High Hopes for Wicked

One of the hardest things about COVID was dealing with disappointments. We had to put a pause on some of the most important parts of our lives. For me, one of those belonged to musical theatre. 2020 was the first year musicals got postponed. You would think the postponement of Wicked would be a major disappointment, but it actually wasn’t. That was because I had already seen it four times.

Wicked, actually, is the musical that will open up Blumenthal 21/22 season. Blumenthal recently announced when tickets will go on sale for those were are not season ticket holder. Waiting for that felt like longer than usual. That was due to COVID- we had no idea when we would see musicals again. There is something interesting about Wicked being this year. September 2021- do you know how long Wicked has been part of my life? August 2006 was my first visit to the musical- in NYC at the Gershwin Theater. So, I will be seeing the musical this year at a major milestone- 15 years.

My favorite storylines in the musical are the friendship and the love triangle. Elphaba and Glinda have a very powerful and beautiful friendship. The love triangle between Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda is actually my favorite musical theatre love triangle. Part comes from it being the first one I emotionally bonded with. Another part comes from how complex it is.

Has Rent Aged Well?

In 1996, the Rock musical, Rent, came to the Nederlander Theater on Broadway. It was based of the tragic opera, La Bohème, which is a tragic love story between Rodolfo and Mimi. It has become of the successful musicals. It centers around the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Rent deals with a lot of controversial topics such as the LGBT community and a drug addict. Tragically, Johnathon Larson, the composer of the musical, died the day before the first preview, but his legacy lives on in the musical.

It has been debated whether or not Rent has aged well or not. I fell in love with Rent September of 2012 by songs alone. In my opinion, Rent has aged well. Just because the HIV/AIDS epidemic is long gone, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t aged well. Don’t forget, last year, we started being in the middle of a pandemic—so it does connect to that. Its message of living in the moment and living life in love is still relevant. Same with the other controversial topics. As a matter of fact, I actually can relate to the characters of Rent- yes, I don’t have HIV, but have Epilepsy. True, not the same thing, but the struggles are similar- as in the stresses, the anxiety, and the fear. I can understand what they are going through.

Just like Les Mis, I am an emotional wreck in Rent. Rent actually led me to wanting to see La Bohème. I originally started with seeing the Met’s live stream of the opera in cinemas- and eventually saw the opera in person. La Bohème was the final show I saw in 2020- it was through Opera Carolina.

Friendship Love- The Importance

Yes, it is true romance is more common than other types of love. However, it seems as if friendship love is just as beautiful. It also seems to be the 2nd most common form of love. Just like romance, the friendships do vary. Love is important- sometimes a friendship is the only type of love certain characters have in life. Some of these friendships are easy to see as family. Here are some of the friendships that exist in musicals- all of them are friendships I love. Aladdin and his friends are the newest ones to enter my life.

  1. Newsies
  2. Jack Kelly and Crutchie
  3. Friends of the ABC
  4. Elphaba and Glinda
  5. Marius and Eponine
  6. Lumiere and Cogsworth
  7. Aladdin, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim
  8. Rent Batch
  9. Roger and Mark

I can easily see the Newsies, Friends of the ABC, and the Friends In Rent as family. That is especially true for the Newsies- many of them are homeless, have no family, and are runaways. They literally are family and do support each other and have Jack Kelly as their leader.

Love is important. It is something we all desire. We want to feel safe. We desire that affection. Love comes in many forms- that can show up through family, friends, or romance. Who wants to feel unloved? We want to know that someone cares. Some of these characters never felt love before they had a friend- because it was inexistent in the home or they lost their parents at a young age and had to start learning how to live on their own.

Another look at Marius

Just like Fiyero from Wicked, Marius is more complex than he seems. In addition, the two of them are the romantic male leads of Wicked and Les Mis. Marius is a revolutionary, who is part of a love triangle- Eponine and Cosette take up the other two thirds. Now I will talk a lot more in detail about him. Marius gets a lot of hate from Les Mis fans for the most absurd of reasons- I do not agree with what a number of others say about him.

Major Spoilers:

Marius, in general, is a kind, sweet, romantic, compassionate, awkward, and brave revolutionary- not the jerk everyone claims that he is (the real jerks of musical theatre are the villains). He is close friends to both Enjolras and Eponine. He is a member of the Friends of the ABC, which Enjolras is leader of. Well- I have heard people say he did not treat Eponine fairly- well, I disagree once again. I believe he was a good friend to her: he was kind, and he was someone that she needed in her life- his kindness moved her to fall in love with him: she was never shown kindness growing up. While other people in Eponine’s life were cruel towards her, at least she had Marius even though he only loved her as a friend. He was in love with Cosette- their love brought a lot of hope into Les Mis- they were meant for each other. Yes, he asked Eponine to find Cosette for him, but he never treated her unfairly: even Eponine would say that. He might have been oblivious to Eponine’s love for him- but that does not mean he should have fallen in love with her. The love he had for Eponine was as a friend more than anything.

Marius was struggling between his love for Cosette and his passion for the uprising. At the same time, he had a political conflict going on with his grandfather. All of this combined does make him more complex than he seems on the surface.

You strongly saw Marius’ bravery and compassion in act II. At the beginning of the uprising, he saw Eponine there. He actually was worried about her and for her safety. That is why he sent her away with that letter to Cosette. He was trying to protect her from getting hurt or worse killed from the uprising. Right when Marius saw that Eponine did actually come back to the barricade- he did ask why she came back- that was because he was worried. It was a few moments later when Eponine collapsed in his arms (a few scenes back, she sacrificed herself for him). This totally devastated him once he saw she was shot and noticing how severe it was- he knew he was going to lose her. You realized that she did mean something to him. In this scene- Marius could have left her to die alone- but he didn’t. He stayed there to hold her and comfort her- that is compassion (how can some people not see that). Marius knew she lived a tough life- after she died, he said “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. Marius was Eponine’s light in her life.

Even after losing Eponine, he still had to fight- so his bravery comes from being a revolutionary. What happens to Marius at the barricades is quite traumatic for him- first he lost Eponine and later Enjolras and the rest of his friends. He is the only survivor- he was only able to come out alive due to Eponine and Jean Valjean- it was Jean Valjean, who ultimately saved his life after being severely injured. Survivor’s guilt happened to him while still being happy with Cosette- those two do not deserve to be hated at all. Cosette took care of Marius while he was recovering from his wounds at the barricades-that does show her love for him. It might seem as if Marius and Cosette have their happily ever after, but they still have their tragedies. Marius only has Cosette at the end- Cosette suffered as a child and lost her adopted father. These two have to be together especially because Cosette represents hope and light- Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get rid of one tiny thing, the entire story falls apart.

Of all the survivors in Les Mis, Marius is my favorite character.

A bit of recap on Tale of the Cattail Forest

I decided to recap people about Tale of the Cattail Forest because I assume there are some people reading my blog who have no idea what I am talking about. Earlier, I did an update saying I am on my 4th draft, but to some people they might be thinking what on earth is this book I am working on. That is why I will bring things up again.

Sparkle befriends Marge, which begins a cycle of friendship between the Fairy Frogs and Toads. What happens when Sarge tries to get in the way?

The Cattail Forest- What is It?

  • Well, from the title it is obvious there is something important to that location. Well, my entire story takes place there. Deer, birds, chipmunks, butterflies, and lastly The Fairy Frogs and toads. Why did I put Fairy Frogs and Toads last- they are the ones who create all 13 characters of my book. Graysloup is home to the Toads and Fairy Creek is home to the Fairy Frogs (they first lived in a Cattail Marsh). Let me explain the location and what these creatures are further:

Fairy Frogs

  • They are deeply compassionate, clever, and naturally gifted in the arts. They are spring green with translucent wings with a gold trim. Starting at age 3, they start to figure out what their craft is- sometimes it is age 3 they find it and at the latest they discover it at age 5. It can be a different craft- some are dancers, some are singers, some are performers, some are woodcarvers, some are painters, some are potters: get the picture. Here’s how they figure out their craft: they usually are paired with a Fairy Frog from the age of 12-18, and by spending time with them: the older ones can easily see if they have the talents in their craft or not. The average age tends to be four. Even though ALL Fairy Frogs are deeply compassionate, clever, and artists, they still have their own distinct personalities.

Fairy Creek

  • It has various creeks lined with pebbles that the Fairy Frogs painted. Floating in the creeks are yellow flowers. In the middle of where they live is a grove of trees, which has treehouses. The treehouses are where they sleep and do some artwork: there is actually one bigger one: to do a big project for when it rains for instance. The treehouses are round with some moss on them. Connecting these trees are blue and pink bridges. At the bottom of the trees, there are small red mushrooms with white dots. To the left, there is a Daisy-shaped Gazebo.

Fairy Frog Characters:

Sparkle: I listed her first because she is the main character of the book. She is a 12-year-old drawer frog who discovered her craft at age three. She has blue eyes that sparkle like a pot of gold in the sun and has magenta wings. She and Misty have been best friends since they were five. She is usually seen with a gold and silver backpack with a pink “S” in the middle- it holds colored pencils, pencils, pens, sketchbooks, and paper in it. She is very invested in her craft- she will literally draw anything- really. She is my adventurous, courageous, stubborn, and rebellious frog. She does not listen well to authority-she easily can get in trouble by Aries, their leader. She really does not like working with Tweetsie due to how energetic she is. That has already happened a lot in the past- getting in trouble. The plot actually really started when she got really invested in a Graysloup drawing (it is against the rules to be in Graysloup). As a result, she discovered Marge and found out about Marge’s situation with Sarge and the truth about the toads. So, she went above and beyond with her compassion.

Misty- Same age as Sparkle. She is a singer frog, who discovered her craft at age five, but close to six. She is wearing a dress. She is quite protective of Sparkle meaning she does not want her friend to get in trouble. When she knows that Sparkle may not be telling the truth or even in Graysloup or can’t find her- she may not even go to Aries, but to Darcy and Felipe first (they are two of the older Fairy Frogs- still only teenagers). She is the one most likely to discover her friendship with Marge and that she was in Graysloup before anyone else.

Aries- In his 30s. He does act as three things in my book: he is actually their leader, he is head carpenter, and uncle of Darcy (his sister is Darcy’s mother). He is a confident and good leader, but can easily doubt himself at times so he has to go to Darcy at times for advice. He does wear a red carpenter hat with a white “A”. He came up with the rule of “do not interact with the toads or enter Graysloup” to protect them. At the time though, he did not know what was really going on. So, Sparkle kept on not listening to him: she did go to Graysloup, befriended Marge, among other things that are not allowed. However, he eventually warmed up to the toads and their situation.

Darcy- He is 15 years old and his best friend is Felipe. He has a craft for sculpture: not clay sculptures, but abstract sculptures. He does have to give his Uncle Aries advice at times. He is usually wearing a belt that has pieces of a sculptures on the belt itself and in the slots has sculpture supplies. He and his best friend are kinda of similar, but yet different.

Felipe- He is only 14 years old. Like I already said, he and Darcy are best friends. He is my woodcarver Fairy Frog. Just like Darcy, usually seen wearing a belt, but his working belt has the finish look- he would have woodcarving tools in his belt. What ignores Felipe the most is when Celeste asks to borrow one of his tools because usually she does not bring them back or does lose them.

Celeste- She is only 8 years old. She has started the age of experimenting a lot more with your craft. She is my potter and she has started to learn about making pots- that is all she knows how to make now. I have decided she will wear an apron so she wouldn’t get clay all over herself. Since she only has just a few pottery tools, she has to borrow tools from others- for some reason, she has to ask from Felipe. Even though Felipe is a woodcarver and she is a potter, she still asks from him. It is true- she sometimes does forget to return them or does lose them- do you blame her: she is eight. She is allowed to leave Fairy Creek, but not allowed to go far since she is still young.

Tweetsie- Actually, when I first had a list of characters, she wasn’t even on there. So originally Celeste was going to be my youngest. Tweetsie is only five years old and still does not know her natural gift in the arts: same situation Misty found herself in- it can be frustrating. She will be wearing a pink bow. She is the most energetic of the batch. You might think that is all there is to her since she is only five, but there is more: she is actually a brave character as well. Might be minor, but love her.


  • They are grey green. Some have warts and others do have bumps. They actually have no real talent of their own. My book focuses a lot more on the Fairy Frogs since Sparkle is the main character after all.


  • Think about what it is like to sleep underneath a highway where it is humid, muggy, and murky all the time. It has a lot of mud, big rocks, creeks (but not clear), and ditches/trenches. That is the toads reality all the time. They are mistreated a lot and are quite lonely. Only one toad can see the reality of Graysloup. The toads’ leader is not really being much of a leader at all: he actually is the antagonist of my novel: Sarge.

Toad Characters

Sarge- Talking about him can be heartbreaking. He is my antagonist. He is only 17 years old and never had a a proper family growing up. His mother left him at age 4, which left him with an abusive and cruel father. He was left mistreated from 4-13. At age 13, his father left him leaving him to be in charge of Graysloup. He is actually supposed to be leader of the Toads. He is confused, conflicted and jealous (of both the Fairy Frogs and his cousin). He even still has nightmares about his past. He only had one source of comfort growing up: “The Bog”- the one place his father never knew existed: he made that a playground of sorts.

He is still quite bitter and angry about what happened- he put his pain on others and his easiest target was Marge, his 12-year-old cousin. His father and Marge’s father were brothers: both were raised by loving parents: Marge ended up with a loving father so what happened? How did one end up with a loving father while the other ended up with this monster? He wants to break up a friendship from being created: the one between Sparkle/Marge and the one that began to be created through the Fairy Frogs/Toads. What Sarge needs more than anything is the right type of affection: he can’t see the compassion and love that is obviously right in front of him during the events unfolding.

Norg- He is only 19 years old. He is actually one of the most interesting characters of my book. I had a hard time understanding why Sarge trusted Norg and why Norg somehow knew Sarge’s father. There had to be explanation. Norg is kinda of a secondary antagonist since he does act as Sarge’s spy in the beginning but later after an incident with Sarge, Norg sides with the Fairy Frogs. It is an interesting development. Still, there had to be a reason for some things happening-that is why it made perfect sense why Sarge and Norg had a short friendship. It seems as if Norg forgot about that and remembered who Sarge’s father was. It all makes sense to me and seems to develop both Sarge and Norg further.

Marge- She is only 12 years old and is Sarge’s younger cousin. Unlike the situation with Sarge, she grew up with loving parents. You would think her father would take Sarge in, but it is not that simple. Marge’s father only couldn’t take Sarge in because he did not want Marge’s uncle to hurt Marge- see what I mean by “it’s complicated”. Marge is truly the main toad who knows what it really going on in Graysloup. She knows how lonely all of the toads are and that all of them needed to be shown some compassion. She is Sarge’s easiest target, and she was mistreated by Sarge since she was 8.5. Being related to Sarge made her feel like an outsider and actually made the other toads misunderstand her. At such a young age, she ended up having this incredible amount of wisdom- she was able to stand up to her cousin and knew what Graysloup desperately needed. All she truly wanted was to be shown compassion and have a friend- that was why it was important for Sparkle to enter her life. It was their idea for all the Fairy Frogs to befriend the toads. Marge was the one who actually told Aries about the full situation in Graysloup.

Claude- He is only 15 and does end up becoming friends with Darcy/Felipe since all three of them are about the same age. It is not in his heart to mistreat anyone: he only does it because he is demanded to: so he is a perfect example of how Sarge runs Graysloup.

Effa/Rudy- They are twin identical sisters, who are only 10 years old. I like to call them “peas in a pod”. They are usually seen together and are that close to each other. They end up becoming friends with Celeste.


Yes, I do have 13 characters. Each are meant to be in my book. I think the main theme found in my book is friendship. It is in the power of friendship that keeps it alive. What I learned from writing is that sometimes characters write part of the story themselves. That can surprise me because they might do something that you thought was not possible.