My Vision of Musicals

Everyone has a vision of what they want from a vision.  My vision of musicals was created while I was growing up. I grew up watching movie musicals like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie. I even grew up seeing musicals in the theatre and those musicals included things like Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Wicked. So below I will take about what I expect from a musical.

First things first is the songs. I want to be connected to the songs. The songs are key to any musical. I want to love the songs. The main emotions come through the songs. I want songs to be memorable and emotional. I want the songs to feel like they belong in the musical they are in. Growing up, there was one type of song that I commonly associated with musical and those are the songs that tend to start out slow and eventually slow up. I even look for love songs and sad songs.

Next thing belongs to the characters. No matter what they are going through, I want to care about their journeys. The characters make me love the songs even more. Just like the songs, I want the characters to be memorable. I want the characters to be complex and strong. I want the characters to feel real. I also look for relatability, but I can’t relate to the character, I look for something that makes them stand out.

Next thing belongs to the plot. Just like the characters, I want the plot to be complex, strong, and relatable. I tend to look for multiple storylines. I want there to be a certain amount of conflict. Conflict plays a key role in the emotions. Conflict affects whether or not the songs have just positive emotions or if the songs have a combination of positive and negative emotions.

When it comes to all three, I want to be emotionally connected. I want my emotional connection to strong enough to truly care about the different character’s emotions. When it comes to the negative emotions, I want those songs to have vulnerability, fragility, and beauty. I only can seem to love feeling the negative emotions if my emotional connection to the songs, characters, and story are strong enough.

Another part of my vision has to do with comedy. Growing up, I wanted a musical to be happy or a comedy itself. Now that I am older and know that tragic musicals exist, I look at the aspect of comedy very differently. I want some comic aspect in a musical.

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My vision also includes spectacle and dance. Just like songs, the spectacle and dance add to the experience. Dance in my opinion is an example of spectacle. Those two elements make an experience unique. Sometimes spectacle helps with believability because they can help you believe in settings such as the land of OZ, an enchanted castle, or the wilds of Africa. But not all musicals have spectacle and dance.

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Overall, what I am really looking for is the emotional connection. Recently I discovered that I can still fall in love with a musical without the dance or spectacle. When that happens, I want the emotional connection to be strong enough to make up for the loss of spectacle and dance. So the emotional connection is really the key to falling in love with a musical. So what I want really is a strong score, memorable and complex characters, and a complex and strong plot. However, spectacle and dance is still part of my vision when it comes to musicals.

Some of the best plots and songs tend to be quite powerful. I want the positive and negative emotions to be a part of the show. It sounds crazy that I want to feel the negative emotions in the songs, but it really works even though they can hurt. I tend to love the negative emotions the most when they are beyond the mild world.

What is your vision of a musical?

Meaningful Musicals of 2012-2016

Today’s post will be dedicated to the meaningful musicals from 2012-2017. Those are the musical I refer to the college musicals. All of those musicals are still so fresh in my life. The meaningful musicals of that time period are Rent, Les Mis, Pippin, Phantom of the Opera, South Pacific and Newsies though there might be a few more.

I learned to love Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and Rent around the same time period. My journey with Rent begin in Fall of 2012 and it became meaningful before knowing what the musical is about. My journey with Les Mis began in December of 2012 though I didn’t became a true fan until Spring of 2013. I fell in love with Phantom of the Opera in Winter of 2013. I can easily explain why Les Mis and Rent are meaningful, but cannot fully explain why Phantom of the Opera is on the meaningful list.

Les Mis is a musical that literally changed musicals forever. Coming into the movie, I was a bit unsure if I would like the movie or not. Even after the movie ended, I still did not know if I liked it or not. But something must have hit a chord in me since I automatically started researching the musical afterwards. The first time I watched it being quite confused and shocked since I didn’t know it was going to be a tragedy. I labeled the musical as too depressing and did not see the true beauty of the musical.

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I am so glad I saw that movie a second time. I was able to calm down and was able to realize that there is something special about Les Mis. I wanted to know why such a heartbreaking musical always uplifted me. I dug deeper until I found the answer. In spite of all the heartbreak, misery, and death, Les Mis is ultimately a tale of hope, compassion, love (existing in many forms), forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. With Les Mis, I was able to explore musical emotions in a fresh light.

Before I had no clue that heartbreak was a musical emotion. I was able to finally understand what it meant for a song to be heartbreaking. I learned that tragedy is not pure sad like I once believed. I realized musical emotions had more potential than I once believed. Before Les MIs, I was a fan of musicals, but no where close to being a musical fanatic. I could go on and on about why Les Mis is meaningful.

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This sounds ironic, but Les Mis wasn’t the first sad musical I ever loved. It was Rent due to falling in love with it before seeing the Les Mis movie for the first time. But I didn’t know Rent was sad until months after I had already fallen in love with it.  Rent is such a meaningful musical due to its message. Because of Rent, I learned the importance of living in the moment and living your lives in love and reminded me of how precious life is. Yes, the musical is very mature and adult and controversial, but it does show that this is what happens in life sometimes. Like Les Mis, Rent is also sad, but at the same time inspiring. Both have incredible messages and both are way more than the sadness that they present. I will finally be seeing the stage show

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Pippin is another meaningful musical. I don’t know exactly why it is meaningful. Pippin had a kind of spectacle that I had never seen before. It made spectacle look fresh by turning the show into a circus. Pippin has a very universal message due to Pippin trying to discover his corner of the sky, which is where he belongs. But he kept on making wrong decisions, but never realized it until the end. I remember being so intrigued by the leading player’s protyral and though I didn’t like the character, I truly believed in her.  At one moment in “No Time At All” the audience was able to sing along.

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Newsies is the most recent musical that became meaningful to me. I experienced it for the first time in August of 2016. I was familiar with four of its songs and knew there was Tony Award winning choreography. Knowing that the choreography won a Tony Award, it made me look very forward to seeing the dance. My emotional connection with Newsies began in the very first scene and that is always a good sign. I automatically fell in love with Jack Kelly and Crutchie and I just love the close bond they have and it is quite intimate. I also love the relationship between all the Newsies and they are like this one big family.

The fact that this story is based off the actual Newsboy Strike is amazing to me. The fact that these Newsies stood up to Joseph Pulitizer after raising their price of papers is so inspiring. They went on strike to make a point and that took a lot of courage. One lyric that I have close to heart is from “Seize the Day”, which is “Courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face of fear”. This musical showed the importance of courage when facing your fears. The dancing was mind-blowing to be and to me was worth the price of the ticket alone.

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Phantom of the Opera is a musical I fell in love with in a similar way that I fell in love with Rent. Just like Rent, I fell in love with it by listening to the songs through Pandora. That means I feel in love with Phantom of the Opera before knowing the show is about. I don’t know why this musical is meaningful. This musical is hauntingly beautiful. I feel like even the kind of score Phantom of the Opera has is rare. All of this songs are slow-paced and usually there is some fast-paced song in a musical or one with a high level of energy. But Phantom of the Opera doesn’t display a single one.

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There is also South Pacific. It has become meaningful. I first saw the movie in 2014 when musical movies were learnt to my family when school was cancelled due to snow and South Pacific happened to be one of them. It has a very romantic feeling to it especially during “Some Enchanted Evening”. It focuses on two romances and one is tragic while the other is not, but easily could have been. The romance between Liat and Joe Cable doesn’t end too well and that plot is only a sub-plot. Than there is the main romance between Emelie and Nellie, which almost didn’t work out but in the end it does. Even I don’t know why this musical is meaningful.

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Love for the Spectacle and Dance of Musicals

One of the most unique things about musicals is their spectacle and dance. Some people think that spectacle and dance take away from the experience of the musical. But for me, just like songs, spectacle and dance only adds more to the experience. The dance and spectacle of a musical has always been part of my life.

Back in elementary school, I feel like it was the spectacle and dance that mattered to me the most in musical. Growing up, the kind of song I loved the most was the exciting numbers. There are many types of spectacle found in a musical like costumes, sets, circus, and dance. Spectacle and dance can help you believe in the show more. If you want the audience to believe that the show takes place in either an enchanted castle or in the wild of Africa or in OZ, you need the spectacle or else you wouldn’t believe in where it takes place.

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So far, the best spectacle-filled musical is Wicked. This musical is a fantasy and its spectacle is one of a kind. All of the dancing, the lavish costumes, and the set all make you believe you are transported to OZ. Even the nature of the songs and the character’s names makes you believe. The show begins when this dragon on the top of the set operate and smoke comes out and automatically you feel like you are in OZ. Before the show begins, the curtain is actually a map of OZ with the Emerald City shimmering the middle. The lavish costumes are so beautiful especially Glinda’s Bubble Dress, Glinda’s Pink Dress, Elphaba’s Act II Dress and many of the ensemble outfits like the Shiz uniforms or the green costumes in the Emerald City.

The newest type of spectacle found is circus. I saw Pippin for the first time two years ago with my mom. The show is literally a circus. There are flips over balls, trapeze work, and even aerobatics. It provides something unique to Pippin. It is a wonderful musical filled with incredible songs.maxresdefault

There is even spectacle in Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. I may not remember seeing them live, but they are known for having spectacle. Due to the castle being enchanted in Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King taking place in the wild of Africa, they need to have  spectacle. It also makes sense for both of them to have spectacle since they both are Disney musicals. The costumes in Pippin are quite lavish and very colorful and the circus tend is incredible.

I just saw Newsies in August and it has mind-blowing dance. These boys were jumping over each, sliding under each other, tap-dancing, ballet, flips, and dancing on newspapers.  The dance is part of why I love Newsies and why it became meaningful.

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There is also the spectacle found in Phantom of the Opera. So I do find the spectacle and dance very unique. Just like song, spectacle and dance adds an incredible texture to a musical. The dance and spectacle enhances the experience and provides me with a positive experience.

So the dance and spectacle provides something unique to a musical experience. What are your feelings about the spectacle and dance found in a musical?

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Hard to believe that tomorrow at my school, their performance of Little Shop of Horrors is opening. I am box office manger for Little Shop Of Horrors and that means I am in charge of seeing tickets. It is hard to believe that the last time my school did a musical was two years ago.

Two years ago, the musical that my school did was Music Man. Music Man is one of my favorite musicals. I just love how fun and light-hearted it is and it is extremely light-hearted. Music Man is one of those musicals that does not have a single source of darkness and does not even have the negative emotions in the score. As much as I prefer musicals that have negative emotions in their songs, I don’t want all musicals to have those emotions in their scores. Musicals like Music Man are there to help balance out musicals. Music Man is an incredible musical comedy with memorable songs and characters. When I saw Music Man two years ago, I already knew the songs, “Seventy Six Trombone”, “Ya Got Trouble”, “Gary, Indiana”, “Marian the Librarian”, and “Wells Fargo Wagon”. I love characters in that musical such as Harold Hill, Amaryliss (sorry if the spelling is off), Marian, and Winthrop.

Music Man was literally the best way to start the musical year of 2015. Out of all musicals I saw that year, Music Man was the most light-hearted. Out of the others, it was the only musical without any trace of darkness. Little did I know that when I saw Music Man that it would be the start of the best musical year of my life. I ended up seeing not one, but four musicals. The other three musicals of that year were Pippin, Sound of Music, and Les Mis. Even the order I saw those musicals makes perfect sense. The first two musicals, Pippin and Music Man, were the musicals with the least amount of experience. I already knew about five songs for Music Man and I know it was about some con man organizing a boy’s band and knew that it was in fact a comedy.

As in the case of Pippin, I never expected to see that musical. When mom got tickets, there was only one day left with two seats together. Pippin was the first musical of the year where darkness started to exist. I even had two understudies that night, which were for Pippin and the Leading Player. Pippin was what I would call the spectacle musical of the year. It showed a type of spectacle that I never saw in a musical before, which was circus. I remember being so fascinated by the Leading Player, who is the narrator and antagonist of Pippin. The actress played her in the opening number, “Magic to Do”, with a lot of playfulness, but I could pick up on a tad bit of evil. I love how “Magic to Do” gets you introduced to the circus elements. But during “Glory”, I could really start to tell just how dark the Leading Player is. The Leading Player is very craft and extremely manipulative and keeps on making Pippin make wrong decisions and he does not realize it until the very end of the show. Entering Pippin, I somehow knew it was a happy musical even though I only knew “Corner of the Sky” and what that song was about and also knew that the Leading Player was the antagonist.

In the case of the last two musicals, they are the musicals with the most experience. I had already experienced them in some shape or form.

Than the third musical of 2015 was the best musical of the entire year and was the biggest reason why 2015 was the best musical year  by far. I ended up seeing Les Mis in the West End, a dream I had since 2013. I am an obsessive Les Mis fan and it completly changed my view on musicals because it went above and beyond with the emotional world I once knew.

I saw such a passionate and powerful cast with Adam Bayjou as Valjean.I felt like seeing Les Mis in the West End with my mom was quite special. That was because back in 2006, mom and I saw Wicked on Broadway and things came full circle when the two of us saw Les Mis in the West End. What was interesting about seeing Wicked on Broadway and Les Mis in the West End was tied to the fact that they are my top two favorite musicals and that they are currently tied. As expected, this production had everything that Les Mis is known for. It had a large amount of emotions and the spirituality was so strong in this production. The revolve was so cool because it helped advance time and I especially loved it on the barricades.

But the last musical of that year, “Sound of Music”, was the most perfect way to end the 2015 musicals. It has been part of my life since elementary school and just like “Pippin”, I wasn’t expecting to actually see it. I had never seen this musical live before, but have seen the well-known movie. I came in knowing that the songs could possibly be in a different order or there might be some songs I never heard before. This musical has such meaning and played an important role in the musicals I grew up with. “Edelweiss”, my favorite song from the musical, was my first piano recital song. I loved this production and I was surprised at my reaction during “Edelweiss”. It was at the moment when the Captain stopped singing and there was this small window in between that moment and when the children joined them and sad decided to become a part of the song. I had never felt sad in “Edelweiss” before and it was there. Crazy how such a small amount of sadness can be so capable and strong enough to strengthen the entire musical.

The only emotions that all four musicals had to common was excitement, joy, and love. All of them only shared positive emotions. About half had those negative emotions and in one of them, I was quite surprised that I even felt it. “Pippin” had potential when it comes to the negative emotions, but the faint edge of sad showed meaning I don’t even remember if I even felt a negative emotions or not even though I felt a lot of darkness during that show. The only emotions that all musicals have in common are positive emotions, which shows that the positive musical emotions are so much stronger than the negative emotions. The positive emotions exist throughout the actual show itself and through the actual experience.

Memorable Older Musical Characters

The older characters in musicals are in my opinion are those in their 30s and up. When I wrote a list of memorable younger musical characters, it was so much easier to think of characters. Much of the characters I love are young, but there are incredible older characters as well. But it feels like most of the older characters are villains and antagonists and those are the kind of characters I typically never end up liking.

  1. Jean Valjean-best older character: Les Mis
  2. Javert-Les Mis
  3. Thenardiers- Les Mis
  4. Harold Hill- Music Man
  5. Marian- Music Man
  6. Leading Player- Pippin
  7. Miss Hannigin- Annie
  8. Miguel De Cervantes/ Don Quixote- Man of La Mancha
  9. Emelie- South Pacific
  10. Nellie- South Pacific
  11. Grizabella- Cats

I wish I could have included more older characters. These are the only memorable older characters I can think of at this moment.

Memorable Young Musical Characters

Most of my favorite musical characters are young. That is anything from child to young twenties. Listed below are some of the most memorable musical characters. I will group each musical together.

  1. Elphaba (my favorite musical character)- Wicked
  2. Glinda- Wicked
  3. Fiyero- Wicked
  4. Eponine-Les Mis
  5. Enjolras-Les Mis
  6. Marius-Les Mis
  7. Other students of the friends of the abc- Les Mis
  8. Gavroche-Les Mis
  9. Young Cosette-Les Mis
  10. Jack Kelly-Newsies
  11. Crutchie-Newsies
  12. Davey-Newsies
  13. Les- Newsies
  14. Rest of the other newsboys- Newsies
  15. Katherine- Newsies
  16. Annie (favorite child character)-Annie
  17. Other orphans- Annie
  18. Mimi- Rent
  19. Roger- Rent
  20. Mark-Rent
  21. Von Trapp Children- Sound of Music
  22. Pippin- Pippin
  23. Winthrop- Music Man
  24. Christine- Phantom of the Opera
  25. Raoul- Phantom of the Opera

I tend to prefer the more complex characters over the more simple characters in musicals. But there are some memorable characters on this list like Annie that are simple characters, but still are memorable. Sometimes, I have no idea why I love a certain character. Some characters on this list are characters I actually relate to. There is just something quite unique about the young musical characters. I do love how a lot of romance happens between young characters. It is hard to believe that characters like Annie, Von Trapp Children, Fiyero, Elphaba, and Glinda have been part of my life for quite a long time since those characters trace either back to elementary school or middle school.

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Lines from Musicals that Perfectly Describe Them

This is a list of phrases and lines from musicals that perfectly describe the musical. Some of these shows do have more than one line that perfectly describes them.

  1. Because I Knew you I Have Been Changed Tor Good- Wicked
  2. To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God- Les Mis
  3. Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear- Newsies
  4. No Day But Today- Rent
  5. I’ve Got to Find my Corner of the Sky- Pippin
  6. The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow- Annie
  7. To Dream to the Impossible Dream- Man of La Mancha