Tragedies in Musicals

What tragedies are in the musical theatre world? At first glance, there really aren’t many tragedies that exist with musicals. True, there are a LOT of tragic moments, but may not necessarily be in a tragedy. So, what musicals automatically come to mind?

  1. Hadestown
  2. Miss Saigon
  3. West Side Story
  4. Rent
  5. Les Mis

How do you think I discovered the genre of tragic musicals? I learned about that genre the hard way. Les Mis was the beginning, but had to be given a 2nd chance. True, I started in the movie theatre with the film, but didn’t really know if I liked the musical or not. Good thing I gave that movie a 2nd chance in March 2013- the rest is history after that. In some ways, it was more of a combo of Rent and Les Mis that made me love tragedy. I really once thought I would NEVER love a tragedy.

Rent did led me to giving opera a chance- due to it being based off of La Bohème (which is my favorite opera). Since I love Greek Mythology, it is of no surprise that I am fascinated by Hadestown- which luckily is coming to Charlotte later this year.

Musicals I hope to See- why?

Just like bookworms have their TBR list, you also have a TBW for musicals. That is specifically referring to musicals you hope to see in person. This time, I thought of writing out that TBW list, and say why.

Hadestown

I have been fascinated by this musical since it swept the Tonys. Ever since I heard it was based off a Greek Myth, I knew I just had to see this musical. I have always loved Greek Mythology- so that would come of no surprise I wanted to see this tragic love story. I have listened to like two to three songs. It is coming to Charlotte October of 2021- hopefully that is enough time for Blumenthal to open their doors up for musicals.

Oliver

I will start by saying that I did see the stage show of Oliver back in 2007, but have no recollection of seeing. After reading the book and seeing the movie musical, I really want to see the stage show. I want an actual memory of seeing the stage show.

Beauty and the Beast

It is just one of two Disney musicals I still need to see in person. It is such a magical and romantic musical. I once thought I did see the stage show, but turns out that isn’t true. I somehow came across the stage songs- I think through Pandora. It hasn’t toured for a long time or even had a revival on Broadway.

Frozen

I would have seen this musical if COVID never hit. I already had tickets to see Frozen this month, but not happening. I have loved the animated film since 2013. Right when I heard about the stage show, I knew I had to see the musical. I somehow heard some of the new songs- which I did fall in love with. If you think about it, it shares a number of parallels to Wicked. Of all contemporary princesses, I relate to Anna the most.

Something Rotten

I did fall in love with a few songs from this musical. That is basically what made me want to see it. It came to Charlotte before, but missed it. So now have to wait till that tours again. It actually takes place during one of my favorite time periods of history- The Renaissance.

Once

There was a year (I think 2015) where I had to choose between Once and Pippin. I had seen the actual film, and did quite like those songs. Once is one of those musicals where you literally have to be a quadruple threat- that is because the actors are actually playing instruments on stage. So you have to know how to play an instrument, act, sing, and dance. I feel like seeing this musical would give a different kinda of nature to musicals- their songs are sort of different then what you think. My favorite song, as of now, is “Falling Slowly”.

Anastasia

Well- I would have tried to get tickets this year if the pandemic didn’t get in the way. Due to already falling in love with five songs, I knew I had to see this musical. Just by listening to songs such as “Journey to the Past”, “In a Crowd of Thousands”, “My Petersburg”, “In My Dreams”, and “Once Upon a December”, I was able to learn a little bit about Anya and Dimitri.

Wicked

Why do you think this was one of the ones I said last? Well, I already saw Wicked four times, and due to that wasn’t too disappointed of the postponement of the musical this year. Wicked always tours to Charlotte- at Ovens Auditorium, the biggest Blumenthal theater. I know there is still a lot more to be found in the musical- that is so true for the love triangle. I overlook a lot of things in Wicked- except for the love triangle and friendship.

Les Mis

Like Wicked, I have seen this musical a lot. The stage show totals six times- crazily enough, saw it every other year. 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019 were the years I saw it- 2013 was 3x times due to ushering twice for that production. Last year, my mom managed to keep a Les Mis secret- I found out I was seeing the musical in October, but my mom got the tickets in January. This was actually the 2nd date I saw Les Mis with my mom- she did take me to the West End show of Les Mis.

Les Mis is always one that list of TBW. It is such a powerful, epic, and emotional musical. The reaction the stage show gives me is incredible. I have always been an emotional wreck- well, not always. That response was built up over time. Massive Les Mis fans were probably understand why it keeps on being added back to that list.

What about you- what musicals keep on being on that list?

New Songs I Love/Like in Musicals

This post is a different kind of list post. This is not related to any of the musicals I already saw. These belong to songs I heard from musicals, but not yet seen them. This does include musical soundtracks where I haven’t heard the entire soundtrack- which is why Frozen counts- obviously heard the songs from animated movie, but not all the Broadway Musical songs.

  1. Journey to the Past
  2. In a Crowd of Thousands
  3. Once upon a December
  4. My Petersburg
  5. In My Dreams
  6. Wait for Me
  7. If it’s True
  8. A Musical
  9. Welcome to the Renaissance
  10. What do You know about Love
  11. Monster
  12. Dangerous to Dream
  13. True Love

More about True Love

Yes, when Frozen’s tour came out, they did cut this song out. This was a song that never should have been cut. It is Anna’s solo and happens at a prominent and very emotional moment for her. Anna is one of our two protagonists, and they cut out her solo. This song is heartbreaking- usually it can be hard to detect emotions when all you hear is the song alone. However due to seeing the animated film, I was able to figure out the emotion. There is NO such thing as a sad love song: if those two emotions get combined, you will ALWAYS have a heartbreaking song.

True Love still counts as a Frozen song- I know when this happens: figured it out based on lyrics. SPOILERS: it happens after Hans betrays Anna. You can still listen to this song- it is on the Original Broadway Cast Album.

Conclusion:

There were musicals I really wanted to see, but the pandemic got in the way. Due to already falling in love with five Anastasia songs, I knew I wanted to see the musical. It was coming to Charlotte April of this year- but not happening. Same thing happened to Frozen-it was coming in October, but got postponed in May.

So, my eyes are mostly focused on Hadestown. It is coming to Charlotte October of 2021. Hopefully that is enough time for Blumenthal to open Belk and Ovens. Wicked is the final musical I want to see this year- coming in December, but will not be that disappointed due to already seeing the musical four times.

What other musicals do I hope to see in the future- Something Rotten, Once, Beauty and the Beast (never saw the stage show), Oliver (don’t remember seeing)- of course Anastasia, Frozen, and Hadestown are part of that list.

Questions

Based on True Love, is there any other song in musical theatre that never should have been cut?

In addition, what are some of your favorite musical songs from musicals you haven’t seen before?

Common Trait Among Tragedies

Tragedy is a genre that can be hard to understand at first. Those stories sound like they are just sad. But in reality not true- that “catharsis” is why they are worth. I really started to notice something that is true for just about every tragic musical. Why is that just about all of them fall under the sung-through category?

The only tragic musical that is not sung-through is West Side Story, a modern version of Romeo and Juliet. This musical is dance-driven. For some odd reason, I can appreciate West Side Story and dislike the play that it is based off of.

Look at the other tragic and sad musicals: Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Rent, and Hadestown. They all just happen to be sung-through musicals. I may not have seen Hadestown yet, but for whatever reason know it is sung-through. When I read Les Misérables, the material sounded perfect for being sung-through: due to the emotional nature of the book. Both Rent and Miss Saigon are based off two operas: La Bohème and Madame Butterfly: those two operas are sung-through. Now Hadestown- yet another tragedy and still in that nature. For some strange reason, tragedies can be best expressed when the show is entirely sung. That is all because of the emotional weight tragedies bring-they have to be heartbreaking, but at the same time have so much more. Or else, they would become kind of bland and boring.

I don’t have a picture for Hadestown because I haven’t seen it. I am extremely fascinated by Hadestown especially because it is based off of a tragic myth. I have loved mythology since I was a child. Now I heard three songs from Hadetown, and love them. Charlotte is going to get Hadestown October 2021- hopefully Blumenthal doesn’t postpone the show.

Did you notice this-a lot of tragic musicals being sung-through? Why do you think that just happens to be a pattern?

Tragedies-The Love Stories

The genre of tragedy can be hard to get used to when it is first discovered. It is so easy to call it just sad. That means it can be hard that they have so much more than just the tragic and heartbreaking nature. I know this from experience- I did once say “I will never love a tragedy. But then Les Mis enters, and everything changed. Today’s post will focus on only the love stories-as in romance.

I think the most predictable tragedies belong to the love stories. You already know that it will not end well. You know something has to happen where the couple can’t be together. You already know the ending will be tragic.

What are examples of tragic love stories:

  1. La Bohème
  2. Madame Butterfly
  3. Romeo and Juliet
  4. Miss Saigon
  5. West Side Story
  6. Hadestown

A lot of people say that Romeo and Juliet is the “ultimate love story”-as in the best. But I actually disagree. The best tragic love story I have come across is “La Bohème”. Did you know it was “Romeo and Juliet” where I first discovered tragedies. That Shakespeare play was required in 9th grade: not only was I close-minded to Romeo and Juliet, but to Shakespeare as well. La Bohéme will always be better: such a beautiful relationship despite some complications: Rodolfo and Mimi are one of my favorite couples: I sometimes wonder if those two are one of my favorite couples: would that explain why I love Mimi and Roger as a couple.