Examples of Emotional Musicals

I have known musicals are emotional since middle school. Wicked was the reasoning behind this. Wicked told me about four core emotions, which were excitement, love, joy, and sad. The emotional musicals are the ones that I tend to be drawn to the most. What exactly makes an emotional musical?

The emotional musicals tend to have a score that has BOTH positive and negative emotions. When I say negative emotions, I mean strong enough to create a response- not mild. Not all sad songs are heartbreaking, but all heartbreaking songs are sad. Now I will talk about some of the examples of the musicals I call emotional.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Newsies

For a lot of act I, Newsies does not seem to fit under emotional musicals. The songs already are catchy and exciting. The only kind of emotional song that comes to mind already are “Santa Fe (Prologue)”, but that song is hopeful- however I believe that song and “Something to Believe In” does play their part in Newsies being emotional. So why is Newsies emotional? Look right after “Seize the Day?”

"Something to Believe In" in Newsies

This big fight breaks out. Jack, the leader of the strike, witnesses all of this. This upsets him a great deal, but hurts him the most when he sees Crutchie being arrested. All of this shows that Jack cares a lot about the strike. If you remember Jack and Crutchie share quite an intimate bond- that is shown in the first song. All of this leads into “Santa Fe”, which is a sad song. So that song does make Newsies an emotional song.

"Santa Fe" in Newsies

There is a 2nd moment in Newsies that makes it an emotional musical. Crutchie has a solo that was added when the musical was launched as a tour. Crutchie is one of the principal actors. The song, “Letter From the Refuge”, was added, and that song is heartbreaking. So those two songs make Newsies an emotional musical.

"Letter from the Refuge" in Newsies

Beauty and the Beast

This musical, like Newsies, is a Disney musical. This musical is a romance- so ALL the romantic songs are emotional. From “Something There” to “Beauty and the Beast”- those help make the musical emotional. Beauty and the Beast still has their heartbreaking songs- in the stage show, “home” is one of the more emotional songs and so is the heartbreaking “If I Can’t Love Her” and “If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”. All of those songs combined are why Beauty and the Beast is emotional.

Lion King

This is yet another Disney musical that is emotional. After all, the emotional nature of the show starts after Scar kills his brother. That was when the storyline kicked off. Seeing the effect it has on Young Simba is heartbreaking (before he runs away). Mufasa’s death almost made me cry last year when I saw Lion King. Lion King is home to songs such as “Shadowland” and “Endless Night”. Even the romantic “Can You Fell the Love Tonight” plays a part in the emotional nature of Lion King. So Disney does do a good job on making a musical emotional at times.

Wicked

Wicked is for sure a musical with a lot of comic moments. It still has a serious side to it. Its’ center core is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. At the same time, it has a love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. There are songs such as the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” and bittersweet “For Good”. “For Good” is the most emotional song of the musical. “No Good Deed” shows negative emotions as well- which took 9 and 1/2 years for me to notice any sort of emotions in it. One of its more major topics is discrimination- but each time I keep on focusing much more on the friendship and the love triangle that I keep on not exploring the more serious side of Wicked.

South Pacific

South Pacific is a romance that is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. That would mean one couple is more light-hearted than the other. Romance musicals have multiple emotional moments. Emelie does sing the heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine”. Once you see South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime” does become almost more emotional- that is the song that focuses on List and Joe Cable- that couple is actually tragic. One of South Pacific’s major topics it focuses on is racism.

Rent

Rent is a sad musical, so it obviously is an emotional musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It talks about how to live life in the time you have. Rent is one of those musicals that can make me an emotional wreck- songs like “Will I”, “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are moments that usually get to me.

Les Mis

Les Mis is even more tragic than Rent. Les Mis feels like you are hit with tragedy after tragedy after tragedy- it is like the tragic events never stop. At the same time, there is this beautiful underlying spirituality. Compassion is shown at death scenes, hope is shown when something tragic does happen, and so on. I am truly an emotional wreck at Les Mis.



What are some of the emotional musicals you love?


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Favorite Musical Theatre Couples and Why

Major or Minor Spoilers:

Elphaba and Fiyero

They are what I would call the “unexpected couple”. You never expect them to get together. When Elphaba first meets him, she can’t stand him. He doesn’t make a good impression at first. Then the Lion Cub Scene happens, and he softens up a bit. You discover that she is starting to fall in love with him, but unrequitedly- you feel like he will always be with Glinda. Then he hears all of these rumors spread about Elphaba and knows they are not true. He realizes that he loves Elphaba instead of Glinda- so now the unrequited love shifts to Glinda.

Elphaba and Fiyero may be a young couple, but they are a mature couple. It clearly shows during “As Long as Your’e Mine”. They do protect each other- after all he protects Elphaba from being arrested, which leads him to possibly being tortured, which leads Elphaba to do spell after spell after spell to protect Fiyero.

Elphaba and Fiyero during "As Long as Your'e Mine"

Belle and Beast

This musical is actually a romance. The Beast is actually a human transformed into a Beast after an enchantress discovered there is no love in his heart. So she transformed him into a heart. The spell would be broken if he will fall in love and will be loved another. The love also affected those who lived in the castles.

Belle became prisoner in Beast’s castle after taking her father’s place. First Belle despised the Beast. She saw how unkind and how selfish he was. After she ran away after Beast scared her for being in the West End, Beast began to soften up. He ended up saving her life, but he still had a hard time controlling his temper. Slowly over time, they began to have feelings for each other (“Something There”). Then at “Beauty and the Beast”, you knew they were in love. The whole “Beauty and the Beast” scene is so magical to look at. I don’t know what it is about Disney love songs- there is something magical about them. Beast was willing to let her go- Belle and Beast protected each other. After all, when Belle realized Gaston was going to hurt the Beast, she wanted to hurt him and when Belle came back, Beast fought Gaston in order to protect Belle. Their love for each other caused the spell to be broken.

Dan Stevens as Beast and Emma Watson as Belle during the 2017 live film of Beauty and the Beast during the song, Beauty and the Beast

Cosette and Marius

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and Eddie Redmayne as Marius in the musical film, Les Misérables

One of the things I love about these two is how they bring hope to this tragedy. Cosette represents love and hope- so it makes sense why she and Marius ends up together. These two are some of the only survivors in Les Mis. While they have lost so many important people in their lives in the end, at least they still have each other. They are such an adorable couple in so many ways.

Katherine and Jack

This is another Disney couple that I love. They are my favorite contemporary Disney couple. Even the song, “Something to Believe In” carries the same magic that the classic Disney songs have. Katherine is the reporter of the strike and Jack is the Newsies’ leader. She does help him with the inner conflict he is going through in act II. Their love clearly shows during “Something to Believe In”

Katherine and Jack during "Something to Believe In" during Newsies

Christine and Raoul

Before the events in the story begin, they once upon a time were childhood sweethearts. When Raoul first recognized Christine, he wanted to be in relationship with her. Raoul is the one who would protect Christine no matter what. After hearing from her about the Phantom, he would do anything to protect her. I have always loved them- “All I Ask Of You” is one of the biggest reasons that explains it.

Christine and Raoul during "All I Ask of You"

Mimi and Roger

They are one of the hardest couples to explain why I love them. There are three couples in Rent, and Mimi and Roger are the main couple. They do connect in “Light in my Candle”, but do not become a couple until “I Should Tell You”. It takes about a lot of act I to become a couple. Roger is the one who is unwilling to get in a relationship while Mimi wants to. Both of them have HIV. These two struggle in their relationship at times and do fight at times- they still love each other despite the problems. I wish I knew further why I love them; I think a lot of it comes from them being realistic and their songs.

Mimi and Roger during "Light my Candle" in Rent

Conclusion

These are just a few of my favorite couples. All of them share a few things in common. They all are young couples, and they all have a main song that I am attached to. The main song is a key element to loving a musical theatre couple. A couple’s main song does show you that those characters have fallen in love. Usually it can be hard to tell if they have fallen in love or not- which is definitely true if the musical is not a romance.

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.

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- 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 and 2nd 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 or 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 prevent 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.

Contemporary and Classical Musical Theatre- Which one am I (Am I Both?)

One of the most frustrating questions I am asked as a musical theatre fanatic is if I prefer classical musicals over contemporary or vice versa- what happens if you are both. I decided to talk about the question here. I will talk about a number of the musicals I love and the ones I am interested in seeing.

Classical

  • These are musicals people tend to think of that come before the 21st century. I will talk about the ones that I love that come before then.

Music Man

  • I love Music Man for how light-hearted and happy it is. I love its song and plot.

Sound of Music

  • This was and still is a childhood meaningful musical. The songs are fun and very easy to sing along to. Its plot is very easy to fall in love with. Sound of Music is very easy to fall in love with.

South Pacific

  • One of the things that drew me to South Pacific is the fact that it is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Its songs are both fun and emotional. This musical is a romance, and like any Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, it focuses on two couples- one of which is more light-hearted and the other of which more serious.

Singing in the Rain

  • I love Singing in the Rain for some of the same reasons why I love Music Man. It has the light-hearted and fun nature. You want musicals like that to help balance out musicals out.

Oliver

  • This is another musical I quite enjoy. It has a collection of fun and emotional songs. I love it when songs in musicals (like South Pacific) are home to positive and negative emotions. Incredible plot- after all, this is based off Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

Fiddler on the Roof

  • Like all of these musicals, I love the songs in Fiddler on the Roof.

Annie

  • This musical, like Sound of Music, is a meaningful childhood musical. I have always related to Annie. I think that is why I always loved Annie. Its catchy songs, and its incredible plot are reasons why I love Annie so much.

Les Mis

  • There are several reasons why I love Les Mis. I love how powerful, epic, powerful, and highly emotional it is. I love how so intricate its plot- literally if one thing is out, the entire plot is ruined. The characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Usually in a musical- I know my favorite song, but in Les Mis- there is no way I can pick. Les Mis is the reason why I am passionate about musicals. Les Mis always makes me an emotional wreck- either by songs alone, the film, or the stage show. It disproved many things I thought a musical was growing up.

Phantom of the Opera

  • I love the spellbinding and mysterious nature of Phantom of the Opera. Its’ love triangle is dark, suspenseful, angelic, and beautiful. This musical is hauntingly beautiful in so many ways. I was spellbound and choked up when I saw it.

Beauty and the Beast

  • It is quite an enchanting and magical musical. Its characters are extremely memorable- from Belle to Beast to the enchanted objects. Its songs are extremely energetic, but at the same time there are the more emotional songs at times.

Lion King

  • I love how the animals are created in Lion King. Also love the energetic and emotional nature of the songs in this musical. It has such a memorable plot.

Contemporary

  • Now we are in the more contemporary musicals. It sounds like I love a number of classical musicals- there are other classical musical I love (just gives you an idea). Now we are into the musicals of the 21st century

Mamma Mia

  • Just like Music Man and Singing in the Rain, it has the overall light-hearted nature. I love how fun the numbers are- that is the main reason why I love Mamma Mia.

Wicked

  • Of all the contemporary musicals, Wicked is my favorite. Wicked was responsible for sparking my love for musicals. I love that the two protagonists in Wicked are two strong females. The story is about Elphaba (AKA The Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda’s relationship. Everything- from songs, to costumes (everything) feels OZian. Wicked was the reason why I knew what an emotional connection was; what it meant for a musical theatre character and plot to be complex; and where I learned the emotional side of musicals. Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical character. Wicked is home to my favorite musical theatre love triangle. The only characters I emotionally connected to in Wicked are Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda.

Newsies

  • Newsies is one of the newest musicals of my life. I love the bond all of them share especially the intimate one found between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. I love seeing characters who stand up for what they believe in. The dancing I saw in Newsies was mind-blowing. The songs are energetic and emotional.

Frozen

  • While I still haven’t seen the stage show, I still love the musical. It all started with the film- I fell in love with the movie; the plot, the characters (except for some- the bad guys are the ones I did not like), and the songs from the film. When I first heard it was coming to stage, I was excited. I eventually began to listen to some of the new songs, and I fell in love with the new songs I listened to. I believe the stage show will be more emotional, which will mean it will be stronger and more believable, than the movie. I recently heard that Fall 2019, a US Tour be launched- cannot wait- hopefully in Charlotte’s 2019-2020: Frozen will be part of it.

Other Contemporary Musicals I Want to See

  • Anastasia- got interested after hearing some songs in 2018
  • Something Rotten- got interested after some songs as well (don’t remember what year

Conclusion

  • So, about am I a classical musical theatre fan or about a contemporary musical fan? I believe I am both. I know, I have seen more musicals that are pre-21st century. The musicals I see has to do with what musicals are on tour- and which ones I choose to see during the season. I am both- just doesn’t seem that way.

One of my favorite Composers- Stephen Schwartz

Today I decided to talk about one of my favorite composers: Stephen Schwartz. It will talk about all three musicals I love of his: in the order in which I love them: ending with my favorite. This post will be able to give focus on a musical I don’t think I ever talked about on this blog.

Godspell:

  • I first heard about Godspell when I started college at CPCC in 2012. They were doing a production of it, and it was either my mom or dad who told me that I will love Godspell. I ended up seeing CPCC’s production of Godspell- I fell in love with the musical when I saw it. The songs were why I love it: from “Prepare Ye” to “We Beseech Thee” to “Light of the World” among others. It was the telling of Christ in his last days in a more modern setting. There were costumes in this productions that ranged from a Hippie to someone wearing a Pink Dress (so even the costumes were not biblical). I started to realize that CPCC’s productions were more than community college productions- as in they felt stronger than community college productions.

Pippin:

  • I love Pippin more than Godspell. I loved Pippin since May 2015- my mom got tickets the week before the show- there was only one day left with seats together. So Pippin almost didn’t become part of my life. When I first heard “Corner of the Sky” either a year or two years before 2015, I knew I had to see Pippin- I loved that song so much- that song told me exactly what Pippin was about. Then after seeing a preview of the revival, I wanted to see the musical even more. It was the “spectacle” musical of 2015. By intermission, I ended buying the soundtrack- I was loving the musical so much. There is a lot of mystery in Pippin especially because of the Leading Player- she was the true standout of that night.

Wicked:

  • Wicked is my favorite Stephen Schwartz musical. It has been in my life the longest out of all three- 12 and 5 months. I was 12 when it first entered my life. I was 12 when I first saw it- I was in NYC with my mom, and all I remember about seeing it on Broadway was that “Popular” was my favorite song. Despite not having vivid memories, the impact clearly shows. Wicked sparked my love for musicals- Wicked was where I realized what it meant to be have an emotional connection and where I began to understand the emotional and complex side of musicals. So it was beneficial to a number of things in musical theatre. It has meant a lot to me over the years- like the song says- “I have been changed for good”.

Musical Theatre Characters Who Sing Heartbreaking Songs

This post sounds interesting. I have written posts where I listed heartbreaking songs. This time, I decided to write a list of characters who do sing heartbreaking songs. Some of the characters are tragic characters while other are not. I will next to them list some of the heartbreaking songs they sing. They will not necessarily be in the order in which I love the characters.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Elphaba- I’m Not That Girl

Glinda- I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)

Beast- Evermore ( live action movie), If I Can’t Love Her/ If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)

Christine- Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again

Eponine- On My Own, A Little Fall of Rain

Marius- Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, A Little Fall of Rain, Drink With Me, Epilogue

Crutchie- Letter From the Refuge

Emelie- This Nearly Was Mine

Valjean- Come to Me, Bring Him Home, Epilogue

Fantine- I Dreamed a Dream, Come to Me

Javert- Javert’s Suicide

Enjolras and the Students- Drink with Me

Women in Les Mis- Turning

Maria/Tony- Somewhere

Simba- Endless Night

Phantom- All I ask Of You (Reprise)

Nancy- As Long As He Needs Me

What are some other examples of characters who sing heartbreaking songs?