Parallel Musical Theatre Songs

One of the key things to falling to love in a musical belong to the songs. They are what make you get to know the characters the most, and usually are what makes you form an emotional connection. Once you form an emotional connection, you usually have a strong desire to WANT to feel the emotions in the musical. So, are any musical songs that are parallel (as in alike)

Let It Go/Defying Gravity

These are two empowering songs from Frozen and Wicked. In addition, they are the the ending of the first Act. Sung by Elsa and Elphaba, they are songs about staying true to yourself. Even the melodies are kinda of similar- you wouldn’t figure that out unless you listen closely.

I’m Not That Girl/On My Own

I know there are multiple heartbreaking love songs, but I want to talk specifically about these two. I originally fell in love with “I’m Not That Girl” in 2006—–I don’t remember when I realized it was a song- either the first time I saw Wicked or the 2nd. I know the song was part of the love triangle, and also knew the song was deepening (but was totally unaware of certain elements of the song). Another song would help me figure out “I’m Not That Girl” even further.

“On My Own” would strongly help out “I’m Not That Girl”. After all, “On My Own is sung by Eponine, who sings a stronger and more powerful unrequited love song. I was totally unaware of heartbreak until Les Mis entered my life- it actually took me an entire year to realize “On My Own” was a heartbreaking song. Actually two things helped “I’m Not That Girl”- making the connection to “On My Own” and memorizing its lyrics- by learning the lyrics, I found a lot more insight in the song. So, that really would mean “I’m Not That Girl” was actually the first unrequited love I fell in love with—–just didn’t understand it fully.

I really think my love for Elphaba explains where my love for Eponine might have come from. If you actually think about their similarities- both born into the wrong family, taken advantage of, and dealing with unrequited love (but will something improve for one for them??.

Memory/I Dreamed a Dream

Yes, this one may not make sense. “Memory” is my favorite song from Cats, and sung by Grizabella, and first heard it in elementary school- it was an emotionless song for a pretty long time. “I Dreamed a Dream” is sung by Fantine and is about broken dreams, and a heartbreaking song, and always drives me to tears, not matter who sings.

So, what does “I Dreamed a Dream” have to with “Memory”. You really have to think to understand this. If you actually think about it, Grizabella used to have a happy life—–kinda of like Fantine used to have a better life. Grizabella expresses that in “Memory” and also reflects on her tragic life in the presents———doesn’t that sound similar to “I Dreamed a Dream”- after all, Fantine is reflecting on the past and the present in the song (about the time she was happy, and also about the tragic life she has now).

So in ways, Grizabella and Fantine are kinda of parallel characters- yes, I am comparing a cat to a human.

The First Heartbreaking Musical Theatre Song I Loved

One of the many things I love about musicals is the emotional nature. They actually have developed so much over the years- from the time I started seeing musical to now. They have grown a lot due to getting older and discovering more musicals. One of my all-time favorite emotions belongs to heartbreak, which was invisible for a pretty long time.

I didn’t actually pick up on the emotional side of musicals until Wicked. Before I picked up on heartbreak, sad came first. At least I wasn’t blind to the fact that musicals were capable of sad songs, and that they were common. Well, I NEVER thought heartbreak would enter musicals- boy was I so wrong. Les Mis would really teach me a number of things- heartbreak entered for the first time.

So, what really was the first heartbreaking musical theatre song I fell in love with?

Memory

JEMIMA:
Daylight
See the dew on a sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses wither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day

MUNKUSTRAP (spoken):
Now old Deuteronomy
Just before dawn
Through a silence you feel you could cut with a knife
Announces the cat who can now be reborn
And come back to a different jellical life

GRIZABELLA:
Memory, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember a time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale, cold smell of morning
The street lamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning…

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn’t give in
When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too
And a new day
Will begin

JEMIMA:
Sunlight through
The trees in summer
Endless mascarading

JEMIMA & GRIZABELLA:
Like a flower
As the dawn is breaking
The memory is fading

GRIZABELLA:
Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun

Memory, Cats

By the way, I discovered “Memory” was heartbreaking due to “I Dreamed a Dream”. Something made me realize that they are similar songs. Just like Fantine, Grizabella used to have a better life and than everything became tragic. She somehow, for unknown reasons, became an outcast in the Jellicale tribe. “Memory” reflects on her past life and how everything became worse—-doesn’t sound similar to “I Dreamed a Dream”?

Memory Analysis

Even though Cats doesn’t have much of a plot, there are still some incredible songs. Memory is my favorite song from the musical, which is heartbreaking. As a matter of fact, the song reminds me of “I Dreamed a Dream”. If you actually think it about, it does make sense. When I made the connection, I was able to realize Memory was a heartbreaking song- if I never made the connection, Memory would still be just an emotionless song.

[Jemima]

Daylight
See the dew on a sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses wither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day

[Grizabella]

Memory, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember a time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale, cold smell of morning
The street lamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning…

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn’t give in
When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too
And a new day
Will begin

Sunlight through
The trees in summer
Endless mascarading

[Jemima and Grizabella]

Like a flower
As the dawn is breaking
The memory is fading

[Grizabella]

Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun

In a way, Grizabella reminds me of Fantine. Think about it- both used to have better lives, but eventually things became tragic for both of them. In Memory, Grizabella thinks of the life she used to have while still reflecting on her current life. Grizabella has, for some reason, became an outcast. As the song says “I knew what happiness was”- so she did have an incredible past life, but now her life became tragic for some reason- reasons we never get to know.

May 2020 in Review

As it is finally June, it is time of my month of review. What were some of my highlights.

For Starters

I once again had to find another postponement for a musical that I strongly wanted to see this year. Now, Frozen, the musical I wanted to see the most got postponed. That honestly made no sense- that musical is coming in October, and it was only May when they decided to postpone it. Plus, I found out that Tootsie, a musical coming in November, was postponed as well. Discovering that Tootsie was postponed, it did make me nervous about Wicked due to Tootsie happening a month before Wicked.

Highlights

Disney Sing A-Long (V2)- they decided to do another. It was a different collection of songs. They did this on Mother’s Day- there were three songs that related to that: “You’ll being My heart”, “Baby Mine”, and “Your Mother and Mine”. That entire collection was dedicated to mothers- it even included the Zootopia Theme Song, Beauty and the Beast and, Remember Me, and A Whole New World. At least that happened.

CATS- This time around, I saw the filmed stage show. It is such a fun and enjoyable musical to watch. Even though it basically has no plot, there are still characters to love and dance to love. This is one of the simple musicals that has a heartbreaking song in it- “Memory” and the others are fun, exciting, and once there even was a scary one in a way (“Macavity”).

Blumenthal Highlight- They decided to add a new musical to its 20/21 season. Hadestown was added to the mix. Hadestown was a musical I have been fascinated by since it swept the Tonys of 2019. Due to the tour coming next October, there could be a strong enough chance it will not be postponed.

Relearning Les Mis- back in Fall 2014 and Summer 2015, I learned how to play Les Mis on the piano. I would always play them each time I got back from GWU. However, once I graduated, I took a long break from playing them. Now, I am so out of practice, meaning I would have to relearn how to play them.

Simple Musicals- What makes Them Simple

While yesterday, I talked about what makes musicals complex. I decided to do the complete opposite and describe what makes a musical simple. The idea of simple and complex musicals might be confusing to some people. So what exactly makes a musical simple?

Songs

The songs in these musicals tend to just consist of happy songs. They don’t really have negative emotions in their songs. But some actually do, but the sad song most likely will not be strong enough to get a strong emotional reaction. However, I have come across one simple musical that has a heartbreaking song in it, but that is rare in the simple musicals.

Plot

Well, you can’t really find subplots in them. The only subplot you most likely will find is a romantic subplot. They range from not having a plot or having a plot, but not much to it. That means it is very easy to follow the plot and not having many things happening throughout the entire musical.

Characters

The main character usually is not that complex. There are only a few words you can use to even describe the protagonist. It can be difficult to even find a complex character, and if there is—-most likely they might be the only complex character. I tend to lean towards complex plots and characters, but I still can love a simple musical. A lot of these characters usually tend be without their flaws and only have strengths.

Emotional Connection

Just like complex musicals, it still is possible that you will form an emotional connection. But, it can be easier to form an strong emotional connection in complex musicals because the characters feel more real and believable.

Examples of Simple Musicals

  1. Cats- that is the only musical where I have found a heartbreaking song (“Memory”)
  2. Mamma Mia
  3. Annie

Can you think of other simple musicals?