Well, there are both sad books along with those in the theatre world. To me, there is a wrong way and a right way to feel during those type of stories. This will focus on plays, operas, and musicals. Growing up, I was blind to sad musicals and opera, but starting in 9th grade- I discovered tragedies. I actually interpreted them wrong- I was thinking “pure sad”. Now a lot has changed. I can truly show the difference between two sad shows that exist.
I actually saw BOTH #8 and Les Mis the same year. However, there is a HUGE difference. That year was 2015- that was an exciting year. Gardner Webb, Chicago, and the Bristol Pilgrimage happened that year. My family went up two days early to England just to get used to the time difference and to get more out of London. July 30th was exciting in more ways than one: saw Les Mis in The West End, a dream come true. I thought it was incredible that while my mom and I were seeing Les Mis, my dad and sister got their own date. I actually thought it was fitting that I saw Les Mis due to it being Valjean’s spiritual journey, and the next day starting my own.
Well, this show takes place during the Holocaust. Ushers were dressed up as Nazis and you did see pictures from the concentration camps during the show. I was so uncomfortable that I badly wanted to leave the theatre, but couldn’t due to being a required show. It basically felt like watching “Lovely Ladies” for the entire show. I badly hated this show- that is how I don’t want to feel in shows. As being too depressing that you are given a miserable experience.
While heartbreaking like #8, there is still a gigantic difference. Les Mis is actually the musical that made me realize tragedies exist in musical theatre. I was blind to heartbreak and the genre of tragedy growing up. Well, in Les Mis’ case—-you aren’t miserable. It is heartbreaking, but spiritual, uplifting, and inspiring at the same time. It is full of hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. Some of those themes are hard to notice, but will be if you look deeper. With a powerful story, characters, and songs, Les Mis is one of the best musicals. It is one of the few musicals that makes me an emotional wreck. But, in a positive way. My emotional connection is so strong that I want to feel the emotions. Now, this is how I want a sad show to be like.
There are big differences when it comes to the pure sad shows and the more inspiring and uplifting shows. Les Mis, La Bohème, and Rent may ALL be heartbreaking, but I am able to hold on due to their positive side. I also can hold on due to an emotional connection. It is easier to bond with inspiring sad shows unlike those that make you feel miserable.