There are different types of musicals in our lives. The ones that tend to stay with us the longest are the ones that are truly meaningful. Those have the songs and characters and stories that continue to live in us—long after the curtain falls. There are even some meaningful musicals that only have a film- as in we still haven’t seen the stage show yet (but they already have become meaningful).
This one was pretty obvious. Hard to believe that this musical entered my life 15 years ago- August 2006. My mom and I were in NYC, and we went to Broadway to see Wicked. Little did I know that when I saw the show that I would be changed “for good”. This musical actually sparked my love for musicals. I truly started to understand the world of musicals because of Wicked.
That is because I truly started to understand emotional connection- a highly important part of a number of emotions. I began to understand the complex and emotional side to musical. Complex- I started to pick up on the fact that musicals are capable of being complex in both stories and with characters. Emotional- well, I began to be aware of four core emotions (excitement, love, joy, and sad). This all started to be understood during the first two viewings of the musicals.
The picture below is from NYC!!
Well, while Wicked sparked my love for musicals, no passion was created. Les Mis would be the final step—it decided to challenge a NUMBER of things I THOUGHT I knew about musicals. I told myself ALL musicals were HAPPY, that DEATH wouldn’t be memorable, and thought the EMOTIONS were as strong as they were going to be. I was telling myself, I will never love a tragedy (that was my high-school self).
Les Mis decided to prove me wrong. I was able to discover that tragedies exist in musicals. In addition, the emotion of heartbreak decided to enter- it really did help that sad already existed. Even death started to become memorable- after all, songs happen at a character’s death (wasn’t expecting that either). Usually in a musical, I can choose my favorite song, but can’t in Les Mis. Les Mis’ songs are a mixture of epic, powerful, passionate, and highly emotional songs. In addition, there were always be a character you will emotionally bond to- I actually emotionally connected to most of the principal characters (Jean Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Eponine, Enjolras and the students). I am an emotional wreck each time I watch Les Mis- doesn’t matter if it is the film, a filmed concert, the stage show, or the soundtrack.
I was able to realize tragedies are so much more. Les Mis is a story of hope, sacrifice, love, redemption, humanity, and forgiveness. Just about ALL the major characters have some sort of HOPE and have LOVE (love meaning NOT just connected to romance—-some have it by family, country, friendship, or God).
Rent is another meaningful heartbreaking musical. This sounds strange to say, but I fell in love with Rent before Les Mis. That was only because I fell in love with Rent by songs alone——meaning things were out of context resulting in NOT knowing the plot or who the characters were. Rent has already proved to be meaningful and became more and more meaningful as time went on.
The message of Rent is a HUGE reason why it means something to be. The musical’s motto is “No Day but Today”. As in, it shows you should live in the moment and in love. Seasons of Love, the show’s title song, says “how do you measure, a year in the life, how about love”.
There is another reason why the musical means something to me- I am finding that I really can relate to the character. Yes, the musical focuses on those dealing with HIV/AIDS, but struggling with Epilepsy can present some similar emotions—-stress, uncertainty, fear. Even though I struggle with something different, I still can understand some of their struggles due to the Epilepsy I deal with. Les Mis and Rent are the heartbreaking musicals that make me an emotional wreck.
Courage cannot erase our Fear
Courage is when we face our FearSeize the Day
The moment I heard those lyrics in Seize the Day, I realized Newsies is a meaningful musical. This is actually the NEWEST stage Disney musical to enter my life. I remember being mind-blown by the dance when I first saw the stage show August of 2016. Crazy how just a few lyrics can tell you whether or not a musical is meaningful?
Lion King/Aladdin/Beauty and the Beast
Why did I just group all four of these Disney musicals together? That is because ALL of them are meaningful. Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast are childhood musicals. There is something about the childhood musicals that no other musical can recreate. The songs that really stuck with me growing up happen to be the main love song from each of them. There is just something so magical about Disney romance.
I really wanted to see this musical in 2020, as in the one I wanted to see the MOST. But due to COVID, it had to be postponed. At least, the US Tour of Frozen will resume in September and making it back to Charlotte in June of 2022. I really think part of my love for Frozen comes from Wicked- there are a couple of similarities- Elphaba/Elsa, Glinda/Anna, Friendship/Sisterhood, and Defying Gravity/Let it Go. I actually really believe that excellent Elsa actresses can play excellent Elphaba’s and vice versa. As a matter of fact, the stage show of Frozen improved their beginning—–I have the Original Broadway Soundtrack. However, the tour cut out my favorite added song—“True Love”, a heartbreaking song meant for Anna (seriously??? she is one of our two protagonists).
Of ALL Disney musicals, I still really want to see Frozen and Beauty and the Beast, two I still haven’t seen in person.
Annie is my favorite childhood musical. A lot of that comes from the character of Annie, who is optimistic, one of my strongest characteristics.
Sound of Music
Just like the Disney musicals and Annie, I grew up on Sound of Music. That is a HUGE reason why Sound of Music is my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Full of a wide range of memorable songs. Edelweiss, my favorite song from the musical, was my first piano recital song. When I finally saw the stage show, I felt like like a kid again. Even when Edelweiss hit me at a more emotional level, that childhood nostalgia was still in the musical.
There is a HUGE chance I left off some other meaningful musicals, but this is what I came up with for now. Those were just the easiest to think of.