What Makes a Musical Meaningful?

Meaningful musicals are an important part of who I am. But what exactly makes a musical meaningful? To me, a musical becomes meaningful in so many ways. Sometimes a musical is meaningful due to a particular character or song or a musical that has taught you something very valuable. Below I will talk about some of my meaningful musicals and why they are meaningful.

Wicked is one of the meaningful musicals that has been part of my life for quite a while. It entered my life in summer of 2006 on Broadway when I went with my mom. Wicked was the musical where I began to understand the emotional side of musicals and the emotional connection side of musicals. I don’t have vivid memories of what it was like to see Wicked on Broadway, but the impact clearly shows. My relationship to Elphaba is very personal and she is my favorite musical character and she is one of the biggest reasons why Wicked is meaningful to me. I see a lot of myself in her because like her, I am smart, determined, talkative, big-hearted, unique and I believe in equality and staying true to myself.

The other two characters I love in Wicked are Glinda and Fiyero. Both of them bring an uniqueness to Wicked. The musical centers around the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. There is also the complicated love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero and no love triangle has been more complicated than this one.  Without Wicked, the emotional side of musicals would not have become what they are today.

Below is a picture of me when I saw the musical a fourth time. Wicked has changed a lot over the years and the show is still spectacular, but continues to improve over the years. The emotional side has changed because each time I see it I feel more and more vulnerable. “I’m Not That Girl” was interpreted as sad the first 3 times, but sometime between the third and fourth time, I was able to interpret that song as heartbreaking thanks to “On My Own”. “No Good Deed” was always a song I never looked forward to, but the portrayal I saw the fourth time, I finally found appreciation and finally picked up on its emotions. So, the emotions in Wicked have changed a lot over the years and so has my relationship with Elphaba.


Another meaningful musical is Les Mis. Les Mis showed me a side of musicals I always thought was impossible. Growing up, I was well aware of love, excitement, joy, and sad. I thought I knew the emotional world of musicals. My journey with Les Mis started when I saw the movie in December of 2012. But Les Mis showed me that musical emotions are way more than I once believed. I was able to discover heartbreak for the first time and was able to find real beauty in that musical. I even believed tragedies were impossible in the world of musicals, but Les Mis is a tragedy. I got the chance to see the show in the West End two years ago over the summer and that was my dream.

As far as the characters go, I have a strong emotional connection. It is home to some of the best musical characters. It has the compassionate and ex-convict Jean Valjean, the obsessive and strict Javert, the heartbreaking and loving Fantine, the innocent and curious Cosette, the revolutionary and romantic Marius, the brave and loyal Eponine, the courageous and passionate Enjolras and students, the heroic Gavroche, the funny and despicable Thenardiers.

With Les Mis, I was able to explore musicals deeper than ever before. I realized it was easier to find negative emotions and darkness in other musicals. I learned to dig deeper because I was trying to find the answer as to why such a heartbreaking musical is very uplifting and inspirational. I was able to discover that it is a story of sacrifice, humanity, compassion, hope, love, forgiveness, and redemption. Les Mis made me look at musicals fresh and made me explore musical emotions in a very different way.


Another meaningful musical of the more recent years is Rent. That musical taught me the importance of living the moment and the importance of measuring your life in love. It showed me just how precious life is. Like Les Mis, the musical is sad as well, but there is so much more to it than what initially meets the eye. The relationship found among the friends is like this one big family.


Newsies is another recent meaningful musical and is also the newest meaningful musical of my life. I saw it in August and I was emotionally connected in the very first scene. I just fell in love with the close bond between Crutchie and Jack. I also fell in love with the relationship between all the Newsies. Their story is inspiring of how they stood up for what they believed in when Pulitizer raised the price of the distribution papers. They fought back and went up against him. It showed me the importance of courage and that “courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face our fear”.


Annie and Sound of Music are two childhood meaningful musicals. They have been part of my life for longer than Wicked. I cannot fully explain why these two musicals are meaningful. They are meaningful in the sense that they have been a huge part of my musical journey. I loved both of those musicals in elementary school. Starting to see musicals at such a young has been beneficial to becoming the musical fanatic I am today.


In your opinion, what makes a musical meaningful?

25 thoughts on “What Makes a Musical Meaningful?

  1. Really great post! I feel like one of the biggest factors in finding meaningful musicals to me is being able to just lose myself in the musical in one way or another, whether that be through songs, plot, characters, etc.!


      • Definitely! I’m oftentimes surprised by the musicals that I find meaningful because so often I don’t expect it!


      • Sometimes I know that I will love a musical before actually seeing it. Two years ago, when I went to see both Music Man and Pippin, I knew I would fall in love with them. The same was also true for Newsies.

        But Les Mis was a huge shocker. I came into that movie unsure if I even wanted to go in the first place. Good thing I went and good thing my parents didn’t tell me Les Mis was tragic.


      • Yeah, definitely! I had a similar experience with when I saw Into the Woods for the first time! I just knew that I was gonna love it! Sometimes, though, musicals like Les Miz come along and completely take me by surprise!


      • I didn’t even like Into the Woods. Not enough songs appealed to me while watching.

        I knew I would love Pippin all because of “Corner of the Sky”. It was the song that made me want to see it and I saw a preview and I just knew I would love the musical. Knowing it was a Stephen Swartz musical, I had a big feeling I was going to love it. It was the most inexperienced musical of 2015.

        I knew I would love Music Man due to the songs I already learned to love through Pandora and what I already knew about the plot.

        Newsies, I had a feeling I would love the dance. I already heard four of the songs before and enjoyed them, but didn’t love them. But when you see songs in context, it makes you love musical songs even more than just hearing them on Pandora


      • With Into the Woods, I was kinda iffy on it the first time I saw it, but after seeing it a second time, I realized that I quite liked it.
        Pippin was one of those musicals that I loved right off the bat! It completely took my breath away and I still love just thinking about it even to this day!


      • I fell in love with Pippin from the very beginning. I was so in awe of the illusion of the Leading Player and eventually it was like she came out of nowhere. When the curtain dropped, I was so in awe of all of the circus tricks. I loved being able to sing in “No Time At All” when we were asked to sing along. At intermission, I wanted to buy the soundtrack: that’s how incredible it was.

        I literally would call Pippin the spectacle musical of 2015. It is crazy looking back on that musical year. Pippin was a musical I didn’t even see coming because it seemed like I wouldn’t get to see to it. Mom bought tickets the week before and there was only day left with tickets together.

        I never thought I would see not one, but four musicals in one year. It was fascinating having the inexperienced shows of Pippin and Music Man being the first two. And the experienced shows of Les Mis and Sound of Music the very last two


      • Yeah, that sounds awesome! I’m always so grateful that my high school teacher knew I liked musicals because if it weren’t for that, I’d probably never have found out about Pippin in time to see it that year!


      • If my dad didn’t have me listen to “Corner of the Sky”, I never would have wanted to see Pippin. It first came to Charlotte before 2015 and we missed it then. Then last minute when it came in 2015, my mom decided to take me.

        So my mom and I had two musical dates in the same summer with close orchestra seats. Pippin was five rows back and that was pretty good considering the fact that there was one day left with seats together. Les Mis was nine rows back from the stage and mom knew she wanted to give me the best seats possible at the Queen’s Theatre because it was my dream.


      • That’s super amazing! The best seats I’ve ever had were for when I went to see Les Miz on Broadway! I was up in the second mezzanine but I could see everything and it was amazing!


      • This year could mark the fifth time seeing the stage show. But if I do, it will be a bit of a coincidence. It is coming to Charlotte in December, the exact month my journey with the musical began five years later.


      • That’s awsome! It doesn’t stop by in Seattle until summer of 2018 but I’m already saving up for good seats!


      • Where I sit will have to be up to my parents. They already got me tickets to Rent as a Christmas present last year. So I don’t know where they will have the seats this time. I really hope I get to go and I have a good feeling I will


      • That’d be super awesome! I have a feeling that when I see Les Miz in 2018 (hopefully), I will probably have to go on my own. I’ve been tring to get some friends to come with me but I’m not sure how that will go.


      • My parents asked me if I could only take one of them, who would it be. That’s tough. I went with my mom last time while my dad didn’t get to go. But my mom also loves it. I was hoping it would be all three of us


  2. We enjoyed reading your blog, it is beautifully written. Although we are not familiar with the musicals, we are compelled to search Youtube now for these given here. Happy blogging!


  3. Musicals begin to be meaningful firstly by their tune. If one has a tune that you keep humming throughout the day (e.g. Seize the Day from Newsies). They then develop a new layer of meaning when a person finally gets around to listening to the songs in order, all the way through, sometimes with a Wikipedia page open to fill in the plot between songs (there was no way I could have listened to Next to Normal without Wikipedia, or Hamilton without Googling the lyrics). More meaning is added after a person has listened to the song so many times that they know every word but still react in tears, shock, or joy even though they have heard it happen a million times (let’s be honest – it still cuts deep when Hamilton betrays Eliza). I guess what I’m trying to say is a musical isn’t meaningful unless it grows on you.


    • I get what you are saying. Some musicals have grown on me over the years. Look at Wicked, it has been growing on me since 2006 and even last year, it grew on me once again. Les Mis grew on me as well and so has Newsies. Some of the meaningful musicals are part of my childhood and then there are the newer ones, which begins with the 2012 ones

      Liked by 1 person

      • The biggest one for me is Beauty and the Beast and the Phantom of the Opera. I have been quite a few times to see them, most though different companies, but they are all so good and only keep getting better. I’m so thankful to my parents for taking me to see them at such an early age!


      • I am thankful for seeing musicals at a very age. I hardly remember seeing musicals at that age. But it was important to see musicals at that young age. I enjoyed them then and musicals began to me where spectacle and dance meant the most.

        The emotions started mattering in middle school when I saw Wicked on Broadway. Wicked was how I actually began to understand the emotional side of musicals.

        Les Mis probably is the most meaningful musical of the most recent years. It turned me into a musical fanatic and I am obsessed with it. It showed me a side of musicals I never noticed growing up.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. For me it’s identifying with a character’s personality. For some reason, this is why Evita struck a chord with me more than anything else I’ve seen despite it not being the biggest hit!


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