Defying Gravity

A Fourteen year love and one of the most obvious musicals I love. It was only August 2006 when my mom and I went to NYC. Little did I know when I talked into Gershwin Theater that my life would be changed for good. Wicked is not just any musical that entered my life- it was a huge step in my life especially in my musical journey. In so many ways, Wicked truly was the beginning of my musical theater journey, and it also sparked my love for musicals.

Wicked-Gershwin Theater

Songs:

You can NEVER love a musical without incredible songs. Wicked’s songs are amazing and covers all five core emotions: exciting, love, joy, sad, and heartbreak. From the exciting “One Short Day” to the empowering “Defying Gravity” to the love “As Long as Your’e Mine” to the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” to the bittersweet “For Good”. Wicked was the musical where I first began to understand the emotional side of musicals. “I’m Not That Girl” was the first sad song that actually stuck with me-yes, it was only a sad song in the beginning (it took a while till it became the song it is today).

Characters: POSSIBLE SPOILERS

Wicked has a colorful collection of characters, but I am only emotionally to three. They all truly develop as the storyline continues.

Elphaba- strong, brave, unique, misunderstood, fiercely protective of her younger sister (Nessa), has powers she doesn’t know how to control, believes in equality and staying true to yourself. Fun fact: Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character

Glinda-popular: I find her hard to describe, but still love her. By the end, she was able to realize that out of all her friends only one truly mattered and that was Elphaba

Fiyero-starts off as a jerk, but eventually becomes this mature and courageous young man.

Plot: Major Spoilers

In simple terms, it is about the beautiful and powerful friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. When they first meet, those two literally hate each other, but eventually become best friends and do change each others lives. When Glinda made a dance special for Elphaba, that is when those two truly bond and become friends. Glinda does not like it when people are spreading rumors about Elphaba and say that she is “Wicked”- it hurts her a great deal.

On top of this friendship, there is a love triangle found between Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda. In in a way, it strengthens their friendship. This love triangle is so complex: in act I, Elphaba has unrequited love for Fiyero, but in act II, Glinda ends up with act II, but in both scenarios the two friends don’t try to steal Fiyero away from each other: that shows their loyalty: they don’t let a boy get in the way of their friendship. I think this love triangle develops in the same way the characters do. At the same time, you are questioning Fiyero- as in when did this love for Elphaba even come from, did it start at Shiz- lots are coming through your mind- you have to closely examine Fiyero to get a clearer view of what on earth is going on.

Fiyero and Elphaba-Lion Cub Scene
Fiyero and Elphaba

About the love triangle: Wicked was also the first musical where I emotionally bonded to a love triangle. I was able to finally pick up on a love triangle due to Wicked.

Dance/Spectacle:

Another reason why I love Wicked is due to the overall look of it. From the set to costumes to the spectacle, I love watching it. Everything about it makes you feel like you have been transported into OZ. Even a silly dance can feel magical- during “Dancing Through Life”- at the school dance, when Elphaba arrives, she tries to dance and it looks rather silly, but Glinda decides to makes something magical out of it. Literally- it is something worth seeing for the overall look. I love those costumes- from Glinda’s “Popular” pink dress to Elphaba’s act II dress to Fiyero’s “As Long as Your’e Mine” costume-they are incredible.

Conclusion:

Wicked not only made me understand emotional connection through song, but through the entire musical. It was also where I first picked up on the complex side as well- that was due to finally being able to notice multiple storylines. The emotional connection being picked up through song was noticed due to sad coming to the forefront: Wicked was that musical- sad became one of the core emotions. But why did I pick up on emotional connection through the entire musical: well, I think it had something to do with loving two storylines and the characters involved. I saw Wicked twice before college began. Wicked started everything: understanding the complex and emotional side, which is essential- the best musicals tend to have positive and negative emotions.

Favorite Protagonists of Musicals

One of the most crucial elements of a musical is the protagonist (the main character). It is their story that we want to follow along with the various subplots. Who are some of my favorite protagonists?

  1. Elphaba/Glinda
  2. Aladdin
  3. Belle
  4. Simba
  5. Elsa/Anna
  6. Jack Kelly
  7. Christine
  8. Jean Valjean
  9. Annie
  10. Oliver
  11. Harold Hill
  12. Maria- the Sound of Music one

Why do two have two protagonists listed. Frozen and Wicked just happen to have two main characters in them, and I wouldn’t choose one over the other to be the primary protagonist.

Heartbreak in Love for Musicals

Romance is a common theme for musicals. It is a beautiful emotion filled with fragility, vulnerability, and innocence. The innocence comes from the young characters. What happens when a character deals with unrequited love, breakup, and betrayal. The nature of heartbreak enters- that deals with even more emotions: sadness and anger and heartbreak. Of course you are hurt, but the way these characters deal with it vary. What are examples of some of these songs? This time- coming from movies and stage shows.

Major Spoilers

  1. I’m Not That Girl
  2. I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)
  3. On My Own
  4. If I Can’t Love Her
  5. If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)
  6. Evermore- this is Beast’s version of If I Can’t Love Her from the 2017 Beauty Live Action movie
  7. This Nearly Was Mine
  8. All I Ask of You (Reprise)
  9. As Long as He Needs Me
  10. Somewhere
  11. True Love-I listened to this song before a couple of times, but can’t believe they are cutting it from Frozen. It is a pivotal and important moment for Ann- after Hans confesses he doesn’t love her (so after he betrays Anna). Just by listening to the song alone, I knew the song was heartbreaking and where it happened. Cutting it almost makes it seem as if she wasn’t one of our two protagonists. Hopefully it stays in the Original Broadway Soundtrack.

This is the list of heartbreaking love songs. A lot of young characters. Some are ironic (the ones where things improve) and some are non-ironic (the ones where nothing improves). Heartbreak is just as beautiful as the typical love songs. They just have more emotions and are more likely to drive you to tears.

Loving Couples in Musicals

There are several couples that exist in musicals. Sometimes, the same musical has multiple romances. What exactly makes me fall in love with a couple? It mainly deals with their main song? Sometimes, other things are taken into consideration. What are some of my favorite couples?

  1. Elphaba and Fiyero
  2. Cosette and Marius
  3. Christine and Raoul
  4. Jasmine and Aladdin
  5. Nala and Simba
  6. Belle and Beast
  7. Katherine and Jack Kelly
  8. Mimi and Roger

You might notice something- these are young couples. That’s right- most couples in musical theatre are young.

Any you can add to the list?

Parental Love- Part II

What is sad to think about is that there are unloving parents. That is shown in musical theatre. The children born to these parents have become some of my favorite characters. These parents tend to not raise their children right or just not like them because they are different.

Minor Spoilers:

Whenever I think of horrible parents in musical theatre, The Thenardiers come to mind first. They are unloving, abusive, and pickpockets. They literally kicked out Gavroche to live on the streets- the funny thing about saying that is the fact the entire family ends up living in extreme poverty. Gavroche and Eponine are two of my favorite musical theatre characters. Eponine did not see any light or kindness until she met Marius-he is her light in her life of darkness. The main thing I love about the Thenardiers is their much-needed comic relief. These two did not even care that both Gavroche and Eponine were killed during the uprising.

Elphaba’s father hated her just because she was born green. Later, when her mother was going to have another child, her father made her eat milk flowers hoping for a normal-colored baby, but that killed her mother and made Nessa come out disabled. So—-her father strongly hates her and Nessa is spoiled just because she isn’t well green. Elphaba happens to be my favorite musical theatre character.

I happen to know of more loving families in musicals than the other way around.

Writing some of this reminds of what happened to Sarge-he was born with an unloving and abusive father despite the fact that his father grow up in a loving family. The abuse he faced lasted from 4-13 and did leave him some emotional scars that he could not handle well, which led him to be the bully he is in Tale of the Cattail Forest.

Fictional Places Musicals take Place in

Today, I decided to talk about something kind of different. In the past, I did make a list of where all of my favorite musicals take place. What about if I just focus on only the fictional locations.

OZ

I decided to start with OZ because Wicked takes place here. So many people know my special love for Wicked. Wicked is about the relationship between Elphaba (AKA the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda. One of its subplots is the love triangle between Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda. The friendship between Elphaba and Glinda is powerful, strong, and beautiful. “For Good” perfectly illustrates this friendship.

Everything about the musical feels OZian- from costumes to set to characters’ names to location names.

Agrabah- Middle East

Home to Aladdin. Its’ set and costumes brings you straight to Agrabah and its many settings from the Palace to the Market to the Cave of Wonders.

Arendelle- Norway

Not yet seen Frozen on stage, but Arendelle is the setting of Frozen.

Fictional Town in France

While we never KNOW the name of the town Beauty and the Beast takes place in, we do know it takes place in France, and that the town is fictional. Most of the musical takes place at the castle- I only have seen both movies (cartoon and live action).

What are other fictional locations musicals take place in that you can think of?

Examples of Characters who are both Brave and Strong

The past two days I explained what makes a musical character strong and what makes them brave. Today, I will make a list of characters who are both.

  1. Jean Valjean
  2. Eponine
  3. Fantine
  4. Nala
  5. Belle
  6. Elphaba
  7. Kim
  8. Etc…..that is my short list

It can be hard to think of characters who are both. I wonder why I tend to think of female characters. Can you think of others?