When I look at musical theatre character, one of the key characteristics I want is strength. What do those characters have in common?
It seems that a lot of them are actual brave characters. They are fighters. They have something to fight for- it can be their country, a loved one, etc. Some of them have tough and difficult lives. Some are them are actually tragic characters.
They are for sure vulnerable. It has to do with the life and what they are dealing with at the moment. They have someone or someones up against them that made them vulnerable in the first place. If they fall in love, vulnerability gets added up, in particular if it will NOT end well (tragic love stories and unrequited love).
Strong characters tend to be complex. What does complex mean exactly in a character? It means they have layers. That means there is a lot to them. They have a lot of depth meaning there are many ways to portray them.That is one of the reasons why I love combining actors/actresses portrayals in order to create one character. Backstory can play a huge role in complexity. Complex characters are the most likely to express both positive and negative emotions due to what they have experienced. The complex characters have the highest chance of being relatable and to form an emotional connection with.
You might be asking, how can someone who is strong be flawed. Well, part of being vulnerable is being human and part of being human is being flawed. They are more likely to be hurt emotionally if they did have a horrible past- true, not all strong characters have a horrible past, but a good number did. The strong characters know how to thrive even in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Vulnerable and flawed really do go hand in hand if you think about it.
This kind of goes back to the bravery concept. Those strong characters know how to thrive even when things KEEP on throwing them back. Like I said, they are fighters. They try so hard to keep going even when someone is taking advantage of them. Their fates do vary- yes, I said they know how to thrive and keep on climbing back up, but sometimes some of them get killed off while others are the survivors.