Parallels in Musicals

Yesterday, I talked about why musicals rely on each other. This post is kind of similar, but this post I am going to be talking about parallels that you can find in musicals.

One parallel is “Memory” and “I Dreamed A Dream”. These two songs are from Les Mis and Cats. “Memory” is sung by Grizabella in Cats and “I Dreamed A Dream” is sung by Fantine in Les Mis. Both songs are heartbreaking songs and reflect on the past. Both Grizabella and Fantine do not have very good lives at all so in both of these songs, they think about the past and realize just how worse their lives have gotten. In my opinion, “I Dreamed A Dream” is a stronger song and part of that is due to the fact that I have a stronger emotional connection to Les Mis

Without “I Dreamed A Dream”, I never would have realized “Memory” is a heartbreaking song. I did see Cats when I was in elementary school, but have no recollection of seeing. However, I do remember I always loved the song “Memory”.

Another parallel is between “On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl”, two unrequited love songs from Les Mis and Wicked. They are both heartbreaking songs and without “On My Own”, I never would have realized “I’m Not That Girl” is heartbreaking, but at least I knew the song was sad.”On My Own” is about Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius and “I’m Not That Girl” is about Elphaba’s unrequited love for Fiyero.

In my personal opinion, “On My Own” from Les Mis is stronger and more heartbreaking than “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked. The thing with Elphaba is that literally just moments before she sings “I’m Not That Girl”, she realizes that she loves Fiyero and as a result, the song does not have room to be fully heartbreaking and her story doesn’t revolve around unrequited love, but instead her friendship with Glinda. In my opinion, this song goes beyond the unrequited love. One of her lines is “I wasn’t born for the rose or pearl” and through those lines, you realize that Elphaba doesn’t think that she is good enough for Fiyero because she is green  and outside of that line, she realizes that her best friend, Glinda, also loves Fiyero and that line is part of why “I’m Not That Girl” is an insightful song. In this song, you need to be quite vulnerable, but at the same time you need to keep some innocence alive due to who Elphaba is at this point in the story.

“On My Own” is stronger and more powerful than “I’m Not That Girl” and as a result you feel even more heartbroken. Unlike Elphaba’s story, Eponine’s story revolves around her unrequited love for Marius. There is a big reason why she loves him so much. Outside of Marius, Eponine’s life is extremely tragic and heartbreaking. Her parents are the Thenardiers, who don’t even love her and horribly abuse her. She was raised to be a criminal and all she saw was darkness growing up. She was completely left to fend for herself on the streets. So in this burst of light, Marius entered her life and for the first time someone treated her with kindness. Because Marius is literally all she has in life, it explains why she loves him so much. She literally will do anything for the one she loves.

In “On My Own”, Eponine accepts the fact that Marius will never be hers, but she still decides to stick by his side no matter what. In my opinion, this song goes beyond the unrequited love. One of Eponine’s lines is “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to” and you do realize just how empty her life is and another line is “a world full of happiness that I never known” and this shows just how unhappy she is and how her life has gotten even worse over the years. Those two lines shows just how insightful the song is.

Besides the “On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl” parallel and the “Memory” and “I Dreamed a Dream”, there are other parallels in the world of musicals. Musicals vary so much in storyline, character, melodies, and emotion. It is crazy how one musical song can help you understand another musical song.

When Uneventful Things Happen

Sometimes in life, some things happen that are out of our control or happen unexpectedly. Sometimes these times lead to dark times or its a surprise you did not see coming. However those times are worth it even when you enter a period of darkness.

When something bad happens in life, just remember that the situation is only temporary and is a part of life. Bad times sometimes do not make sense at all, but try to make something out of it. It is important not to let those times tear you down and lead you on a kind of downward spiral. Sometimes, the dark times in life can last months or even years, but sometimes those times are an excellent time for growth. Those times can truly hurt you, but don’t let it get to you.

However, there are some good times in life that happen out of the blue. You might end up loving a movie or genre you didn’t think you would appreciate. Those can be quite confusing as well and sometimes you are trying to make sense of that. Life is quite a mystery, but everything happens for a reason.

Both good and bad things have happened in my life that were quite unexpected. Back in high school, I did not even want to take Spanish, but the moment I started learning it, I was hooked. I don’t know why I thought I would hate it, but it is my minor now. I even was so close-minded to both Psychology and Sociology and ironically I already had the interests of both. I was asking my parents questions relating to both subjects not knowing my questions were a part of those two subjects. I decided to take those two classes in college and I ended up liking both and ultimately decided to major in Sociology.

Even the genre of tragedy was a problem spot for me. I first discovered the genre in high school and the genre did not even make sense to me. I automatically associated them with sad and nothing else. I told myself that they don’t belong in the world of theatre and literally pushed them back and ignored them for several years. That was a big mistake I made. Than Les Mis entered my life and I realized that the genre of tragedy isn’t as bad as I once believed.

Sometimes the beauty of life is to expect the unexpected. I learned to appreciate classes that I believed I would strongly disliked. I learned to appreciate a genre I thought I would never find appreciation for. I love those kind of moments that happen out of the moment, which actually are not even a bad time in life. It is hard to understand life at times, but life is beautiful, but so fragile.

My Special Love of Wicked and Les Mis

My top two favorite musicals are Wicked and Les Mis. Each of them are two very special musicals in my life. I even cannot pick which one is better considering how severely different they are from each other. Wicked is the powerful and emotional story of friendship between Glinda and Elphaba and is filled with spectacle/dance and also a musical comedy. On the other hand, Les Mis is the powerful, heartbreaking, epic, inspirational musical tragedy.

Wicked

Favorite songs: Popular (was my favorite song from the show when I was 12), For Good, Dancing Through Life, What is This Feeling, Wizard and I, As Long as Your’e Mine, I’m Not That Girl 

Favorite character: Elphaba (due to how much I relate to her)

Favorite costume: Elphaba’s act 2 black dress

Favorite cast: January 2016 Touring US Production with Mary Kate Morrissey as Elphaba

Why it’s my favorite: The magic, the fantasy, the dance/spectacle, the vulnerable and special and emotional connection to Elphaba-relate to this character so much, the powerful story of friendship and acceptance

images

 

Les Mis

Favorite songs: On My Own, I Dreamed a Dream, A Little Fall of Rain, Bring Him Home, Look Down (Prologue), Look Down (Paris), Drink With Me, Stars, One Day More, What Have I Done

Favorite characters: Eponine, Jean Valjean, Enjolras, Young Cosette, Gavroche, Barricade Boys, Fantine

Favorite costume: No idea

Favorite cast: Summer 2015 West End Cast with Adam Bayjou as Valjean

Why it’s my favorite: the sheer power and brilliance of the songs, the incredible depth of the storyline and characters, the emotional and strong emotional roller coaster, the way the heartbreaking and inspirational natures interlock together 

images-1

Letter to Eponine

Major Spoilers:

Dear Eponine,

I just want you to know that I have a growing love for you. I know reasons why I love you, but don’t know where this growing love comes from. I saw myself falling more in love with “On My Own” and even saw myself falling in love with the touching “A Little Fall of Rain”.

I still cannot believe your life had to be so dark and full of so much misery and sadness. I just love how you still manage to thrive despite all of that. You once were spoiled by your parents, the Thenardiers and your life was not as bad in your younger years. But once you became a teenager, you life became even worse. You had parents who used you to your advantage and terribly abused you. They dragged you into the criminal world and you had to be involved in your father’s schemes. Most people you are were around never once showed you an once of kindness. But for some reason, you were able to see the good in others despite who your parents are.

Than one day you fell in love with a revolutionary student, Marius. He was the only source of light in your miserable existence. You saw the good in him and that is why you fell in love with him. You have not once felt love from anyone and at least you are capable of falling in love. I know it truly hurt you when you saw him falling in love with Cosette. This love may have been unrequited, but Marius means the world to you. You just wanted to make sure he is happy and you showed true love despite never feeling love yourself.

images-1

You allowed him to have his relationship with Cosette. I love how you still showed him where she lived. You even helped protect him from your father and his gang. When they tried to rob Valjean’s house, you stood up to your father in order to protect Marius and the love of his life. I know this made your father disown you. You had to completely fend for yourself because you had parents who never once cared about you.  You had to struggle through extreme poverty. You did eventually accept the fact that Marius will never be yours. Even though you hoped to be loved in return, at least there was some kind of light in your life.

This sounds crazy, but even your fate is wonderful. I find it so heartbreaking that you are going to die at the barricades. But the thing is at least it is going to be in the arms of Marius himself. You did everything you can be to be near Marius even if it means dressing up as a boy to be with him at the barricades. When Marius realized you were fatally shot, he stayed with you till the end. He offered you peace and comfort during these unfortunate moments and you were happy for once in your miserable life. True, this was not easy on Marius, but you finally realized just how much you mean to Marius. Marius truly cared about you and was completely aware of just how unhappy your life was. I just wish things could have been easier for you. You lived such a very short and miserable life. Even though you had to put up with extreme poverty, horrible parents, and unrequited love, you are still strong and still showed true love.

images-1

June Rebellion of 1832

Possible major or minor spoilers

Today is Veteran’s day. When it comes to this day, I tend to think about the June Rebellion of 1832 at times. People tend to think the uprising in Les Mis is the French Revolution, but it actually takes place after the Revolution. This took place on June 5th and 6th of 1832. and was very unsuccessful. As a matter of fact, Victor Hugo actually witnessed this rebellion.

This was the uprising that Victor Hugo decided to use in his masterpiece, Les Misérables. In the musical, the uprising consisted of a group of young college students. The reason why they started this uprising was due to the very weak government. General Lamarque was the only person in the government who showed compassion and kindness towards the poor. When the students decided to arrange this uprising, General Lamarque was dying of cholera.

This uprising was lead by the passionate leader, Enjolras. In total there were nine main members of this  political student group. This group stayed passionate towards the end no matter what. There was a moment in the show where Valjean realized that Cosette loved Marius. Valjean was conflicted between if he should save Marius or should he not because of how much Cosette means to him. He decided to join the students in order to save Marius’ life.

The uprising mainly takes place in the second act. At the beginning, Eponine decides to join Marius at the barricades. She is disguised as a boy, but Marius recognizes her and asks her to deliver a letter to Cosette. Eponine loves Marius unrequitedly, but she does do what Marius asks of her. Marius sees Eponine as no more than a friend and only has eyes for Cosette. Marius only sent her away to protect her from the uprising and wants her safe.

Well, she does deliver the letter, but she still returns to the barricade. While climbing over the barricade, she gets shot and unfortunately her wound ends up being fatal. Despite knowing that she is dying, Eponine still climbs down the barricade to tell Marius that she delivered the letter. Marius has no clue that Eponine is dying at this point. He soon realizes after she collapsed in his arms. But Marius shows her compassion and stays with her till the end. This does leave Marius devastated because he truly cared about Eponine and was fully aware of how unhappy Eponine was. The fact that Eponine got to die in the arms of the man she loved actually gave her peace, comfort, and happiness for once. That is why the scene is so bittersweet and touching. I feel devastated that Eponine is dying, but feel joy knowing that she is happy for once in her life.

images-1

After Eponine died, the students realized how outnumbered they really were. Valjean joined soon after the first death. Even Valjean knew that there was a chance that Marius would not survive the battle. “Drink with Me” is a very sweet song, but the students truly felt hopeless during this number. They realized the situation they have put themselves because they already witnessed a death. Marius at this moment was still devastated at the loss of Eponine.

After the students decided to sleep for the night, Valjean prayed to God that Marius needs to live. This takes place during a very delicate and beautiful song, “Bring Him Home”. This song shows that Valjean would do anything for his adopted daughter even if it means losing her forever. Valjean realized he does not have much time left because he is old.

unknown

The next day, the students still felt hopeless, but yet still had the passion. Gavroche was the second person who died at the barricades. He jumped over the barricade to collect more ammunition, but was killed in the process. But he died a hero because he jumped over the barricade to collect more ammunition. This truly upset the students even more. The government was telling them they should just give up because they had no chance. They still fought despite what they were told. All of students including Enjolras died during the final battle, but they still stood up for what they believed in even though they lost.

images-1

Marius was the lucky one who survived thanks to Valjean. Marius was severely wounded and fell unconscious. Valjean carried Marius through the sewers in order to rescue him. If it wasn’t for Valjean, Marius would have died as well. Marius went through survivor’s guilt wishing he died too.

The June Rebellion may have been a forgotten piece of history, but it is still well known. All because of one book, the June Rebellion will always be remembered. The June Rebellion reflects the fact that France had a very weak government after the French Revolution. There were several rebellions and Victor Hugo actually witnessed the June Rebellion, which is why it is part of his famous novel.

Underground

Martyr

Reason why millions see Les Mis

Once again, another Les Mis post. Yes, I must admit I am obsessed as many know. Yes, I am also a Les Mis walking talking encyclopedia.

Les Mis is one of the most successful musicals in the world. I understand the sensation that it is and even I cannot describe why it is. Millions of people have experienced this epic, powerful, and emotional musical. Though tragic, it truly connects you to the material and the characters. Les Mis knows how to make you truly about every one of the characters  including characters you don’t like. It is just there is something about it that makes it so personal and meaningful at such a very deep level. It is truly about humanity, love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, and redemption. The complexity, honesty, insight, and truth the characters provide is so wonderful. As every fan knows, it is very hard to describe why Les Mis touches them so much.

There is just something about Les Mis that just makes it so special and personal. I know what that it is, but there is no words to describe. The show is wonderfully real and human. It is just so universal and reflects life in a grand and strong and powerful and epic way.

Possible spoilers:

The  Transformation of Jean Valjean is truly incredible. He is so complex and truly changes. He starts out as an angered, hardened and harsh man all because of being in prison for nineteen years just for stealing a loaf of bread for the sake of his family. Five of those nineteen years was just for stealing bread and the rest is for trying to escape.

He quickly figured out that even society does not trust him and treats him poorly. He was given kindness and mercy by the bishop who gives him a place to sleep and food to eat, but Valjean out of desperation steals the bishop’s silver. But the bishop forgave him and gifted him with a set of candlesticks. After the example the bishop set for Valjean, Valjean decided to start his life over and decided to live a life for the sake of the Lord. After breaking parole, Javert becomes obsessed over recapturing Valjean and sending him back to jail.

Fantine lives such a heartbreaking and tragic life. She has a young illegitimate daughter who she shows unconditional love towards. Cosette’s biological father abandoned Fantine and Cosette, which left Fantine in a very desperate situation. She ends up working at Valjean’s factory and is fired by the foreman after learning about Cosette. Fantine eventually becomes a prostitute in order to provide for her daughter. She becomes deathly ill and eventually an abusive customer harasses Fantine and as a matter of defense she attacks him. This incident causes Javert to want to arrest her, but Valjean pleads to Javert to take her to the hospital. As Fantine was dying, Valjean agrees to raise her daughter as his own.

Young Cosette was the first person Valjean ever loved. We learn that eight year old, Cosette, was terribly abused by the Thenardiers and Cosette hopes for a better life.  Valjean rescued her and it is such a challenge considering the fact that he is an ex-convict.

Another story to note is the young love triangle between Marius, Cosette, and Eponine. Both Eponine and Cosette love Marius, but Marius only has eyes for Cosette. Marius continues to be oblivious to Eponine’s deep unrequited love, but Eponine finally confesses her love for him during her death scene at the barricades. As a matter of fact, Marius truly cares about Eponine and is the only light in Eponine’s miserable life. She has probably some of the worst parents ever, who don’t care or even love her. They terribly abuse her and she was raised to be a criminal and the only light in her life is Marius, which is why her unrequited love is so deep and extremely emotionally painful.

There is even the story of the barricade boys. They plan to start an uprising due to the weak government. This group is end by Enjolras, the most passionate of the group. This group of boys are college students.As noticed, it is very hard to describe the plot of Les Mis. It has multiple storylines. These storylines eventually fuse together. It can be hard to see beyond all of the heartbreak, misery, and suffering, but those parts become more worth it once you see the hope.

As for the songs, they wonderfully reflect the storyline. The songs are so powerful and grab you. All you have to do is hear the first note and you are automatically immersed into the storyline. It gives you the feeling that the show is so powerful. The songs reflect the deep emotional nature of the story and the souls and hearts of these wonderful, complex, and well-developed characters. These songs are covered with several emotions and the emotional impact is why Les Mis is so special and unique.

“To love another person is to see the face of God”

Why do you think Les Mis is so successful?

List of Other Musicals

Yesterday, I wrote a list of the happy musicals. Today I want to focus on the musicals that are not happy. This includes sad musicals and those that are somewhere in the middle of happy and sad musicals. This list also includes shows that I have no idea if they are happy or sad. Once again, this is a list of musicals I have seen live or movie or not at all.

  1. Les Mis
  2. Phantom of the Opera
  3. West Side Story
  4. Once
  5. Camelot
  6. Miss Saigon