Musical Theatre- the Meaningful Ones

There is one thing that is true for ALL musical theatre fanatics. We know there are musicals in our lives that meaningful and others that are not. The ones that are meaningful end up in our favorites pile. They are the ones that tend to stay with us. What are some of those meaningful musicals in my life (I think you can predict some of them)?

Wicked:

  • I may have had meaningful musicals in my life BEFORE Wicked. However, where did my journey with musicals truly begin? When I first saw Wicked, I was only 12 in NYC on Broadway with my mom. All I can remember is that “Popular” was my favorite song at the time. Before Wicked, I do not think I even knew what an emotional connection was or the emotional and complex side of musicals was. I discovered all of THAT due to Wicked. Wicked made sad come to the forefront, and I do not even remember if love came to the forefront or not due to Wicked, but there is a good chance it might have. I am totally aware that it was Wicked that first made me pick up on the concept of love triangles. Wicked sparked my love for musicals- Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero became important parts of my life especially Elphaba.

The three pictures above were from three of the four times I saw Wicked. I saw it once with mom, once with mom and my sister, once with my dad, and once with my university. Each time I saw Wicked, the show got better and due to the emotions deepening I became more vulnerable to the musical; so my emotional connection remained.

Les Mis:

Well, a love may have been sparked by Wicked, but there was no passion. I THOUGHT I knew musicals. I once told myself I will never love a tragedy. I told myself there was only four core emotions: excitement, love, joy, and sad. I told myself ALL musicals were happy and comic that had a few sad moments here and there. I told myself there was no way a death scene would be memorable, and that a song could not happen during one. I even thought I knew just how intense emotions can get in musicals- well Les Mis would challenge everything.

My family was on vacation in Florida in 2012, and we went to see the Les Mis film. I honestly did NOT want to see the film. I was so unsure about it. I only knew it was a musical: not if it was a COMEDY or a TRAGEDY: so I was blind to it being tragic. So I was blind to HEARTBREAK as well. After the first death, I completely realized Les Mis was tragic. I honestly did not know how to respond- I was shocked and confused. I still left the movie theater with “Do You hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. I still was NOT the biggest fan of the musical. The strangest thing though was a few days or maybe at least a week or two weeks after, I started researching Les Mis (do not know why).

Well- there came a point in 2013 when I decided to give the film a 2nd chance. Good thing I knew it was tragic. I started to fall in love with Les Mis. I slowly begin to realize that the musical had something special about it and that it did make you feel uplifted. By summer 2013, I became obsessed with Les Mis. Les Mis is WHY I am a musical theatre fanatic (maybe not the most accurate word). This might sound strange, but I was not an emotional wreck in the beginning; that was a reaction that was built up over time. I never thought a musical could be just how intense (I think true Les Mis fans know what I am talking about) it could get. I have an emotional connection to almost every story in Les Mis- to Valjean’s to Fantine’s to the love triangle to the Uprising. Usually in a musical, I know what my favorite song is, but in Les Mis I can’t even narrow it down.

Sound of Music:

  • Childhood musicals are nothing like the ones that enter you life in college. They have this kind of nostalgia that no other musical can achieve. Sound of Music is one of those musicals. I have loved Sound of Music since I was a child. It had been meaningful for that long- even longer that Wicked.

Annie:

  • Annie has a similar kind of meaning that Sound of Music has. It is another childhood favorite. Before Wicked entered my life and became my favorite musical, Annie was my favorite musical. Each time I see the 1982 musical, I feel like a child again. I am like Annie in the fact that we are both optimistic- I never figured out why I loved the character until my college years.

Rent:

  • This is another sad musical that entered my life. A big thing that makes Rent meaningful is its message. While being sad, Rent is truly a celebration of life. It is about living your life in love even in the face of fear- that is what the Rent characters have to deal with: after all this musical takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s/1990s so getting it is quite scary so there is a good chance that if you get that disease there is a high chance you are not going to survive. So these characters, instead of living in fear, they choose to live in love and in the moment- only four of the major characters have the devastating disease, but it still affects their friends. It is truly the message of Rent that makes it meaningful- No Day But Today!!!!! Rent, like Les Mis, makes me an emotional wreck.

Newsies

Courage cannot erase our Fear. Courage is when we face our Fear

Seize the Day

I fell in love with Newsies August 2016 during the US Tour. At the time, Joey Barreiro, my favorite Jack Kelly, was leading the tour. At the time, I remember being mind-blown by the dance. I felt an emotional connection quickly- it started out between the intimate and special bond between Jack and Crutchie and soon after, my emotional connection grew between all of the Newsies. I knew I loved Newsies, but did not even realize that Newsies was already meaningful to me. However, a few weeks later after hearing “Seize the Day” and picking up on the lyrics “Courage cannot erase our Fear. Courage is when we face our Fear”, I knew for a fact that Newsies was meaningful. I really do not know what drives me to those lyrics in “Seize the Day” so much- what I do know is that “Seize the Day” is my favorite song from the musical. Newsies is not my only favorite and meaningful Disney musical.

What are some your meaningful musicals?

My Favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals

One of my favorite duos in musical theatre are Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are one of the most famous composer and lyricist teams. They are part of the Golden Age of musicals- their Oklahoma changed the world of musicals forever in 1943. The singing and acting element was already interrogated into the plot- Oklahoma added the final piece to the musical- they were able to add dance to the plot; it wasn’t like it was just there to just be there- dance finally made sense. What are my top favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals?

Oklahoma

  • I have loved Oklahoma for five years now. The love began with the film. It only was last year when I saw the stage show. Oklahoma is a romantic musical comedy with double romances with one being more important than the other. Now, let’s me say why I love Oklahoma.

Songs

  • Everyone know you can’t love a musical without good songs. From “Surrey With the Fringe on Top”, “People Will Say We’re in Love”, “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, and the title song, “Oklahoma” makes Oklahoma such a memorable musical. Of course, those are not all the songs. Just giving examples.

Characters

  • I am still trying to figure out WHO they are. I do love Curly, Laurey, Will Parker, and Ado Annie. I have such a strong hate towards Jud, which makes me love Curly even more. That sounds a bit crazy- but it is true. Look, Oklahoma consists of two love triangles, and one of them consists of Curly, Laurey, and Jud. Curly will do anything to make sure Laurey does not end up with Jud, who is the villain of Oklahoma: Jud is a horrible person who is abusive who will harm both Curly and Laurey. Any R and H musical has two romances- the other is a love triangle- but once again: I love Will Parker and Ado Annie together. Still- I barely know these characters. Yes- Curly and Jud fight for Laurey and Will Parker and Ali Hakhim fight for Ado Annie, but who each end up is who I would see fit for each of them.

Plot

  • Many people think Oklahoma’s plot is too simple- meaning it revolves around this social event. I do not really see it that way. Oklahoma is more of a romance- the one between Curly and Laurey. They are in love with each other, but do not like admitting it: at least they eventually do. It also has the subplot between Will Parker and Ado Annie despite the fact that Annie has a hard time making up her mind even though the one she truly is in love with is Will Parker. Well, it really is two love triangles- I would rather not have the third person in each scenario, but it is clear who that it is. Oklahoma’s love triangles are weak compared to others I have seen, but they are not fully weak. It also is dealing with Oklahoma eventually becoming a state: it only is United States territory at the time it takes place in.

South Pacific

  • My love for South Pacific began at the same time my love for Oklahoma began. As a matter of fact, it was in the same week. I was leant both of the movie right before a snowstorm. So, I watched both movies five years ago. So far, I only saw the movie of South Pacific. Like any R/H musical, there is a double love story.

Songs

  • I love the songs in South Pacific. The songs are a combo of exciting, love, and heartbreaking songs. From exciting songs like “There is Nothing Like a Dame” to romantic songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” to heartbreaking love songs like “This Nearly Was Mine”. My favorite song in South Pacific is “Some Enchanted Evening”- I do not know why, but I somehow know.

Characters

  • Just like Oklahoma, I know names of characters, but still barely know WHO they are. There is Emelie, Nellie, Joe Cable, Liat, and Bloddy Mary. My favorites of this list are Emelie and Nellie, who serve as the main couple in South Pacific. Out of those two, Nellie is our protagonist. There actually isn’t an antagonist in South Pacific- I think South Pacific is more of a man vs. self conflict.

Plot

  • South Pacific is a romantic musical comedy. It is crazy to think about how easily the musical could have been a tragedy, but it isn’t. It is about Nellie and Emelie’s romance and one a subplot is Joe Cable and Liat’s romance. Joe Cable and Liat’s romance is actually tragic. An underlying theme found in South Pacific is racism, and I think that theme might be our “antagonist”. One of the songs is brilliant- “You’ve got to be carefully taught”- the brilliance of that songs come from the fact that your’e taught not born racist.

Sound of Music

  • This is my favorite and the longest R/H musical that has been part of my life. It is actually one of my childhood musicals. Childhood musicals are important because they help form a foundation for what musicals are. They hold something that no other musical can achieve. I first saw it through the movie, and in 2015 saw the stage show. I was surprised by my reaction during “Edelweiss”. When I saw it live, I was crying during “Edelweiss”, and that was a reaction that was brand new to me. I never once thought the songs in Sound of Music would have sadness in them.

Songs

  • These songs are easily singable and memorable. From “Do Re Mi” to “My Favorite Things” to “Sound of Music” to “So Long Farewell” to “Climb Every Mountain” to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to “Something Good” to “Edelweiss”. As a matter of fact, the first musical theatre song I memorized the lyrics to are “Do Re Mi”. There is no way you can’t dislike these songs. “Edelweiss” is my favorite song in Sound of Music.

Characters

  • I love a number of these characters. Maria is an easy likable protagonist. She is amazing with the children and teaches them to sing. She helps bring happiness into a house that used to filled with darkness. The Captain may be stern with Maria and the children, but yet still loves his children. He eventually warms up to Maria after hearing his children sing- all he needed in his life is music.

Plot

  • How in the world can you dislike the plot? I really do not need to say more. Honestly- how can any musical theatre fanatic dislike Sound of Music? It is my favorite of the classics- when I mean “classic”, I am talking about the Golden Age of Musicals.

Updated Favorite Musical Theatre Characters

This list has shown up multiple times on my blog. The only reason why this tends to repeat is when I add on a favorite character. So, where I a list of characters I love.

  1. Annie
  2. Aladdin
  3. Aldonza
  4. Angel
  5. Anna (Frozen)
  6. Babkak
  7. Belle
  8. Beast
  9. Crutchie
  10. Cosette
  11. Christine
  12. Chip
  13. Chris
  14. Cogsworth
  15. Davey
  16. Don Quixote
  17. Eponine
  18. Elphaba
  19. Enjolras
  20. Elsa
  21. Fantine
  22. Fiyero
  23. Friends of the ABC
  24. Gavroche
  25. Glinda
  26. Grizabella
  27. Harold Hill
  28. Jack Kelly
  29. Jasmine
  30. Jean Valjean
  31. Kassim
  32. Katherine Plumber
  33. Kim (Miss Saigon)
  34. Lumiere
  35. Maria (Sound of Music)
  36. Marius
  37. Mimi
  38. Mrs. Potts
  39. Mufasa
  40. Nala
  41. Newsies
  42. Omar
  43. Oliver
  44. Pippin
  45. Pumba
  46. Raoul
  47. Roger
  48. Sancho Panza
  49. Simba
  50. Timon
  51. Von Trapp Children
  52. Winthrop
  53. Young Cosette
  54. Zazu

A lot of my favorite characters in the musical theatre world are survivors while many do lose their lives as well: I actually believe most are survivors. It is interesting how varied these characters all- their lives are so different: that is based off of where they live, their age, their family, etc. Some are not human. You will notice I love a lot of characters- most of them are young: I do have an all-time favorite: Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character.

Have you Ever been said “Broaden your taste for musicals due to being obsessed with one”

As so many know, I am obsessed with Les Mis. To some people, it might seem as if I am not expanding my passion for musicals. However- that is not actually the case. My passion for Les Mis is responsible for my passion for musicals: if I did not, certain musicals would have not been in my life or been given a chance. Before Les Mis, I would not let tragedies in my life. Lets look at some of the things I learned some Les Mis, and later focus on some of the new musicals that entered my life after Les Mis entered my life. Look, Les Mis would not have been able to enter my life without Wicked.

What I Learned From Les Mis

Tragic musicals do exist- I was not raised on tragedies in musical theatre. I was around Disney musicals, Wicked, Mamma Mia, and musicals of that kind. How was I supposed to know that tragedies were a part of the musical world.

I can love tragedies- here me out on this: as a high school girl, I told myself I will NEVER love a tragedy. I thought they were pure sad. Les Mis entered my life in my first year of college (2013). I realized tragedies were not at all what I once thought they were. They are more than just tragedies- they have a hopeful side to them and are not too depressing.

Tragedies go beyond being sad- this goes back to what I just said. In 2013, I picked up on the fact that I felt uplifted by Les Mis. I wanted to know WHY. I soon was able to understand its underlying spirituality: hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption are why it goes beyond its tragic nature. A tragedy cannot be a tragedy without the catharsis.

A death scene can be memorable- once again, I did believe that a death would be unmemorable especially to a favorite character. I even thought a death scene could not happen through song. Les Mis proved both of those wrong- the various deaths are memorable even if it is a favorite character.

Heartbreak is a musical emotion- I was not blind to sad. I picked up on the emotion of sad in middle school. I thought sad could not push any further. Boy, was I so wrong. I discovered the emotion of heartbreak through song in Les Mis. Heartbreak is a more vulnerable, fragile, and deeper form of sad. Heartbreak opened a new window- knowing that emotion exists made it easier to pick up on negative emotions in other musicals.

  • These are just a few of the things I learned from Les Mis. Just because I talk about Les Mis a lot does not been I do not branch out. I still want to see new musicals. What are some musicals that entered my life after 2013?

Musicals that Entered my Life after 2013:

  1. Man of La Mancha
  2. Newsies
  3. Pippin
  4. Music Man
  5. South Pacific
  6. Fiddler on the Roof
  7. My Fair Lady

So, I do allow other musicals to enter my life. There are musicals that I want to give a chance- those are not in my life yet. What are some of those?

Musicals I Still Hope to See:

  • Anastasia
  • Hadestown
  • Something Rotten
  • Frozen- yes, I already love it (but still need to see the stage show)

I already love a wide range of musicals already: Mamma Mia, Music Man, Sound of Music, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, Wicked, Man of La Mancha, Frozen, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Newsies, Lion King, Pippin, Rent, South Pacific, Godspell, My Fair Lady: this is a combo of those I grew up with (as in childhood to the end of high school) to college.

This has been said to me a couple of times- Broaden my taste for musicals. Expand it more. Those things are said to me when I have an opportunity to see Les Mis again- usually when I am given a chance, I want to see the show again. Well, this year: I have an opportunity to see Les Mis a sixth time. Some people think I do not expand it that much only because I am obsessed with Les Mis.

Examples of Tear-Reducing Songs

Ever since middle school, I have known about the emotional side of musicals. However, there was something I was blind to. I did know that musical songs could be sad, and that the emotion was common. There was something I would learn the hard way. I would learn I was 100% blind to heartbreak and 100% to just how intense emotions can get in musicals- I would learn this in just one musical: this was discovered in Les Mis. What are some examples of songs I have actually cried during- this is based off seeing it live or any way I have listened to the songs.

  1. I Dreamed a Dreamed
  2. Come to Me
  3. On My Own
  4. A Little Fall of Rain
  5. Drink With Me
  6. Bring Him Home
  7. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
  8. Rent
  9. One Song Glory
  10. I’ll Cover You (Reprise)
  11. Life Support
  12. Will I
  13. Your Eyes
  14. Sun and Moon
  15. Last Night of the World
  16. I’d Give My Life For
  17. As Long As He Needs Me
  18. For Good
  19. I’m Not That Girl
  20. Edelweiss
  21. Beauty and the Beast

As you can see, I am hit the hardest in Les Mis- in any version of that show: I Dreamed a Dream is usually the first moment I become an emotional wreck. Some of these songs actually surprised me. I am starting to have a more emotional response to more and more musicals these days- even the happy musicals are affecting me- as in even they can reduce me to tears at just one moment. For some of these songs, I am only reduced to tears seeing them live, and for others, it doesn’t matter if it is live or not- all it would take is just a listen and I would be crying.

Duets to Love in Musicals

It is amazing that duets in musicals have a lot of variety found in them. They are a combo of romance, friendship, family, and death. That would mean the emotion varies. After seeing Aladdin, I can make an updated list.

  1. A Million Miles Away
  2. A Whole New World
  3. Heart Full of Love
  4. Come to Me
  5. A Little Fall of Rain
  6. As Long as Your’e Mine
  7. For Good
  8. Something to Believe in
  9. Santa Fe (Prologue)
  10. No Matter What
  11. I Should Tell You
  12. Light My Candle
  13. What You Own
  14. I’ll Cover You
  15. Take me or Leave me
  16. Till There Was You
  17. Phantom of the Opera
  18. All I Ask of You
  19. Something Good
  20. Sixteen Going on Seventeen
  21. Sun and Moon
  22. Last Night of the World
  23. I Still Believe

Some of my Favorite love Songs

Yes, I did this post a lot. I have for some time written lists of some of my favorite love songs. Now, what would I classify as a love song. Well- this only falls under the romance category for now.

  1. As Long As Your’e Mine
  2. I’m Not That Girl
  3. On My Own
  4. A Heart Full of Love
  5. All I Ask of You
  6. A Whole New World
  7. Something There
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Can you Feel The Love Tonight
  10. Something to Believe In
  11. I Should Tell You
  12. Light my Candle
  13. I’ll Cover You
  14. Some Enchanted Evening
  15. Something Good
  16. Till There Was You
  17. Somewhere
  18. Sun and Moon
  19. Last Light of the World
  20. As Long As He Needs Me

What else can you add to this list?