Musicals That Make Me Cry

One thing that makes musicals unique is that they are capable of reducing you to tears. I am not a typical crier so that kind of reaction in a musical is not common for me. I will talk about the musicals that actually have made me cry. The interesting thing about this list is that some of these musicals took quite a while till I had that kind of reaction or a few months or just one day.

Of course, I will talk about Les Mis. I want to say Les Mis is the first musical I ever cried during. I first saw it through the movie, but I honestly do not think I cried the first time. I did not know how to react to this tragic musical. But it was the second time when I realized there was something special in Les Mis. I believe I started crying during the second time and to this day I still do. I honestly do not know what it is about the songs that make me have that kind of reaction.

Les Mis is home to many heartbreaking scenes full of misery. Characters deal with things such as unrequited love, prostitution, abuse, survivor’s guilt and so on. Characters die throughout the musical. The songs are extremely powerful and touch your heart and soul in such a way that make you tear up and I still do not know what it is. This musical has songs such as “I Dreamed a Dream”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Come to Me”, “Drink With Me”,”On My Own” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”

Similar to Les Mis in a way is Rent.  It is also a sad musical and powerful. Rent does not make me cry as much as Les Mis, but it still has it moments. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic and four of the eight main characters have the illness. Songs such as “Will I?” , “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are tear reducing moments.

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There is only one song in Wicked that made me cry the fourth time I saw it. That song would be “For Good”. That song is the most emotional song in the entire musical. The story revolves around the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. My reaction during the fourth viewing goes to show just how brilliant my Elphaba and Glinda are and just how meaningful and vulnerable Wicked has become. To be honest, I do not know if this song made me tear up before the fourth viewing or not, but I did know just bittersweet and special the song is.

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Sound of Music was the most surprising when I cried. I first fell in love with the musical in elementary school. I remember always loving Edelweiss, my favorite song from the song. I saw it live two years ago. During Edelweiss, my emotional connection and vulnerability grew in a way I never saw coming. Sad entered the picture in the middle of the song and I cried from the halfway point till the end. So it took from elementary school all the way to 2015 to realize Edelweiss has some sadness in it.

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Last but not least is Oliver.  Just last week, I saw the movie musical of Oliver. I came in aware of just how heartbreaking “As Long As He Needs Me” is even though I had never seen Oliver before (well I have, but doesn’t count since I do not remember). I cried during that number. This is an example of tearing up during the first try.

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I honestly do not know what makes you cry during a musical. I know it has to be a combination of things. Your emotional connection plays a role in your reactions, but there are other musicals where I have a strong emotional connection, but do not drive me to tears. Sometimes it can be the staging of a number or it can actually be how an actor portrays a character. I honestly have no idea. Ever since Les Mis entered my life, how I view musical emotions is different. With Les Mis, I love it when a musical drives me to tearing up.

What musicals make you cry? Why do you think certain musicals make you cry?

What Does It Mean to Feel Vulnerable in a Musical?

Vulnerable: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt

What does it mean to feel vulnerable in the musical world? That is a very tough question. Vulnerability deals with emotions such as love, sad, heartbreak, loneliness, desperation, guilt, and devastating. Vulnerability has to do with being open to emotions and not being closed off to them.

In the more emotional musicals, you have to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness in a musical. In an emotional musical, feeling vulnerable shows you have an emotional connection.

Wicked is one of those more emotional musicals. My journey began as a 12 year old. I saw it four times in all. Each time I may approach it as a 12 year old, but my vulnerability level kept on increasing each time. That was because my knowledge of the characters and emotions deepened.

Two emotional moments in Wicked are “I’m Not That Girl” and “For Good”. “For Good” is even more emotional since the core of Wicked is friendship and that song is bittersweet because the two friends have reunited but it is the last time they will see each other. I feel like the fourth time that moment was really special to me. I was seeing it with Gardner Webb, a school that has changed me for the better, so that added meaning to the musical and I had an incredible Elphaba (understudy) and Glinda.

“I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking song that wasn’t always interpreted as a heartbreaking song. It started out as being interpreted as sad and I knew that each time I would see Wicked, I would feel more vulnerable when it comes to that song, but I never could see beyond it being sad. That was because growing up I was 100% blind to heartbreak in musicals and because Elphaba’s story does not revolve around unrequited love but instead her friendship with Glinda.

So “On My Own” from Les Mis, another unrequited love song, was key to picking up on “I’m Not That Girl” being heartbreaking especially because Eponine’s story revolves around unrequited love unlike Elphaba’s story, which revolves around her friendship with Glinda. It is tricky actually feeling heartbroken in “I’m Not That Girl” if you know Elphaba is going to end with Fiyero in the end, which is kind of an odd situation in a way since it started out with Fiyero and Glinda being a couple.

My knowledge of “I’m Not That Girl” being heartbreaking isn’t the only reason why my fourth time was the most vulnerable. It had to do with “No Good Deed” as well. I never felt vulnerable in this song the first three times at all. I never liked the song and I do not know if I ever saw the right portrayal or was it because of my dislike towards the song. Well, the fourth time I saw Wicked, I felt vulnerable in this song for the first time able to finally felt its emotions and they actually stuck. Wicked is one such example of a musical becoming more and more vulnerable

Even in “As Long As Your’e Mine” I have to feel vulnerable. It is a love song and in a love song you have to feel vulnerable at times. Fiyero and Elphaba are a very mature, young couple and quite unexpected.

Rent is another emotional musical, but there is a difference between Wicked and Rent. I find Wicked to be a happy musical. But I find Rent to be sad. Rent is sad due to the time period that it takes place in: the HIV/AIDS epidemic and four of the main characters are struggling and living with it. Roger, who is struggling with it, is also battling depression as well and Mimi ,who is living with HIV, is also struggling with a drug addiction but those struggles makes those two characters real.

In songs such as “Will I?” , “I Should Tell You”, “Without You”, “I’ll Cover You (Reprise), “Life Support”, “One Song Glory” among others, you have to feel vulnerable because they are either heartbreaking or love songs.

Possible Spoilers:

An even sadder musical than Rent is Les Mis. That musical has an extreme vulnerable level. I have to feel vulnerable a lot because that musical is covered with negative emotions scene after scene it seems. In the first scene, you see the injustice that Jean Valjean is facing, which is shown up until the bishop scene. Throughout all of Fantine’s struggle, you see the unfairness of women during France of women at the time. She may die at the end, but she dies knowing her child will be cared for by Jean Valjean.

Fast forward to the next scene and Cosette is facing abuse the Thenardiers. So you see, Les Mis is covered with sad scene after sad scene, but faced with an incredible spirit of hope and light in the midst of darkness. Fantine isn’t the only one to loss her life in Les Mis. Like Fantine, many of the other characters die happy. Eponine dies in the arms of Marius, the boy she loves unrequitedly, after being shot, the students and Gavroche die standing up for what they believe in and Jean Valjean dies with Cosette and Marius by his side.

Les Mis has several scenes you have to feel vulnerable. Many characters have to face horrible conditions. Valjean has to deal with the injustices of an ex-convict. Fantine has to face how unfairly a woman will be treated if found out you have an illegitimate child. Cosette has to face horrible abuse by the Thenardiers as a child. Eponine has to deal with horrible abuse by the Thenardiers growing up and discovers that her parents don’t even care about her and they teach her the ways of being a criminal and she faces the pain of unrequited love. Marius has to face the pain of survivors guilt after losing all of his friends at the barricade.

Other moments that are important to feeling vulnerable are “As Long As He Needs Me”, a heartbreaking song in Oliver, and Edelweiss in Sound of Music. I just saw the musical movie of Oliver last week and “As Long As He Needs Me” made me cry. I connected so well to Nancy at that moment and that situation is quite heartbreaking.

Just two years ago, I saw the stage show of Sound of Music for the first time and that musical is one I grew up with the movie. My favorite song of all time was “Edelweiss” and I was shocked in the middle of the song that sad decided to enter the picture and the rest of the song made me cry and that discovery made me feel vulnerable in the second half of that song and increased my emotional connection and vulnerability level in Sound of Music.

What I am trying to say is that feeling vulnerable in a musical is key to the negative emotions and some of the positive emotions. There is lot of romance in musicals and there is vulnerability in that aspect. Heartbreak feels more vulnerable than sad is, which is true when it begins at the moderate level, which is anything from “I’m Not That Girl” and beyond. It is quite difficult to describe what it means to feel vulnerable in a musical. It is important for character development, which in turn is important for emotional development as well.

What do you think? What does it mean to feel vulnerable in a musical?

Opinions I Once Had About Musicals

This is a list of beliefs I had about musicals at one point my journey. I will talk about why I had those options and will talk about why I no longer have those opinions. But now, each of those points have been disproven by Les Mis.

Possible Spoilers:

My first opinion was all musicals are happy. I only said that because that was all I had seen and due to that I believed every musical was happy. Les Mis disproved that and even Rent did the same thing. But it really was Les Mis that disproved it. I saw the movie musical back in 2012 and that was my first full exposure to the musical. While watching I discovered Les Mis was a heartbreaking musical and did not know how to respond. Over time Les Mis became such an important part of my musical journey and my life. I realized NOT all musicals are happy like I once believed.

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A second opinion I had about theatre in general is that I will always hate tragedies and will never learn to love one. Both Les Mis and Rent disproved that opinion as well. I love both of them. Both of them are sad and I can be particular when it comes to tragic musicals. I love them because they have amazing songs, characters, and storylines. Both go beyond their tragic nature. Les Mis has this underlying spirituality due to its forgiveness, compassion, love, hope, sacrifice, humanity and sacrifice and Rent has the message of living in the moment and measuring your life in love.

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A third opinion I had about theatre is that a death scene can never be memorable. Prior to Les Mis, I have seen death scenes in musicals, but I have forgotten about some of them and overlooked some of them. All of the death scenes in Les Mis but Javert’s are memorable. Those memorable deaths happen to characters who do not die alone and they all have some kind of joy in their death scenes. Fantine dies with Valjean by her side who promises to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. Eponine, despite being shot, dies in the arms of Marius, the man she loves even though that love is unrequited. Gavroche and the students died standing up for what they believed in. Valjean died with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius by his side.

So far, the only memorable death scenes in musicals happened to be from Les Mis. The fact that Javert was the only character to die alone shows just how memorable the other deaths are. All of my favorite characters are dead by the end of the musical. But they still have a wonderful fate.

A fourth opinion that formed is that every musical must have some dance or spectacle element and those two are still part of my musical vision. Once again, Les Mis disproved that point again. Through Les Mis, I realized just how incredible a musical can be without a dance or spectacle element.

A fifth opinion I had is that negative emotions can never go beyond sad. I started to understand the negative emotions in middle school. By high school, I knew sad was common and was important. But I believed the negative emotions could never be more. Les Mis once again disproved that point. I realized there is more to sad when it comes to the negative emotions. I had no idea I was 100% blind to heartbreak. It isn’t just heartbreak that entered: it is just how deep the heartbreak actually is in Les Mis.

This might be connected, but even other emotions changed as a result of realizing heartbreak is musical emotion. It affected joy and love as well. Look at heartbreaking love songs and look at heartbreaking song with joy in it. Look at just how insightful and truthful and powerful they can be. Prior to Les Mis, I don’t remember if a musical song made me cry, but in Les Mis, I cry each time I listen to the song or even watch the musical in any way.

So Les Mis really showed me a side of musicals I had never seen before. I had all of these opinions only because of what I had known about musicals. It had to do with what I remembered. It had to do with how I interpreted them. Since happy musicals used to take up every single musical, I ended up calling most musicals happy and calling all musicals joyful. It makes sense why I thought a death scene could never be memorable. So in many ways, this post shows a huge reason why Les Mis played such a huge part in my musical journey.

What are some opinions you once had about musicals and did anything disprove them?

The World of Plays and Musicals

In today’s post, I will talk about both plays and musicals. I will explain why I am drawn to musicals more than plays. I am experienced both in my lifetime and have studied some in school.

In my opinion, plays are more boring and less interesting than a musical. I have studied them and been to them. But I am not quite as drawn to them. The emotions feel even less interesting and harder to get to know. In high school, through the likes of Romeo and Juliet, The Crucible, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth, I treated them poorly just because they were tragic. I thought tragedies were just a mess of sadness. They never seemed to interest me, but then again never took the time to get to know them. However, there is one play I studied in high school that I did enjoy, which was Taming of the Shrew, a Comedy.

Throughout college, studying and seeing plays continued. I did study Death of a Salesman and did not like it. One year I think it was 2013, my parents took me to see Mousetrap and I enjoyed it. Throughout my time at Gardner Webb, I saw plays such as Full Moon Over Montmarte, Servant of Two Masters, I Ya Ya Yo, Glass Menargarie, and Trojan Women, and #8. Servant of Two Masters was the most enjoyable.

I hated #8 so much. It gave me a very negative experience. It was a play dealing with the Holocaust. All I felt in that play was negative emotions and there never seemed to be light. I was so uncomfortable that I honestly wanted to leave. But I had to stay due to being required to. I do not want to experience the negative emotions in a way that actually is quite harmful to the experience.

I honestly struggle with having emotional connections to a play. Just spoken word is sort of boring. So what is the real reason why I love musicals over plays? Well, musicals are way more than spoken word. They have dance, song, and spectacle, three aspects that allow you to fully invest in the story and the character’s stories. The dance and spectacle is fun to watch and helps you believe in the story.

 

The songs in a musical are the main reason why I emotionally connect to well in a musical. In a play, there always seems to be an emotional disconnect. In a musical, due to the power of song, it is easier to find an emotional connection. It allows you to easily fall in love with positive and negative emotions. It is easier to cope with negative emotions in a musical due to beautiful songs that create these heartbreaking and bittersweet moments.

The negative emotions in a musical do not cause any harm in a musical experience. They actually support a musical experience. They actually strengthen your emotional connection to characters and actually make you love musical characters even more. They are supposed to feel real and are capable of so much and can drive you to tears at times, but they actually give you a positive experience.

 

So in conclusion, I find plays boring due to just having spoken word. The regular spoken word makes it hard to emotionally connect to characters. But in a musical, the songs actually make it easier to find an emotional connection and allow you to find joy in both positive and negative emotions. The dance and spectacle is another reason why musicals are betters than plays. The dance and spectacle is entertaining. Musicals are intended to be joyful.

What are your thoughts? Why do you love musicals more than plays?

Are the Negative Emotions in Musicals Highly Unpredictable?

Musicals are known to be emotional. Musicals are known for many home to positive and negative emotions in the score. The negative emotions started to be understood as early as middle school. I saw them very different than I do today, but I honestly do not remember much of what the negative emotions were like in those days, but I do remember that the negative emotions were common, which was essential to what they would eventually become. The best memory of the negative emotions happens to be from Wicked. However, do you believe the negative emotions in musicals are highly unpredictable?

A good chunk of musicals I love happen to have the negative emotions when it comes to the songs. I will try to give a few examples where I have found the negative emotions to be highly unpredictable.

One such example is coming from Les Mis. As a matter of fact, the negative emotions were extremely highly unpredictable in this musical. It is a bit hard to describe why, but the nature of the negative emotions in the songs is very rare in this musical and never saw that nature coming at all. I never realized I was 100% blind to heartbreak growing up. It was Les Mis that made me pick up on heartbreak for the first time and it was highly unpredictable of how powerful and honest and insightful the negative emotions in Les Mis would be.

Another musical the negative emotions ended up being highly unpredictable happened to exist in Wicked. Wicked has a song called “No Good Deed”. Growing up, I never was a big fan of that song. As a result, the emotions never stuck or even was remembered so in a way that song seemed emotionless. So I was quite surprised when last year, I remember watching “No Good Deed” and for the first time, I finally found some appreciation for that number and I finally noticed and even remembered the emotions that actually were a part of that number to begin with, which were anger and frustration.

Even though “I’m Not That Girl” shifted from being a sad song to a heartbreaking song, the song wasn’t as highly unpredictable as “No Good Deed” because I always knew “I’m Not That Girl” was sad”.  “I’m Not That Girl” shifted from being sad to heartbreaking through the help of “On My Own”, another unrequited love song.

Another such highly unpredictable moment in the negative emotions happened to be from “Sound of Music”.  Unlike Wicked, I never noticed the negative emotions in the songs in “Sound of Music” growing up. So I finally saw the stage show in November of 2015. The song, “Edelweiss” was always my favorite song from “Sound of Music”. I was quite surprised when sad decided to enter the picture when it comes to the song. It showed up in between the moment the captain stopped singing and right before the children joined in. Sad decided to show up literally in the middle of a song at a moment where there was no singing. Due to picking up on sad so many years later, it made sad highly unpredictable in “Sound of Music”, Literally once I picked up on sad, the rest of the song made me tear up.

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What I am trying to say is that you never know what is going to happen to the negative emotions each time you see a new musical or when you see a musical again even if you saw the movie first and later saw the stage show for the first time. The first time I saw “Little Shop of Horrors”, there was a heartbreaking moment, which actually was a reprise, where I wanted to cry and that seemed unusual in a way because I didn’t even fall in love with the story of that musical or fell in love with enough songs so I was quite surprised that even happened.

Each time I see a brand new musical, I always know there is some chance the negative emotions will happen to exist in the musical. Last year when I saw Newsies, “Santa Fe”, which was at the end of act 1, was a sad song and that came from a musical that actually became meaningful. I love feeling the negative emotions the most in musicals that I fall in love with that eventually becomes meaningful. I also prefer sad where it is beyond being mild, but in the Edelweiss example, it would appear to not be that capable due to where it entered the song, but it was strong enough for the emotion to be remembered.

It is crazy to say that the negative emotions can bring joy in a musical. That sounds misleading since the negative emotions actually hurt. That is the most true when sad is beyond being just a mild emotion. The negative emotions in a way seem even more complex than the positive emotions because they appear to have more capability than you think they do. I know that through experience. Growing up, I thought I actually saw the full potential of the negative emotions, but it turns out I was wrong through what I discovered through Les Mis.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe negative musical emotions are highly unpredictable? Why do you love the negative emotions in musicals?

Confusing Parts About a Musical

While I get older, the world of musicals gets quite complicated. In this post, I will talk about of the most confusing parts that exist in the world. I will even include the confusing parts that happened to me as the musical journey continued.

First thing is loving a character and having no clue why. That has happened and it would be nice to know why I love them in the first place. Fiyero is a character that has been part of my life since 2006. I have loved him for quite a while, but honestly cannot pinpoint exactly why I love him. When you first meet him, he doesn’t care much for school and he appears to be quite rude. He ends up part of a love triangle in Wicked complete with Elphaba and Glinda. I cannot believe I have loved him for so long, but cannot seem to analyze him so I feel there is still a lot to discover about him since sometimes I feel like I still don’t know him that well.

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There have been characters where I used to not be able to pinpoint why I loved them, but eventually discovered why I loved them and one of those characters is Eponine Thenardier. The second time I saw the movie musical of Les Mis, I noticed I loved the character of Eponine and that time I could not pinpoint why I fell in love with her. But over time as I got to know her more and more, I finally understood why I love Eponine. I love her due to her complexity, bravery, loyalty, and loving nature. Too bad I still cannot pinpoint why I love Fiyero because he has been part of my life much longer than Eponine has been part of my life.

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The second confusing part about the world of musicals is love triangles or anything around that nature. No matter what happens, you cannot satisfy every single character in a love triangle because one will always end up with unrequited love. Unrequited love probably is the most complicated part about a love triangle and it is complicated that two characters love the exact same person because in a love triangle it can consist of either two boys loving one girl or consisting of two girls and one boy. The ones I am referring to are the ones from “Phantom of the Opera”, “Les Mis”, and “Wicked”.

The love triangle that is the hardest to understand is the “Phantom of the Opera” love triangle even though it isn’t the most complex love triangle. The most complex love triangle belongs to “Wicked”, but I grasp that one better than “The Phantom of the Opera” love triangle due to how well I personally relate and connect to Elphaba.

The “Wicked” love triangle was my first exposure to them. I always knew “I’m Not That Girl” was a sad song. I was only in middle school when I first saw Wicked and in a lot of ways, I still feel like that 12 year old whenever I see the musical. By high school, I already understood the complexity and emotional side of musicals. I knew “Wicked” was home to a love triangle. In high school, I knew that love triangles provide an interesting emotional texture.

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However through the “Les Mis” love triangle”, I realized I didn’t fully understand love triangles. Through “On My Own”, I discovered that unrequited love is heartbreaking, which changed my perspective on love triangles. I cannot believe I am confessing this, but it took at least a year until I understood that “On My Own” was heartbreaking. “On My Own” was key to understanding that “I’m Not That Girl” was not just a sad song like I once believed, but heartbreaking. I think a big reason why “On My Own” helped me understand love triangles more is because no one in Wicked’s love triangle has a story that revolves around unrequited love.

But in “Les Mis”, one of the character’s stories revolves around unrequited love. “Les Mis” has Eponine. Eponine has to spend her entire storyline having to struggle with the fact that Marius is not going to love her back. The song, “On My Own”, is much stronger and more powerful than “I’m Not That Girl”. At the moment literally before “I’m Not That Girl”, Elphaba just found out moments before that she loved Fiyero so there isn’t room for the song to be fully heartbreaking. Love triangles are quite difficult to understand and can take quite a long time to understand. Of all love triangles, it is the “Les Mis” one that I have grasped the best, which was key to understanding the “Wicked” one even though the “Les Mis” one is less complex.

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But in Eponine’s case, “On My Own” is much stronger because Eponine’s love for Marius is stronger than Elphaba’s love for Fiyero. In Eponine’s situation, Eponine loves Marius so much because he is the only person in her life who shows her kindness. But after Marius fell in love with Cosette, Eponine shows true love towards him. By the time “On My Own” happens, you already know how much Eponine loves Marius. So it took a more serious and stronger form of unrequited love to understand unrequited love from a less extreme form of unrequited love. “Wicked” would be the less extreme example of unrequited love, but the crazy thing is that the “Wicked” love triangle is even more complex thanks to a plot twist that happens.

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This is a third confusing part about musicals, which happened to me in 2012. Growing up, I was the person who believed all musicals were happy because it was all I had known. I didn’t realize that what I believed was not true. In 2012, my parents took my sister and I to see the movie of Les Mis in December of 2012. After the first death, it hit me that Les Mis is a tragedy and I didn’t even know how to respond and I was so shocked and confused. I was thinking “wait a second, Les Mis is a tragedy” and “musicals are not supposed to be tragic”. By the end, I had no idea if I liked it or not, but must have been moved by it due to just researching it over time.

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So over time, I learned to see beyond the heartbreak in Les Mis. I decided to research why the ending makes me feel uplifted. I realized that the story is about hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice and redemption. I soon learned that even though Les Mis is a tragedy, it fits nicely into the world of musicals because musicals are known to be emotional. Les Mis taught me that heartbreak is a musical emotions so it was helpful that I learned that sad was a common emotion through the happy musicals. Tragedies no longer are confusing to me in the world of musicals and seeing musical through the eyes of them made it easier to spot negative emotions in new musicals.

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The fourth confusing bit about musicals belong to the emotions. The musical emotions are so complicated because there are so many layers and each musical has a different emotional nature. Even your love for a musical shapes what the emotional nature is. If you don’t love a musical, it is a bit difficult to feel the emotional nature that naturally beings to a musical. There are five main musical emotions, which are excitement, love, joy, sad, and heartbreak.

The negative emotions have been going through drastic changes lately. The negative emotions are the ones that do not grow as quickly as the positive emotions and they are weaker than the positive emotions. That is due to the fact that the negative emotions are not in every single musical and there also has to be appreciation of the songs that are home to the negative emotions where they are strong enough to create an impact. It is a bit hard to fully appreciate and even invest in them if you do not like either the show you saw them in or if you have a hard time falling in love with characters or the same thing in the plot as well. Due to heartbreak being in the mix, it makes the negative emotions really hard to describe.

From musicals like “Music Man” and “Singing in the Rain”  to musicals like “Les Mis”, that is a wide range of emotions. “Music Man” and “Singing in the Rain” are mainly home to positive emotions because those two shows don’t have enough complexity or conflict to be home to the negative emotions in the score.

But when would you say the negative emotions truly begin in musicals? I would say maybe a show like “Sound of Music”. Not everyone can strongly feel its complexity or even its negative emotions either. But two years ago when I saw “Sound of Music” live, I remember during “Edelweiss” feeling sad at one point, which happened at a very odd point in the song. It happened in between the time when the Captain stopped signing and when the children began. I teared up for the rest of it. So in a way, a show like “Sound of Music” is where I would say the negative emotions begin.

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So far, the strongest point of sad has been “Les Mis” and I don’t think that is ever going to change. “Les Mis” is quite a powerful musical and has taught me that I didn’t fully grasp the negative emotions up. All I realized growing up was that I was just beginning to understand musical emotions. At one point in my “Les Mis” journey, I was surprised that some musical songs happen while a character is dying like “A Little Fall of Rain” or “Come to Me”. Of all musicals, “Les Mis” seems like it is home to the most musical emotions.

So understanding musical emotions is very complicated. Each musical has a different emotional nature. The negative emotions are home to a wonderful blend of complexity, vulnerability, and fragility. The sad and heartbreaking songs tend to be some of the most beautiful musical songs in existence like “On My Own”, “This Nearly Was Mine”, “I Dreamed a Dram”,  “Your Eyes”, “Somewhere”, etc are all beautiful songs and it is very easy to appreciate loving feeling the negative emotions if you fall in love with the sad songs.

So far, of all the musicals I love, “Wicked”, “South Pacific”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Man of La Mancha”, “Sound of Music”, “Newsies”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Rent”, and “Les Mis” are all home to positive and negative emotions when it comes to the score. What is crazy about this list is that only one of those is not home to heartbreak, but only sad it seems. In a lot of ways, the negative emotions are more complicated than the positive emotions. The positive emotions are very easy to fall in love with, but the negative emotions are much harder to fall in love with because the negative emotions hurt and there are so many levels of the negative emotions in existence.

“Les Mis” showed me that the negative emotions have a lot of potential in them. Growing up, I have never been able to notice the tiny details of negative emotions and I never spent my time analyzing them. I feel like musical emotions will keep on getting more and more complex over the years due the fact that I will continue getting older with new life experiences and new shows will continue entering my life. But I love the complexity that show up in musicals because it shows I have a bigger understanding of what a musical is capable of. I know I talked a lot about musical emotions, but in a way, musical emotions are the most confusing part about a musical.

 

 

Musicals I Love With Sad In It

This sounds like a crazy post. Well, the musicals I tend to be drawn to are complex and have both positive and negative emotions in it. Below I will write a list of the musicals that I love where sad has been involved and that only counts if it was in the songs, but not where it wasn’t that capable.

  1. Sound of Music
  2. Wicked
  3. Newsies
  4. South Pacific
  5. Phantom of the Opera
  6. Rent
  7. Les Mis
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Man of La Mancha

Why do I love feeling the negative emotions in these if they are going to hurt? Well, musical emotions come in two sets, which only applies to positive emotions. There are the positive emotions that are naturally part of the show and than there are the emotions that naturally apply to the experience. I feel like those with sad going on feel more real to me. Some of these musicals actually took some time until I realized sad was in some of them. But some, I knew on the very first round that sad is a piece of them.

Possible Spoilers:

Wicked was the musical where I began to understand the negative emotions. I can trace back how far the negative emotions have come through this musical. I remember not liking “No Good Deed” that much and that song seemed emotionless from 2006 all the way until 2016. I saw Wicked live in 2006, sometime in high school, 2013, and 2016. That one song seemed not interesting and seemed emotionless. It was in 2016, my fourth time, where the portrayal of “No Good Deed” finally made me appreciate it for once and where I finally began to pick up on its emotions.

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Well “I’m Not That Girl” began as this sad song and was a sad song during the first three rounds. Well, I don’t know when it was, but I want to say it was like 2014 or 2015, I realized the song was heartbreaking thanks to the help of “On My Own”. I realized that both songs were about unrequited love and due to “On My Own” being stronger, I realized “I’m Not That Girl” was a heartbreaker.

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But where did I began to realize that heartbreak was part of the musical world? Well, I didn’t know about heartbreak until December of 2012. It was when I saw Les Mis for the first time through the movie. While watching the movie, I finally was able to pick up on heartbreak, but I thought the musical was too depressing. I wasn’t able to dig deeper because I didn’t know it was going to be tragic and I didn’t know musicals could be tragic.  Les Mis showed me a side of emotions I thought was literally impossible and it was during my second viewing of the movie where I began to see something special about Les Mis. Over time, I realized the musical wasn’t too depressing due to its underlying spirituality, which has themes of love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. Ever since the realization of heartbreak, I was able to notice that it was much easier to spot negative emotions and darkness in other musicals.

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Just like Les Mis, Rent is a sad musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s/1990s. It has an incredible message of how precious life is, living in the moment, and measuring your life in love. You see these characters struggle through depression, drug addiction, relationships, HIV/AIDS. But they are like this family despite all their struggles.

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In the case of Sound of Music, I never noticed sad was in one of its songs for quite a long time. I grew up with the movie and never once picked up on that emotion. I remember it being in 2015 when I saw the stage show for the first time. It was during “Edelweiss” and I remember the emotion entering at a place that seemed unusual. It was at the moment where the Captain stopped singing and there was a pause before Maria and the children started singing and I noticed the emotion. I feel like realizing sad was in a song in the middle of that song is a spot where the emotions tends not to be a part of. But due to the emotional shift in “Edelweiss”, I learned to love the musical even more.

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The latest meaningful musical that had sad in the score belongs to Newsies. I remember watching it and it existed at the end of act one. I just witnessed this big fight break out as a result of the strike. After the fight, Jack witnessed Crutchie being arrested and that left him with a lot of inner conflict. In the first scene, which was “Santa Fe (Prologue), you realize that Jack is quite protective of Crutchie. Due to what he witnessed, he sang “Santa Fe” and that became a sad song and I felt sad, but innocently during the production. Another moment with the negative emotions belonged in “Letter From the Refuge”. The thing with that song is that I don’t remember it while watching the production. I eventually rediscovered the song and was able to notice I do remember one of the lyrics. After a couple of listens, I realized that song is a heartbreaker.

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The negative emotions are highly important in the world of musicals. For all of these musicals, my emotional connection is quite strong. I care about these characters’ journeys, which is why I love feeling the negative emotions. I only love feeling the negative emotions in musicals that I love myself and typically tend to be a meaningful musical.