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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

La Bohème and Rent

I love both La Bohème and Rent- without La Bohème, Rent would NOT exist. That is because Rent is based off of La Bohème. How different is Rent from La Bohème-obviously both are sad, but there still are differences?

Characters: SPOILERS

Rodolfo vs Roger

  • In La Bohème, the main male character is Rodolofo. He does fall in love with the fragile and vulnerable Mimi. He is a poet. Many characters in La Bohème are living in poverty, are artists and are bohemians. He is living with Colline, Schunard, and Marcello.
  • In Rent, Rodolfo ends up becoming Roger. So, he is a struggling musician living with his best friend, Mark. He has HIV and is dealing with depression at the beginning of Rent after his recent girlfriend killed herself after finding out she has HIV (that is how Roger found out he has HIV). His main goal is to write one last song before he dies. He is kind of scared to enter a new relationship and is unwilling to leave the house.

Mimi vs Mimi

  • La Bohème is a tragic love story, so Mimi is the other 1/2. It is Rodolfo and Mimi’s story. She is the most fragile and vulnerable of the two. It is Mimi, who ends up dying- you know for a fact from the time Rodolfo met Mimi to her death that they had true love for each other. As a matter of fact Rodolfo and Mimi fall in love in a similar way than Roger and Mimi: through some kind of candlelight.
  • In Rent, they do not change Mimi’s name- Roger and Mimi stay the main couple. They have a struggling relationship. Mimi is a drug addict, dancer, and has HIV. Mimi is what allows Roger to finally come out of his shell. They had love for each other all long- they are my favorite of all three Rent couples. I do think Mimi from Rent is the most fragile and vulnerable of all of them. She has a slightly different fate then Mimi from La Bohème- Mimi ALMOST died in Rent, but survived.

Marcello vs Mark

  • Like I already said, he lives with Rodolfo, Schunard, and Colline. He is an artist. In La Bohème, he is in a relationship with Musetta.
  • In Rent, Mark is the narrator and a filmmaker. He recently broke up with Maureen. He is one of those who does not have HIV, but still affected by it since he has to see his friends suffer from it. After all, Roger is his best friend and they live together-he actually has four friends who deal with HIV (Roger, Angel, Mimi, and Collins).

Schunard vs Angel

  • It took some time for me to figure out who was Angel’s counterpart in La Bohème, but soon figured it out. Angel’s last name was Schunard and Schunard in La Bohème did end up killing a parrot (doesn’t that sound familiar to the dog in Rent?). Schunard actually doesn’t even have romantic partner.
  • A major difference between Schunard and Angel is that Angel now has a romantic interest. He and Collins become a couple- those two make every moment count since they both have HIV. Roger/Mimi and Maureen/Joanne struggle and fight at times or go in and out of the relationship even though things eventually work out in the end. They are one of the few non-heterosexual couples I have seen in a musical.

Colline vs Collins (still feel like I barely know him in both)

  • The best thing I know about him in La Bohème is that he is friends with Rodolfo, Schunard, and Marcello.
  • Collins, in Rent, has HIV and ends up in a relationship with Angel. He is gay.

Musetta vs Maureen

  • Musetta, in some ways, does provide some moments of comic relief in La Bohème. She is crazy and in a relationship with Marcello. She can be a sweet person, but still crazy. She was sweet with Mimi when she was at her weakest. The craziness is how I was able to figure out her counterpart in Rent.
  • Maureen, is crazy-no joke about that. She is a performance artist and is in a relationship with Joanne, but she can’t help but flirt with other boys, which annoys Joanne. Maureen still has her sweet side-like when everyone thought Mimi was dying, you do see it and in other moments. She is bisexual.

( ) vs Joanne

  • Here’s the thing about Joanne, she has no counterpart in La Bohème. She was added to Rent. That is what allowed a third couple to enter-Maureen/Joanne are a couple, which is the most problematic couple in Rent. They are the two who are fighting the most. Joanne is a lawyer. Another non-heterosexual couple.

Bonit vs Benny

  • Bonit is basically a minor character in La Bohème, but he is the landlord of Rodolfo’s apartment.
  • What Rent did with Bonit is make him a major character. Benny still is a character and still the landlord of where Roger, Mark, and Mimi live (that is who lives there), but serves more as the antagonist. He actually is much more of a character in Rent than La Bohème.


There are some differences with the plot. Both are still sad.

Different time periods and locations: La Bohème (France-1830) and Rent (East Side of NYC-1980s or 1990s).

How they met is slightly different (Rodolfo and Mimi)- Still some kind of candlelight, but what Mimi dropped is different. In La Bohème, it is her key and in Rent, it is her drug pouch.

Disease change: Tuberculosis to HIV/AIDS- that had to do with time period change.

Number of relationships: 2 to 3: (Rudlofo/Mimi and Marcello/Musetta) to (Roger/Mimi, Angel/Collins, Maureen/Joanne)

Death: that changed. Mimi died in La Bohème while it was Angel in Rent. However, Mimi ALMOST died in Rent.

Animal- well, Angel (Schnauard) killed a parrot in La Bohème, and it was a dog in Rent