What Are Some Special Trips of Mine?

I have had such a fortunate life. Now, I want to share some of the best trips about my life and will share a bit of what makes them special.

  1. New York- In the picture below, it is in the year 2006 and I was 12 at the time. That trip consisted of just mom and me. That was a huge part of why the trip was meaningful to me. During this trip, my mom took me to see Wicked on Broadway. I don’t have many vivid memories of seeing Wicked, but I do remember that the song, Popular, was my favorite song from the musical. While I don’t have vivid memories of seeing Wicked, the impact clearly shows. Wicked sparked my love for musicals and it how I started to understand complexity in musical. It also was the beginning of understanding emotions as well and Elphaba became such a meaningful musical in my life.

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2. Next up is Alaska. This was a trip that I went on in the year, 2011. I went with my extended family. We went through a group called Tauck Bridges. We got to explore nature a lot of times. It consisted of several hikes and a “glacier and whale” tour. I got to meet husky dogs. I even went panning for gold. This trip was basically a cruise, but instead of traveling by cruise trip, we traveled by bus.

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3. Costa Rica happened in 2014. I studied abroad for two weeks. Costa Rica like Alaska is another beautiful place to visit. I ended up staying with a host mom. The place we stayed at was Atenas. One special part was when we visited Monteverde.

Monteverde is a rain frost preserve. We hiked a lot when we were there. When we hiked the first time, it was fun being out in nature. The second round, I went on the canopy tour and at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it, but I decided to go on the canopy tour. The canopy tour is a zip-line above the canopy. Sometimes I got stuck in the middle, which was scary at times and a guide had to come get back and sometimes I had to go down with one.

We spent some time in the capitol of Costa Rica, which is San Jose. One time we spent the day exploring the place. Another day, we went to see a play, which was hard to understand since it was all in Spanish. But I was able to pick up on the fact that the show was comedy. Another thing we all did was visit a coffee plantation. Everything we did in Costa Rica was culture related.

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4. The same year, 2014, I went on another special trip. In December, I went on a plane by myself to spend a week with my grandma in St. Louis. That was one special trip and one very special part was seeing Annie. Annie was my favorite musical before seeing Wicked. I think I loved Annie so much as a kid due to Annie’s optimism and her relationship to Sandy.

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5. The most recent special trip I went on was England. Our church choir was in residence at Bristol Cathedral so England was a pilgrimage. The fact that the trip was a pilgrimage was a big reason why the trip was so meaningful. That year was 2015 in July and the pilgrimage began on the 31st. But the best part of the trip had nothing to do with the pilgrimage, but connected in some way.

The day before on July 30th, mom gave me a special treat. She actually took me to see Les Mis in London on the West End. It was my dream to see Les Mis in London. It was where the show truly began. At this performance, I had an understudy as Valjean. The cast I saw was brilliant and so was Adam Bayjou. I always get nervous when I hear I have understudies, but Adam has been the best Valjean I ever saw. In this cast, I finally felt for Javert due to how Jeremy Secomb portrayed him. The revolve was very effective and it helped with time change and was quite useful at the barricade. This production did make me cry and laugh and feel several emotions like I expected. Mom and I sat nine rows back from the stage.

Literally after hearing one note at this performance, I knew it was more than expected and I was speechless after both act I and act II and was one of the first ones to stand up at the end. That was how good the cast was. The entire cast was brilliant from ensemble to leads. Mom took me to the stage door afterwards and I met Adam and he signed my playbill. I think things came full circle with Les Mis because the West End is London’s version of Broadway. It came full circle because I saw Wicked on Broadway with my mom. Due to loving Wicked and Les Mis equally, it was quite fitting I saw one on Broadway and one in the West End.

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Les Mis was in a lot of ways connected to the pilgrimage. Les Mis is Valjean’s spiritual journey and the Bristol Pilgrimage was my spiritual journey. We went to three castles, which were Berkeley, Windsor, and Chepstow. We visited TinTern Abbey, Stonehenge. I saw ten church services at four different places. We saw them at WestMinster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Salisbuy Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral.

At the last service at Bristol Cathedral, I truly knew how transforming the trip was. It was during the anthem and I actually cried and that that reaction was how I knew how transforming the trip was. Stonehenge was the mountain-top moment of the pilgrimage. But the best part of the pilgrimage was not one of the places we visited. it  It was actually the fellowship that was formed between all 72 pilgrims.

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So all of these trips were quite special. All of these trips had some sort of impact on my life. New York was impactful due to seeing Wicked on Broadway and I think that was a big reason why it has been the most meaningful musical of my life growing up. One trip was the best extended family trip I ever been on and was inedible spending time in nature. One trip made me learn about culture in Costa Rica and made me see nature in a new perspective especially due to a canopy tour. The last one was important to my spiritual journey and my journey with Les Mis.

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Is There More than A Love Triangle In Wicked?

It is very obvious in Wicked that a love triangle is in it, which is very ironic and complicated, but is there more in Wicked than just a love triangle? This musical focuses so much on Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda.

Possible Spoilers:

You first know there is romance in Wicked during Dancing Through Life. Boq asks Glinda to the school dance. We learn that Boq actually loves Glinda, but Glinda asks Boq to take Nessa to the dance since Glinda wants to ask Fiyero. So right now Boq loves Glinda and Glinda supposedly is starting to love Fiyero. But at the dance things get even more challenging. We now learn that Nessa loves Boq. So now Nessa loves Boq, Boq loves Glinda, and Glinda loves Fiyero. So right now we have a bit of a love quadrangle.

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Elphaba starts getting involved in the picture starting with the lion cub incident. In class, a professor is starting to do an experiment on a scared lion cub and out of anger, Elphaba casts a spell on the class and it doesn’t affect Fiyero. The two run off to free the lion cub. In this scene, Elphaba realizes she loves Fiyero for the first time. It would be easy at this point to see the musical is only home to a love triangle. Elphaba feels like she isn’t good enough for Fiyero because she is green and she knows that her best friend loves him. There are hints in the lion cub scene and after “I’m Not That Girl” that maybe Fiyero has a crush on Elphaba, but not realizing it.

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Things get even more complicated in act II. During “Thank Goodness”, Fiyero hears rumors about Elphaba and in this moment, he realizes that he loves Elphaba. So he ends up breaking up with Glinda and searches for Elphaba. Now the unrequited love has shifted from Glinda to Fiyero, which really challenges things.

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The whole love situation in Wicked is way more than a love triangle. Even though it is more than a love triangle, a love triangle still exists. That is due to both Glinda and Elphaba being in love with Fiyero. So the whole situation is that Nessa loves Boq, Boq loves Glinda, and Glinda and Elphaba love Fiyero. So four characters in Wicked go through unrequited love, but isn’t well noticed by Boq or Nessa. The unrequited love seems mainly focused on Elphaba in act I and she is able to move on from Fiyero and later Fiyero and Elphaba end up a couple. Elphaba’s story revolves around friendship and not unrequited love.

This whole love pentagon thing in Wicked only adds to the complexity. The only unrequited love song is “I’m Not That Girl”, which why it is easy to overlook the love pentagon and only see a love triangle. That song is sung twice: The first being the full song and sung by Elphaba and the second time it is sung by Glinda and as a reprise. Due to Nessa and Boq only being secondary characters, you might not understand their importance to the story and you might easily overlook them. After all, the story is truly about the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda.

So do you feel like Wicked’s romance is more than love triangle?

 

Musicals I Love With Sad In It

This sounds like a crazy post. Well, the musicals I tend to be drawn to are complex and have both positive and negative emotions in it. Below I will write a list of the musicals that I love where sad has been involved and that only counts if it was in the songs, but not where it wasn’t that capable.

  1. Sound of Music
  2. Wicked
  3. Newsies
  4. South Pacific
  5. Phantom of the Opera
  6. Rent
  7. Les Mis
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Man of La Mancha

Why do I love feeling the negative emotions in these if they are going to hurt? Well, musical emotions come in two sets, which only applies to positive emotions. There are the positive emotions that are naturally part of the show and than there are the emotions that naturally apply to the experience. I feel like those with sad going on feel more real to me. Some of these musicals actually took some time until I realized sad was in some of them. But some, I knew on the very first round that sad is a piece of them.

Possible Spoilers:

Wicked was the musical where I began to understand the negative emotions. I can trace back how far the negative emotions have come through this musical. I remember not liking “No Good Deed” that much and that song seemed emotionless from 2006 all the way until 2016. I saw Wicked live in 2006, sometime in high school, 2013, and 2016. That one song seemed not interesting and seemed emotionless. It was in 2016, my fourth time, where the portrayal of “No Good Deed” finally made me appreciate it for once and where I finally began to pick up on its emotions.

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Well “I’m Not That Girl” began as this sad song and was a sad song during the first three rounds. Well, I don’t know when it was, but I want to say it was like 2014 or 2015, I realized the song was heartbreaking thanks to the help of “On My Own”. I realized that both songs were about unrequited love and due to “On My Own” being stronger, I realized “I’m Not That Girl” was a heartbreaker.

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But where did I began to realize that heartbreak was part of the musical world? Well, I didn’t know about heartbreak until December of 2012. It was when I saw Les Mis for the first time through the movie. While watching the movie, I finally was able to pick up on heartbreak, but I thought the musical was too depressing. I wasn’t able to dig deeper because I didn’t know it was going to be tragic and I didn’t know musicals could be tragic.  Les Mis showed me a side of emotions I thought was literally impossible and it was during my second viewing of the movie where I began to see something special about Les Mis. Over time, I realized the musical wasn’t too depressing due to its underlying spirituality, which has themes of love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. Ever since the realization of heartbreak, I was able to notice that it was much easier to spot negative emotions and darkness in other musicals.

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Just like Les Mis, Rent is a sad musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s/1990s. It has an incredible message of how precious life is, living in the moment, and measuring your life in love. You see these characters struggle through depression, drug addiction, relationships, HIV/AIDS. But they are like this family despite all their struggles.

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In the case of Sound of Music, I never noticed sad was in one of its songs for quite a long time. I grew up with the movie and never once picked up on that emotion. I remember it being in 2015 when I saw the stage show for the first time. It was during “Edelweiss” and I remember the emotion entering at a place that seemed unusual. It was at the moment where the Captain stopped singing and there was a pause before Maria and the children started singing and I noticed the emotion. I feel like realizing sad was in a song in the middle of that song is a spot where the emotions tends not to be a part of. But due to the emotional shift in “Edelweiss”, I learned to love the musical even more.

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The latest meaningful musical that had sad in the score belongs to Newsies. I remember watching it and it existed at the end of act one. I just witnessed this big fight break out as a result of the strike. After the fight, Jack witnessed Crutchie being arrested and that left him with a lot of inner conflict. In the first scene, which was “Santa Fe (Prologue), you realize that Jack is quite protective of Crutchie. Due to what he witnessed, he sang “Santa Fe” and that became a sad song and I felt sad, but innocently during the production. Another moment with the negative emotions belonged in “Letter From the Refuge”. The thing with that song is that I don’t remember it while watching the production. I eventually rediscovered the song and was able to notice I do remember one of the lyrics. After a couple of listens, I realized that song is a heartbreaker.

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The negative emotions are highly important in the world of musicals. For all of these musicals, my emotional connection is quite strong. I care about these characters’ journeys, which is why I love feeling the negative emotions. I only love feeling the negative emotions in musicals that I love myself and typically tend to be a meaningful musical.

Popular Analysis

As a matter of fact, pink is my favorite color. My favorite outfit that Glinda wears is the dress that she wears during Popular. Popular is my favorite song from Wicked because the main thing I remember about seeing Wicked on Broadway with my mom in 2006 was the fact that the song, Popular, was my favorite song from the show. So Popular has a wonderful connection to the first time I ever saw Wicked. Whenever I see Wicked, Popular makes me feel like a twelve year old the most even the rest of it makes me feel the same age.

I find Popular to be a very special song from Wicked. This songs happens after Dancing Through Life. Both Glinda and Elphaba bonded during Dancing Through Life when Glinda made something special out of Elphaba’s dance. But Popular is really the moment where the two start to become best friends. The friendship found between Elphaba and Glinda is the core of Wicked. The friendship in Wicked gives me a bigger emotional connection than the love triangle.

Minor Spoilers:

The scene leading up to Popular is interesting as a matter of fact. The two girls share a secret with each. Glinda is quite crazy in what she said because she said that Fiyero and her are going to get married, but it is funny because he hasn’t proposed. Well, one big reason why I love Glinda is her comic nature. Elphaba shares something very personal to Glinda. She explains her family situation. She explains that her father hates her because for one she is green and because he blames her for why her mother died and why Nessa is disabled. That was all due to because her father feared Nessa would turn out green so he made her mother eat milk flowers. Well, Glinda tries to explain that it wasn’t her fault.

In Popular, Glinda decides to try to give Elphaba a makeover. It is a very funny song in the musical. Glinda wants to help Elphaba feel more accepted. Well, this is really the moment where you realize that they will become friends. At the end, Glinda says “pink goes good with green” hoping to make Elphaba more beautiful since she is well green. In an acting class, I once performed Popular and this is quite a fun song. Glinda is my favorite comic character in the world of musicals and she is the main form of comedy in Wicked.

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Boy, this song is hard to analyze. It just has special meaning to me due to it being my favorite song from the musical as a twelve year old.

What are your thoughts on this song?

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My Vision of Musicals

Everyone has a vision of what they want from a vision.  My vision of musicals was created while I was growing up. I grew up watching movie musicals like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie. I even grew up seeing musicals in the theatre and those musicals included things like Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Wicked. So below I will take about what I expect from a musical.

First things first is the songs. I want to be connected to the songs. The songs are key to any musical. I want to love the songs. The main emotions come through the songs. I want songs to be memorable and emotional. I want the songs to feel like they belong in the musical they are in. Growing up, there was one type of song that I commonly associated with musical and those are the songs that tend to start out slow and eventually slow up. I even look for love songs and sad songs.

Next thing belongs to the characters. No matter what they are going through, I want to care about their journeys. The characters make me love the songs even more. Just like the songs, I want the characters to be memorable. I want the characters to be complex and strong. I want the characters to feel real. I also look for relatability, but I can’t relate to the character, I look for something that makes them stand out.

Next thing belongs to the plot. Just like the characters, I want the plot to be complex, strong, and relatable. I tend to look for multiple storylines. I want there to be a certain amount of conflict. Conflict plays a key role in the emotions. Conflict affects whether or not the songs have just positive emotions or if the songs have a combination of positive and negative emotions.

When it comes to all three, I want to be emotionally connected. I want my emotional connection to strong enough to truly care about the different character’s emotions. When it comes to the negative emotions, I want those songs to have vulnerability, fragility, and beauty. I only can seem to love feeling the negative emotions if my emotional connection to the songs, characters, and story are strong enough.

Another part of my vision has to do with comedy. Growing up, I wanted a musical to be happy or a comedy itself. Now that I am older and know that tragic musicals exist, I look at the aspect of comedy very differently. I want some comic aspect in a musical.

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My vision also includes spectacle and dance. Just like songs, the spectacle and dance add to the experience. Dance in my opinion is an example of spectacle. Those two elements make an experience unique. Sometimes spectacle helps with believability because they can help you believe in settings such as the land of OZ, an enchanted castle, or the wilds of Africa. But not all musicals have spectacle and dance.

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Overall, what I am really looking for is the emotional connection. Recently I discovered that I can still fall in love with a musical without the dance or spectacle. When that happens, I want the emotional connection to be strong enough to make up for the loss of spectacle and dance. So the emotional connection is really the key to falling in love with a musical. So what I want really is a strong score, memorable and complex characters, and a complex and strong plot. However, spectacle and dance is still part of my vision when it comes to musicals.

Some of the best plots and songs tend to be quite powerful. I want the positive and negative emotions to be a part of the show. It sounds crazy that I want to feel the negative emotions in the songs, but it really works even though they can hurt. I tend to love the negative emotions the most when they are beyond the mild world.

What is your vision of a musical?

Favorite Female Musical Characters: Part Two

Yesterday, I wrote a list of some of my favorite female characters. Today’s post will be talking about these characters more in detail and why I love. them.

Possible Spoilers (Major or Minor):

First up is Elphaba, one of the main protagonists of Wicked. Of all musical characters, she is my favorite. I love her so much and I have loved her since middle school. The reason why I love Elphaba so much is because of how much I can relate to her. Like me, she is smart, determined, talkative, big-hearted, unique, and believes in equality and staying true to herself. She is strong, complex, and courageous and those are three main characteristics I look for in a musical character. I admire the courage that she shows and how she stands up for what she believes.

The second best character is Glinda. Glinda is the other protagonist of Wicked. She is very outgoing and comical. Glinda is Elphaba’s best friend. These two girls both fall in love with Fiyero, which creates this really complex love triangle. You cannot really separate Elphaba and Glinda. Glinda is a comical character who eventually has to put with some very painful things especially in act II.

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The third best character is Eponine. I feel like Eponine should be my second best favorite female character, but I can’t seem to separate Elphaba and Glinda. Eponine is daughter of the Thenardiers. The Thenardiers are not the best of parents and after Cosette left, they started horribly abusing her and raised her to a criminal. Eponine lives a very empty life filled with lots of darkness. What I find interesting about Eponine is how despite being a Thenardier, she still has some redeeming qualities about her and is not quite like her parents.

She only has one source of light in her miserable existence, who is Marius, the only person who ever showed her kindness. That is why she loves him and I believe it is part of why she grows up with some moral compass. Even though he doesn’t love her, she puts aside her happiness for the sake of his. She constantly shows true love towards him and she risks her life several times. Eponine is strong, complex, brave, loyal, and loving, which are wonderful characteristics to have. Eponine is the character I will be dressing up as at the Les Mis party I am going to this summer.

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Another female Les Mis character I love is Young Cosette. Young Cosette reminds me of Eponine in a way. She is living with the Thenardiers and like Eponine, she gets horribly abused as well. The Thenardiers force her to be a servant and things aren’t going too well for Cosette. She gets through the abuse through the fantasies she creates. Young Cosette is a character who has hopes that she will eventually get rescued. She eventually gets rescued by Jean Valjean after he promised her mother that he will raise Cosette as his own.

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Another Les Mis character is Fantine. Fantine is Cosette’s mother and loves her a lot. Everything Fantine does is for the sake of Cosette. Fantine’s storyline is the hardest one to watch and she eventually has to become a prostitute in order to provide for her daughter. The real heartbreaking part is that she has no clue that the Thenardiers are horribly abusing her daughter and that they are scamming her out of money. She doesn’t even know that the letter she received at the factory is a hoax. I love Fantine because she is such a wonderful mother whose actions are the sake of her daughter.

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Annie is a musical character I have loved since elementary school. She is a very simple character. I love that she is optimistic and love how she decides to adopt Sandy, a stray dog she finds on the street.

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Belle is another female character I love. She loves books and love the relationship she has with her father. When her father is taken captive by the Beast, she agrees to take his place to get him out. That was a very brave thing to do. She teaches the Beast how to love and teaches him that he is more than he believes. Belle is able to realize that beauty comes form within. Belle is a character I first witnessed in elementary school, but she recently reentered my life when I saw the live version of the storyline. I cannot believe I forgot that I loved Belle as a child.

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Favorite Female Musical Characters: Part One

I recently talked about my favorite male musical characters. Now its the time for my favorite female characters. As a matter of fact, my favorite musical character is female and I will identify which she is. So here is my list of favorite female characters.

  1. Elphaba- Favorite
  2. Glinda
  3. Eponine
  4. Young Cosette
  5. Fantine
  6. Annie
  7. Grizabella
  8. Christine
  9. Mimi
  10. Belle
  11. Katherine
  12. Maria- Sound of Music
  13. Anna- King and I
  14. Audrey

These are my favorite female characters I can speak of right now. The next post will go into some of these characters more into detail and explain why I love them. About the the last two, they are two characters I love, but are not from musicals I love.