French Shows I Love

Just yesterday was Bastille Day, which is France’s Independence Day. France is actually an amazing location for fiction- it is where some of my favorite shows take place. So, what are my favorite French shows?

La Bohème

If it wasn’t for Rent, there is no way I would have seen this tragic opera. It centers on the two lovers, Rudolfo and Mimi during 19th century France. While they are the main couple, we have a 2nd couple- Marcello and Musetta, who help lighten up the tragedy ever once in a while. While Rudolfo and Mimi have a tragic relationship, at least we know they truly love each other. Or when the characters are having fun- due to their bohemian lifestyle. There is just something about Puccini that draws you in. La Bohème is my favorite opera

I first saw the musical as a live stream in Cinemas back in 2016. Than soon enough saw it in person in 2020.

Phantom of the Opera

This is actually my favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Another show taking place in 19th century France—-this time late century. Centering on a haunting and angelic love triangle. It is found between the mysterious Phantom, and the adorable couple of Raoul and Christine. The musical is so beautiful, in many ways. The costumes are beautiful and so is the set. Spellbouding and can drive you to tears

I saw Phantom of the Opera at the beautiful Peace Center May of 2014. I was spellbound the moment the show started, and didn’t move until the chandelier fell

Les Mis

Where to start? Of all musicals, this was most expected due to a massive love—-another show taking place in 19th century France. This time, we are starting in 1815 and ending in 1832. To fall in love with Les Mis, I had to give the musical film a 2nd chance, and the rest is history.

There is SO much I love about this musical. The complex plot, the complex characters, and the epic, passionate, powerful, and highly emotional songs. It is so hard to even choose a favorite song from this musical. The musical that disproved a number of things about musicals- 1) tragic musicals exist, 2) death is memorable and can happen during song, 3) heartbreak is a musical emotion

Les Mis is about Jean Valjean’s journey on becoming a better person. He is an ex-convcit, who life was changed after encountering the compassionate bishop, who taught him the ways of the Lord. What the bishop taught him would drive the rest of his actions. 1) the compassion towards Fantine, 2)t the adoption of Cosette, 3) mercy and forgiveness towards Javert, etc……

In addition, it is also about the love triangle of Marius, Eponine, and Cosette——I actually love this love triangle, and all three characters (Marius actually is my favorite survivor and now is almost a core favorite character). It is also about the uprising that is formed through the Friends of the ABC. All of the storylines are so strongly connected, that if you get rid of one tiny thing, the entire story starts unraveling itself.

In total, I have seen the stage show six times- that is in 3 cities and 4 theaters. The cities were Charlotte, London, and Greenville. The theaters were Halton- CPCC (this gets 3x due to once with family and twice as usher), Queen’s, Peace Center, and Ovens Auditorium- Blumenthal. As a matter of fact, I had some pretty special Les Mis dates- like my mom and I in London or being with my University in Greenville.

Beauty and the Beast

I ended on Beauty and the Beast because it was the ONLY French show I love that I still haven’t seen live. All I have seen of it were the two films- animated and live action. Of all classic Disney princesses, I relate to Belle the most. I am both a bookworm and unique. A collection of exciting, romantic, and emotional songs. My favorite song is “Beauty and the Beast”—-such an enchanting and magical moment that it can easily drive you to tears.

A musical that truly shows that “beauty comes from within”. The Beast may look like a beast, but he is beautiful on the inside. Gaston may look handsome on the outside, but is. truly a beast on the inside

As a matter of fact, this is the first French show I fell in love with. But it took me way too long to figure out it took place in France. Don’t know why it took me longer than it should have- despite obvious clues. Character names and some words characters say- Lumiere literally singing “This is France” in the fun song, “Be Our Guest”, and the word “Bonjour” was sung in the opening number, “Belle”.

Conclusion

As different as all these shows may seem, they still share some things in common. Just like with any show, you need to have an emotional connection- the reason why you want to feel the emotions. Plus, I love the songs in all of them along with the plot and characters.

Sad Shows- The Right Way

Well, there are both sad books along with those in the theatre world. To me, there is a wrong way and a right way to feel during those type of stories. This will focus on plays, operas, and musicals. Growing up, I was blind to sad musicals and opera, but starting in 9th grade- I discovered tragedies. I actually interpreted them wrong- I was thinking “pure sad”. Now a lot has changed. I can truly show the difference between two sad shows that exist.

I actually saw BOTH #8 and Les Mis the same year. However, there is a HUGE difference. That year was 2015- that was an exciting year. Gardner Webb, Chicago, and the Bristol Pilgrimage happened that year. My family went up two days early to England just to get used to the time difference and to get more out of London. July 30th was exciting in more ways than one: saw Les Mis in The West End, a dream come true. I thought it was incredible that while my mom and I were seeing Les Mis, my dad and sister got their own date. I actually thought it was fitting that I saw Les Mis due to it being Valjean’s spiritual journey, and the next day starting my own.

#8

Well, this show takes place during the Holocaust. Ushers were dressed up as Nazis and you did see pictures from the concentration camps during the show. I was so uncomfortable that I badly wanted to leave the theatre, but couldn’t due to being a required show. It basically felt like watching “Lovely Ladies” for the entire show. I badly hated this show- that is how I don’t want to feel in shows. As being too depressing that you are given a miserable experience.

Les Mis

While heartbreaking like #8, there is still a gigantic difference. Les Mis is actually the musical that made me realize tragedies exist in musical theatre. I was blind to heartbreak and the genre of tragedy growing up. Well, in Les Mis’ case—-you aren’t miserable. It is heartbreaking, but spiritual, uplifting, and inspiring at the same time. It is full of hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. Some of those themes are hard to notice, but will be if you look deeper. With a powerful story, characters, and songs, Les Mis is one of the best musicals. It is one of the few musicals that makes me an emotional wreck. But, in a positive way. My emotional connection is so strong that I want to feel the emotions. Now, this is how I want a sad show to be like.

Conclusion

There are big differences when it comes to the pure sad shows and the more inspiring and uplifting shows. Les Mis, La Bohème, and Rent may ALL be heartbreaking, but I am able to hold on due to their positive side. I also can hold on due to an emotional connection. It is easier to bond with inspiring sad shows unlike those that make you feel miserable.

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.

March 2020 in Review

It is now the beginning of April. March was NOT at all what I wanted it to be. My main highlight I originally wanted did get postponed. So, I will have to try the best to do this March in Review.

La Bohème-Met Opera

Yes, I saw La Bohème in January. However, my family streamed this version. That actually made up for the postponed Anastasia Informance. That was due to my love for theatre and my love for La Bohème.

Blumenthal

What Blumenthal Performing Arts began doing was giving us clues to the 2020/2021 season. I always look forward to that moment.

January 2020 in Review

I feel like January was a fast month. For me, January felt like a theater-themed month. It is time for my January in review now that it is February.

Birthday

Well, my birthday is in January. In terms of dinner, I always want Boeuf Bourgeion (French Pot Roast) and Creme Brûlée- so we always have to go out. Well, all of my presents were musical-theatre themed- a word search, a musical-theatre bag (my 2nd one I can take to the theaters), and a shirt that says “There was once was a girl that really loved musicals. It was me. The end”.

Come From Away

My first musical of the year came pretty early- January 12th. For Christmas, Santa put “Come From Away” tickets in my stocking. It was my first time seeing the show, and loved our seats- in the balcony (even at Belk, love those seats). I laughed quite a lot and what a heartwarming story of kindness, compassion, and humanity.

https://megsmagicalmusings.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/come-from-away-review/

La Bohème

Crazy how just one week before this opera, I saw Come From Away. What a switch- from musical to opera and from comedy to tragedy. That was quite a switch. Actually my family was not planning La Bohème- Opera Carolina was doing La Bohème, but because of Come From Away, none of us were going to go. I had to wanted to see the opera live for quite some time. I was not expecting for my mom and I to be given tickets- literally- a surprise for me.

Just like Come From Away, I did get the laughter, but that laughter was more of comic relief. We are talking about a tragic love story- I almost literally lost it at the end-partly had to do with who I had as Rodolfo and Mimi-I fell in love with those two that I literally did not want things to end tragically (that is the struggle with watching a tragic love story). I love La Bohème- I especially love the music written for Rodolfo and Mimi and what I love about the story is that they truly did love each other despite some complications. You truly saw just how much they loved each other when it was too late. With La Bohème, we got the 11th row from the stage.

https://megsmagicalmusings.wordpress.com/2020/01/20/la-boheme-review-2/