Would Les Mis have entered my life without Wicked?

Think about this. Would certain musicals have entered without others? That is kind of a deep question. I can describe my musical journey through the musicals that are meaningful. There are two musicals in particular that are the most important in making me a musical theatre fanatic. They are Wicked and Les Mis. Wicked sparked the love while Les Mis turned the love into a passion. The question is would Les Mis have been in my life without Wicked?

My answer is no. There is no way Les Mis would have in my life without Wicked. It had to do with what I learned from Wicked. Plus- before Les Mis, I was against tragedies. I was only 12 when Wicked first entered my life- that was 13 years ago.

What did I learn from Wicked? For starters, I discovered emotional connection. Why is an emotional connection so important in a musical? The emotional connection is key to everything- it is our DESIRE, WHY, and WANT. There has to be a reason to want to go on the journeys of the characters and to feel what they are feeling. I discovered something else in Wicked, which is connected to emotional connection. It belongs to the emotions. I NEVER knew about the emotional and complex side of musical before Wicked. So emotional connection and the emotional and complex side of musicals were discovered all because of Wicked. There were four core emotions that were at the forefront: excitement, love, joy, and sad: the only four I thought would exist. I knew about spectacle, dance, romance, and comedy- everything that musicals have were ALL in Wicked. I had no clue all of that would be challenged, disproven, and tested- meaning things will change by a landslide.

Enter Les Mis. So- emotional connection. I already knew about that. However, that WANT and DESIRE would have to be extremely strong in a musical like Les Mis. So, “you think there are four core emotions- let us add one”. If I didn’t already already know about the core emotion of sad, I would be extremely confused about HEARTBREAK entering the picture. So Wicked would teach me things that would have to get stronger in Les Mis. Yes, in Wicked, I have a personal relationship to Elphaba, but not a personal relationship to the Les Mis character. However in Les Mis, it is constant HEARTBREAK- so you have be STRONG with the emotional connection. See if I didn’t discover some of those things in Wicked- I would have been extremely confused by a number of things that would be going on in Les Mis. In Wicked, I already was strongly attacked to a love triangle- I knew about that concept so I was able to easily find it in Les Mis. So if it wasn’t for discovering emotional connection and the emotion of sadness in Wicked, I would be very confused in Les Mis. I don’t think I would have wanted Les Mis in my life.

US Tour of Les Mis
One Day More

Les Mis would soon pay its favor back to Wicked- by the love triangle. “I’m Not That Girl” was only a sad song in the beginning- I didn’t call it a sad love song. I thought it would stay that way. “On My Own” would tell me unrequited love songs are heartbreaking- that song was sad for only one year (from 2013-2014). “On My Own” helped me realize “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking, which made Wicked’s love triangle even more complex. Wicked’s love triangle is more complex and is my favorite one- I might be slightly biased because it is the first one I emotionally bonded with.

Do you feel this way? Would have some musicals not have entered your life without others?

Advertisements

Broadway Night

Last night was the 2nd night at the Pops. This time, my family and friends were treated to Broadway songs. When it comes to Broadway, it is a Pops I don’t want to miss. I ended up wearing the Les Mis shirt I got in the West End to this symphony. I was wondering what musicals they were going to do.

First up- Sound of Music, a childhood favorite. They played all of the songs I thought they would. It included two from the stage show, which never made it to the movie. The songs included “Sound of Music”, “Climb Every Mountain”, “So Long Farewell”, “Edelweiss”, “My Favorite Things”, “Do Re Mi”, “Lonely Goatherd”, “Maria”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, and “How Can Love Survive”.

Second up- My Fair Lady, a musical that entered my life in college. The symphony played a good collection of those songs. From “I Could Have Danced all Night”, “Wouldn’t it be Loverly”= among others. I still don’t know the names of the songs well enough to be able to recognize songs without the lyrics.

Third up- Grease. It played “Hand Jive”, “Summer Nights”, “Greased Lightening”, “Beauty School Dropout”, and “We Go Together”.

Fourth up- Carousel. All they played from this musical is the “Carousel Waltz”.

Fifth up- Les Mis. The symphony started with the overture. “At the End of the Day”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Master of the House”, “On My Own”, and “Do You Hear the People Sing” were the only songs they did. Even with just the melody, I still cried.

Sixth up- Oklahoma. “Oklahoma”, “I Cain’t Say No”, “Farmer and the Cowman”, “Surrey with Fringe on Top”, “Kansas City”= among others. Just like My Fair Lady-still barley know names of songs and even the melodies themselves to pick up on songs.

Seventh up-Wicked. “No one Mourns the Wicked”, “Popular”, and “Defying Gravity” were the songs the symphony used.

Eighth up- Music Man. The very last song was “76 Trombones”.

Musical Characters I am Particular about which Actors/Actresses play them

We all love favorite characters. We do want them to be played well. However, there are certain characters that we can be particular about which actor/actress can play certain characters. I barely have some- I only have two: that is it: it really is one, but it does come down to down (you will soon come down to two).

The character I am particular about who plays the role is Elphaba. My reasoning is due to the fact that she is my all-time favorite musical theatre character. Why do you think I am particular about who plays her? Each time I see her, I am always seeing an actress I am not at all familiar with the actress who plays her. But still particular about who plays her- as in how she is portrayed. She has to be embodied perfectly- I can see an excellent Elphaba, but that still isn’t enough.

This comes to the second character I am particular about. That is Glinda. Here’s the thing- Elphaba can never throughly be brilliant without Glinda just like Glinda can never throughly be portrayed brilliant without an excellent Elphaba. It just will not work. Those two after all are like super glue- both have to be embodied incredibly. I am not joking.

My last Elphaba and Glinda were like that. Mary Kate Morrissey (standby Elphaba) and Amanda Jane Copper (Glinda) were a perfect fit. It made Mary Kate Morrissey’s excellent Elphaba stronger. I already knew she was excellent, but if Amanda Jane Copper’s Glinda didn’t fit like glue into her Elphaba, something would have totally wouldn’t have felt like that. I need those to come first- not Mary Kate Morrissey’s Elphaba and Ashley Parker Angel’s Fiyero (that comes 2nd). You need “For Good” to hit you harder than “I’m Not That Girl”.

Elphaba and Glinda during "Popular"

Elphaba means more to me than a number of other musical theatre character. She is one of the hugest reasons why Wicked is still hanging there at my favorite musical. Why do you think Les Mis is still tied? Elphaba is not just a character I have an emotional connection to, but a character I strongly relate to. It will be hard for other Elphaba’s to be at the same level as Mary Kate Morrissey’s. For starter’s- she was paired with the right Glinda. Same with the voice- it was altered from innocent to mature. Pretty much embodied everything.

So, the characters I am most particular about belongs to Elphaba and Glinda. You never can have a brilliant Elphaba without a brilliant Glinda and you never can brilliant Glinda without a brilliant Elphaba.

I can tell you this- after the tour, Amanda Jane Copper ended up playing Glinda on Broadway along with Ashley Parker as Fiyero after they left the tour- so the tour can lead actors and actresses to Broadway. Mary Kate Morrissey ended up being the main Elphaba on tour- she deserved it. Those three will ALWAYS be my favorite Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda. I don’t even remember my three Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda’s before them, but I do know this- who those three characters are today are a combo of all four.

It is true. A lot of times-I do end up seeing actors/actresses in principal roles I am not at all familiar with. So, I have NEVER once seen the same actor/actress in more than lead role- unless you count college productions.

What characters are you particular about who plays them?

Different Types of Fathers in Musical Theatre/WIP

Yes, Sunday was Father’s Day. That day I made mention of fathers I do love in musical theatre. You might realize they all share a common theme- Valjean, Maurice, and Mufasa all LOVE their children. I thought to do the complete opposite here- what about talking about the fathers who shouldn’t have children- the ones who DON’T CARE about or LOVE their children. Some of these fathers are worse than others. Only one of them is not part of musical theatre.

Sarge’s father:

For starters, I know there are readers who know who Sarge is and there are a ton who have no idea how he is. He is my antagonist in my Fairy Frogs book- a bully. What caused that? Now let’s talk about his father- the reason behind his actions. Sarge was only around 3 or 5 when his mother left him.

His father first started mistreating and abusing him through words alone and then it got more physical- at 13, his father left him. Sarge only found comfort in “The Bog” in Graysloup- the only place his father never knew existed. The physical abuse is shown on Sarge- in my book, he has permanent scars. So, that is how extreme his father can get. Sarge is jealous, angry, conflicted, and confused. He is still trying to deal with the wounds of his past, which most likely will never heal. Sarge’s father never showed him love or compassion- nothing-it led Sarge to put his pain on others.

Why do you think Sarge became the bully that he is- his easiest target is Marge, his younger cousin. After all, her father is his Uncle, his father’s brother- who is a loving father. It is the hardest for me to talk about Sarge’s father out of everyone on this list- that is what happens when you are an author- you create the characters- and you do become quite attached to all of the characters- yes, even the ones who aren’t the nicest of guys.

Musical Theatre:

Thenardier- well, yet another abusive father. You would think it would hurt just as much to talk about Eponine and Gavroche’s father than Sarge’s, but it doesn’t hurt as much to talk about Thenardier only because I didn’t create him. Thenardier is one of the worst parts of humanity in Les Misérables. He is a pick-pocket, is despicable, abusive, and greedy. I can understand why in 1832 he had to steal at times- in order to live since the entire family fell into extreme poverty, but to not love your children. He literally raised Eponine to be a thief and criminal- he never showed her kindness at all. In 1832, you see he just used her to his advantage. Eponine was only shown kindness by one person-Marius, which is why she falls in love with him: at least he was in her life and was with her in the end. To make matters worse- he kicked Gavroche out. Then at the barricade, he didn’t care that BOTH Eponine and Gavroche were killed. One of the worst musical theatre dads out there. He is that father you love to hate and hate to love- in the musical he is comic relief.

Elphaba’s dad- her dad isn’t quite as bad as Thenardier. Her dad HATES her just because she is different. She is different only because she was born green. He later does blame her for why her mother is dead and why her sister is disabled. He spoils her sister while ignoring Elphaba. Elphaba is only HATED just because she is green by her father.

What are other musical theatre dads you don’t like?

What exactly Makes me Love a Song in a Musical?

For any musical, the first step to loving it belongs to the songs. What exactly do I mean by that? The songs do not necessarily need to be singable. They need to be memorable. The songs do need to sound like they all belong in the same musical. It is very very very very very very difficult to explain what makes me love a song period. You do need to remember a song leaving the theatre- yes, but not necessarily singable. I used to think there ALWAYS needed to be a showtune song- a song like “Seize the Day” or “Do Re Mi”- but I learned that is not always the case. The song has to be a song you know you will keep on going back to- as in a song you want to listen to again and again and again without getting sick and tired of it- that is what I mean by memorable. Not all of the musical theatre songs I love are singable.

Examples of songs I love:

  1. Seize the Day
  2. On My Own
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Phantom of the Opera
  5. Seventy Six Trombones
  6. Corner of the Sky
  7. Some Enchanted Evening
  8. Tomorrow
  9. Endless Night
  10. The Impossible Dream
  11. Seasons of Love
  12. Edelweiss
  13. Somewhere
  14. Popular

As you can tell, this is a wide variety of songs. From the exciting songs to the heartbreaking songs to the love songs. Not all of these songs are showtunes. I picked one song from different musicals I either like or love or happen to be musicals that are in between like and love. You can just tell whether or not you love a musical song. In order to love a musical, you have to love the songs- then there is no way to get into the characters and plot that well.

Loving One Musical More than Another

As musical theatre fans, we all have musicals we love. We love them for different reasons. The ones that are favorites are the ones that mean the most. The favorites tend to stay with us and are the ones that we never stop loving. What makes us love one musical more than another?

That is complicated. For me, all my favorite musicals have songs I love, characters I love, plots I love, and they share an emotional connection. So why are some musicals ranked higher than others? There is something else to consider- we might love certain plots more than other plots, songs in one musical more than another musicals, the same applies to characters, and the emotional connection is stronger in other musicals. The last thing to look at is the impact. What puts Wicked/Les Mis the highest up on the list?

In Wicked’s case- the emotional connection has a bonus. It has a character I relate to: Elphaba. Yes, other musicals have that same bonus. In terms of plot, it is dealing with two strong women who have developed a close bond of friendship. Elphaba and Glinda don’t let a boy get in the way of it. Everything in Wicked feels OZian. It’s plot is a fantasy. The impact of Wicked is a HUGE factor into why it is ranked so high- it sparked my love of musical. Without Wicked, I wouldn’t have known about emotional connection or discovered the emotional and complex side of musicals. It is the best musical when it comes to the spectacle-natured musicals.

For Good in Wicked
For Good

In Les Mis’ case- do I really need to explain? True, with Wicked, a love was sparked. Despite that, I never developed a passion. Les Mis is the reason behind the passion. Les Mis decided to challenge the way I view musicals forever. There were four core emotions- excitement, love, joy, and sad, but with Les Mis, I learned about HEARTBREAK. I thought I knew how intense emotions could get- but boy I was wrong. I can’t explain the emotional impact of Les Mis- I am an emotional wreck watching Les Mis: emotional rollercoaster; any Les Mis fan knows. Les Mis disproved a number of things. I once thought I would NEVER love a TRAGEDY. I thought a death would never be memorable, and that a death could never during a song. Still-do I need to explain why Les Mis is so high up? It’s plot is like a ball of yarn- if you get rid of one little thing, it starts to unravel itself. It’s characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Usually in a musical, I can pick my favorite song, but in Les Mis’ case, I can’t choose. If it wasn’t for Les Mis- I wouldn’t have a passion for musicals.

One Day More during the US Tour of Les Mis
One Day More

A lot goes into how you rank musicals. You can NEVER love musicals without loving the songs. Without that- you struggle with connecting to the plot and characters. The songs are how you emotionally connect and fall in love with the plot and characters. The characters are the most comfortable expressing their emotions by song. The last factor is the impact- how meaningful is the musical? There are musicals that are more likely to stay in your life- those are the meaningful ones. Long after the curtain falls- the characters and plot live in you- you don’t want them in die in you.

Act I Closers

The ending of the first act in a musical is important. By that point, you usually know whether or not you love a musical. The emotion of the first act I closer does vary- some are heartbreaking, some are sad (but not heartbreaking), some are exciting, and some are empowering- it varies. Here are examples of act I closers:

Defying Gravity

One Day More

Hankua Matata

Climb Every Mountain

Santa Fe

If I Can’t Love Her

Wells Fargo Wagon

La Vie Bohéme

Let it Go

Morning Glow

I’d Give My Life For You

Crashing of the Chandelier

  • As you can tell, these act I closers do vary. You have songs that are either sad or heartbreaking like “Santa Fe”, “If I Can’t Love Her”, and “I’d Give My Life For You”. The empowering act I closers are songs such as “Let it Go”, “One Day More”, and “Defying Gravity”- those can also fit under exciting songs- which is where “Wells Fargo Wagon” and “La Vie Bohéme” fit under. So act I closers vary from musical to musical. Some musicals don’t have a song at all- such as Phantom of the Opera, which ends at the crashing of the chandelier. By the end of act I, you already know which characters and storylines you are are emotionally connected to. The act I ending is important- it is just as important as the finale of the musical.