Meaningful Sad Musicals of My Life

True, there are people who believe ALL musicals are happy and comic. However, the true musical theatre fans are aware there are tragic and heartbreaking musicals. I had to discover the truth the hard way—–only because I was close-minded to tragedies in high school. I literally thought the genre was pure sad. Turns out I would be proven wrong in more ways than one. So, what heartbreaking musicals would prove to be the most meaningful?

Les Mis

This was actually expected. A powerful, epic, inspiring, and enlightening musical. A musical with a beautiful underlying spirituality. Complex and amazing characters, who sing such beautiful, emotional, and powerful songs, as in songs that hard to choose your favorite from. I can’t even choose my favorite character. Weird that I can’t choose my favorite character, but my favorite survivor. I actually am obsessed with Les Mis- the stage show was seen six times.

Below comes from each time I saw the stage show: 2013 (3x), 2015, 2017, and 2019

Les Mis taught me a LOT- 1) death can be memorable and can happen through song, 2) tragedies are more than heartbreak, 3) tragic musicals exist, 4) heartbreak is a musical emotion—just a basic list.


True, I just said Les Mis taught me I can love tragedies. But here is the funny thing- I fell in love with Rent before Les Mis. But I fell in love with Rent by songs alone- meaning they were out of context, so I didn’t know what the characters or story were. Soon enough, I learned that Rent was a sad show——-the original reason why this musical became meaningful was because of its message. Another reasoning was that it led me to want to see La Bohème, the opera it is based off of.

However, as years went by, I found out I could relate to the musical. I actually can relate to the characters’ struggle. Yes, I have Epilepsy and the characters have HIV/AIDS, but the emotions are similar- as in uncertainty, fear, stress, anxiety, frustration (I get it—not so much the disease but the struggle). My favorite song in Rent is “Seasons of Love”.


Both of these musicals make me an emotional wreck. I have nothing wrong with that due to my emotional connection.

The Oddest Musical Theatre Parallel

True, there are many parallels in the world of musical theatre. I have found this in a number of characters, but I found one that I still can’t quite figure out. It is one of the ones found in Wicked and Les Mis, which is between Fiyero and Enjolras. MAJOR SPOILERS


He is more complex than he appears, and the male romantic lead in a love triangle. In Wicked, he goes through a drastic transformation. From being a bit of a jerk to softening up to becoming a mature and courageous young man. In some ways, he develops more in speaking scenes- the Lion Cub Scene for instance. He causes a massive plot twist in act II- as in making the unrequited love change from Elphaba to Glinda. Well, his chemistry was always stronger with Elphaba, and there were clues during act I that point to this change.


He is the leader of the Friends of the ABC in Les Mis. He is the most passionate about the uprising. He never gives up, no matter what, even at the end——that would result in his death. Enjolras, at one point, does give the students a chance to leave, but they don’t due to their strong bond and their passion.


Why on earth am I am paralleling these characters? The only similarity I can find is their courage, which you don’t spot until act II of Wicked (only because Fiyero doesn’t have courage until that moment). All I know is that actors tend to play both characters- based on the fact that three of my Enjolras actors did play Fiyero at some point.

The Concept of “Found Family”

There are various families in the world of storytelling. The most obvious relates to biological and adopted families. But, there is this concept called “found family”——as in not what we think of when we think of families.

The Weasley Family

Yes, they are an actual family in the Harry Potter series, but in many ways they are a “found family” for our protagonist. Back home at the Dursleys, Harry Potter’s life is terrible—-they are abusive towards him. The Weasleys in many ways take him in as one of their own- Ron, their youngest son, is one of Harry Potter’s best friends. Harry Potter ends up spending some Christmas and Summer vacations at the Weasley family.

Hotel Deucalion and Unit 919

This was the “found family” for Morrigan Crow. Until she was rescued by Jupiter North, she was in an unloving family thanks to being born on an unlucky day. Jupiter takes her to Nevermoor, hoping she ends up being a part of the Wundrous Society. Morrigan ends up living at the Hotel Decualion, a fun hotel—–Jupiter, Fenestra, and Frank live there as well (part of the “found family” Morrigan ended up with)Unit 919 ended up being her “found family” with the Wundrous Society. But only two of them are able to truly accept her- Hawthorne and Cadence.


Living on the streets, the Newsies form a close brotherly bond that feel like family. They stick together no matter what. Jack Kelly, their leader, cares a lot about his brothers especially Crutchie. They strongly believe in their cause (the strike) and don’t give up.

Friends of the ABC

They are so similar to the Newsies. Just like the Newsies, they have a close brotherly bond that feel like family. Even they have leader, whose name is Enjolras. They even have a cause (the uprising) they strongly believe in.

The Rent Crew

Even the friends in Rent feel like family. Matt and Roger are best friends, who live together. Yes, there are disagreements at times, but yet they still are close. Roger, Mimi, Maureen, Joanne, Collins, Angel, and Mark are close that they really feel like family——they live in the moment and in love.

Hope in Musical Theatre

One of the themes I found in the world of musicals is hope. As a matter of fact, a number of characters have some kind of hope and light in their lives even those with tragic lives.


One of the groups where you see hope is found in the Newsies. They do have difficult lives- having to rely on selling papers, and many are homeless. But increasing the price will make things more difficult—–a huge reason why they went on strike when Pulitzer raised the prices. They have a strong hope for their cause- as seen in songs like “Seize the Day”.


Elphaba may have been born different, but she is such an incredible character. She is full of hope when she arrives at Shiz, as shown during “Wizard and I”.

Friends of the ABC

In many ways, this political group of students is very much like the Newsies. A strong brotherly bond and a cause they have high hope and passion for and one they don’t give up on till the end. Both groups even have a leader. Enjolras is the most passionate of everyone in this group.

Jean Valjean

He found hope in two ways. Initially, he found it through the Bishop, who taught him the ways of the Lord. The 2nd place was when he adopted Cosette. Cosette ended up being the best part of his life. Several of his actions ended up being a result of encountering the Bishop—-he ended up having a strong love for God.


Can a character with such a tragic life have hope? Yes, it is true. Fantine may have a very tragic life, but she still had something to hold onto. Her light is through her daughter, Cosette. She had hope that her daughter would get a better life. She died in peace and happiness after Valjean promised that he will take care of her daughter.


Just like Fantine, even Eponine lived such a dark life. Eponine only had one good thing in her life. After she met Marius, she finally came across someone who treated her kindly. This would lead to her strong love for him. She had to hold on or else she wouldn’t have any light in her life. She even had such a touching and moving death- she did sacrifice her life to save Marius, but at least she was in the arms of him when she died. Sadly, the happiest part of her life was at this moment—–dying in Marius’ arms.


Yes, Les Mis is home to a love triangle. In many ways, Cosette and Marius bring a lot of hope to this tragedy. Cosette is supposed to represent light and hope, which was first seen when she was a child. The love Marius and Cosette have for each other keeps hope alive- there is a reason Marius had to survive the uprising.


Whenever I think of Annie, I think of her optimism. I think that is what drove me to loving the musical as a child.

Friends of the ABC and Newsies

Yesterday, I talked about two parallels found in musical theatre. Today, I decided to continue that series- this time with two groups. One is found in a Disney musical and the other is from a classic novel.

The Newsies

In the musical, the Newsies are a group of brothers who have a close bond that they feel like family. They are led by Jack Kelly, a dreamer and romantic, who cares deeply about his brothers especially Crutchie, his best friend. They have a cause (the strike) they strongly believe in and have high hopes for it. They may be underdogs, but are an amazing group of brothers.

Jack Kelly is someone who cares more about his brothers than the cause. He is willing to call it off the strike in order to protect them. After a big fight broke out, it left him with inner conflict—-seeing his brothers getting hurt and Crutchie arrested. This inner conflict in many ways makes Jack Kelly a complex character.

The Friends of the ABC

This political student group in Les Mis is so similar to the Newsies. Both have a strong brotherly bond and a strong passion and hope for their cause. Enjolras, their leader, is the most passionate about the uprising. While Enjolras cares a lot about his brothers, he has a stronger passion for the uprising. These guys stay passionate to the end——even when they know they will die. You even see a vulnerable side when it comes to them- as shown in “Drink with Me”.

Most of their songs are full of passion and hope, but “Drink with Me” shows their bond in an intimate way, but at a heartbreaking time. At this time, the students do feel hopeless and wonder if the ones they love will miss them. They even have realized that most likely they will most likely die. Marius is still devastated over the loss of Eponine- not knowing how much more trauma he will face.