Who is Raoul?

Just like a group of other characters on this blog, Raoul is part of other love triangles on this blog. I feel like he is under-appreciated by fans on this blog.

The best way I know to analyze Raoul is to analyze bits of the Phantom on this post. Many Phantom of the Opera fans felt like Christine and Phantom should have ended up together, but I disagree. I feel like Phantom is way too dangerous for Christine. Raoul is a character who will never hurt Christine and loves her in a less destructive way than the Phantom. I love Christine and Raoul as a couple and they are perfect as a couple. Just like Marius, people dislike Raoul for the most absurd of reasons. Raoul wants to protect Christine from the Phantom. Crazy how in order to analyze Raoul, I had to analyze Phantom on this post.

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Who is the Phantom?

In my opinion, the Phantom is the antagonist of Phantom of the Opera.

He is a very mysterious and dark character. He is a troubled man with a very tragic and horrible past. He has been judged his entire life for his deformed face and was never shown love or compassion growing up. He is ashamed of his face so he hides it by wearing the mask. He falls in love with Christine, but that love falls unrequited, but he doesn’t deal with it well. He responds to his entire situation in revenge and in destructive ways. He wants everything to go his way. He wants Christine to be the star and tricks her by pretending to be her “angel of music”.

Phantom manipulatives Christine on multiple occasions. He threatens the Opera house in many house. He causes the chandelier to fall during a performance. So he does many destructive things during the course of the show. When Christine falls in love with Raoul, he feels betrayed and seeks even more revenge, and he plans to kill Raoul and wants Christine all to himself. In the final lair scene, he makes Christine choose between having him kill Raoul or staying with him. But through an act of compassion shown by Christine, he finally lets them go. Christine kisses him and that allows Phantom to let him go. The Phantom does not know how to handle situations well and cannot accept his deformed face and has led a very tragic life.

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College Musicals

What do I mean by college musicals? These are the musicals I fell in love with during my years at college. Some of them come to mind a lot. A good chunk of them are meaningful. I am going to make a list of what musicals they are.

1. Les Mis- this is the most obvious. I fell in love with it in my first year of college and that was in 2012-2013. First saw the movie December 2012 and was confused and shocked due to it being a tragedy and did not what to think of it. So had to give it a second chance until I could fall in love with this musical. By summer, I was obsessed with it. In 2013, I saw my first stage production of it 3x due to being an usher. In 2015, I saw the musical in the West End with my mom with an understudy as Jean Valjean. In 2017, I saw the stage show a 5th time in Greenville with my university with an understudy as Eponine. Les Mis taught me that tragic musicals exist and that I used to be 100% blind to heartbreak in musical. I learned that tragedies are so much more than I once thought.  There are so many wonderful reasons to love Les Mis. All because of Les Mis, I have a passion for musicals.

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2. Rent- I fell in love with it Fall 2012 through music alone. I don’t know when it was, but I soon realized the plot. This musical like Les Mis is sad. It took five years till I saw the musical live. Prior, I saw the film of the final broadway cast doing the stage show. But last year really was my first time seeing the stage show. It teaches you how to live life. It teaches you to live in love even in the face of fear and to live in the moment. My favorite couple in Rent is Mimi and Roger. Last year, I was an emotional wreck watching it.

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3. Phantom of the Opera- this musical started to enter my life 2013. My mom told me about Phantom of the Opera, and I automatically requested the song on Pandora. I fell in love with the songs and I wanted to eventually see the stage show. That Christmas I got a ticket in my stocking and so did my mom. In 2014 in May, my mom and I went to Greenville to see Phantom of the Opera. I was spellbound the moment the show began, and in the first act, I did not move until the chandelier fell. I was choked up watching it.

4. Newsies- this is one of the newest musicals of my life. I first heard the songs I think summer 2016, but I only enjoyed them. I first saw the stage show August 2016. Before seeing it, I heard it was Tony Award winning choreography, so I decided to not watch the dance ahead of time. This was the only show I have seen that is all males (well there are a couple females, but not much). I was mind-blown at the dancing: they were flipping, dancing on newspapers, jumping over each other and so many other amazing tricks. The story is so inspiring. The fact that these Newsboys stood up against Pulitzer is incredible. The relationship found between the Newsies is beautiful: they are basically one big family, and the intimate relationship between Jack and Crutchie is special. After seeing it live, I learned to love the songs.  I love how Jack is so protective of his brothers especially of Crutchie. He cannot bear to see his brothers hurt, which eventually leads him to go through an inner conflict.

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5. Music Man- this was a musical I saw at my university my first semester. Music Man was a musical that started my best year of musicals. I just love how light-hearted it is. It is one of the most light-hearted musicals I ever saw. I love how this con-man (Harold Hill) transformed this town. The romance between Harold Hill and Marian helped bring an emotional element to this show since the musical focuses on positive emotions a lot. So the romance helps bring an emotional element that the show needs.

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6. Pippin- I don’t when it was, but my dad had me listen to “Corner of the Sky”. The moment I heard the song, I wanted to see Pippin. Then I wanted to see it more after seeing the trailer. It seemed like they were doing a circus version of the show and I wanted to see it even more. Then I heard it was a Stephen Swartz musical and I knew that Pippin would be amazing because after all, he wrote the music to Wicked. I got my chance in 2015 when I went with my mom and we were lucky because when mom got tickets, there was one day left with seats together. This show had the antagonist as narrator and I loved Lisa Karlin’s portrayal of her. In “Magic to Do”, she was very playful with a small hint of evil. But during “Glory”, her voice represented darkness. She was very playful around Pippin to manipulative him in making the wrong decision so Pippin makes a lot of mistakes throughout the musical. The Leading Player is very crafty, dark, playful, and manipulative and I gained all of this from Lisa Karlin’s portrayal. After just one act, I wanted the soundtrack even after not hearing the act II songs.

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7. South Pacific- when I was still a student at community college, there was school cancelled due to snow days. A friend of my parents leant my family and I about six or so musical movie. South Pacific ended up being one of them. The main story is a love story between Emelie and Nellie during World War. It is a very romantic tale. It is my 2nd best Rodgers and Hammerstein musical: the first is Sound of Music. It songs are fun, romantic, and emotional. Like expected with Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, there is a 2nd love story, which is between Liat and Joe Cable. It does have an underlying story of racism.

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So here are some of my college musicals.

Dates With my Mom to Musicals

Four very special theatre dates are the ones I went on with my mom. They are Wicked on Broadway, Phantom of the Opera in Greenville, Pippin in Charlotte, and Les Mis in London. On this post I decided to talk about each of these theatre dates.

The earliest date I been to a theatre with my mom was Wicked. My mom and I went on a trip to NYC together. It was just us two and that is what made that trip so special. During the trip, we saw a show on Broadway, and it was Wicked. That was back in 2006, and I was 12 at the time. Little did I know the impact Wicked would have. All I remember was being with my mom, and that “Popular” was my favorite song. However, the impact clearly shows throughout the years. I just cannot believe Wicked has been part of my life for 12 years.

Wicked changed me “for good” and really was the beginning of the journey with musicals.  I wish I remember more about seeing Wicked on Broadway. I was lucky that at the age of 12 I was able to see a show in NYC. Wicked was the earliest theatre date I remember.

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In 2013, Santa gave my mom and I tickets to see Phantom of the Opera in May of 2014. I wanted to see the musical live since falling in love with the songs early 2013. The Peace Center is a gorgeous theatre, and we sat in the orchestra nineteen rows back. I was spellbound once the show began, and I remember during the overture not taking my eyes off the chandelier. I got choked up watching the production. In the first act, I did not move until the chandelier fell, and during that scene I jumped back a bit. That scene was just so thrilling.

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When I first heard “Corner of the Sky”, I wanted to eventually watch Pippin. When it first toured to Charlotte, I did not see it. Pippin was very unexpected. It was 2015, and my mom got tickets the week before. When she bought tickets, there was only one day left with two seats together so I almost didn’t get to go. The tickets had seats with five rows back from the stage. I felt like I was watching a circus during the show, and I loved the moment when they let us sing along to one of the songs. It was filled with illusions and several circus elements. Right after act I, I wanted the soundtrack even though I still had not heard the 2nd act.

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I saw Les Mis in the West End the same summer I saw Pippin. Ever since 2013, it was a dream to see Les Mis in London. I knew my church was going to go to England to be in residence at Bristol Cathedral, and I knew a pilgrimage was planned around that. It just didn’t occur to me my family was going to go up two days early to get more of London. It was 2014 in December I think when I found out my family was going up two days early. That is when I started nagging my mom to take me to see Les Mis. They eventually told me that I was going to see a show in the West End, but I wanted to know which one it was. It just had to be Les Mis and nothing else.

All Spring semester 2015, I was getting impatient about which show it was going to be. June 2015 comes along, and my mom texted me french flags and musical note emojis, but it did not make sense to me at all. My mom then told me to check my email. When I saw the words, Les Misérables, I ran to my mom and started crying. My dream of seeing Les Mis in the West End was coming true. I feel like seeing Les Mis in London with my mom was full circle after seeing Wicked on Broadway. After all, Wicked and Les Mis are neck and neck tied for my favorite musical. To see both of them at a large theatre district is very special.

We saw the musical July 30th, 2015. My mom wanted to make sure I got the best seats possible and they were. We were nine rows back from the stage. When I saw the theatre all the way to seeing the sets, it did not feel like reality at all. I knew I was going to see an understudy (Adam Bayjou) as Jean Valjean. The moment I heard the first couple of notes, I knew this was reality, and that it was going to be more than expected. The cast was epic, passionate and powerful. While Adam was an understudy, he made me forget I was watching an understudy, and that shows just how good he was.

Going to the theatre with my mom is quite special. Part of why I love each of these musicals were the dates I had with my mom. The dates added a meaningful part to each musical. I saw Wicked when I was 12, Phantom of the Opera when I was 20 and I saw Pippin and Les Mis when I was 21. My mom and I both love musicals. I hope I get to go to NYC and experience Broadway again, but this time want it to be a theatre-themed trip. Cannot believe that all four musicals were seen in different cities. Glad I experienced both Broadway and the West End.

Analysis of the Phantom

One of the reasons why Phantom of the Opera’s love triangle is so amazing is due to the Phantom. He makes it so mysterious and dark. He deals with unrequited love, but does not it take it very well. He is in love with Christine, but Christine is in love with Raoul. He seeks revenge on both of them. So he deals with it in destructive ways. He plans to kill Raoul since Christine love. He just cannot seem to accept it either. He grew up not knowing what love or compassion is. He is taken fun of and humiliated for his deformed face. For whatever reason, he does not take unrequited love. He will do anything to make sure Christine is the lead in the shows at the Opera even if it means threatening the opera, which includes making a backdrop fall. In the final scene, he makes Christine choose between staying with him or if she doesn’t killing Raoul. What a very high stakes decision. She ends up kissing the Phantom. At the very end, he lets both of them go. But still that does not forgive his actions. He makes this love triangle very unique and full of mystery.

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https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/ranking-characters-who-deal-with-unrequited-love/

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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 is 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?

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.

St. Louis : 

  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- as in so good that I forgot I was even watching an understudy.

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