Love in Musicals

Love is found in musicals. Is love only in romance? Does it exist in different ways? There is a common misconception in love that non-musical fanatics believe-it is believed that only love is romance. I will try to sort out that in this post. THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

Love for God

In Les Mis, you see love for God. This is first see through the bishop, and later through Valjean. The bishop welcomes Valjean into his house, gives him a place to stay, food to eat, and see as a brother (as in the bible). The bishop wants to help Valjean. He forgives Valjean when he steals his silver. He tells me to use the silver to became a better man. What the bishop does is an act of grace, mercy, and compassion. All of this is a love of God .

The love of God is later strengthened through Valjean. He looks up to the bishop. He starts to show compassion to others, which is especially shown through how he treats Fantine. He prevents her from being arrested and later promises to raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own. That takes his love for God on a whole new level. I think his love for God is shown the strongest when he sings “Bring Him Home”. “Bring Him Home” happens at the barricade- Valjean is there to protect Marius because his adopted daughter loves him. The song is a prayer sent to God to prevent Marius from being killed. Even as Valjean is dying, it does show his love for God.

Love for Friends

This is easier to notice than love for God.

Elphaba and Glinda

  • When I think of friendship love, it is Elphaba and Glinda that comes to mind automatically. After all, in Wicked, the story revolves around their friendship. These two young girls originally started out hating each other and eventually became best friends and soon realized how much they changed each others lives for the better. They did form a very close and beautiful bond to each other- that is exactly what “For Good” shows.

Friends of the ABC

  • The Friends of the ABC is another love for friends that I love. I love their brotherly love for each other. It is strong that they are like family, and I do love how they take in Gavroche. They have a cause they truly believe in, and are so passionate about in that they will fight to the end no matter the cost. One of the things I love “Drink With Me” is how intimate and vulnerable it is- it really shows their brotherly love for other.

Eponine and Marius

  • There is a friendship in Les Mis that I like that is an unpopular opinion. It is the one found between Marius and Eponine- yes, I know it is only in the musical, and not the book. I don’t believe Marius never was a jerk to Eponine. He was the only person in her life who treated her kindly- that was why she fell in love with him, and why she held on in him. Marius was aware she had a difficult life. Just because Marius was unaware of Eponine’s love her him doesn’t make him a jerk. I believe in act II Marius sent her away with that letter to protect her from getting hurt or worse killed during the uprising. When she came back to the barricade, Marius was worried. When she collapsed in his arms, the moment he saw her wound, he realized she was dying. He was devastated, but he still stayed with her to the end- how does Marius being with her while she was dying make him a jerk? I believe that Marius was showing her compassion while she was dying- that scene was difficult on Marius, but at least he made her happy. The reason why I know he knew how difficult her life was had to do with what he said after she died- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”

Newsies

  • The Newsies are a huge parallel to the Friends of the ABC. Just like them, share a brotherly love that makes them a family, have a cause they truly believe in and don’t give up till the end. I also love Jack’s intimate and special bond to Crutchie.

Lumiere and Cogworth

  • I don’t what it is, but there is something about Lumiere and Cogsworth that make them an interesting friendship. Is it because during most of the musical they are a talking candle and clock?

So, you see, love for friendships show up for a number of shows.

Love for Family

Fantine and Cosette

  • Fantine is the single mother of Cosette. Fantine’s storyline is the hardest to watch in Les Mis. She originally is working in Valjean’s factory. It soon is discovered that she has an illegitimate daughter- Cosette’s father abandoned both of them. Cosette is now living with an innkeeper and his wife (The Thenardiers). Her daughter was discovered through a letter, which was said that Cosette was deathly ill (little did she know the letter was a hoax). The other factory women pushed the foreman to fire her, and he did. She did not many options left to get money for Cosette. She had a strong love for Cosette- she had no choice, but to sell her hair, teeth, and to eventually become a prostitute. By living on the streets, she became deathly ill. She was doing everything out of love for Cosette and her only hope was that Cosette would have a better life. She eventually almost got arrested after defending herself- Valjean came to the rescue and sent to her the hospital. Even on her deathbed, she still was concerned about Cosette, and Valjean agreed to raise Cosette. This gave Fantine peace and comfort while she was dying.

Valjean and Cosette

  • Like I just said, Valjean became Cosette’s adopted father. Valjean did realize that Cosette was treated poorly by the people who were raising her. Cosette was the first person he loved since he was released from prison. He had to become a father in the most unexpected of ways. It was challenging to raise her due to being an ex-convict. I don’t blame him for how much he sheltered and protected Cosette. You can fully see his love for Cosette in act II. When he learned Marius, the one his adopted daughter loves, is one of the revolutionaries, he went to the barricades to make sure he survives.

Kim and Tam

  • Kim would protect Tam from any harm. She is a fighter for him. She wants him to a better life than the one in Vietnam. Tam’s father is Chris, and Chris is who Kim loves, and for a couple years Chris had no idea he fathered he has a sun. Chris did love Kim at one point. Miss Saigon is a tragic love story, and Kim is the main character. At the end, Kim sacrifices herself in order for Chris to take Tam back to America. That ending- Chris comes to a realization- he has always loved Kim, and more than Ellen; that was how I interpreted it in Feb.

Romance

Romance is believed to be the only type of love in musical theatre. But based on the other ones I mentioned, it is not. There is love for God, love for friends, and love for family- I can tell you there are others- just the three I mentioned tells you there are is there than romance. Romance is wide-ranged. The Disney couples to the complex couple to the love triangles (even those vary). All of the couples are different. Why is romance so common? For starters, it is an universal emotion. It also translates well to well, forms beautiful songs no matter what (whether a couple is singing it, if it is a breakup or unrequited love song, or if a couple is starting to develop feelings for each other). The main song is key to a couple- if the main song doesn’t impress me, the couple goes dull.

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How songs make You love a Couple in a Musical

Romance is the most common theme in musical. It shows up in many ways and serves many purposes. In some ways, it takes up the entire plot, in some it is a subplot that is a couple, and some it is a subplot that is a love triangle. You might think it is just a love triangle that is complex, but sometimes a couple alone that is complex. What makes you love a couple? One of the best ways to love a couple belongs to their song or songs (I said song or songs because some couples have multiple songs- after all, some plots are a romance). I will try my best to explain why songs can help make you fell in love with a couple.

If you don’t have the song, it is nearly impossible to realize there is a couple. In a romance, the first song does make you pick up on the fact that they are developing feeling feelings for each other (“Something There” for instance). Then after afterwards, there is usually a song, there is usually a song that tells you that they in love (“Beauty and the Beast” for example. The songs are key to helping you realize there is a couple in a realize, or else, you fight not pick up on romance.

A lot of times, if I love a couple’s main song, I end up loving the couple. I love songs such as “Heart Full of Love”, “All I Ask of You”, “Can you Feel the Love Tonight”, “Something to Believe In”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “As Long As Your’e Mine”, “Till There Was Mine”, “I Should Tell You”- etc. These songs were all key to helping me love these couples.

Major Spoilers:

In the love triangles- it is key to fall in love with the couples. Once you realize why the love triangles are set up the way they are, you learn to love them more. Songs such as “Heart Full of Love”, All I Ask of You”, and “As Long As Your’e” do make me love the couple. “As Long as Your’e Mine” is the most interesting song since it is ironic since Elphaba originally had unrequited love for Fiyero.

All of the romantic songs are beautiful songs. I find it interesting how romance comes mostly comes from young couples. So the songs make you realize that two characters have fallen in love- you easily could have missed that if you didn’t have the song.

The Hopeful and Heartbreaking Love Triangle

Here we are venturing into the Les Misérables love triangle. It is less complex than the Wicked love triangle. It is between Cosette x Marius x Eponine: in this one Marius and Cosette are the couple while Eponine has the unrequited love. It is one of the major storylines that I am emotionally connected to. Of everyone in the love triangle, Eponine is my favorite character.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

I will start by bringing up Eponine and Cosette’s childhood. At one point both Eponine and Cosette lived together. Eponine’s parents are the Thenardiers, who abuse Cosette and treat her like a servant. Eponine, on the other hand, is spoiled and appeared to be loved by her parents. Then Valjean arrives and rescues Cosette.

You already know the Thenardiers are abusive. In “Master of the House”, you learn that they also are pickpockets. You start to get a general idea of the environment Eponine is going to grow up in. You already know Cosette is going to have a better life. So the girls situations are reversed- while Cosette’s horrible childhood improves; Eponine’s life gets worse. That is one of the things that intrigues me- the switch that happens between the girls.

Eponine’s family ends up living in extreme poverty. Eponine’s parents have raised her to be a thief and criminal. You realize they do not care or love their daughter. They just use her for their advantage. She serves as watchdog for the law. She wasn’t shown kindness growing up- it never happens to her. That never happened- it eventually did happen- Marius was the only person who treated her with kindness. The kindness that Marius showed her made her fall in love with him. I am glad he was in her life- she needed Marius even though he didn’t love her romantically. Soon enough, Marius and Cosette bump into each other and fall in love with each other. Eponine is well aware that the two have fallen in love.

Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius is quite heartbreaking and painful. After all, he is the only good thing in her life. Despite that, she is the girl who would do anything for him. She risked her life several times for him no matter the cost. She ended up finding Cosette for him when he asked her to. She ended up protecting Marius and Cosette from her father and his gang. Her love for Marius is so strong that she ended up sacrificing her life for him. At least in the end, she died in the arms of Marius= at least she was with him. Her death scene was the happiest moment of her life.

I love Marius and Cosette as a couple. They are the ones who help bring hope to this tragedy. Marius had to survive the rebellion in order to keep hope alive. They are such an adorable couple in so many ways. Both of these characters are so sweet and kind. In the end, although they lost so many important people in their lives, at least they still have each other. Marius was the only survivor from the the barricade and Cosette lost her adopted father.

The love triangle offers a lot. I love all three characters. Yes, Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle, but of all three Marius is my favorite survivor. I have never found the love triangle to be silly. Even though I understand that Marius and Eponine are not friends, but neighbors in the book, I love that their friendship is in the musical.

My Favorite Musical Theatre Love Triangle

Love triangles exist in musical theatre. There are three that come straight to mind when I think of them. They are the Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and Wicked one. All three them add texture to those musicals. Which one of those is my favorite musical theatre love triangle?

MAJOR SPOILERS

Wicked’s love triangle is my favorite from that group. Wicked’s love triangle is the first love triangle I ever emotionally bonded with. It is actually the one where I discovered the concept of love triangle. It is between Glinda x Fiyero x Elphaba. A lot of my love for the Wicked love triangle does come from it being the first one I bonded with.

Then there’s the complex side to Wicked’s love triangle. In act I, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple with Elphaba dealing with unrequited love. Elphaba responds to her unrequited love by not pursuing Fiyero because it is her best friend who is in a relationship with him. You think the setup is going to stay this way.

Enter act II, Fiyero hears all of these rumors spread about Elphaba, and he knows they are not true. He all of a sudden realizes he is in love with Elphaba. Actually in his days at Shiz, I believe he had a crush on Elphaba without realizing it. It took until hearing those rumors to know his true feelings for Elphaba- so the unrequited love jumps from Elphaba to Glinda. Glinda, like Elphaba, does not try to steal Fiyero away. This love triangle does show the two girls’ loyalty towards each other. They do not let a boy get in the way of their relationship- the love triangle actually strengthens their friendship.

One of the interesting things about Wicked’s love triangle is that it develops in the same way the characters do. It fully matures when the characters do. It is at the end of act I when Elphaba truly matures and at the beginning of act II when Fiyero truly matures. “As Long as Your’e Mine” is a very mature and mystical song- it also is very ironic- you thought Elphaba would ALWAYS have unrequited love- but it does not happen. Elphaba and Fiyero truly shows bravery towards each other and wants to protect each other. What other love triangle has two characters ending up with unrequited love at some point? Saying that Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple is a spoiler in itself.

What do you think makes a strong love triangle?

Romance in Musicals

It is February, and I think it is appropriate to talk about the most common theme in musical theatre. Most likely when you see a musical, you will see romance: either you just see a couple or you come across a love triangle. It is not just love triangles that are complex- even a couple alone is complex. It is their love song that makes you realize they have fallen in love- but that is not always the case. MAJOR OR MINOR SPOILERS.

Disney Couples

I feel like there is something quite magical about Disney couples. Songs like “Something to Believe In”, “A Whole New World”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” have something special about them. I love all of the couples associated with them. These couples belong to Katherine and Jack, Jasmine and Aladdin, Belle and Beast, and Nala and Simba. If you think about it, Belle and Beast are home to a love triangle- after all, Gaston wants to marry Belle for the entire musical. Belle and Beast is a couple that falls in love over time- first Belle despises Beast- then they develop feelings for each other during “Something There”- and then you finally have “Beauty and the Beast”. There is a heartbreaking song in the midst of all of this- “If I Can’t Love Her” in this stage show- or its “Evermore” if you watch the 2017 movie.

Love Triangles (Les Mis, Phantom, Wicked)

MAJOR SPOILERS:

Les Mis: Cosette x Marius x Eponine

The couple is Cosette and Marius and the unrequited love belongs to Eponine. Cosette and Eponine have literally switched places in life- Cosette had a horrible childhood while Eponine had a better childhood- then Eponine’s life gets even worse, and Cosette’s life improves when Valjean rescues her from the Thenardiers, who are Eponine’s parents. When Cosette leaves, Eponine is mistreated by her parents, and is raised to be a thief and criminal. When Marius enters her life, he treats her with kindness- that is why she fell in love with him- the sad truth is he is the only person who treats her with kindness- as a matter of fact, he is the only good thing in her life.

Then the love triangle happens- Marius bumps into Cosette, and the two of them automatically fell in love with each other. Eponine notices that they both love each other. She will do anything for Marius- she does end up finding Cosette for him. She risks her life several times for Marius. She ends up protecting Marius from her father when he was about to rob Valjean’s house (Marius was there at the time). This was why she went to the barricade, and why she sacrificed her life for him. I love how in this love triangle, you end up feeling for all three of them at once- first when Marius and Cosette bump into each other and second at “Heart Full of Love”- it starts out as a duet- then when Eponine joins in- you get so confused- you end up feeling heartbroken for Eponine, but incredible for Marius and Cosette- that is why you are confused. Marius and Cosette are such an adorable couple- those are my favorite survivors of Les Mis- Marius in particular.

Phantom of the Opera: Raoul x Christine x Phantom

Unlike Les Mis, the entire story is a love triangle. Raoul and Christine are the couple while Phantom gets the unrequited love. Raoul and Christine are an adorable couple. Raoul would do anything to protect Christine from the Phantom. Phantom does not accept, cope, or deal with his unrequited love well. His response is extremely negative- he responds in anger and revenge- he plans to murder Raoul- at the end of the show- he makes Christine choose between choosing him or killing Raoul (not the best response).

Wicked: Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda

Wicked is the most complex out of all three of these love triangles. In act I, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple while Elphaba is dealing with unrequited love. She does not pursue Fiyero because of her best friend. In act II, the unrequited love jumps to Glinda- now Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple- that becomes the final result. So this love triangle has a plot twist- the other two love triangles has only one character dealing with unrequited love- Wicked on the other hand has two characters- both Elphaba and Glinda do not pursue Fiyero to keep their friendship alive. They do not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. I believe it shows their loyalty towards each other and helps strengthen their friendship. What I love about this love triangle is that it develops in the same way the characters do- it does not truly mature until the characters do. Wicked’s love triangle is my FAVORITE love triangle.

Elphaba wasn’t planning on falling in love with Fiyero. She could not stand Fiyero at first. He was a jerk at first- his overall arc is one of the things I love watching. He went from this jerk to softening up to becoming this mature and courageous young man. Elphaba truly matured during “Defying Gravity”. See what I mean- the love triangle did not truly mature until the characters did.

Why does the plot twist happen- I never knew why the first three times I saw the musical. I decided to get some answers the 4th time. I believe Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba at Shiz in act I, but deep down didn’t realize it. I believe he realized he was in love with Elphaba at the beginning of act II. He decided to have a stronger chemistry with Elphaba and a weaker chemistry with Glinda in the first act foreshadowing the plot twist. This was all based off of Ashley Parker Angel’s portrayal I saw the 4th time. At least- some things are clearer this time around.

Rent Couples

Mimi and Roger

  • Mimi and Roger is one of the couples that is NOT part of a love triangle that is complex. So you see, there couples that are complex that don’t need to be a love triangle. Mimi and Roger are one of those couples. Mimi and Roger are my favorite Rent couple, and I still struggle to understand that. They have have HIV, and have other struggles. They find an attachment in “Light My Candle”- BUT Roger is unwilling to be in a relationship because of some complications that happened in his most recent relationship. It is during “I Should Tell You” is finally when Roger commits to a relationship. They are a couple who fights at times, but still love each other. Mimi and Roger are the main couple in Rent. I find them to be a realistic couple.

Maureen and Joanne

  • This couple is the most problematic relationship in Rent. They fight the most. Joanne always gets so annoyed with Maureen. They are a Lesbian couple- that is something that is unique about this couple. Maureen is very crazy- it is very easy to notice it about her.

Collins and Angel

  • Just like Mimi and Roger, they have HIV. They are a gay couple as well. They make the most out of their relationship, which is especially clear during “I’ll Cover You”. They never have problems- unlike the other two couples. Knowing about their situation (with the HIV)- they live everyday as if its their last.

Music Man

Harold Hill and Marian

  • What I love about this couple being in Music Man is that it gives this musical an emotional feel. After all, it is a very light-hearted musical. So the main emotional feel belongs to the romance. Marian helps protect Harold Hill from being caught when she finds out he is a conman. I don’t think she was planning on falling with him.

Conclusion

If I go on talking about Romance in musicals- it would go on forever. Most of the characters who fell in love are young- as in their 20s and teens. Romance is a combo of innocence, magic, vulnerability, and fragility. The emotions vary as well- love, joy, heartbreak, sad, anger, and revenge- wonder why the negative emotions take up most of them in terms of the ones I can name. Romance does not have to take up JUST the couples- it also has to do with tragic love stories, unrequited love, and breakups.

Heartbreaking Love Songs

If a musical theatre song is both a love and sad song, it will ALWAYS be heartbreaking. That is always the truth- that’s for sure. These songs can be ironic or non-ironic. Those songs fall under unrequited love songs, breakup songs, or if the plot is a tragic love story. What are examples of these songs? Below I will list some of those songs. 

  1. I’m Not That Girl/ I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)
  2. On My Own 
  3. Somewhere 
  4. As Long As He Needs Me 
  5. This Nearly Was Mine 
  6. If I Can’t Love Her/ If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise) 
  7. Evermore
  8. All I Ask Of You (Reprise) 

I’m Not That Girl was the FIRST heartbreaking love song I was emotionally connected to, but was sad in the beginning. I never called I’m Not That Girl a sad love song- I never combined emotions together- I called it sad. On My Own, just like I’m Not That Girl, began as a sad song, but after a year I realized it was heartbreaking- On My Own was key to realizing I’m Not That Girl was heartbreaking. As a matter of fact, On My Own made me realize all sad love songs were heartbreaking. The heartbreaking love songs have a combination of emotions- they can be home to sad, anger, and loneliness: it depends on the song and the actor and actress who is playing the character. Some of those heartbreaking love songs are much more heartbreaking than others: for instance, On My Own is more heartbreaking than I’m Not That Girl. 

Spoilers: 

It sounds crazy how some of them are ironic- that means the love situation improves in the end or you don’t expect the character to sing it. I’m Not That Girl is the best example- after all the unrequited love shifts from Elphaba to Glinda, which is why the song is sung twice. In addition, the spell gets broken in Beauty and the Beast, which makes If I Can’t Love Her/ If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise), and Evermore ironic. The same situation happens with This Nearly Was Mine because Nellie goes back to Emelie in the end. 

Non ironic- that means the situation NEVER improves in the end. That would mean that character might have unrequited love the entire time. In Les Mis, Eponine has unrequited love for Marius till the end of her journey in Les Mis- she does have a tragic ending, but at the same time, her fate is touching and moving and is home to joy. Eponine’s fate is death, but she gets to die in the arms of Marius after getting shot- that is where the joy comes from. So On My Own is not ironic at all. So the heartbreaking love songs are both ironic and non-ironic. 

The heartbreaking love songs are some of the most beautiful songs in musical theatre. They are fragile, vulnerable, and some of them are home to innocence. It just depends on the character and how much they love the person they are in love with at that point in the story.