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 live 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 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.

The Talents of the Actors and Actresses I Have Seen

One thing that really impresses me is seeing the talent I have seen on stage when I have seen musicals. Some of the ones I have seen are understudies and standbys and those can really impress me. I have had understudies for characters such as Eponine, Christine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Leading Player and Katherine Plumber. Those actors have to work harder than anyone else. I just cannot believe how talented all of the different actors and actresses I have had over the years. I have seen more actors than actresses mainly because of Newsies. Newsies has a cast of mostly males and that is why I have seen more actors.

Les Mis was the last musical I saw and I loved that cast. You had the very powerful and passionate ensemble with some talented principals. It was lead by Nick Cartell and he was wonderful as Jean Valjean and his “Bring Him Home” was so soulful and truly sounded like a prayer and he quiet enough for what the song required and strong enough for what the song required. Another standout was Joshua Grosso as Marius, and he brought this unique nature of awkwardness to the role and of all of the actors in the love triangle, he was the strongest, and I never expect Marius to be the strongest actor because I always expect Eponnine to be the strongest actor, but this time it wasn’t the case. Jillian Butler’s Cosette somehow was able to connect to Joshua’s charming but awkward Marius. My Eponine, Talia Simone Robinson (understudy), was impressive. The fact that she was an understudy made her work harder than anybody else. She had some impressive scenes and some scenes needed some work. She was very playful around Marius and was quite strong during “A Heart Full of Love”, and she was very believable during “A Little Fall of Rain”.

Matt Shingledecker was my Enjolras, and he truly brought the passion and leader side of Enjolras. Even the ensemble was very talented. They were so epic passionate and powerful. The ensemble is very impressive when it comes to musicals and they are a huge part of a show: after all they take up most of the cast.

During Rent, I was impressed with the actors. Kaleb Wells brought out quite an emotional “One Song Glory” and showed his unwillingness to get into a relationship with Mimi. Lyndie Moe, my Maureen brought out her craziness perfectly and she made me laugh during “Over The Moon”.

Newsies was a musical I saw August 2016. It was lead by Joey Barriero, my Jack Kelly. It is hard to describe why I loved Joey. I loved how he showed his bond to Newsies especially his bond to  Crutchie. He brought out the inner conflict that Jack eventually went through. He was able to bring out the emotion felt in “Santa Fe” and the song to me was innocently sad. I don’t know if the innocence felt in the song was how Joey wanted to portray the song or if it was because this was my first time seeing the show. The actors in this show were triple threats. They were very impressive in the dance. They were flipping about two or three times in a row, dancing on newspapers among other amazing tricks and able to act and sing at the same time. The dancing was mind-blowing. The picture below is Joey Barreiro as Jack.

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Highlighting all of the talented actors will take a while. By showing some of the actors, you can tell that I have seen a lot of talented actors over the years. I still have not yet seen the same actor or actress in more than one  lead role. I am glad that each time I see a musical, I am exposed to new actors. I am always thinking how on earth have they memorized everything and they make it seem easy, but in reality it is not easy. It takes a lot of work and acting it much harder than it seems. They are doing the best they can and when you get an understudy or standby, you can get a bit nervous, but I alway regret it.

For example, Mary Kate Morrisey (standby) as Elphaba embodied everything about Elphaba, but brought something new. It felt like she was the main Elphaba. Another understudy that comes to mind is Adam Bayjou as Jean Valjean. He was my West End Jean Valjean, and he played the role so well that I forgot I was actually watching an understudy. So respect the standbys and understudies. You have no idea how much harder they have to work.