All musical theatre fans have their favorite musicals. In each musical, there is usually a song that becomes their favorite. I decided to write a list of some of my favorite musicals and what my favorite song is.
Les Mis- (Do I have to say more); this is an exception where I can’t pick
Sound of Music- Edelweiss
Phantom of the Opera- either Music of the Night or All I Ask of You
What do I mean by the non-survivors? These are the characters who die in musicals. So this will be SPOILER HEAVY. I used to think a character death would be not memorable, but I learned my lesson.
Enjolras and the students
It was Les Mis that taught me that I can love a character death. I love more characters who survive than characters who don’t survive. A lot of that it because I can’t think of more. Death in musicals are not EASY to watch, but you have to understand WHY they had to happen- all of these deaths had to happen. Yes, character death is sad, and you are heartbroken because you loved the character. The only way they will continue to live is in you.
I have known musicals are emotional since middle school. Wicked was the reasoning behind this. Wicked told me about four core emotions, which were excitement, love, joy, and sad. The emotional musicals are the ones that I tend to be drawn to the most. What exactly makes an emotional musical?
The emotional musicals tend to have a score that has BOTH positive and negative emotions. When I say negative emotions, I mean strong enough to create a response- not mild. Not all sad songs are heartbreaking, but all heartbreaking songs are sad. Now I will talk about some of the examples of the musicals I call emotional.
Major and Minor Spoilers:
For a lot of act I, Newsies does not seem to fit under emotional musicals. The songs already are catchy and exciting. The only kind of emotional song that comes to mind already are “Santa Fe (Prologue)”, but that song is hopeful- however I believe that song and “Something to Believe In” does play their part in Newsies being emotional. So why is Newsies emotional? Look right after “Seize the Day?”
This big fight breaks out. Jack, the leader of the strike, witnesses all of this. This upsets him a great deal, but hurts him the most when he sees Crutchie being arrested. All of this shows that Jack cares a lot about the strike. If you remember Jack and Crutchie share quite an intimate bond- that is shown in the first song. All of this leads into “Santa Fe”, which is a sad song. So that song does make Newsies an emotional song.
There is a 2nd moment in Newsies that makes it an emotional musical. Crutchie has a solo that was added when the musical was launched as a tour. Crutchie is one of the principal actors. The song, “Letter From the Refuge”, was added, and that song is heartbreaking. So those two songs make Newsies an emotional musical.
Beauty and the Beast
This musical, like Newsies, is a Disney musical. This musical is a romance- so ALL the romantic songs are emotional. From “Something There” to “Beauty and the Beast”- those help make the musical emotional. Beauty and the Beast still has their heartbreaking songs- in the stage show, “home” is one of the more emotional songs and so is the heartbreaking “If I Can’t Love Her” and “If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”. All of those songs combined are why Beauty and the Beast is emotional.
This is yet another Disney musical that is emotional. After all, the emotional nature of the show starts after Scar kills his brother. That was when the storyline kicked off. Seeing the effect it has on Young Simba is heartbreaking (before he runs away). Mufasa’s death almost made me cry last year when I saw Lion King. Lion King is home to songs such as “Shadowland” and “Endless Night”. Even the romantic “Can You Fell the Love Tonight” plays a part in the emotional nature of Lion King. So Disney does do a good job on making a musical emotional at times.
Wicked is for sure a musical with a lot of comic moments. It still has a serious side to it. Its’ center core is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. At the same time, it has a love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. There are songs such as the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” and bittersweet “For Good”. “For Good” is the most emotional song of the musical. “No Good Deed” shows negative emotions as well- which took 9 and 1/2 years for me to notice any sort of emotions in it. One of its more major topics is discrimination- but each time I keep on focusing much more on the friendship and the love triangle that I keep on not exploring the more serious side of Wicked.
South Pacific is a romance that is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. That would mean one couple is more light-hearted than the other. Romance musicals have multiple emotional moments. Emelie does sing the heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine”. Once you see South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime” does become almost more emotional- that is the song that focuses on List and Joe Cable- that couple is actually tragic. One of South Pacific’s major topics it focuses on is racism.
Rent is a sad musical, so it obviously is an emotional musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It talks about how to live life in the time you have. Rent is one of those musicals that can make me an emotional wreck- songs like “Will I”, “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are moments that usually get to me.
Les Mis is even more tragic than Rent. Les Mis feels like you are hit with tragedy after tragedy after tragedy- it is like the tragic events never stop. At the same time, there is this beautiful underlying spirituality. Compassion is shown at death scenes, hope is shown when something tragic does happen, and so on. I am truly an emotional wreck at Les Mis.
They are what I would call the “unexpected couple”. You never expect them to get together. When Elphaba first meets him, she can’t stand him. He doesn’t make a good impression at first. Then the Lion Cub Scene happens, and he softens up a bit. You discover that she is starting to fall in love with him, but unrequitedly- you feel like he will always be with Glinda. Then he hears all of these rumors spread about Elphaba and knows they are not true. He realizes that he loves Elphaba instead of Glinda- so now the unrequited love shifts to Glinda.
Elphaba and Fiyero may be a young couple, but they are a mature couple. It clearly shows during “As Long as Your’e Mine”. They do protect each other- after all he protects Elphaba from being arrested, which leads him to possibly being tortured, which leads Elphaba to do spell after spell after spell to protect Fiyero.
Belle and Beast
This musical is actually a romance. The Beast is actually a human transformed into a Beast after an enchantress discovered there is no love in his heart. So she transformed him into a beast. The spell would be broken if he will fall in love and will be loved another. The love also affected those who lived in the castle.
Belle became prisoner in Beast’s castle after taking her father’s place. First Belle despised the Beast. She saw how unkind and how selfish he was. After she ran away after Beast scared her for being in the West Wing, Beast began to soften up. He ended up saving her life, but he still had a hard time controlling his temper. Slowly over time, they began to have feelings for each other (“Something There”). Then at “Beauty and the Beast”, you knew they were in love. The whole “Beauty and the Beast” scene is so magical to look at. I don’t know what it is about Disney love songs- there is something magical about them. Beast was willing to let her go- Belle and Beast protected each other. After all, when Belle realized Gaston was going to hurt the Beast, she wanted to hurt him and when Belle came back, Beast fought Gaston in order to protect Belle. Their love for each other caused the spell to be broken.
Cosette and Marius
One of the things I love about these two is how they bring hope to this tragedy. Cosette represents love and hope- so it makes sense why she and Marius ends up together. These two are some of the only survivors in Les Mis. While they have lost so many important people in their lives in the end, at least they still have each other. They are such an adorable couple in so many ways.
Katherine and Jack
This is another Disney couple that I love. They are my favorite contemporary Disney couple. Even the song, “Something to Believe In” carries the same magic that the classic Disney songs have. Katherine is the reporter of the strike and Jack is the Newsies’ leader. She does help him with the inner conflict he is going through in act II. Their love clearly shows during “Something to Believe In”
Christine and Raoul
Before the events in the story begin, they once upon a time were childhood sweethearts. When Raoul first recognized Christine, he wanted to be in relationship with her. Raoul is the one who would protect Christine no matter what. After hearing from her about the Phantom, he would do anything to protect her. I have always loved them- “All I Ask Of You” is one of the biggest reasons that explains it.
Mimi and Roger
They are one of the hardest couples to explain why I love them. There are three couples in Rent, and Mimi and Roger are the main couple. They do connect in “Light in my Candle”, but do not become a couple until “I Should Tell You”. It takes about a lot of act I to become a couple. Roger is the one who is unwilling to get in a relationship while Mimi wants to. Both of them have HIV. These two struggle in their relationship at times and do fight at times- they still love each other despite the problems. I wish I knew further why I love them; I think a lot of it comes from them being realistic and their songs.
These are just a few of my favorite couples. All of them share a few things in common. They all are young couples, and they all have a main song that I am attached to. The main song is a key element to loving a musical theatre couple. A couple’s main song does show you that those characters have fallen in love. Usually it can be hard to tell if they have fallen in love or not- which is definitely true if the musical is not a romance.
It is February, and I think it is appropriate to talk about the most common theme in musical theatre. Most likely when you see a musical, you will see romance: either you just see a couple or you come across a love triangle. It is not just love triangles that are complex- even a couple alone is complex. It is their love song that makes you realize they have fallen in love- but that is not always the case. MAJOR OR MINOR SPOILERS.
I feel like there is something quite magical about Disney couples. Songs like “Something to Believe In”, “A Whole New World”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” have something special about them. I love all of the couples associated with them. These couples belong to Katherine and Jack, Jasmine and Aladdin, Belle and Beast, and Nala and Simba. If you think about it, Belle and Beast are home to a love triangle- after all, Gaston wants to marry Belle for the entire musical. Belle and Beast is a couple that falls in love over time- first Belle despises Beast- then they develop feelings for each other during “Something There”- and then you finally have “Beauty and the Beast”. There is a heartbreaking song in the midst of all of this- “If I Can’t Love Her” in this stage show- or its “Evermore” if you watch the 2017 movie.
Love Triangles (Les Mis, Phantom, Wicked)
Les Mis: Cosette x Marius x Eponine
The couple is Cosette and Marius and the unrequited love belongs to Eponine. Cosette and Eponine have literally switched places in life- Cosette had a horrible childhood while Eponine had a better childhood- then Eponine’s life gets even worse, and Cosette’s life improves when Valjean rescues her from the Thenardiers, who are Eponine’s parents. When Cosette leaves, Eponine is mistreated by her parents, and is raised to be a thief and criminal. When Marius enters her life, he treats her with kindness- that is why she fell in love with him- the sad truth is he is the only person who treats her with kindness- as a matter of fact, he is the only good thing in her life.
Then the love triangle happens- Marius bumps into Cosette, and the two of them automatically fell in love with each other. Eponine notices that they both love each other. She will do anything for Marius- she does end up finding Cosette for him. She risks her life several times for Marius. She ends up protecting Marius from her father when he was about to rob Valjean’s house (Marius was there at the time). This was why she went to the barricade, and why she sacrificed her life for him. I love how in this love triangle, you end up feeling for all three of them at once- first when Marius and Cosette bump into each other and second at “Heart Full of Love”- it starts out as a duet- then when Eponine joins in- you get so confused- you end up feeling heartbroken for Eponine, but incredible for Marius and Cosette- that is why you are confused. Marius and Cosette are such an adorable couple- those are my favorite survivors of Les Mis- Marius in particular.
Phantom of the Opera: Raoul x Christine x Phantom
Unlike Les Mis, the entire story is a love triangle. Raoul and Christine are the couple while Phantom gets the unrequited love. Raoul and Christine are an adorable couple. Raoul would do anything to protect Christine from the Phantom. Phantom does not accept, cope, or deal with his unrequited love well. His response is extremely negative- he responds in anger and revenge- he plans to murder Raoul- at the end of the show- he makes Christine choose between choosing him or killing Raoul (not the best response).
Wicked: Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda
Wicked is the most complex out of all three of these love triangles. In act I, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple while Elphaba is dealing with unrequited love. She does not pursue Fiyero because of her best friend. In act II, the unrequited love jumps to Glinda- now Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple- that becomes the final result. So this love triangle has a plot twist- the other two love triangles has only one character dealing with unrequited love- Wicked on the other hand has two characters- both Elphaba and Glinda do not pursue Fiyero to keep their friendship alive. They do not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. I believe it shows their loyalty towards each other and helps strengthen their friendship. What I love about this love triangle is that it develops in the same way the characters do- it does not truly mature until the characters do. Wicked’s love triangle is my FAVORITE love triangle.
Elphaba wasn’t planning on falling in love with Fiyero. She could not stand Fiyero at first. He was a jerk at first- his overall arc is one of the things I love watching. He went from this jerk to softening up to becoming this mature and courageous young man. Elphaba truly matured during “Defying Gravity”. See what I mean- the love triangle did not truly mature until the characters did.
Why does the plot twist happen- I never knew why the first three times I saw the musical. I decided to get some answers the 4th time. I believe Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba at Shiz in act I, but deep down didn’t realize it. I believe he realized he was in love with Elphaba at the beginning of act II. He decided to have a stronger chemistry with Elphaba and a weaker chemistry with Glinda in the first act foreshadowing the plot twist. This was all based off of Ashley Parker Angel’s portrayal I saw the 4th time. At least- some things are clearer this time around.
Mimi and Roger
Mimi and Roger is one of the couples that is NOT part of a love triangle that is complex. So you see, there couples that are complex that don’t need to be a love triangle. Mimi and Roger are one of those couples. Mimi and Roger are my favorite Rent couple, and I still struggle to understand that. They have have HIV, and have other struggles. They find an attachment in “Light My Candle”- BUT Roger is unwilling to be in a relationship because of some complications that happened in his most recent relationship. It is during “I Should Tell You” is finally when Roger commits to a relationship. They are a couple who fights at times, but still love each other. Mimi and Roger are the main couple in Rent. I find them to be a realistic couple.
Maureen and Joanne
This couple is the most problematic relationship in Rent. They fight the most. Joanne always gets so annoyed with Maureen. They are a Lesbian couple- that is something that is unique about this couple. Maureen is very crazy- it is very easy to notice it about her.
Collins and Angel
Just like Mimi and Roger, they have HIV. They are a gay couple as well. They make the most out of their relationship, which is especially clear during “I’ll Cover You”. They never have problems- unlike the other two couples. Knowing about their situation (with the HIV)- they live everyday as if its their last.
Harold Hill and Marian
What I love about this couple being in Music Man is that it gives this musical an emotional feel. After all, it is a very light-hearted musical. So the main emotional feel belongs to the romance. Marian helps protect Harold Hill from being caught when she finds out he is a conman. I don’t think she was planning on falling with him.
If I go on talking about Romance in musicals- it would go on forever. Most of the characters who fell in love are young- as in their 20s and teens. Romance is a combo of innocence, magic, vulnerability, and fragility. The emotions vary as well- love, joy, heartbreak, sad, anger, and revenge- wonder why the negative emotions take up most of them in terms of the ones I can name. Romance does not have to take up JUST the couples- it also has to do with tragic love stories, unrequited love, and breakups.
Rent is a musical that is hard to confess that I love it. That is due to its controversial topics such as the LGBT community, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and drugs. When I heard that Fox was doing a live typing of it, of course I wanted to see it. It wasn’t exactly a live typing because during a dress rehearsal, the Roger broke his foot- so they had to do a lot of prerecorded stuff- but I still loved it despite that. It has a message that is hard to ignore- live in the moment and choose love over fear. Don’t forget, this takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic where the virus was basically a death sentence- there was a lot of fear and uncertainty during the time period, but again and again, the characters choose love over fear and decided to celebrate live and despite the fear they had, they lived their lives in loves (how can you ignore that message).
This was my 3rd Rent cast- so far, I had the final Broadway cast (due to the film they did), the US Tour 2017, and the Fox Cast. I love Rent- so I already knew I would enjoy it- so it would get at least a 3/5 rating. Right from the beginning, I fell in love with the Mark and Roger.
I did not really see how talented the Roger was until “One Song Glory”. That was his first moment to really shine. As a matter during fact, “One Song Glory”, (I believe) Roger almost made me cry. This typically doesn’t happen on T.V. versions of Rent. The only other Roger where this happened was Kaleb Wells, my 2nd Roger, which makes sense because I saw him in person. He does need to work well with Mimi, which I will talk more about in my section about Mimi. His version of “Your Eyes” made me cry- that song is a moment that always makes me tear up. Rent affects me in almost the same way that Les Mis does, but in less scenes.
Enter Mimi. Roger and Mimi are my favorite couple in Rent- I think it is because they are to me a very realistic couple- they are problematic at times- they fight at times, but at the same time do love each other. My favorite by far is my first Mimi (so this Mimi had a lot to live up to). As a matter of fact, I really loved her. This Mimi really started to shine during “Out Tonight”- after all it is her title song; she also has to have incredible chemistry with Roger. I could tell that both Roger and Mimi are attracted to each other, but at the same time, Roger did not want to be in a relationship with her. This was especially shown in “Anything Day”. I did love the chemistry in “I Should Tell You”- that is one of their strongest moments as a couple.
Angel and Collins- I loved them. I loved their “I’ll Cover You”. They are the ones who are the least problematic of all three couples. They just seemed to have their lives in this songs. I just loved seeing this song performed. Then the “I’ll Cover You (Reprise) happened- I literally was almost in tears at that moment- Collins literally was upset at the death of Angel. One of the things I love about Angel was just how he (she)- I never know what pronoun to use- was just how generous Angel was.
I never know how to describe any Joanne. I don’t know why that is. I always know to describe Maureen. I always have “Over the Moon” just over the top- that is just who Maureen is- crazy- she literally is like that. Joanne on the other hand is fed up with her- they are just the most problematic couple- they are my least favorite couple all because of how problematic they are. I did love Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen- I may have originally seen her as Gabriella in the High School Musical series, but she does far well as Maureen especially in “Over the Moon”.
Now on to describe other songs. I always cry at “Will I” and “Without You”, and in this version they did. I even cried at the first Life Support meeting. I am quite emotionally affected by Rent- it is a sad musical, but it is so much more. I love the relationship these friends have- they are family. I love watching the bond- they do not get along at times, but they always make up.
To continue on yesterday’s heartbreaking love songs, today I thought I would talk about ALL heartbreaking songs. I was 100% blind to heartbreak before my first year of college, but I did know about the emotion of sad. So at least I knew about sad- one of the emotions part of heartbreak. Heartbreak is basically a more devastating form of sad. What are the other emotions associated with heartbreak? The ones I have found are anger, guilt, and loneliness among others. Heartbreak can hit you like a pile of breaks and can reduce you to tears. So now here is a list of the heartbreaking musical theatre songs.
I’m Not That Girl
On My Own
I Dreamed a Dream
Come to Me
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
Drink With Me
A Little Fall of Rain
Bring Him Home
All I Ask Of You (Reprise)
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
If I Can’t Love Her
If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)
Letter From the Refuge
This Nearly Was Mine
As Long As He Needs Me
These heartbreaking songs come from a number of musicals- Wicked, Newsies, Les Mis, Lion King, West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Rent, and Cats. Some of these songs are more devastating than others. Some of them hit me harder than others. Some hit me like a pile of bricks, and some don’t. Some of them make me tear up while others don’t. Heartbreak is one of the most beautiful emotions in musical theatre and one of the strongest.