Musicals have a reputation for being comedies. I did fall in the trap of believing ALL of them were happy and comic. At least, I knew the negative emotions were common- this was back when Wicked was a part of my life- as in pre Les Mis. Just like the negative emotions, positive emotions serve a very important role in musicals.
Think about life in general. What does it consist of? It consists of BOTH positive and negative times. So, having the positive emotions and the negative emotions in one musical keep it strong. Then there’s the obvious concept of believability found in the characters.
In addition, balance is key. A musical would get WAY too extreme if it just had negative emotions. You want a break from those negative emotions. Or just want musicals that are known for just having positive emotions- think Music Man and Mamma Mia: they help balance out musicals that have both sides- the positive and negative. Musicals having their reputation for being comic would usually find a way to provide comic relief- they would not let tragedies literally be filled with just tragic moments and not at least give you a break for once. All musicals I love have their positive emotions- yes even the tragedies. I would not want to go to a musical and discover there isn’t positive emotions period- that would make a musical TOO DEPRESSING: you saw that right.
As a matter of fact, excitement is the strongest emotion in musicals. Your excitement level is one of the emotions as well as the moments in musicals that are meant to be exciting (NOT talking about the moments that are meant to make you feel heartbroken).
So positive and negative emotions are a huge part in telling the story and making it come to life. How would you feel if ALL you are feeling are the negative emotions- that would not be the best feeling. That would make you possibly not want to go back to that musical. While shows like Les Mis are constant heartbreak, there are still positive emotions going on- hope, love, and passion are three examples in that tragedy.
What I am basically saying is you need balance between the positive and the negative emotions or else I feel like the story would fail and the characters’ journeys’ wouldn’t really matter. A good chunk of my favorite musicals have both sides- positive and negative emotions.