Why do I want Spectacle or Dance in a Musical?

In my opinion, having spectacle and dance in a musical is adding something very special.  It make a musical even more wonderful to watch. Spectacle and dance are wonderful things to look at. It means looking at beautiful costumes, wonderful dance moves, circus elements, a colorful and fun set and so much more. I discovered spectacle and dance growing up. Just like comedy, dance and spectacle are known to be part of a musical. It gives a musical a kind of “wow” factor and makes you feel excited in a beautiful way. You can see flips on stage, boys dancing on newspapers, making something magical out of a silly dance and all sorts of fun things.

Dance and spectacle are things I have loved in musicals for as long as I can remember. Dance in my opinion is a type of spectacle. The dance and spectacle is one of the hugest reasons why I love musicals.

Why do you love spectacle and dance in a musical?

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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?

Meaning of Being a Kid

Yesterday, I volunteered at my church’s weekday school with my mom. Even though the preschool ended, there was still lots of cleaning up to do. For me, I ended up putting together puzzles in order to see if there is a missing piece. If there isn’t I put them away and if there is, the puzzle gets thrown away.

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Even though I was volunteering, I felt like a kid again. There was something about preschool puzzles that made me feel like that. Honestly, there are many times when I wish I was back in either preschool or elementary school. In those days, everything is so much easier. It always seem to be fun and there is no worry all the time. As you get older, things get harder and even though I am a college student, it can drive you nuts.

Below is a picture of one of the most recent pictures of me. This came from this summer. As some people already know, this picture is me dressed as Eponine for a Les Mis party.

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During my elementary school years, everything was so fun. I did not have to deal with finals or having to work. I just could have fun playing either games or playing with dolls or reading or birthday parties or field trips or even parties at school. A lot of who I am today existed when I was much younger: meaning elementary school and younger. In elementary school, I was optimistic, funny, outgoing, and had a wild imagination, which are all part of me today at age 23.

The way I saw musicals was very different too. From the emotions I remember the best, in elementary school, excitement was the most memorable emotion in the earlier years. On top of that, the part that I looked forward to the most was dance and spectacle. Dance and spectacle in those days were more important than the emotional nature. That was only because I hardly understood the emotional side of things. In those days, I remember that Annie was my first musical soundtrack.

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Even though I wish I was a kid again, I am so glad I am older. True life gets harder as you get older and that is why you wish you were a kid. Being older gave me a better understanding on things especially musicals. But musicals truly began as a world of spectacle and dance, the most important aspects in the elementary school years. Those two things are a big reason why I loved musicals in elementary school.

I can be young at heart at times and that is part of why I love Disney and why my vision of musicals was created through the musicals I grew up with, which are the ones before high school and last one I grew up with would be Wicked. Below is a picture of me at age 12 in New York. That was during middle school and I began to realize there is more to musicals than just spectacle and dance. It was at that age where I began to understand that musicals have an emotional nature. I was at the right age to begin to understand that. Even seeing Wicked was still part of my younger, but was quite essential to my musical journey.

What are some things you enjoyed as a kid? Are there some current characteristics that you first developed starting in either preschool or elementary school.

Ozian Nature of Wicked

There are many places where I have seen musicals take place. I am not talking about where I saw musicals. I am taking about the settings that are in the musical itself. They have taken place in several places like New York, France, Austria, Africa, Russia, and even the land of OZ. Which of these places do I believe has been the best location?

Well in my personal opinion, it just has to be the land of OZ. It is a very colorful and fun location. Literally everything about Wicked feels OZian. The names of characters, the set, the melodies of songs, the costumes and the nature of the spectacle of OZ.

On the top of the Wicked set is this wonderful dragon and the curtain is a map of OZ with The Emerald City shining in the middle. Wicked does a good job of transporting you to OZ before the show begins. The set is very mechanical in a way since the two sides are made up of inner pieces from a clock. In a way, OZ is a very mechanical world since the Wizard has no magical power.

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Below are some costumes in Wicked.

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It is hard to exactly describe all of this clothes feels like they are from OZ. My favorite Wicked costume is Elphaba’s act II costume. Her costumes from act I feel like a much younger version of Elphaba and does in a way show some innocence in Elphaba at that point.

But in act II, her costume makes her feel more mature and the costume feels more detailed. My favorite Glinda costume happens to be her “Popular” dress, the pink dress and that is partly due to my favorite color being pink and the fact that the song, “Popular”, is my favorite song from Wicked due to it being my favorite song as a 12 year old when I saw the show on Broadway. My favorite Fiyero costume might have to be his costume during “As Long as You’re Mine” and I love the lantern involved and I do not exactly know why that is my favorite Fiyero costume. In the entire show, Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda are the characters I care the most about.

I think even names like Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero, Nessa, Boq, Madame Morrible, and Doctor Dillamond feel OZian. There is just something very unique about these characters’ names.

I feel like the melodies of songs play a big role in the OZian feel. Every single one of them actually feels OZian. Songs like “Dancing Through Life” feel very magical. Even the most emotional song in the entire musical, “For Good” feels OZian. The songs feel very OZian and is very hard to exactly describe why.

The nature of the dancing and spectacle feels OZian as well. All of the dancing has a magical feeling to it especially during “Dancing Through Life”. There is one beautiful moment in the show when Elphaba shows up at the party and begins dancing, but she is dancing all alone and to everyone else the dance seems quite silly. Glinda decides to join Elphaba and turns Elphaba’s silly dance into something magical. That is one reason why the dance feels magical in a way. The picture below is coming form “Dancing Through Life”.

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Because everything feels very OZIan in Wicked, it is a big reason why Wicked is a spectacular musical. It has just a very colorful and magical collection in shows, which wonderfully show a character’s development over time. Elphaba’s songs start out with innocence in them, but when you get to “Defying Gravity”, her songs begin to have a more mature feeling to them.

Of all musical locations, what is your favorite?

 

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Are Songs the Only Reason to Love a Musical?

Some people are convinced that the only reason why I love musicals are the songs. But it isn’t just the songs that have to leave an Impression on me. True, songs are the very center of musicals, but I don’t love musicals just for the songs. Musicals are also a world of dance and spectacle and I look forward to those moments just as much as the songs.

Just loving the songs honestly does not say much. In order to fully love the songs, there are other aspects of a musical you must fall in love with as well. After all, the songs strengthen characters and plot. I also love a musical due to the characters and storylines they have. The main emotions happen through the songs and have to complement the characters. The emotions have to make sense with the plot the musical is trying to tell. You can fall in love with the songs, but it can hard to appreciate the emotions if you have a hard time appreciating character and plot. You also need to love the songs in order to get something out of the emotions the characters are feeling.

The negative emotions are emotions you have to grow into. The positive emotions you quickly fall in love with. The negative emotions do become enjoyed right away, but you still need to grow into them. You can easily skip tiny details of negative emotions you didn’t even notice before.

Some wonderful musical characters include Belle, Beast, Jack Kelly, Crutchie, Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Enjolras, Gavroche, Annie, Maria (Sound of Music) and the Von Trapp children among many others. Wonderful plot include the plots of Music Man, Sound of Music, Annie, Wicked, Les Misérables, Beauty and the Beast, South Pacific, and Newsies among many others.

Honestly the songs are key to falling in love with many aspects of musicals. They are key to the emotions that characters deal with. The most complex plots almost always have a score that consists of both positive and negative emotions. I always love discovering what a musical is capable of and some things I have discovered have quite surprising and unexpected.

Do you love musicals for more than just the songs?

My Vision of Musicals

Everyone has a vision of what they want from a musical.  My vision of musicals was created while I was growing up. I grew up watching movie musicals like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie. I even grew up seeing musicals in the theatre and those musicals included things like Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Wicked. So below I will take about what I expect from a musical.

First things first is the songs. I want to be connected to the songs. The songs are key to any musical. I want to love the songs. The main emotions come through the songs. I want songs to be memorable and emotional. I want the songs to feel like they belong in the musical they are in. Growing up, there was one type of song that I commonly associated with musical and those are the songs that tend to start out slow and eventually slow up. I even look for love songs and sad songs.

Next thing belongs to the characters. No matter what they are going through, I want to care about their journeys. The characters make me love the songs even more. Just like the songs, I want the characters to be memorable. I want the characters to be complex and strong. I want the characters to feel real. I also look for relatability, but if I can’t relate to the character, I look for something that makes them stand out.

Next thing belongs to the plot. Just like the characters, I want the plot to be complex, strong, and relatable. I tend to look for multiple storylines. I want there to be a certain amount of conflict. Conflict plays a key role in the emotions. Conflict affects whether or not the songs have just positive emotions or if the songs have a combination of positive and negative emotions.

When it comes to all three, I want to be emotionally connected. I want my emotional connection to be strong enough to truly care about the different character’s emotions. When it comes to the negative emotions, I want those songs to have vulnerability, fragility, and beauty. I only can seem to love feeling the negative emotions if my emotional connection to the songs, characters, and story are strong enough.

Another part of my vision has to do with comedy. Growing up, I wanted a musical to be happy or a comedy itself. Now that I am older and know that tragic musicals exist, I look at the aspect of comedy very differently. I want some comic aspect in a musical.

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My vision also includes spectacle and dance. Just like songs, the spectacle and dance add to the experience. Dance in my opinion is an example of spectacle. Those two elements make an experience unique. Sometimes spectacle helps with believability because they can help you believe in settings such as the land of OZ, an enchanted castle, or the wilds of Africa. But not all musicals have spectacle and dance.

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Overall, what I am really looking for is the emotional connection. Recently I discovered that I can still fall in love with a musical without the dance or spectacle. When that happens, I want the emotional connection to be strong enough to make up for the loss of spectacle and dance. So the emotional connection is really the key to falling in love with a musical. So what I want really is a strong score, memorable and complex characters, and a complex and strong plot. However, spectacle and dance is still part of my vision when it comes to musicals.

Some of the best plots and songs tend to be quite powerful. I want the positive and negative emotions to be a part of the show. It sounds crazy that I want to feel the negative emotions in the songs, but it really works even though they can hurt. I tend to love the negative emotions the most when they are beyond the mild world.

What is your vision of a musical?