carolina

  • Peace Center- I saw Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis at this beautiful theater. It has incredible acoustics- I was able to truly notice this when I saw Les Mis. Like Fox, I started in the orchestra with Phantom of the Opera, and my recent show, being Les Mis, I ended up in the balcony. It is incredible for that to happen. Both times I saw these shows were special- Phantom of the Opera was a date with mom and Les Mis was with my university. The reason why I was able to really notice how incredible the acoustics were in Les Mis belonged to the fact that I was sitting in the balcony (the 4th level)- to the way I heard a gunshot, to literally hearing just one tear (I literally was able to pick up on that), to the way just one word was said, or in more quieter moments still able to pick up on the words. Despite being in balcony- was able to hear everything.

Charlotte, NC- this is going to take a while

Blumenthal Performing Arts

Belk Theater- this is Blumenthal’s main theater. It has four levels- orchestra, grand tier, mezzanine, and balcony. I only remember sitting in orchestra and mezzanine. Not only does Belk do tours, it also does Charlotte Ballet events, and Charlotte Symphony Events. I saw Lion King, Miss Saigon, Newsies, Rent, Mamma Mia, Sound of Music, La Cage, Porgy and Bess, and Pippin at Belk Theater- most of these musicals are ones that I LOVE. It might seem like Belk Theater is the biggest theater of Blumenthal Performing Arts, but it actually isn’t.

Ovens Auditorium- What was surprising to me is that Ovens is actually the biggest Blumenthal Performing Arts theater. Ovens does have less levels than Belk. It has only two levels, but three sections- Mezzanine and Balcony share the second level. What makes Ovens a bigger theatre? Ovens is wider and deeper compared to Belk making it able to fit more people. I have seen only three musicals here- even though it feels like I have gone to Ovens more often than that. I think that is because one of those musicals is a repeat.

I have seen Addams Family, A Christmas Story, and Wicked here. I did not see shows at Ovens three times- it actually would add up to five times: Wicked was seen three times. The BEST area to see a musical at Ovens is in the Mezzanine. I have seen Wicked as a date with my dad and with my university- those are the other two times after my first time seeing Wicked at Ovens. Blumenthal’s upcoming season has more shows at Ovens then there typically is.

Central Piedmont Community College

Pease Auditorium- this theatre no longer exists at Charlotte’s community college, but when I was a student there, it did. My first musical I saw when I started college was Godspell. It is actually one of the smallest theaters I have seen a musical in. I still remember some of the costumes. Loved the show- three of those actors would show up in later productions I would see at CPCC.

Halton Theater- this may be a community college theater, but it actually has an orchestra and a balcony. I have seen Les Mis, Oklahoma, Grease, and Newsies at this theater. This shows all felt professional- you never once though you were at a community college’s theater. They combined students with the community and with professionals. I have seen Les Mis three times at this theater-once with family and twice as an usher: this was my first time seeing the stage show, and as a matter of fact was truly the motor for wanting to see the musical in London. CPCC has a very strong theater program- you go in, and you believe you are just going to see a community college type of production, and you come out thinking you just watched a professional production: that is what all four shows felt like.

Children’s Theatre
  • When I was an usher for Children’s Theatre, I did get to see one of their musicals. It was in December 2014, and I was ushering for Scrooge, which is A Christmas Carol’s musical. I remember seeing it, but don’t exactly remember any of the songs. There is something I do remember- I remember how talented the Tiny Tim was- there was a particular song that belonged to him, and I loved his voice in that song, and I was moved by it.

Boiling Springs, NC

  • Dover Theater- Boiling Springs is literally in the middle of nowhere. Dover Theater is where I saw musicals in Gardner Webb. The two musicals I saw were Little Shop of Horrors and Music Man. Music Man was actually the first show I saw at Gardner Webb, which was one of the best starts- especially when you transferred in Spring Semester. Music Man began the BEST year of musicals. I actually was kind of nervous when it comes to GWU musicals- these were musicals after CPCC- by that point, I only saw Les Mis and Godspell. I loved Music Man’s production, and the show itself. GWU has a smaller theatre program, but still can put on well-done productions.

Abingdon, VA

Barter Theater- Okay, this is one of the theaters I don’t remember going to. I did see Oliver here, but I have no memory of seeing it. I only know about it because I was told.

Jacksonville, FL

  • Jacksonville Theater- I don’t even know the name of the theater I went to in Jacksonville. Just like Barter, I don’t even remember going. I think my parents said I went to Cats and Seussical here in elementary school.

New York City

  • Gershwin Theater- this was my first theater I ever saw Wicked in. Little did I know when I stepped foot in that theater that I would be changed “for good”. It was August 2006, and I was alone with my mom- that was a HUGE reason why it was special- just me and my mom. That is part of why Wicked is meaningful. It is not all of why Wicked is meaningful. I was only 12 at the time. The song, “Popular”, was my favorite song at the time. It has been 13 years since I have been to NYC- I think it is time to go back, but next time, I want to see more than one musical.
Gershwin Theater-Wicked

London-West End

  • Queens Theater- I will always view this theater as The Queens Theater. It was what I knew it as when I saw Les Mis. Just like seeing Wicked on Broadway with my mom, I was seeing Les Mis in the West End with my mom. I feel like things came full circle when I saw Les Mis in London. Not only was I with my mom, but I was dreaming a dream. I sat in the 9th row from the stage. Plus, Les Mis is not just a musical- it made me passionate about musicals. When I saw Queen’s Theater, I literally thought I was imagining- it still felt that way when I bought souvenirs to when I saw that I had an understudy as Valjean to entering the auditorium to seeing the set to sitting down to noticing how close I was. Nothing felt real- that was how surreal it felt. Then it happened- I heard it- that one note (or notes) from the orchestra- I knew this was no dream happening- it was a dream actually happening. The notes did tell me something= that it was going to be more than expected- how can just a few notes make you know that? Those notes were not lying- it was more than expected. It was 110% worth it. At the end, I went to stage door, and my playbill was signed by the actor (Adam Bayjou) who played Jean Valjean. No words to describe the ENTIRE experience. This happened July 30th, 2015.

Conclusion

  • I sure have been to a number of theaters. I purposely ended on the theaters I saw on Broadway and the West End. As you can see, I mostly see musicals in Charlotte, my hometown. There have been times where I do see a musical somewhere else besides Charlotte, but that is not common. I feel like I want to eventually go see a musical at St. Louis’ MUNY- which is an outdoor theater, and I want to go back to NYC. If I go back to NYC- I want to see more than one musical. I don’t have vivid memories of Broadway- I want stronger memories. It is time for me to go back to the city. I might live in the states, but NYC is not easy to get to- so I am glad that Charlotte has Blumenthal Performing Arts.

All Love Triangles

Major Spoilers:

Jud x Laurey x Curly- I believe this is one of the weak love triangles. It is only easy to tell that Laurey and Curly are in it. So Oklahoma does make it difficult to know there is even a love triangle in the main romance to begin with.

Ali Hakim x Ado Annie x Will Parker – Oklahoma has a 2nd love triangle, which is not as serious as the main one, but is still weak. Just like the first one, you can only pick up on Ado Annie and Will being in it.

Gaston x Belle x Beast- Now, things are much stronger. I never thought about Beauty and the Beast having a love triangle. I just thought it was only a romance between Belle and Beast.

Ellen x Chris x Kim- Now, we defiantly know there is a love triangle. When I first saw Miss Saigon, which was in Feb., I didn’t want Ellen in the picture. I didn’t want Kim and Chris’s relationship to become tragic- it all had to do with my actor and actress. At the end of the musical, I could tell that Chris always loved Kim- even more than Ellen. His reaction to Kim’s death told me that- that cry was heartbreaking.

Phantom x Christine x Raoul- I am one of those Christine and Raoul fans. I do feel for all three of the characters. However, I do not like how Phantom responds to his unrequited love- he does not accept or cope with it. Christine and Raoul are meant to be with other.

Eponine x Marius x Cosette- I also love this love triangle. I love Marius and Cosette. They are so adorable together and help bring hope to the tragedy. Cosette represents hope and light- so it makes sense why she ends up with Marius. These two are my favorite survivors= in particular Marius. Cosette and Eponine are mirrors= Cosette goes from bad to good and Eponine goes from good to bad.

Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle. I love her strength, bravery, and loyalty to Marius. She may be a Thenardier, but she still has some kind of goodness inside of her. She risks her life several times all because of the deep and strong love for Marius. It may be unrequited, but he is all she has. He is the only person who has shown her kindness. He is the only good thing in her life. Even though she dies at the end, I love how Marius is there.

Look, some people will say the love triangle is silly, some people say Marius should have ended up with Eponine, and some say that Marius is a jerk- I disagree on all of that. Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get rid of ONE thing, the entire story falls apart. That is why it is not silly and that is why Marius needed to end up with Cosette. Marius is not a jerk- I have seen him as a brave, compassionate, sweet, kind, and awkward young man. If he wasn’t brave, he wouldn’t have been a revolutionary and gone to fight at the barricade. If he wasn’t kind, Eponine NEVER would have fallen in love with him. If he wasn’t compassionate, he never would have made the decision to stay with Eponine during her death scene=yes, he was devastated, but he stayed with her- that is compassion.

Glinda x Fiyero x Elphaba- Why do you think I put them last? They are my favorite love triangle. This love triangle is the one I emotionally bonded with first, and where I first discovered the concept. It also is the most complex one I discovered. All three characters are complex- yes, all three of complex even though some would say only Glinda and Elphaba are complex. Fiyero is complex as well- his development and his role in the love triangle are why he is a complex character. Unrequited love: well, both Elphaba and Glinda end up with in this love triangle, and they respond by not stealing him away from their best friend. So, the love triangle shows they will not let a boy get in the way of their friendship.

What are other musical theatre love triangles you can think of?

Broadway Night

Last night was the 2nd night at the Pops. This time, my family and friends were treated to Broadway songs. When it comes to Broadway, it is a Pops I don’t want to miss. I ended up wearing the Les Mis shirt I got in the West End to this symphony. I was wondering what musicals they were going to do.

First up- Sound of Music, a childhood favorite. They played all of the songs I thought they would. It included two from the stage show, which never made it to the movie. The songs included “Sound of Music”, “Climb Every Mountain”, “So Long Farewell”, “Edelweiss”, “My Favorite Things”, “Do Re Mi”, “Lonely Goatherd”, “Maria”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, and “How Can Love Survive”.

Second up- My Fair Lady, a musical that entered my life in college. The symphony played a good collection of those songs. From “I Could Have Danced all Night”, “Wouldn’t it be Loverly”= among others. I still don’t know the names of the songs well enough to be able to recognize songs without the lyrics.

Third up- Grease. It played “Hand Jive”, “Summer Nights”, “Greased Lightening”, “Beauty School Dropout”, and “We Go Together”.

Fourth up- Carousel. All they played from this musical is the “Carousel Waltz”.

Fifth up- Les Mis. The symphony started with the overture. “At the End of the Day”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Master of the House”, “On My Own”, and “Do You Hear the People Sing” were the only songs they did. Even with just the melody, I still cried.

Sixth up- Oklahoma. “Oklahoma”, “I Cain’t Say No”, “Farmer and the Cowman”, “Surrey with Fringe on Top”, “Kansas City”= among others. Just like My Fair Lady-still barley know names of songs and even the melodies themselves to pick up on songs.

Seventh up-Wicked. “No one Mourns the Wicked”, “Popular”, and “Defying Gravity” were the songs the symphony used.

Eighth up- Music Man. The very last song was “76 Trombones”.

Quality Versus Quantity- What makes a Musical Year better

We heard the concept of quality and the concept of quantity. Quantity is how many things we do and quality is the meaning. However, what is stronger- quality is stronger. What is stronger for a musical theatre year? Quality or Quantity. I will use 2018 and 2015 to explain.

I am in 2018, and it was the year I graduated from college. My mom did tell me I was seeing Lion King. Lion King so far was going to be the only musical I would be in 2018. Little did I know, the number of musicals I would see this year.

For whatever reason, I decided to look up the musicals for Central Piedmont Community College, the place where I started my college journey. I ended up seeing three musicals there: Oklahoma, Grease, and Newsies. I knew how well-done CPCC can do their shows. Oklahoma was my 5th date with mom, Grease was a date with my sister and one of our friends, and Newsies was a date with one of my best friends. Below are reviews for those three musicals.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/oklahoma-review/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/summer-nights/

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

Newsies at Central Piedmont Community College at Halton Theatre

Yes, I already saw three community college shows, but I felt like I was about to see my 4th professional show. Lion King was my first show with Blumenthal. It was a girl’s night out. I saw it with my mom and sister. Our seats were perfect- at the orchestra in the aisle. Review below. So, loved all four shows. I thought Lion King was the last musical of 2018- it was the only musical I wanted to see with Blumenthal in 2018. No musical in the 2018-2019 that came in 2018 was something I actually wanted to see.

Lion King at Belk Theatre in Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Lion King at Belk Theatre

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/circle-of-life-lion-king/

Boy, I was wrong. Lion King wouldn’t be the last musical. I would see a 5th musical. One of the musicals I knew was coming was A Christmas Story. I went to the informance of it with Club Blume. The moment I learned that the same guys who wrote this musical also wrote The Greatest Showman, a musical I love, I decided I will watch A Christmas Story. I actually liked A Christmas Story- it was a funny and amazing start to the Holidays, and I cannot believe that dogs on stage can make you laugh.

A Christmas Story at Ovens Auditorium with Blumenthal Performing Arts
A Christmas Story at Ovens Auditorium

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/a-christmas-story-the-musical-review/

Yes, 2018 was the record hold of musicals- 5 musicals was the record of musicals, but did that make 2018 the best year of musicals? Let me take you to 2015, which had only one less musical.

2015:

Music Man- This musical started the year of musicals. It was the most light-hearted of all four of them. It was one of the inexperienced of them. I knew some songs and knew a bit of the plot. I watched it at Dover Theatre at Gardner Webb University. This was the semester I transferred to GWU- Spring 2015. I knew I was seeing Music Man that year. Well- I fell in love with Music Man by a college production. Little did I know, how much I would love that year of musicals or how many musicals I would see that year.

Pippin- This show was the main musical I wanted to see with Blumenthal during their 2014-2015 season. There seemed to be no sign of seeing Pippin. This show was more inexperienced than Music Man- I only knew one song- all I knew about the plot was coming from “Corner of the Sky”. I saw a preview- that was how I knew it was going to filled with spectacle. Well, one week before Pippin, my mom decided to buy tickets for Pippin- there was only one day left with seats together. So Pippin ALMOST didn’t happen. Pippin was actually darker than Music Man- I could tell from the first number. By intermission, I already wanted the album, and that is saying something because how do you already know you will love the other songs? Pippin was the FINAL inexperienced musical.

Pippin at Belk Theatre in Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Pippin at Belk Theatre

Les Mis- I actually knew I was going to see a musical in the West End. The question was WHAT MUSICAL? I first found that I was seeing a musical in the West End December 2014- right away I wanted to know what musical. All Spring 2015, I wanted to know what musical. It needed to be Les Mis- it was my dream to see Les Mis in the West End. June 2015- my mom texted me French Flag Emojis and Musical Note Emojis, and that didn’t make sense, and then I was told to check my email. The moment I saw Les Misérables on my email, I ran up to my mom crying. I couldn’t believe it- I was seeing Les Mis in The West End. I still had to wait a month- after all, my family wasn’t leaving the US until July 28th- Les Mis was happening July 30th.

July 30th- when I saw The Queen’s Theatre, I thought I was pretending. Nothing felt real. Even buying the souvenirs- t-shirt, poster, playbill (that was a culture shock-buying it). Sitting down- noticing how close we were, and looking at the set. Nothing felt real- I thought I was dreaming. Then I heard it- the first note or maybe notes of the orchestra- then it hit me- I was living the dream. How is it that just hearing a few notes tell you that it is going to be more than expected? I ended up having an understudy as Jean Valjean. I was right- it was more than expected. I ended up crying sooner than I thought- I thought that reaction would begin at “I Dreamed a Dream”- it started after Valjean was released. It was like winning a lottery- seeing Les Mis in London.

Queen's Theatre in the West End- July 30th, 2015
“I Dreamed a Dream”

After Les Mis, I thought Les Mis was the FINAL musical. It wasn’t the FINAL musical. I would end in my childhood. How do you end in your childhood? That means ending in a childhood musical? Sound of Music was my final musical. I felt like a child watching a musical- that is something that non-childhood musicals can never achieve. Les Mis did make me a emotional wreck- but it wasn’t the only musical that made me cry. Sound of Music did that to me as well. It was during Edelweiss, my favorite song of the musical. Ben Davis, my Captain Von Trapp, took a slight pause (which was between the time he stopped singing and when the children joined in). His nonverbal allowed sadness to enter the picture- I started crying- I was like- that emotion was never in the musical. I think it was a combo of nostalgia, the nonverbal, and the nature of the song itself.

Sound of Music at the Belk Theatre in at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Sound of Music at the Belk Theatre

What year do you think was better- 2018 or 2015? You might think it was 2018 because it had more musicals- quantity, but what what about 2015 where it had more quality, but a little less quantity. I will say my answer-

It was 2015-it wasn’t because it had LESS musicals than 2018. It is because it had MORE quality than 2018. I loved all four musicals- for one thing, the first two musicals were two new musicals that I fell in love with. I found it interesting that they were the first two since they were the most inexperienced. Then you get to the last two musicals- they had the most experience- only one of those I never saw live. Where is the MORE quality of 2015? It comes from Les Mis- I wasn’t seeing Les Mis at community college like 2013 or on tour like 2017. I saw it in the West End- that was my DREAM-that is like seeing more than one musical or winning the lottery.