The World of Classics of Musicals

What do I mean by a classic musical? Whenever I think of the classics, I tend to think of those from the Golden Age of musicals. I am a fan of the classic musicals and that says a lot about my tastes in musicals. The fact that I love musicals from the Golden Age really says a lot.

The very first classic musical I ever loved was Sound of Music. It was a movie I saw when I was a kid. I have loved it ever since elementary school. It is my favorite of all the classic and the best Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in my opinion. I am drawn to its themes of music and family. It has this memorable score with songs like “My Favorite Things”, “Do Re Mi”, “Sound of Music”, “Climb Every Mountain” and “Edelweiss”. It is one of the most meaningful musicals of my life. It after all is a musical I have loved since elementary school and it still holds a special place in my heart.

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Another Rodgers and Hammerstein I love is South Pacific. It is a romantic story and is about the relationship between Emelie and Nellie. It has memorable songs like “Some Enchanted Evening”, “There is Nothing Like a Dame”, “This Nearly Was Mine” and “Younger Than Springtime”. It does deal with interracial marriage and does deal with racism. In the song, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”, it shows that racism is taught and it isn’t something we are born with.

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Other Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals I have seen are Oklahoma, King and I, and Cinderella. Rodgers and Hammerstein are one of the most important teams in the Golden Age. I don’t fully love King and I, but do some Anna and songs like “Getting to Know You”, “Shall We Dance” and “I Whistle a Happy Tune”. I love some of the songs from Cinderella as well. As a matter of fact, Oklahoma is when the Golden Age of Musicals truly begins.

Another Golden Age musical I have seen is Music Man. I first discovered it through Pandora. Before I saw it live, I was already familiar with songs like “Seventy Six Trombones”, “Ya Got Trouble” and “Gary Indiana”. My school decided to put together a production of Music Man in Spring of 2015. That was my first semester of Gardner Webb. One big reason why I love Music Man is just how light-hearted and happy it is.

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Another Golden Age musical I love is Singing in the Rain. I love songs like “Good Morning” and “Singing in the Rain”. Just like Music Man, the musical is very light-hearted and very happy. While I prefer musicals that have songs that have both positive and negative emotions, I don’t want all musicals to be in that nature. I love how simple both Singing in the Rain and Music Man are. Because they are in the light-hearted nature they are in, it helps balance out musicals.

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It wouldn’t be right to talk about the classics unless I bring up West Side Story. I have conflicting feelings about this musical. I saw the movie and I found the movie good, but nowhere close to being a masterpiece. But I did like the songs just enough to get the songs. I felt like the dancing was off in a way. It is one of the most well-known musicals. It is a tragic tale based off of Romeo and Juliet. I don’t love West Side Story, but I don’t love it either. I feel like it is somewhere between loving it and liking it. I honestly want to see the stage show to seeing how the dancing fares. In my personal opinion, I feel like dancing works better live due to the nature dancing in musicals has.

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I may just be a college student, but I do enjoy the classics. Loving and liking the classics in a way shows what kind of a musical fan I am. It shows I love musicals from a wide range of time periods. I didn’t know about the classics until about my college years. The only one I was aware of belong to Sound of Music because I grew up with the movie.

What are your thoughts about the classic musicals?

 

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.

Favorite Female Musical Characters: Part One

I recently talked about my favorite male musical characters. Now its the time for my favorite female characters. As a matter of fact, my favorite musical character is female and I will identify which she is. So here is my list of favorite female characters.

  1. Elphaba- Favorite
  2. Glinda
  3. Eponine
  4. Young Cosette
  5. Fantine
  6. Annie
  7. Grizabella
  8. Christine
  9. Mimi
  10. Belle
  11. Katherine
  12. Maria- Sound of Music
  13. Anna- King and I
  14. Audrey

These are my favorite female characters I can speak of right now. The next post will go into some of these characters more into detail and explain why I love them. About the the last two, they are two characters I love, but are not from musicals I love.

What Makes a Musical Meaningful?

Meaningful musicals are an important part of who I am. But what exactly does makes a musical meaningful? To me, a musical becomes meaningful in so many ways. Sometimes a musical is meaningful due to a particular character or song or a musical that has taught you something very valuable. Below I will talk about some of my meaningful musicals and why they are meaningful.

Wicked is one of the meaningful musicals that has been part of my life for quite a while. It entered my life in summer of 2006 on Broadway when I went with my mom. Wicked was the musical where I began to understand the emotional side of musicals and the emotional connection piece of musicals. I don’t have vivid memories of what it was like to see Wicked on Broadway, but the impact clearly shows. My relationship to Elphaba is very personal and she is my favorite musical character and she is one of the biggest reasons why Wicked is meaningful to me. I see a lot of myself in her because like her, I am smart, determined, talkative, big-hearted, unique and I believe in equality and staying true to myself.

The other two characters I love in Wicked are Glinda and Fiyero. Both of them bring an uniqueness to Wicked. The musical centers around the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. There is also the complicated love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero and no love triangle has been more complicated than this one.  Without Wicked, the emotional side of musicals would not have become what they are today.

Below is a picture of me when I saw the musical a fourth time. Wicked has changed a lot over the years and the show is still spectacular, but continues to improve over the years. The emotional side has changed because each time I see it I feel more and more vulnerable. “I’m Not That Girl” was interpreted as sad the first 3 times, but sometimes between the third and fourth time, I was able to interpret that song as heartbreaking thanks to “On My Own”. “No Good Deed” was always a song I never looked forward to, but the portrayal I saw the fourth time, I finally found appreciation and finally picked up on its emotions. So, the emotions in Wicked have changed a lot over the years and so has my relationship with Elphaba.

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Another meaningful musical is Les Mis. Les Mis showed me a side of musicals I always thought was impossible. Growing up, I was well aware of love, excitement, joy, and sad. I thought I knew the emotional world of musicals. My journey with Les Mis started when I saw the movie in December of 2012. But Les Mis showed me that musical emotions are way more than I once believed. I was able to discover heartbreak for the first time and was able to find real beauty in that musical. I even believed tragedies were impossible in the world of musicals, but Les Mis is a tragedy. I got the chance to see the show in the West End two years ago over the summer and that was my dream.

As far as the characters go, I have a strong emotional connection. It is home to some of the best musical characters. It has the compassionate and ex-convict Jean Valjean, the obsessive and strict Javert, the heartbreaking and loving Fantine, the innocent and curious Cosette, the revolutionary and romantic Marius, the brave and loyal Eponine, the courageous and passionate Enjolras and students, the heroic Gavroche, the funny and despicable Thenardiers.

With Les Mis, I was able to explore musicals deeper than ever before. I realized it was easier to find negative emotions and darkness in other musicals. I learned to dig deeper because I was trying to find the answer as to why such a heartbreaking musical is very uplifting and inspirational. I was able to discover that it is a story of sacrifice, humanity, compassion, hope, love, forgiveness, and redemption. Les Mis made me look at musicals fresh and made me explore musical emotions in a very different way.

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Another meaningful musical of the more recent years is Rent. That musical taught me the importance of living the moment and the importance of measuring your life in love. It showed me just how precious life is. Like Les Mis, the musical is sad as well, but there is so much more to it than what initially meets the eye. The relationship found among the friends is like this one big family.

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Newsies is another recent meaningful musical and is also the newest meaningful musical of my life. I saw it in August and I was emotionally connected in the very first scene. I just fell in love with the close bond between Crutchie and Jack. I also fell in love with the relationship between all the Newsies. Their story is inspiring of how they stood up for what they believed in when Pulitizer raised the price of the distribution papers. They fought back and went up against him. It showed me the importance of courage and that “courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face our fear”.

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Annie and Sound of Music are two childhood meaningful musicals. They have been part of my life for longer than Wicked. I cannot fully explain why these two musicals are meaningful. They are meaningful in the sense that they have been a huge part of my musical journey. I loved both of those musicals in elementary school. Starting to see musicals at such a young has been beneficial to becoming the musical fanatic I am today.

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In your opinion, what makes a musical meaningful?

Importance of Emotional Connections in Musicals

In my opinion, the most important part of a musical experience is the emotional connection. This will be a very difficult thing to write about. I understand the importance, but it is so hard to describe. Having an emotional connection is key to having a positive experience and is key for a musical to become meaningful.

All of the musicals that are meaningful to me consist of an emotional connection. Musicals like Sound of Music, Annie, Newsies, Wicked, Les Mis, and Rent all have an emotional connection for me. Their emotional connections are very different. They each have something that I emotionally connect to.

In Annie, I have an emotional connection to Annie due to her optimism  and in Wicked, I have an emotional connection mainly to Elphaba and her friendship with Glinda and out of all musical characters, I have the most personal relationship with Elphaba. In Sound of Music, I have an emotional connection to its theme of family. In Les Mis, I have an emotional connection the its spiritual undertone and have a deep connection to those living in poverty. In Newsies, I have an intimate emotional connection to the relationship between Jack Kelly and Crutchie and I have an emotional connection to the relationship between all of the Newsies. In Rent, I have an emotional connection to the relationship found among the friends.

I started to understand the emotional connection of musicals through Wicked. I was twelve at the time and I was the right age to pick up on something like that. Out of all characters, I emotionally connected the best to Elphaba and eventually found myself falling in love with Fiyero and Glinda. Wicked was how I began to have an understanding of the negative emotions.

The best way to explain an emotional connection is to look at negative emotions. Naturally, it would seem like you don’t want to feel to feel them because they hurt. But, if you have an emotional connection, feeling those emotions become worth it. You don’t want to feel the negative emotions in a way that gives you a negative experience. You want them to feel like you are receiving a positive experience.  Just like the positive emotions, the negative emotions are worth it. It’s just the emotional connection gives meaning to the negative emotions and makes it worth feeling negative emotions. Without an emotional connection, the negative emotions will just feel bland and even pointless and will affect you in a very negative way.

All of the musicals that have at least one full song that is sad, it is worth it. The characters who experience conflict in their lives and who are more complex are more likely to express those emotions through song. They are the ones that are the easiest to care for. You learn to sympathize or emphasize with him. The sad songs, which typically are heartbreakers, are just these beautiful, fragile, and vulnerable songs. Before knowing about heartbreak, sad songs were so different and I honestly don’t quite remember what sad was like.

But I can use Wicked to trace it back to what it was. “I’m Not That Girl” wasn’t even a heartbreaker, but instead just a sad song and “No Good” was strongly disliked and seemed emotionless. That is the best way to describe the negative emotions before discovering heartbreak.

What do you think is the importance of having an emotional connection in a musical?

Tomorrow’s post will be about musical characters I relate to since today talked about emotional connections.

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Hard to believe that tomorrow at my school, their performance of Little Shop of Horrors is opening. I am box office manger for Little Shop Of Horrors and that means I am in charge of seeing tickets. It is hard to believe that the last time my school did a musical was two years ago.

Two years ago, the musical that my school did was Music Man. Music Man is one of my favorite musicals. I just love how fun and light-hearted it is and it is extremely light-hearted. Music Man is one of those musicals that does not have a single source of darkness and does not even have the negative emotions in the score. As much as I prefer musicals that have negative emotions in their songs, I don’t want all musicals to have those emotions in their scores. Musicals like Music Man are there to help balance out musicals. Music Man is an incredible musical comedy with memorable songs and characters. When I saw Music Man two years ago, I already knew the songs, “Seventy Six Trombone”, “Ya Got Trouble”, “Gary, Indiana”, “Marian the Librarian”, and “Wells Fargo Wagon”. I love characters in that musical such as Harold Hill, Amaryliss (sorry if the spelling is off), Marian, and Winthrop.

Music Man was literally the best way to start the musical year of 2015. Out of all musicals I saw that year, Music Man was the most light-hearted. Out of the others, it was the only musical without any trace of darkness. Little did I know that when I saw Music Man that it would be the start of the best musical year of my life. I ended up seeing not one, but four musicals. The other three musicals of that year were Pippin, Sound of Music, and Les Mis. Even the order I saw those musicals makes perfect sense. The first two musicals, Pippin and Music Man, were the musicals with the least amount of experience. I already knew about five songs for Music Man and I know it was about some con man organizing a boy’s band and knew that it was in fact a comedy.

As in the case of Pippin, I never expected to see that musical. When mom got tickets, there was only one day left with two seats together. Pippin was the first musical of the year where darkness started to exist. I even had two understudies that night, which were for Pippin and the Leading Player. Pippin was what I would call the spectacle musical of the year. It showed a type of spectacle that I never saw in a musical before, which was circus. I remember being so fascinated by the Leading Player, who is the narrator and antagonist of Pippin. The actress played her in the opening number, “Magic to Do”, with a lot of playfulness, but I could pick up on a tad bit of evil. I love how “Magic to Do” gets you introduced to the circus elements. But during “Glory”, I could really start to tell just how dark the Leading Player is. The Leading Player is very craft and extremely manipulative and keeps on making Pippin make wrong decisions and he does not realize it until the very end of the show. Entering Pippin, I somehow knew it was a happy musical even though I only knew “Corner of the Sky” and what that song was about and also knew that the Leading Player was the antagonist.

In the case of the last two musicals, they are the musicals with the most experience. I had already experienced them in some shape or form.

Than the third musical of 2015 was the best musical of the entire year and was the biggest reason why 2015 was the best musical year  by far. I ended up seeing Les Mis in the West End, a dream I had since 2013. I am an obsessive Les Mis fan and it completly changed my view on musicals because it went above and beyond with the emotional world I once knew.

I saw such a passionate and powerful cast with Adam Bayjou as Valjean.I felt like seeing Les Mis in the West End with my mom was quite special. That was because back in 2006, mom and I saw Wicked on Broadway and things came full circle when the two of us saw Les Mis in the West End. What was interesting about seeing Wicked on Broadway and Les Mis in the West End was tied to the fact that they are my top two favorite musicals and that they are currently tied. As expected, this production had everything that Les Mis is known for. It had a large amount of emotions and the spirituality was so strong in this production. The revolve was so cool because it helped advance time and I especially loved it on the barricades.

But the last musical of that year, “Sound of Music”, was the most perfect way to end the 2015 musicals. It has been part of my life since elementary school and just like “Pippin”, I wasn’t expecting to actually see it. I had never seen this musical live before, but have seen the well-known movie. I came in knowing that the songs could possibly be in a different order or there might be some songs I never heard before. This musical has such meaning and played an important role in the musicals I grew up with. “Edelweiss”, my favorite song from the musical, was my first piano recital song. I loved this production and I was surprised at my reaction during “Edelweiss”. It was at the moment when the Captain stopped singing and there was this small window in between that moment and when the children joined them and sad decided to become a part of the song. I had never felt sad in “Edelweiss” before and it was there. Crazy how such a small amount of sadness can be so capable and strong enough to strengthen the entire musical.

The only emotions that all four musicals had to common was excitement, joy, and love. All of them only shared positive emotions. About half had those negative emotions and in one of them, I was quite surprised that I even felt it. “Pippin” had potential when it comes to the negative emotions, but the faint edge of sad showed meaning I don’t even remember if I even felt a negative emotions or not even though I felt a lot of darkness during that show. The only emotions that all musicals have in common are positive emotions, which shows that the positive musical emotions are so much stronger than the negative emotions. The positive emotions exist throughout the actual show itself and through the actual experience.

Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals

What can go wrong with Rodgers and Hammerstein? This composer and lyricist team is one of the most famous musical duos of the Golden Age of musicals. They are well known for musicals like Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Cinderella, and King and I. Their musicals seem to always seem to have two love stories found within their musicals. Their musical, Oklahoma, is considered to be the first musical comedy. I don’t think anything can go wrong with their musicals.

Of all the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, Sound of Music has been part of my life the longest and is also my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. It has well known songs like “Do-Re-Mi”, “My Favorite Things”, “Sixteen Going On Seventeen”, and “Edelweiss”. It follows the story of Maria, a nun who becomes governess to Captain Von Trapp’s seven children. The Captain runs his household very strictly and eventually Maria and the Captain fall in love. This is all taking place during World War II when the Nazis are taking over Austria. I remember Edelweiss being my first piano recital song. It has become one of the most meaningful musicals of my life.

Than of course, there is South Pacific, the love story between Emelie and Nellie. It has well known songs like “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Younger Than Springtime”, “There is Nothing Like a Dame”, and “This Nearly Was Mine”. The other love story happens between Joe Cable and Liat. Both love stories have a serious side to them, but it is the story of Joe Cable and Liat that ends up being tragic in the end. With Nellie and Emelie, the couple starts up together, than they break up, and end up together again at the end. This in my opinion is the second best Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. I first saw South Pacific in 2014 when the movie was leant to my family by a church friend when school was cancelled for four days thanks to snow.

There are the other famous musicals, “Oklahoma”, “King and I”, and “Cinderella”. I saw the movie of both Oklahoma and Cinderella in the college year. Those musicals have well-known songs like “Oklahoma”, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”, “In My Own Little Corner”, “Getting to Know You”, and “Shall We Dance”. Its no surprise that Rodgers and Hammerstein is so well known. They just have these wonderful musicals with incredible plots and incredible songs. Nothing can go wrong with any of their musicals in my opinion.