I may be a musical theatre fanatic, but I do love some musicals more than others. Well, to be honest, two musicals are tied for my favorite. Two severely and very meaningful ones are up there. One is a fantasy and the other is a tragedy.
Loved for 15 years. Yes, I first saw the musical in NYC August of 2006- at the time, it was a date with my mom, and “Popular” was my favorite song. The other four times were on tour in Charlotte. What was the importance of Wicked? For starters, I began to understand emotional connection, a vital part to the musical experience. Emotional connection is the WANT, DESIRE, and REASON, to feel the emotions. Wicked also was when I started to understand the emotional and complex side to musicals in both character and plot. In addition, it was home to the first love triangle I emotionally bonded to, one of the reasons why it is my favorite musical theatre love triangle.
Well, Elphaba played an important part in my life. To this day, she remains my favorite musical theatre character. Just like her, I know what its like to be different. Because of Wicked, there were important things I knew I wanted in musicals- spectacle, dance, comedy, romance, positive and negative emotions, and a strong emotional connection. I literally thought ALL musicals were happy and comic, and capable of sad moments, but little did I know how things would change and be challenged.
Well, you would think this is my favorite musical, but why hasn’t it soared past Wicked? It has to do with some of the things Wicked has that Les Mis doesn’t. Les Mis actually challenged a LOT on what I thought about musicals. Yes, sad was already at the forefront, but I didn’t know about heartbreak or tragic musicals. Even death was unmemorable and didn’t happen during song.
To get Les Mis in my life, I had to be “tricked” when I saw the musical film- by not being told it was a tragedy. That was because I had told myself I will never love a tragedy in high school. When I found out, I was confused and shocked. After the film ended, I didn’t know what to think of Les Mis. Despite that, a few days or weeks later, started researching the musical.
For whatever reason, in March 2013, I gave the film a 2nd chance and the rest is history. I was able to discover Les Mis was uplifiting. Here is my rule about a musical not having spectacle or dance- something has to make up for it. Les Mis is so powerful, emotional, passionate and epic. It has several characters to form emotional connections to and easily makes you an emotional wreck- a combo of goosebumps and tears. I learned to like tragedies because of Les Mis. I was able to finally discover the emotion of heartbreak and learn that even death can be memorable. By the way, I saw the stage show six times.