What makes a Musical Character “Believable” (Part 2)

I did a post a couple weeks back about what makes musical character believable. As time went on, I realized I left off a characteristic. So I am doing another post.

Below are the characteristics:

Complex– Musical characters have to be complex. These are the characters that have so many layers. There is a lot to be explored in them. They are the ones who usually face some kind of conflict in their lives. Complex characters range from Jack Kelly, Eponine, Elphaba, Jean Valjean, Beast, Glinda and Marius.

 

Negative Emotions– The characters who express the negative emotions are also “believable”. In real life, we deal with brought times and we do express negative emotions. It all goes back to the idea of complex. Conflict plays a huge impact on the negative emotions. The conflict has to be strong enough in order for the negative emotions to appear. Eponine, Phantom, Fantine, Marius, Jack Kelly, Beast, Nancy, Jean Valjean, and Crutchie all express negative emotions. A character does not have to be tragic to express negative emotions: it just has to do with what happens in their lives. Marius, for instance, faces a lot of trauma at the barricade- he first has to watch Eponine die during “A Little Fall of Rain”, which leaves him devastated, and then he ends up being the only survivor so he is an example of a character who expresses negative emotions and who is not a tragic character.

 

Positive Emotions- Characters who express positive and negative emotions are even more realistic. I know there are characters like Eponine who expresses a lot of negative emotions but are able to experience the positive emotions. Eponine experiences happiness when she able to die in the arms of Marius. Marius like I already said, experiences a lot of trauma at the barricade, but he does experience positive emotions such as his love for Cosette or the hope he did have for the rebellion.

 

Other characters like Jack and Crutchie, they very easily express positive and negative emotions. Prior to the big fight and “Santa Fe”, Jack expresses the positive emotions and does not express any negative emotion, but when he is upset that his boys are getting hurt and Crutchie gets arrested, he goes through a lot of “inner conflict” from “Santa Fe” all the way to “Something to Believe In”. Crutchie mainly expresses the negative emotions in “Letter from the Refuge”. So you have both tragic and non-tragic characters expressing the positive and negative emotions.

 

Flawed– This is the characteristic I forgot to include last time. Characters have to be flawed. Sometimes it can be hard to notice a character’s flaws. But it is so true. Flaws help a character become even more “believable”. Elphaba for instance can be a bit impulsive. Fiyero starts off as rather rude, but he soon learns to soften a bit and eventually matures. Beast has a hard time controlling his temper but soon learns how to control it.

 

All of these characteristics are part of humanity. We all have our flaws and we all express positive and negative emotions. Plus humans are very complex. There is much to humans. So when a character has all of these characteristics, they feel the most “real” and those characters are more enjoyable to get to know.

Do you agree?

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Musicals I Have Seen That I Remember

As many people know, I have seen a lot of shows live. Below I will write a list of each one I remember and will only consist of those by professional companies. do not necessarily have to be all shows that I love. There are actually some musicals I have seen that I didn’t like. I will sort it out based on city.

Missouri: 

  1. Annie- loved it, have loved it since seeing the 1982 movie. In 2014, I finally got to see it and I saw it with my grandma and we got to sit in the front row.

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Greenville: 

Phantom of the Opera- this was the first musical I saw at the Peace Center and the year was 2014. We were sitting about 19 rows back from the stage. I wanted to see it ever since hearing the songs in 2013. I was spellbound from start to finish and I was choked up.

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Les Mis- I saw it in 2017 with my school. We were sitting up in the balcony and I had an understudy (Talia Simone Robinson) as Eponine and it was the 25th anniversary production. As expected, I loved it and loved the production. The cast was quite powerful and passionate and I was an emotional wreck watching it. This was my 5th time seeing it live and 1st time seeing it on tour.

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Charlotte: 

Wicked- saw it three times in Charlotte: once with my sister and mom, once with my dad and once with my school. Seeing it 3x does show how much I love Wicked. Below picture on the left is from my time with school and picture on the right is time with my dad. I saw it with my dad in 2013 and with my school in 2016.

 

Sound of Music- 2015, I have loved it since elementary school. In 2015, I was surprised I got to see it live. Seeing the stage show made me love Sound of Music even more. Edelweiss made me cry and I wasn’t expecting that.

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Pippin- I saw it in 2015 as a date with my mom. It was a musical has that the nature of a circus. Its songs were amazing and at one point we were asked to sing along.

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Rent- I waited since 2012 to see Rent and I finally got to see it September. I love its overall message of living in the moment and in love. Waiting five years was worth it.

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Newsies- I saw this musical about the Newsboy Strike of 1899 in August 2016. It was filled with mind-blowing dance, wonderful songs, and incredible characters with an inspiring story. My favorite Newsies were Jack and Crutchie. Its songs are fun and at times emotional.

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Mamma Mia- I saw it with my family in 2009.

New York: 

Wicked- yes I already mentioned Wicked but this was another time I saw it live. My first time I ever saw the musical was in 2012. I was in NYC with my mom and the two of us went and saw Wicked on Broadway. Little did I know the huge impact it would have on my life. It was the show that sparked my love for musicals and I began to understand the emotional and complex side of musicals. I do remember that at the age of 12 “Popular” was my favorite song. I may not have vivid memories, but the impact cellar shows.

London: 

Les Mis- in 2015, I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing Les Mis in London. Yes I already said Les Mis but this is another time I saw it professionally. It was so much more than expected. I may have had an understudy as Jean Valjean, but I am glad that Adam Bayjou was my Valjean because he was that good.

 

 

Now on to the ones I did not like or fully enjoy: all were seen in Charlotte

Porgy and Bess- I do remember seeing it, but honestly did not enjoy it to even own the songs. So this one is not really important.

La Cage- this was one I remembered but was one of those I did not like

Addams Family- I saw this one with my family about October 2011 and did not like it

So you can be a musical fan with not loving every single musical

What Makes me Want to See a Musical

Each time the season comes or you have a dream of seeing a musical or musicals, what makes you want to see that particular musical. This post will talk about why I wanted to see of the musicals I wanted to see. There will be repeats as to what made me want to see them in the first place.

1. The songs- if I knew one or a couple of songs before I have seen the show, they can have a part in why I want to see a musical. I don’t when it was about it was 2013 or 2012 or something like, my mom or dad made me listen to “Corner of the Sky”. Just by listening to that song alone, I automatically thought, I want to see Pippin. someday.

Songs continued- The same thing happened with Phantom of the Opera. When I fell in love with the songs, I automatically wanted to see Phantom of the Opera. The songs from both Music Man and Newsies also encouraged me to want to see them someday. I was enjoyed the Newsies before really falling in love, but I enjoyed them enough to want to see Newsies some day. Plus with Music Man, I was already starting to fall in love with some of the songs before deciding to see it at my school in February of 2015.

2. Recommendations- sometimes I choose to see a show based on recommendation. That is another reason where Phantom of the Opera comes into play. If my mom never would have recommended Phantom of the Opera to me, I never would have started listening to the songs in the first place.

3. Spectacle/dance- while “Corner of the Sky” was my main step towards wanting to seeing Pippin, spectacle and dance added one more factor to wanting to see Pippin. I did watch the trailer of Pippin and I realized the level of spectacle it would have and I wanted to see Pippin even more because spectacle/dance is one element I want in a musical. The week my parents got tickets to my entire family to see Newsies, my mom told me they show won “Tony Award Choreography” so I know the dance was something special and it made me want to see Newsies even more and I purposely did not look up anybody that showed the dance.

4. Love for a show- That is the exact reason why I love seen both Wicked and Les Mis more than once. When I saw Wicked on Broadway 11 and 1/2 years ago, I never would have imagined I would have seen it seen three other times. My 3rd time comes along and I learned it was touring again and knowing my dad never saw Wicked before, I went for him, so my dad and I had a date and even though he never saw it, I was still given the better seat. Then when I learned my school was taking students to see Wicked in Charlotte, I ended up signing up due to my love for Wicked. Right after I saw the stage show of Les Mis for the first place, I developed a dream for seeing Les Mis in the West End. So those two have seen more than once due to my love for those shows. Than when I knew Les Mis was touring starting last year, I wanted to see it yet again because I really wanted to see the 25th anniversary production and also wanted to be able to see the show on tour at some point.

5. Desire to see a show again- I already touched this on reason four, but in a way this is different. For instance, I want to see both Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. It is just I had seen both of these back in elementary school, but don’t remember seeing them. Beauty and the Beast reentered my life last year. So this desire of seeing shows is again is more like “I saw the show, but don’t remember seeing it so I want to see them again”

I know cast is some reason to want to see a musical, but it isn’t one of mine. That is mostly because I usually don’t know what the cast is until I arrive. I may not even know the names of anyone in the cast until I arrive or might know names of the cast, but may have never heard any of them sing before. Also you never know what cast you are going because of the possibility of an understudy. But the cast has no effect on whether or not I see a musical. I dreamed of seeing Les Mis in the West End in 2013 so there was no way of knowing who was going to playing the main leads or when cast changes or and so on. When I saw Newsies  or each time I saw Wicked, or Pippin or Annie or Phantom of the Opera, I did not even know any of the cast names until I actually went to the musical. While I may have discovered some of the names of Les Mis in the West End, Les Mis on tour, or Rent on tour, that still wasn’t a factor into why I love them: it was all because of other factors. I had seen videos of the Rent and Les Mis recent touring casts rehearsing,  but once again not a factor. With Rent, I wanted to see it since Fall of 2012 so last year I was finally able to get a chance and with Les Mis, it wasn’t the cast either. So cast never has been a factor in what leads me to see a musical.

What reasons draw you to want to see a musical?

Ranking Characters who Deal with Unrequited Love

For this post, I am going to take a small break from favorite couples. This time I will be grading characters based upon unrequited love situations. These unrequited love situations come from Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and Wicked. Criteria has to do with response, acceptance and their unrequited love song if they have one.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Phantom- F

Acceptance: He never accepts the unrequited love at all, which is part of why he gets that F.

Response: He deals with it in both anger and revenge. He does not show true love towards Christine. After realizing that both Christine and Raoul love each other, he seeks revenge. He plans to kill Raoul so his response is very poor. In the end, he makes Christine choose between staying with him or killing Raoul. But does let Christine and Raoul go, but letting them leave does not excuse the rest of actions when he responds to unrequited love. So due with how extreme he poorly deals with unrequited love gives him a F.

Unrequited Love Song: All I Ask of You (reprise). Yes, you can feel bad for the Phantom in this song, but not enough to get him higher than a F ranking.

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Nessa- D

Acceptance: does not accept it either

Response: her response is a bit better than Phantom’s, but is still poor. She falls in love with Boq during “Dancing Through Life”, but doesn’t realize Boq’s feelings for Glinda. So it isn’t until act II when she figures that out. Responds by imprisoning all the Munchkins so Boq is not allowed to leave. But right after realizing his feelings for Glinda, she tries to use the Grimmarie to cast a spell on him to get to him to stay, but things go wrong. That scene happens when Elphaba is there. Her spell caused his heart to shrink so all Elphaba could do is turn him into tin. Her response is poor, but more on a D level.

Unrequited Love Song: doesn’t have one

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Boq- B

Acceptance: yes, he accepts that Glinda doesn’t love him

Response: the problem is it is hard to know how he responds. He appears to stay faithful towards Glinda. For whatever reason it is harder to tell how he responds compared to Nessa. But he responds in a better way. He just gets a B due to it being hard to figure out how he responds in the first place.

Unrequited Love Song: doesn’t have one

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Glinda- A-

Acceptance: yes she does, but unexpected

Response: she responds by not stealing him back. I don’t blame her since Elphaba is her best friend. That goes to show how far Elphaba and Glinda will go to keep friendship alive. Yes, she originally responds by telling the Wizard and others that to arrest Elphaba the best way is to use Elphaba’s sister, but to me that is not a factor into how she responds. She still doesn’t steal Fiyero away from Elphaba.

Unrequited Love Song: “I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)”, well this song is quite unexpected. It is so short so it is hard to feel for her situation. But it allows you to realize that she does accept the situation, but is hard to feel the unrequited love song since it only is four or so lines.

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Elphaba- A

Acceptance: yes she does rather quickly

Response: responds very similar to Glinda. She chooses to not pursue Fiyero since Glinda is in a relationship with him. So with Elphaba, it shows just how far the two girls will go to keep friendship. Due to that level of loyalty, it makes since that Elphaba gets an A in the first place.

Unrequited Love Song: “I’m Not That Girl”. Elphaba gets the full “I’m Not That Girl” so you feel Elphaba’s unrequited love stronger than Glinda’s. She even accepts the situation right after realizing she is falling in love with Fiyero. She even admits she is not good enough for Fiyero since she is green.

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Eponine- A+

Acceptance: yes she does

Response: she stays loyal towards Marius and loves him so strongly that she responds by true love. She makes sure that Marius stays safe and happy. So she helps him find Cosette. She risks her life several times to do everything she does for Marius. At one point, she screams to protect Marius when her father and his gang try to rob Valjean’s house. At the time, Marius and Cosette were with each other. Even though it is her family she goes against, she cannot bear to see Marius hurt.

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She decides to go the barricade to make sure Marius stays safe. She does another favor for him when Marius sends her away with a letter to Cosette, but Marius does it to protect her. But she goes back and when Marius is about to get shot, Eponine takes the bullet herself. So up until her death, she makes sure Marius is safe and happy. She is able to die in the arms of Marius. Despite being a Thenardier and living in extreme poverty and dealing with unrequited love, she shows true love towards Marius.

Unrequited Love Song: “On My Own”. Of all the unrequited love songs on this list, “On My Own” is the strongest. That goes to show how deep and strong Eponine love for Marius is. It gives you an idea of what her life is like outside of Marius. Through lyrics like “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to” and “a world thats full of happiness that I have never known”, you know her life is quite dark. It goes to show that she gets through the day by imagining that Marius loves her. She is constantly beaten at home and is forced to participate in her family’s schemes. It shows that she will always love Marius no matter what. Due to this song, it helped me realize “I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking song.

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The Opera House Couple

Raoul and Christine are my third couple, who are part of a love triangle, I am doing on this blog series. I find them to be such an adorable and the just gorgeous “All I Ask Of You” really proves that point. The two are perfect and just right for each other. Raoul and Christine at one point used to be childhood sweethearts and eventually met up again when Raoul visited the Opera house and recognized her from when she was singing “Think of Me”. Raoul is the perfect gentlemen and he plans to protect Christine and does the best he can to protect her from the Phantom. Many people honestly want Christine to end up with Phantom, but I think he is too dangerous and violent for Christine so if she fell in love with him, it would lead to a very unhealthy relationship. So when it comes to Raoul and Christine, Raoul would never hurt Christine and is a better match for Christine.

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Loving Raoul and Marius

I decided to combine these two characters together. They tend to get underappreciated by fans for the most absurd of reasons. A lot of it comes from the fact that they are part of a love triangle. Raoul gets hated because people think that Christine should have ended up with the Phantom. Marius gets hated because they think he is a jerk and that he should of ended up with Eponine. I decided to explain in this post why they are not what people think they are.

Possible Spoilers:

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First up is Raoul. He falls in love with Christine. He is such a wonderful person. He is the better pick for Christine because he treats her better than the Phantom. He spends the show trying to protect her. He knows the Phantom is dangerous because the Phantom is quite violent and destructive. Christine and Raoul truly love each other. Here’s the thing if Raoul and Christine didn’t end up together, the love triangle would not have been as effective. All Raoul wants to do is protect Christine from any harm.

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In the case of Marius, he isn’t a jerk. Eponine fell in love with him because of the kindness he shows her. Just because he is oblivious to Eponine’s love for him doesn’t make him a jerk. He has a lot going in his life at the moment so I don’t blame him for not knowing. Marius is one of the revolutionaries, has a political conflict going on with his grandfather and being in love for the first time so he has a lot going on. Plus Eponine never told him she loves him.

Marius is caring, sweet, a bit awkward and capable of loads of compassion and bravery. He doesn’t deserve all the hate he gets. He and Cosette make such an adorable couple. I understand that they have to be together. Cosette represents hope and light so the two had to be together.

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If Marius was actually a jerk, both Eponine and Cosette wouldn’t have fallen in love with him. He never is a jerk to Eponine even though he asks her to find Cosette for him. He truly cares about Eponine. He knows how dark her life is. Even at the barricade when he asks her to deliver the letter for him, he isn’t doing it out of selfish intentions. He only did in order to protect her because he didn’t want her to get hurt.

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Even though Eponine came back, he shows her an incredible act of compassion. She gets shot and after Marius finds out she got shot after she collapsed in his arms, he realized she was dying. This totally devastates Marius and that shows that he always worried about Eponine and that he did value their friendship. But he decides to comfort and hold her while she dies. That to me is showing her compassion and he tried to stay brave throughout the entire scene. Even though he couldn’t protect her, at least he decided to be with her until she dies. The line he says after she dies is “her name is Eponine. Her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. Those lines really say that he did know her life was quite dark.

Marius almost didn’t survive the revolution but was saved by Jean Valjean because his adopted daughter loves him and that helps bring hope to this tragic tale. He was the only survivor on the barricade and that that is what makes him go through a lot of trauma. I just don’t understand the hate that Marius gets. I am learning to love Marius more and more as time goes on. Of all the characters who don’t die, Marius is my favorite character.

Actors and Actresses I Have Loved That I Have Seen in the United States

Most of the musicals I have seen are touring companies in the United States. I have seen touring musicals in Missouri, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Those are the only states I remember seeing musicals in on tour. So I decided to make a list of those I have seen in The United States because I live here. I already did a list about actor and actors I have seen in both the United States and in the West End, but this time only talking about those I have in the country I live in. Some of these actors have the character names because I don’t know who I saw as them, but know I loved them.

  1. Matt Shingledecker
  2. Jasmine Easler
  3. Phantom
  4. Ashley Parker Angel
  5. Talia Simone Robinson
  6. Joey Barreiro
  7. Pippin Ensemble
  8. Nick Cartell
  9. Amanda Jane Copper
  10. Sound of Music Children
  11. Raoul
  12. Anthony Crane
  13. Kaleb Wells
  14. Lisa Karlin
  15. Raoul
  16. Allison Guinn
  17. Lyndie Moe
  18. Les Mis Ensemble
  19. Mary Kate Morrissey
  20. “Annie” Children
  21. Joshua Grosso
  22. Rent Ensemble
  23. Annie Ensemble
  24. Sophie Knapp
  25. Skyler Volpe
  26. “Annie” Miss Hannigan
  27. Phantom
  28. Mellissa Mitchell
  29. Phantom Ensemble
  30. Sammie Ferber
  31. “Sound of Music” Maria
  32. Christine (Understudy)
  33. Jillian Butler
  34. Aaron Alcarz

The link below is my entire post of the actors and actresses I have seen professionally in both the West End and the United States that I loved so in that post have Les Mis actors in both the United States and the West End.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/actors-and-actresses-i-loved-in-musicals/