I have mentione.d more than once who my favorite friendships in musicals are. I now can update that because I can add one more to that list. Even my favorite friendships vary.
Friends of the ABC
I have loved Enjolras and the students for (I think) six years now. I love the brotherly bond they share, and it is a bond that makes them feel like family. Enjolras is their leader. They have a cause they truly believe in and have high hopes for it. It is amazing how passionate they are about it. Even when Enjolras gives them a chance to leave to not waste lives, they still keep their ground and stay- their bond is that strong. No matter what- they are still are going to fight- even when they know they are going to loss and loss their lives.
Eponine and Marius
This is an unpopular opinion, but I love their friendship. It may not be in the book, but only in the musical, but I still love that exists in the musical. Eponine and Marius are seen as close friends in the musical. Eponine is deeply and strongly in love with Marius- he is the only person who shows her kindness, and that is why she loves him. Marius is in love with Cosette, but Eponine risks her life several times for him just to protect him and make sure he’s happy no matter the cost. He is all she has in life, and the only good thing in her life. Her unrequited love leads her to the barricade.
Marius is aware that Eponine has a tough life and is worried about her. When he saw her at the barricade, he sends her away with a letter to Cosette: this might seems selfish, but he only sent her away in hopes to protect her from any harm from the barricade. He did not want her to get hurt or killed during the uprising. However, Eponine did come back and sacrificed her life for Marius noticing that he was about to get shot. The wound she got was fatal- the first thing Marius said was why she came back: that was only because he was worried. When she collapsed, he noticed her gunshot wound and realized that she was dying. He was devastated, but he still decided to show her compassion by holding her and comforting her. It may not have been easy on Marius, but at least he was with her- that was all that mattered to Eponine- much more than the physical pain she was in.
Do you know how I know that Marius knew Eponine lived a tough life: it was what he said after she died: “Her name was Eponine. Her life was cold and dark. yet she was unafraid”
The Newsies are a parallel to the Friends of the ABC. Just like them, they have a leader, who is Jack Kelly. The Newsies have a brotherly love for each other, and the Newsies are one family. They have a cause (the strike) they truly believe in, and never give up.
Jack Kelly and Crutchie
While on the topic of Newsies, I have to bring up the bond between Jack and Crutchie. Jack Kelly is the leader of the Newsies, and is best friends with Crutchie. Crutchie is the most vulnerable of the Newsies because he has a bum leg, and has to walk with the aid of a crutch. Out of all the Newsies, Jack has the closest bond to Crutchie. Jack cares a lot more about his brothers than the strike- it hurts him a great deal when he says all of the Newsies getting hurt especially when he sees Crutchie getting arrested knowing that his friend will be taken to The Refuge. It is quite an intimate and special bond Jack and Crutchie have- it is strongly shown in the opening number: “Santa Fe (Prologue)”.
Cogsworth and Lumiere
Is it weird to love a friendship between a talking candle and a talking clock? That is exactly what Cogsworth and Lumiere are. I still do not know what I love about these two.
Elphaba and Glinda
There is no way to have a favorite friendship list without Elphaba and Glinda. That is because Wicked revolves around their friendship. Wicked has two unexpected relationships, and one of them is the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda. They hated each other in the beginning even though they had to be roommates. It was at a school dance when they finally bonded- Glinda made something magical out of Elphaba silly dance. They finally were able to become friends. They would not let a boy get in the way of their friendship- they both end up with unrequited love for Fiyero, and they each decide to not pursue him or steal him away from their best friend- yes, Wicked has an unrequited love shift. “For Good” perfectly explains their relationship, and that song is the most emotional song in the musical.
The group of friends in Rent is another group of friends that are like family. They do everything together: Mark, Roger, Mimi, Joanne, Maureen, Collins, and Angel are those group of friends. Sometimes it is a struggle, but there is always love found among all of them.
Aladdin, Babkak, Omar, Kassim
I only fell in love with this particular friendship a week ago. I know reasons why I love Aladdin. I barley know Aladdin’s three friends. There is something about seeing all four on stage or just Babkak, Omar, and Kassim that is incredible to watch.
Ever since middle school, I knew about the emotional side of musicals. Emotional songs are part of the strongest musicals- they are part of either love, sad, or heartbreaking song; however there have been a few exceptions. What are the musicals I have been around that have emotional songs?
Of course, Les Mis was going to be on here. Les Mis is literally the trophy for emotional moments. It is nonstop tragedy from start to end- at least there are moments that give you a break. Sometimes in the tragic moments, there is hope or compassion. Les Mis is both tragic and inspiring. I have seen the stage show five times: at Halton Theater, Queen’s Theater, and Peace Center. Now, in one month, I may or may not see the stage show again at Ovens Auditorium- one of Blumenthal’s theaters. If it is the stage show or the 25th concert film or the film or the soundtrack, I am still an emotional wreck, and I do not think I will ever be immune to it.
A show very close to how emotional I get in Les Mis belongs to Rent. Just like Les Mis, Rent is a sad musical. I am also not immune to it. In 2017, I had to watch the stage shows of Rent and Les Mis quite close to each other: I saw Rent in September and Les Mis in November. I am an emotional wreck in both of them.
Miss Saigon is yet another tragedy, but a tragic love story. This year, when I saw the musical for the first time, I knew I would cry at certain times. That was because of Les Mis (after all, those who wrote Miss Saigon also wrote Les Mis). I almost cried during Movie in My Mind, but those tears came out during Sun and Moon (among other songs)- I had such a strong Kim and Chris that I did not their relationship to end even though I knew it was to be.
This musical has two songs to get emotional during: “I’m Not That Girl” and “For Good”. Those were actually the first two songs where sad came to the forefront. It is more likely to get emotional during “For Good”- that is the most emotional song in Wicked even though “I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking song. That is because Wicked’s center core is about the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda- “For Good” illustrates their friendship perfectly, but that song is bittersweet.
This musical has emotional songs as well. Whether that is the sad “Santa Fe” or the heartbreaking “Letter From the Refuge”- it shows that Newsies does have emotional moments. Jack and Crutchie are my favorite Newsies- part of it does come the bond that they share.
Beauty and the Beast
It depends on whether or not you are watching the stage show or the live action movie of 2017. Both have a heartbreaking song (If I Can’t Love Her or Evermore). The past couple of times, I have seen the live action Beauty and the Beast, I have gotten a little emotional during the song, Beauty and the Beast. Belle and Beast are actually my favorite classic Disney couple.
While Aladdin is a Disney musical comedy, there was a song where I was getting a little emotional. It was during “Proud of Your Boy”, one of the added songs to the stage show. So, a musical can be a comedy and still have their emotional moments.
These are not all the musicals I know of that have emotional songs. They are only just some of them. It just gives a general idea. It is amazing where the emotional songs exist.
It is amazing that duets in musicals have a lot of variety found in them. They are a combo of romance, friendship, family, and death. That would mean the emotion varies. After seeing Aladdin, I can make an updated list.
There are various kinds of antagonists in musicals. There are the typical antagonists who are not evil- but good- so they do not fit the profile of villain. Then you eventually get to those antagonists who are defiantly villains- they are the ones who are evil, who have no redeeming quality about them. Some villains are power hungry. What power hungry villains can I think of? SPOILERS- sometimes you do not know they are power hungry or a villains until much later on. That is why it can be a spoiler.
I can’t believe I can’t think of any more. I know there are more, but I just can’t think of you they are at the moment.
There are similarities in musical theatre. There are also what I would call parallels- as in song and character. What do I mean by that? It means they in so many ways are very similar, but at the same time, not even the same at all. What are the ones I have spotted?
Newsies/Friends of the ABC
Both of these groups have a brotherly love for each other. The love is so close that both groups feel like family. They each have a cause they truly believe in- that they don’t give up. They truly have hope for their cause- the main difference comes from the result in the end.
Connected to the Newsies/Friends of the ABC are these two characters. Jack Kelly and Enjolras are the leaders of both groups. Jack is more of a romantic and emotional character: as in you can see a lot more emotion coming from him. Jack cares a lot more about his brothers than the strike while Enjolras cares a lot more about the rebellion.
I actually see a parallel between these two girls. Considering the fact that Eponine and Cosette are mirrors of each other, it actually makes sense. Young Cosette was horribly abused by the Thenardiers, Eponine’s parents. Eponine ended up getting the same treatment after Cosette was rescued by Jean Valjean. So, it really does make sense.
I don’t understand this at all. The only parallel I see in the two of them is the fact that they are both courageous. Why do I see a parallel here? I do know at times- those who have played Enjolras have played Fiyero and vice versa- three of my Enjolras’ have either played Fiyero before Enjolras or moved on to play Fiyero- those were Aaron Tveit (my 1st Enjolras), Bradley Jaden (My West End Enjolras- July 30th, 2015), and Matt Shingledecker (US Tour). I still wish I understood why I came up with this parallel.
Both girls have terrible family lives. They each end up in a love triangle- they do both end up with unrequited love (is it going to improve for one of them)? They both are taken advantage of. In terms of personality traits, they are both are brave and strong (two characteristics I look for in a female character). When I first started to form a beautiful bond to Eponine, I didn’t understand where that came from. I am kind of curious- if Elphaba is my favorite musical theatre character and shares some similarities with Eponine, could that been where that came from?
Both girls have powers they don’t know how to control. They are labeled as monsters even though in reality they are not. Both are impulsive in some way. Both learn to truly accept themselves for who they are. I really see Elsa as Elphaba in a way.
They are both outgoing and funny.
In Frozen and Wicked, I see the sisterhood and friendship very similar. That is the center core of each- in one it is sisterhood and the other friendship. That is where the true love is coming from.
Let it Go/ Defying Gravity
Both of these songs really do sound like the same song. They are both about being yourself. Yes, I hear different melodies and different lyrics, but they sound extremely similar.
Frozen and Wicked
I believe my love for Frozen truly comes from all the similarities I found from Wicked. After all, Wicked sparked my love for musicals.
See, what I mean. There are these parallels found in the musical theatre. Musical theatre fans- do you understand what I am talking about?
When we think of the principals in musicals, we tend to think of the main ones that played them. They are the ones that tend to get the MOST respect. They get appreciated more than anybody. They are the ones we are HOPING to get. However, what happens when one of them can’t come to the theatre? Who takes their place? This is when an understudy or standby comes in? LISTEN- the standby and understudy DESERVES the same amount of RESPECT and APPRECIATION that the main principal has. They have to go on- at any time. Sometimes, the understudy or standby is called on in the middle of the show or only have five minutes to get ready. Look- these guys have to memorize more than anybody- their regular ensemble role plus the roles they understudy. Sometimes they are assigned to understudy more than one role.
Grace Morgan (Christine)
When I saw Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center in 2014, I had an understudy as Christine. I got choked up watching this production. I do remember feeling an emotional connection and love for Christine. The regular Christine was on vocal rest, and that was why Grace Morgan had to play the part. She is where most of my love for Christine comes from.
Lisa Karlin (Leading Player)
When I saw Pippin in 2015, Lisa Karlin was on as the Leading Player. She was the true standout of the night. She was crafty, manipulative, playful around Pippin (to make it seem to him that he could trust him), and had this level of evilness and darkness that made her performance quite intriguing. In “Magic to Do”, she only had a small hint of evil, but when it got to “Glory”, there was a lot more evil and darkness.
Sam Lips (Pippin)
I cannot believe I don’t remember his Pippin much. I honestly wish I did.
Adam Bayjou (Jean Valjean)
When I found out I had an understudy- I was like, “I am in the West End, and I have an understudy for the main character”. Well, with Adam’s portrayal, I forgot I was watching an understudy. I never once detected that- that is real talent in that.
Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba)
She was an excellent Elphaba. What made her Elphaba more special was the fact that she was paired with an brilliant Glinda and at the same time paired with an incredible Fiyero. I care more about what Glinda my Elphaba actresses are paired with. She embodied everything I already knew about that character- while still bringing something new. She made me appreciate a song I always hated: “No Good Deed” finally had emotions in it. She is my favorite Elphaba.
Kaitlyn Frank (Katherine Plumber)
This is another understudy I don’t remember much about. Despite that, when I went back to my Newsies review, it did say she had incredible chemistry with Joey Barreiro, my Jack Kelly.
Talia Simone Robinson (Eponine)
Even in the US Tour of Les Mis, I had an understudy. She wasn’t the strongest of actors in the love triangle: it was Marius (Joshua Grosso). However- I loved seeing her Eponine because she did have some strong moments. She was a bit playful around Marius at times. She did show the heartbreak- it defiantly showed. In “A Heart Full of Love”- I felt for all three characters. Whenever I think of Talia’s Eponine- it is not “On My Own” I think of: instead it is “A Little Fall of Rain”, which to me is a bit surprising. Usually when I think of Eponine- “On My Own” comes to mind. In “A Little Fall of Rain”- I did believe in it- each time Talia tried to move, I noticed it was a struggle for Talia’s Eponine, which got harder as the song continued- which made me believe in the scene. The US Tour was my cast after the West End- I came in with an open mind and was not going not to compare the two casts, which would have been a bad idea especially in the case of Eponine because I had an understudy.
Rafiki (I know the name, but can’t spell it)
Rafiki was a very recent understudy- since I saw Lion King a year ago. She opens up the show- so getting a strong Rafiki is crucial. I loved her as well.
Eymard Cabling (The Engineer)
He was my first Engineer, so my knowledge of this character all comes from him.
How did I learn to have so much respect and appreciation for the standbys and understudies? For starters, it comes from having them so many times over the years. I learned just how talented they are. Some of them were my first actor/actress in these roles- for Katherine, The Engineer, Pippin, and The Leading Player. On the other hand, the Eponine, Jean Valjean, and Elphaba actors/actresses were NOT my first for those roles. One of the biggest reasons why I learned to respect them so much comes from the fact that I am a theater minor.