As known by musical theatre fans, a common theme is ROMANCE. Plus, we also know that there are love triangles, which results in one character dealing with the pain and heartbreak of unrequited love. As a result, we see several responses with some being poor and some being good. Plus, we also love the incredible unrequited love songs. So, what was the first unrequited love song I fell in love with?
I’m Not That Girl (possible major spoilers)
Wicked is home to one of the most complex love triangles. ” I’m Not That Girl” was one of the first sad songs I fell in love with. True, I originally called this song just a sad song—-not a heartbreaking love song. But it still is an unrequited love song. It is originally sung by Elphaba, who gets the full version. “I’m Not That Girl” is one of the songs that made the emotion of sad come to the forefront for musicals. Do you know what made me realize “I’m Not That Girl” was an unrequited love song and heartbreaking? Well, it ended up being “On My Own” from Les Mis due the fact that both songs are about the same thing. At the same time, memorizing the lyrics made me look deeper into the song (as in seeing some insight, as in aspects beyond the unrequited love).
Crazily enough, the song is ironic——little does she know, she will get Fiyero in the end. Meaning Glinda will eventually get the unrequited love. Their responses to the unrequited love show how far they will go to keep their friendship alive (as in will they let a boy get between them). Well, they BOTH decide not to steal him away from each other.
In the world of musical theatre, we experience a variety of emotions. They are known to be emotional, but each one takes you on a different emotional journey. There are five core emotions- excitement, joy, love, sad, and heartbreak (while the other sprout from those). Romance is known to be one of the most common themes- shown either in the form of a couple or a love triangle.
Romantic Songs- Including Breakup and Unrequited Love
As Long as Your’e Mine
I’m Not That Girl
A Heart Full of Love
On My Own
All I Ask of You
Sixteen Going on Seventeen
Ten Minutes Ago
People Will Say We’re in Love
Some Enchanted Evening
This Nearly Was Mine
Younger Than Springtime
As Long as He Needs Me
Beauty and the Beast
If I Can’t Love Her
A Whole New World
A Million Miles Away
Can You Feel the Love Tonight
Something to Believe In
Till There Was You
I Should Tell You
Light My Candle
I’ll Cover You
Rewrite the Stars
One Hand, One Heart
As you can notice from the list above, there is a LOT of romance songs in musical theatre. Some musicals are love stories and some musicals have romance as a subplot.
This Marius’ solo in Les Mis, and happens after the uprising.
There’s a grief that can’t be spoken There’s a pain goes on and on Empty chairs at empty tables Now my friends are dead and gone
Here they talked of revolution Here it was they lit the flame Here they sang about tomorrow And tomorrow never came
From the table in the corner They could see a world reborn And they rose with voices ringing And I can hear them now
The very words that they had sung Became their last communion On this lonely barricade At dawn
Oh my friends, my friends forgive me That I live and you are gone There’s a grief that can’t be spoken There’s a pain goes on and on
Phantom faces at the window Phantom shadows on the floor Empty chairs at empty tables Where my friends will meet no more
Oh my friends, my friends Don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for Empty chairs at empty tables Where my friends will sing no more
This song is quite devastating in so many ways. Marius is the only survivor of the barricades- he had to lose all of his friends during the uprising. In the song, he is dealing with survivor’s guilt. All he has left in his life is Cosette, the love of his life. He doesn’t understand why he lives and why all of his friends are gone. So much trauma he had to face. In the song, you really did to see just how unsuccessful the uprising was- considering that only Marius lived. Marius, as a matter of fact, is my favorite survivor from Les Mis.
There are five core emotions in musical theatre, which are excitement, love, joy, sad, and heartbreak. As a matter of fact, the negative emotions have beauty, which is hard to think about. But why, exactly?
Most of the time, sad loves to be in the form of heartbreak. Heartbreak isn’t just part of tragic musicals, but in happy musicals as well. Heartbreak ends up existing in some of the most beautiful songs—–there are various ways they exist in here—–unrequited love, death, survivor’s quilt, broken dreams, etc……But, why all the beauty?
For one thing, there are many wonderful ways to express those emotions. Through word, obviously, but you can express them more beautifully through song. Though some of those ways did surprise me, glad I learned- never did I once think heartbreak would happen at a death scene. If it didn’t, there might be a chance death scenes would still be unmemorable and not moving. The beautiful nature of heartbreak comes from how it is expressed and how you are feeling it.
Musicals with Heartbreak
Beauty and the Beast
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Fiddler on the Roof
Man of La Mancha
West Side Story
Phantom of the Opera
All the ones above have heartbreak in at least one or more of their songs. Frozen did make one mistake- “True Love”, its heartbreaking love song, used to be in the Broadway Musical, but got kicked out when the tour started, but will always see it as part of the musical.
Like Wicked, Les Mis is home to a love triangle. In Les Mis, it is Eponine who is struggling with unrequited love. As a matter of fact, Marius is the only good thing in Eponine’s life. On My Own actually helped me understand I’m Not That Girl is a heartbreaking song- after all both are unrequited love songs even though one of them is ironic.
And now I’m all alone again Nowhere to turn, no one to go to Without a home without a friend Without a face to say hello to And now the night is near I can make believe he’s here
Sometimes I walk alone at night When everybody else is sleeping I think of him and I’m happy With the company I’m keeping The city goes to bed And I can live inside my head
Own my own Pretending he’s beside me All alone I walk with him till morning Without him I feel his arms around me And when I lose my way I close my eyes And he has found me
In the rain the pavement shines like silver All the lights are misty in the river In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight And all I see is him and me forever and forever
And I know it’s only in my mind That I’m talking to myself and not to him And although I know that he is blind Still I say, there’s a way for us
I love him But when the night is over He is gone The river’s just a river Without him The world around me changes The trees are bare and everywhere The streets are full of strangers
I love him But every day I’m learning All my life I’ve only been pretending Without me His world would go on turning A world that’s full of happiness That I have never known
I love him I love him I love him But only on my own
On My Own, Les Mis
There are moments where you can see insight that go beyond the unrequited love. Such as “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to”, and “a world that’s full of happiness that I have never known”. It is true- Eponine doesn’t have that good of a life. She is living in extreme poverty with abusive, criminal, and terrible parents. Marius is the only good thing in her life- why do you think she hangs on and continues to love him despite the love being unrequited? She does accept that Marius loves Cosette, and does anything for him.
The song alone shows just how strong her love for Marius is. The song gets stronger as it continues.