Challenge of 7 musicals

musicaltheatrelivesinmesite recently did a challenge on wordpress that seemed interesting and quite challenging so I decided to give it a try. I don’t know how accurate this will show up, but will be my best- I know it will be mostly accurate.

Here were the rules:

“You must select your seven top shows, then explain why you chose them in 100 – 200 words for each show”.

I mean selecting my top seven shows is difficult. I know what my top two musicals were, but those two musicals share that top spot, but everyone is convinced I know what my favorite musical is, but too afraid to admit it. I decided to go up for the challenge. I had to really think about it.

  1. Les Mis- I had a rocky start with Les Mis. Now, I can’t imagine a time where I did not love the musical. I am obsessed with the musical. It is the West End’s longest running musical. It is a musical about hope, love, forgiveness, compassion, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption in the midst of tragedy and heartbreak. These characters feel so “human” and touch your heart and soul in such a way that you are emotionally moved by their stories. The storyline has this beautiful underlying spirituality. It has the spirituality journey Valjean goes on, it has the tragic story of Fantine, the love triangle of Eponine, Marius, and Cosette, and the rebellion- all of them move me. The score is epic, passionate, powerful, and highly emotionally moving. It is so powerful- I mean it is a show that gives you goosebumps and reduces you to tears. I mean- it is hard to describe the power of the show- you have to see it to understand what I mean. It challenged everything I once knew about musicals- it showed me tragic musicals exist and that heartbreak is a musical emotion. It turned a love of musicals into a passion.

2. Wicked- Tied with Les Mis. Wicked sparked my love for musicals. It was the only show I saw on Broadway since I live in NC. What makes Les Mis hard to push past it? It has its bonuses. Everything about Wicked feels OZian- its score, the name of characters, and costumes all feel like they are OZian- you feel transported. Wicked is all about friendship- that is the center core. Elphaba and Glinda’s story is powerful and beautiful. The love triangle between the girls and Fiyero adds a fascinating texture. Those three characters are the only characters I am emotionally connected to. Those two storylines are the main ones I focus on. Elphaba is the character that matter most because I relate to her so strongly. That is a bonus- relating to a character. Wicked has incredible dance and spectacle to watch. Wicked was when I finally understood what it meant to have an emotional connection in a musical and what it mean for a musical character and plot to be complex. In addition, I began to understand the emotional side of musicals as well. I have been changed for good because of Wicked.  

3. Annie-  Before the green girl entered my life, Annie was my favorite musical. I actually did have an emotional connection to the character of Annie, but I did not know. I was optimistic as a child. There is something special about loving a musical as a child and continuing that love to your 20s. In 2014, I finally saw the stage show. I felt like a child again watching it live. It is at the 3rd spot because at one point Annie was my favorite musical. So it has been with me for so long. I love it more than ever. It is a very special musical. After all, it has that childhood nostalgia attached to it. 

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4. Sound of Music- Just like Annie, Sound of Music is a childhood musical. I remember “Edelweiss” being my first piano recital song. It is such a family friendly musical. There is something about it. It is so fun to sing to, and once again it has that childhood nostalgia attached to it. 2015 was my first time seeing the stage show. I felt like a kid, and began to love it more. “Edelweiss” gained an emotional nature it never had before. It was fun being able to see it unfold on stage. From seeing the movie as a child to seeing the stage show as a 21 year old is quite wonderful. I did feel like a child watching the stage show. It was different on stage- additional songs for instance. I am a bigger fan of Sound of Music now than I was as a child. 

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5. Phantom of the Opera- I fell in love with it by music alone. It is a hauntingly beautiful musical. The story is basically a mysterious and dark and angelic and beautiful love triangle. There is so much suspense found in there. You easily can get caught up in the Phantom’s spell. When I saw it, I was spellbound from start to finish and got choked up. I love Christine and Raoul as a couple. Phantom is a character you feel for even if you may not like his actions. It is a gorgeous musical to look at- it is a purely beautiful musicals. The songs are both haunting and beautiful.

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6. Rent- It is hard to confess I love Rent. People do not understand why I love since it is so controversial in subject matter. However, that doesn’t stop me from loving it. It is the message of Rent that makes me love it so much. I love the community that Rent has. The community that the 7 friends have is wonderful. The message of living in the moment and measuring your life in love is why it is meaningful. I love that message so much. It has one of the best closings to a musical. I understand people might be put off by a musical dealing with HIV/AIDS, the LGBT community, and a drug addict- I get that, but you just can’t ignore the message it is selling. I love those songs it has. It is an emotional musical, and I do connect to the community.  

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7. Newsies- This is a very new musical in my life. I loved it since I saw the tour two years ago. I loved this inspiring story of how this Newsies stood up for what they believed in. The Newsies share this brotherly love for each other. I especially am in awe of the bond between Jack and Crutchie. An energetic, fun, and at times emotional score. The dancing in this musical is mind-blowing- it is amazing to watch- the tricks are incredible. I love the lines in “Seize the Day” that go “Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear”. Two weeks after I saw the tour, the moment I heard those lyrics, I knew Newsies was a meaningful musical. I love the fact that this is actually based of a true story. 

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I now challenge you do to do this challenge. Use only 7 musicals- it is crazy after all since two musicals are tied for the top spot.

 

 

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Favorite Friendships in Musicals

You know how love shows up a LOT in musicals through ROMANCE? What about love that shows up through friendship? What are the memorable ones for me? Today, I thought I will talk about those.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

1. Elphaba and Glinda- seriously, what can this post be without Elphaba and Glinda? They are the first friendship I ever fell in love with in a musical. You never thought they would be best friends. They started out as basically enemies, than later became best friends. When they both fell in love with Fiyero, they did not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. They changed each others lives for the better. The fact that Wicked centers on their friendship is why Wicked is one of my top two favorite musicals. “For Good”, the most emotional song in the musical, really shows just how they changed each others lives for the better. It is a bittersweet moment for the two of them- it is the last moment they will see each other, but at least they can say what they meant to each other.

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2. Enjolras and the Students- I just love their brotherly love for each other. You just can’t help but love them. Then you love their hope and passion for their cause. I just love how they take in Gavroche. I really love how they keep their passion strong- even at the end when they know they are going to die.

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3. Newsies- I am going straight to the Newsies because the Newsies parallel Enjolras and the students. Just like the students, the Newsies have a cause they truly believe in and have hope in it plus have a brotherly love for it. The result is different: only difference in the Newsies is that they win. On a side note: I love the intimate bond found between Jack and Crutchie: I just love how they are best friends and that Jack is so protective of Crutchie. Jack is the one who cares more about his brothers than the strike, but it is Crutchie he cares about the most.

 

4. Rent Batch- This is another friendship I love. I love how they live how they do their best to live their lives in love and in the moment. They may not get along at times, but they do make up for it. They are this family.

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5. Lumiere and Cogsworth- I don’t what it is about these two, but there is something interesting about this friendship. I mean we are talking about a talking candle and a talking clock throughout most of Beauty and the Beast. I find something fascinating about this friendship- don’t you find something fascinating about this particular friendship?

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6. Marius and Eponine- I know this is a unpopular opinion, but I do enjoy their friendship. Look, Eponine has a dark and tragic life: at least Marius is in her life. People believe Marius is a jerk to Eponine. I do not believe that at all. Marius and Eponine are seen as close friends in the musical- I know that doesn’t exist in the book- I like how that is changed in the musical. It makes the love triangle stronger and “A Little Fall of Rain” more emotional. Marius is kind to Eponine, and that is why she falls in love with him. I know it doesn’t seem that way when Marius asks Eponine to find Cosette for him and those other errands.

I believe at the barricade, Marius asks Eponine to deliver the letter to try to protect her from the uprising. He does not want her to get hurt or worse KILLED. That is why he was worried when she came back. That is why he asked, “why she came back”. When she collapsed in his arms, he realized she was shot, and that her wound was fatal. He was devastated. He could have left her in that moment, but he didn’t. He stayed with her- that shows he is kind and sweet. By being with her in that moment, it shows an incredible act of COMPASSION. He offers her comfort and peace while she was dying. It shows that he truly did care about her.

This line after she died shows that he knew how dark her life was- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”.

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Top Ten Rent Songs

Next musical on this series, I will be making a list of my top ten songs from Rent. Rent is one of those musicals I learned to love through the songs. This may not be exactly accurate, but will still be ten Rent songs I love.

Possible Spoilers:

1. Seasons of Love- this is my favorite song from Rent. It shows you just how precious and short life is. It shows you just how many minutes there are in a year, and how you should live life. It teaches you that you should measure your life in year. I just love the song’s message.

2. Finale B- just like Les Mis, Rent is a sad musical, but it ends perfectly making you feel inspired. In the scene previously, it appears as if Mimi was dying, but she actually survived. She has this near-death experience and choose to survive. This song really represents the overall message of the show- to live in the moment- No Day But Today

3. I Should Tell You- I don’t know what it is, but Mimi and Roger are my favorite couple in Rent. They may be a flawed couple, but they are a very realistic couple. This is the song where they finally are able to confess  their feelings for each other

4. One Song Glory- this happens very early on in the musical. I love the overall melody of the piece. It is quite an emotional song to be honest; even though it doesn’t sound like. You have previously found out that Roger has HIV, and in this song, you find that he wants to write one great song before he dies.

5.  Another Day- this song has an interesting melody to it. At the beginning, there is kind of rocky edge of it when Roger is trying to refuse to go out with Mimi. Then when Mimi sings, it sings to the overall “No Day But Today” melody- so the song has a mixture of melodies going on. That “No Day But Today” melody happens in more than one song.

6. Will I- a very simple melody, but an extreme emotional reaction- it can actually reduce you to tears. It is only basically three lines song over and over again can causes that reaction: that is just how powerful that song is.

7. Without You- the 2nd act is more emotional then the 1st act. It seems as if Roger wants to split with Mimi. Plus, Angel is about to die from AIDS- he had HIV in the first act. So this is a highly emotional song. Collins never once leaves Angel in this song- they make the most of their relationship. On the other hand- Roger and Mimi constantly fight and split up; but always seem to love each other- the brokenness of their relationship at times is kind of why I am confused at why Roger and Mimi are my favorite couple in Rent

8. Goodbye Love- an extremely high stake song. Angel has died and now all of these friends are fighting. I still love this song- they just feel like they are getting split up. A lot happens in this song.

9. La Vie Boheme- what is nice about this song is at least it isn’t quite as emotional as many of the others. It helps lighten up the mood a bit. At least Roger has finally left his apartment. That is really why I love this song- lightens up the mood. After all, Rent is a sad musical- sad musicals did those kind of breaks or they get just way too overwhelming.

10. What You Own- I love how this is a man/man duet. Many musical theatre duets are between a man/woman due to romance songs. This is a duet found between Roger and Mark. They both have huge epiphany moments during this song. Mark has finally figured out the film he really wants to create, and Roger realizes the big song he wants to write. Roger just realized how much he really needs Mimi in his life just by seeing in Santa Fe- he decides to write his song about Mimi and his feelings for her.

Who is Mark?

Just like Mimi and Roger, I barely know Mark.

Possible spoilers:

I feel like it is very hard to get know all the Rent characters. Mark is the overall narrator of Rent. He is also a filmmaker and Roger’s roommate and his best friend. He recently was Maureen’s boyfriend, but Maureen has left him for Joanne. Mark keeps on encouraging Roger to leave the apartment, but Roger always refuses. Marks seems to videotape everything instead of being part of the action himself. He is one of the character who doesn’t have HIV. He is lonely in the fact that he is one of the few who is not in a relationship. I still wish I knew Mark a bit better, but for whatever reason the Rent characters are very hard to get to know.

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Who is Mimi?

I will do the best I can to analyze Mimi. I just feel like I barely know her. I already analyzed Roger, but Roger and Mimi are my favorite couple in Rent despite how flawed that couple is.

Major Spoilers:

Mimi is a drug-addict and is HIV-Positive. You first meet her when she comes into Roger’s apartment wanting someone to light her candle. These two are neighbors. The two are automatically attracted to her. Mimi wants to enter into a relationship with Roger and all throughout act I, she keeps on trying even if Roger keeps on pushing her away. There is something sweet about Mimi. She is always trying to live in the moment. She works as a dancer at a club. She is very vulnerable, which is especially shown throughout act II. Even though she is a drug addict, there is more to her than that. She nearly died at the end, but at least she lived. I wish I knew Mimi a bit better, but I don’t.

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Who is Roger?

Possible Spoilers:

Roger is a HIV- Positive musician who is roommates who Mark. His main goal is to write one great song before he dies. When you first meet him, he is basically dealing with depression. His latest girlfriend committed suicide after she discovered she had HIV-Positive, which is how Roger discovered he had it. So he is basically cooped up in his apartment. He does not want to leave his room even though Mark keeps on convincing him.

However, it is his neighbor, Mimi, that gets him out of his shell. She stops by to light his candle. He immediately is attracted to her and finally finds some sort of joy. During the entire “Light My Candle”, he discovers she is a drug addict. He is afraid of entering into one because of what previously happened. Mimi keeps on trying to convince him to start a relationship with her, but he always refuses. Eventually Roger leaves the house and tells Mark about Mimi. Soon enough, Roger invites Mimi out. At the life cafe, the two of them discover that they are both HIV-Positive and Roger finally confesses his feelings for Mimi.

He keeps on entering and leaving a relationship a Mimi. I never can seem to understand that. They keep on fighting it seems. It seems to be a very realistic relationship. I am still trying to figure out some of Roger’s actions at times. He is still one of my favorite characters from Rent.

What I find interesting is that his great song is about Mimi. But it happens at a very inconvenient time. Mimi seems to be dying and getting weaker, but Roger sings it to her. She survives during this scary time. This was one of the hardest analysis’ I did during this series’ because I feel like I barely know Roger. I love Roger, but I feel like I barely know him.

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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.