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?

The Act I Finales

They are important to a musical. What is the importance? In my opinion, at the end of the act I, you usually know you love the musical. The act I are either sad or heartbreaking; empowering or exciting; or it is hard to explain. There are some act I finales that will always be in my top favorite act I finales. I think some people will actually agree with me. I will list some of those below.

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

When I actually think of act I finales, it is Defying Gravity and One Day More that come to mind the most. As a matter of fact, Let it Go sounds so much and reminds me so much of Defying Gravity. All three songs are empowering songs. It is “If I Can’t Love Her”, “Santa Fe”, and “I’d Give Give My Life For You” that fall under the category of sad/heartbreaking songs- only “If I Can’t Love Her” and “Santa Fe” are under musical comedies- well, “If I Can’t Love Her” is a musical comedy romance. When it comes to the tragedies- you do not want the act I finales to drive you away from the plot- you want them to keep you want to watch act II- not the other way around.

What are some of your favorite act I finales?

Updated Favorite Musical Theatre Characters

This list has shown up multiple times on my blog. The only reason why this tends to repeat is when I add on a favorite character. So, where I a list of characters I love.

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

A lot of my favorite characters in the musical theatre world are survivors while many do lose their lives as well: I actually believe most are survivors. It is interesting how varied these characters all- their lives are so different: that is based off of where they live, their age, their family, etc. Some are not human. You will notice I love a lot of characters- most of them are young: I do have an all-time favorite: Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character.

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

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

What I Learned From Les Mis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Musicals that Entered my Life after 2013:

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

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

Musicals I Still Hope to See:

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

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

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

Duets to Love in Musicals

It is amazing that duets in musicals have a lot of variety found in them. They are a combo of romance, friendship, family, and death. That would mean the emotion varies. After seeing Aladdin, I can make an updated list.

  1. A Million Miles Away
  2. A Whole New World
  3. Heart Full of Love
  4. Come to Me
  5. A Little Fall of Rain
  6. As Long as Your’e Mine
  7. For Good
  8. Something to Believe in
  9. Santa Fe (Prologue)
  10. No Matter What
  11. I Should Tell You
  12. Light My Candle
  13. What You Own
  14. I’ll Cover You
  15. Take me or Leave me
  16. Till There Was You
  17. Phantom of the Opera
  18. All I Ask of You
  19. Something Good
  20. Sixteen Going on Seventeen
  21. Sun and Moon
  22. Last Night of the World
  23. I Still Believe

Some of my Favorite antagonist/villain songs in musical theatre

I wrote so many lists on this blog. Now, I wonder why in the world did I skip out on the villain/antagonist. I think it has to do with my dislike toward ALL of them- it is true: I really am the not the biggest fans of antagonists and villains despite the fact that without them there would be no story. Here is my list- just to let you know, it might be tiny due to my distaste to some of them. Some of the villain/antagonists I have some kind of connection to. MAJOR SPOILERS

  1. Stars
  2. Javert’s Suicide
  3. Master of the House
  4. Gaston
  5. Be Prepared
  6. Easy Street
  7. Music of the Night (Yes, I consider Phantom the antagonist of Phantom of the Opera)

Let’s Talk about Standbys and Understudies

When we think of the principals in musicals, we tend to think of the main ones that played them. They are the ones that tend to get the MOST respect. They get appreciated more than anybody. They are the ones we are HOPING to get. However, what happens when one of them can’t come to the theatre? Who takes their place? This is when an understudy or standby comes in? LISTEN- the standby and understudy DESERVES the same amount of RESPECT and APPRECIATION that the main principal has. They have to go on- at any time. Sometimes, the understudy or standby is called on in the middle of the show or only have five minutes to get ready. Look- these guys have to memorize more than anybody- their regular ensemble role plus the roles they understudy. Sometimes they are assigned to understudy more than one role.

My Understudies:

Grace Morgan (Christine)

  • When I saw Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center in 2014, I had an understudy as Christine. I got choked up watching this production. I do remember feeling an emotional connection and love for Christine. The regular Christine was on vocal rest, and that was why Grace Morgan had to play the part. She is where most of my love for Christine comes from.

Lisa Karlin (Leading Player)

  • When I saw Pippin in 2015, Lisa Karlin was on as the Leading Player. She was the true standout of the night. She was crafty, manipulative, playful around Pippin (to make it seem to him that he could trust him), and had this level of evilness and darkness that made her performance quite intriguing. In “Magic to Do”, she only had a small hint of evil, but when it got to “Glory”, there was a lot more evil and darkness.

Sam Lips (Pippin)

  • I cannot believe I don’t remember his Pippin much. I honestly wish I did.

Adam Bayjou (Jean Valjean)

  • When I found out I had an understudy- I was like, “I am in the West End, and I have an understudy for the main character”. Well, with Adam’s portrayal, I forgot I was watching an understudy. I never once detected that- that is real talent in that.

Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba)

  • She was an excellent Elphaba. What made her Elphaba more special was the fact that she was paired with an brilliant Glinda and at the same time paired with an incredible Fiyero. I care more about what Glinda my Elphaba actresses are paired with. She embodied everything I already knew about that character- while still bringing something new. She made me appreciate a song I always hated: “No Good Deed” finally had emotions in it. She is my favorite Elphaba.

Kaitlyn Frank (Katherine Plumber)

  • This is another understudy I don’t remember much about. Despite that, when I went back to my Newsies review, it did say she had incredible chemistry with Joey Barreiro, my Jack Kelly.

Talia Simone Robinson (Eponine)

  • Even in the US Tour of Les Mis, I had an understudy. She wasn’t the strongest of actors in the love triangle: it was Marius (Joshua Grosso). However- I loved seeing her Eponine because she did have some strong moments. She was a bit playful around Marius at times. She did show the heartbreak- it defiantly showed. In “A Heart Full of Love”- I felt for all three characters. Whenever I think of Talia’s Eponine- it is not “On My Own” I think of: instead it is “A Little Fall of Rain”, which to me is a bit surprising. Usually when I think of Eponine- “On My Own” comes to mind. In “A Little Fall of Rain”- I did believe in it- each time Talia tried to move, I noticed it was a struggle for Talia’s Eponine, which got harder as the song continued- which made me believe in the scene. The US Tour was my cast after the West End- I came in with an open mind and was not going not to compare the two casts, which would have been a bad idea especially in the case of Eponine because I had an understudy.

Rafiki (I know the name, but can’t spell it)

  • Rafiki was a very recent understudy- since I saw Lion King a year ago. She opens up the show- so getting a strong Rafiki is crucial. I loved her as well.

Eymard Cabling (The Engineer)

  • He was my first Engineer, so my knowledge of this character all comes from him.

Conclusion:

  • How did I learn to have so much respect and appreciation for the standbys and understudies? For starters, it comes from having them so many times over the years. I learned just how talented they are. Some of them were my first actor/actress in these roles- for Katherine, The Engineer, Pippin, and The Leading Player. On the other hand, the Eponine, Jean Valjean, and Elphaba actors/actresses were NOT my first for those roles. One of the biggest reasons why I learned to respect them so much comes from the fact that I am a theater minor.