Loving Fathers of Musical Theatre

Today is Father’s Day. In the world of fiction, there are a number of loving fathers. What if I talked about them today. As a way to celebrate about that. It is a perfect day to mention why they are loving. Plus, it doesn’t matter of they biological or adopted fathers. MAJOR SPOILERS

Loving Musical Theatre Fathers

Mufasa- Lion King

It is perfect to start with a Disney father due to growing up on Disney fathers. Mufasa is perfect in two ways- not only as father, but also as king. The musical starts with the birth of Simba, his son and prince to Pride Rock. However, this not suit well with Mufasa’s brother, Scar. However, Mufasa does teach Simba a number of life lessons (as in how to be king and how to hunt). Even teaches him how prior Kings will ALWAYS look after Simba no matter what, as perfectly expressed in “They Live in You”. You are strongly aware of how much Mufasa loves his Son, as he does get afraid when Simba does do things he isn’t supposed to do (like going to the Elephant Graveyard or getting caught in the Intense Stampede)

However, both of those acts were ways to try to kill Simba——–as Scar wants to kill him and his brother (due to strong envy as Scar wants to be to King). Tragically, during the Stampede, Scar does kill Mufasa and places the blame on Simba (due to only being a cub, Simba believes him, which haunts him into adulthood), and causes him to run away. Little does Simba know how poorly his Uncle will rule Pride Rock, and somehow along the way forgets his place and doesn’t believe Mufasa is still looking over him even in death (but at least, eventually he does remember and fights his Uncle for his rightful place as King)

Maurice- Beauty and the Beast

In the same world of Disney, Maurice is Belle’s father. He is the only person who doesn’t think his daughter is odd. You really saw their love for each other in the song, “No Matter What” when Belle asks her father, “do you think I’m odd”. Even when Belle takes her father’s place, you saw their love. Plus, at the moment when Belle sees her father in trouble——this is when the Beast finally lets Belle go (at this moment, Belle and Beast finally are in love).

Captain Von Trapp- Sound of Music

While he appears strict, he actually does love his children. He is just in a rough situation in his life when you originally meet him. Maria actually helps him come out of his shell- especially after she teaches them how to sing. She actually brought happiness back into the house- through music.

Daddy Warbucks- Annie

He is one of our adopted fathers on this list. Annie is an orphan, who is allowed to stay with him for a week over the Holidays. Daddy Warbucks, over time, learns to love Annie like a father. Luckily, he decided to adopt her—–due to how much better Annie’s life is with him as opposed to the orphanage Annie came from.

Jean Valjean- Les Mis

One of the best relationships of Les Mis is the one found between Valjean and Cosette. In the most unexpected of ways, Valjean become father to the orphan, Cosette. On her mother’s deathbed, Valjean promises to her that he will raise Cosette. Soon enough, he learns just how awful Cosette is——she was treated like a servant, but still had strong hopes she will be rescued.

Luckily Valjean came and rescued her- unaware of just how much Cosette will mean to him. I love the addition of “Suddenly” in the movie, as in perfectly explains their bond. Cosette is everything to him- this explains why she was overprotected and sheltered. Despite always be on the run, he will still do anything for her- he actually became a better person because of her.

Parallel Musical Theatre Songs

One of the key things to falling to love in a musical belong to the songs. They are what make you get to know the characters the most, and usually are what makes you form an emotional connection. Once you form an emotional connection, you usually have a strong desire to WANT to feel the emotions in the musical. So, are any musical songs that are parallel (as in alike)

Let It Go/Defying Gravity

These are two empowering songs from Frozen and Wicked. In addition, they are the the ending of the first Act. Sung by Elsa and Elphaba, they are songs about staying true to yourself. Even the melodies are kinda of similar- you wouldn’t figure that out unless you listen closely.

I’m Not That Girl/On My Own

I know there are multiple heartbreaking love songs, but I want to talk specifically about these two. I originally fell in love with “I’m Not That Girl” in 2006—–I don’t remember when I realized it was a song- either the first time I saw Wicked or the 2nd. I know the song was part of the love triangle, and also knew the song was deepening (but was totally unaware of certain elements of the song). Another song would help me figure out “I’m Not That Girl” even further.

“On My Own” would strongly help out “I’m Not That Girl”. After all, “On My Own is sung by Eponine, who sings a stronger and more powerful unrequited love song. I was totally unaware of heartbreak until Les Mis entered my life- it actually took me an entire year to realize “On My Own” was a heartbreaking song. Actually two things helped “I’m Not That Girl”- making the connection to “On My Own” and memorizing its lyrics- by learning the lyrics, I found a lot more insight in the song. So, that really would mean “I’m Not That Girl” was actually the first unrequited love I fell in love with—–just didn’t understand it fully.

I really think my love for Elphaba explains where my love for Eponine might have come from. If you actually think about their similarities- both born into the wrong family, taken advantage of, and dealing with unrequited love (but will something improve for one for them??.

Memory/I Dreamed a Dream

Yes, this one may not make sense. “Memory” is my favorite song from Cats, and sung by Grizabella, and first heard it in elementary school- it was an emotionless song for a pretty long time. “I Dreamed a Dream” is sung by Fantine and is about broken dreams, and a heartbreaking song, and always drives me to tears, not matter who sings.

So, what does “I Dreamed a Dream” have to with “Memory”. You really have to think to understand this. If you actually think about it, Grizabella used to have a happy life—–kinda of like Fantine used to have a better life. Grizabella expresses that in “Memory” and also reflects on her tragic life in the presents———doesn’t that sound similar to “I Dreamed a Dream”- after all, Fantine is reflecting on the past and the present in the song (about the time she was happy, and also about the tragic life she has now).

So in ways, Grizabella and Fantine are kinda of parallel characters- yes, I am comparing a cat to a human.

Musicals Seen More Than Once?

As musical theatre fans, we understand the power of live theater. So, there are some musicals that end up being seen more than once. Due to relying on US Tours, only just a few shows get lucky with that chance. So, which musicals have I seen more than once (by memory)?

Newsies- 2x

August 2016- this was when I first saw the stage show. This was by the US Tour when they arrived in Charlotte. Due to learning to like a few songs prior, I found interest in seeing it, and after hearing about the Tony Award Winning Choreography, I was really looking forward to the dance. I ended up having Joey Barreiro as Jack Kelly (aka my first and favorite Jack Kelly). I ended up being mind-blown by the dance, and “Seize the Day” ended up as my favorite song from the show.

July 2018 this around, CPCC (Central Piedmont Community College) was doing a production, and they always do well-done productions. I wanted to catch their production to see how they could pull of the just incredible dance. This time around, it was a total surprise- I honestly thought this wasn’t going to happen. I kept convincing by parents to get tickets to see it, but it felt like they weren’t going to. But what do you know- one of my best friends from college showed up on the final day of production- well, I didn’t know what was in store for that day.

But, the two of us drove to CPCC to pick up Newsies tickets- that was a graduation present. Second time with Ashton Guthrie (that same summer, he was Curly in CPCC’s Oklahoma)- in Newsies, he was Jack Kelly. Although Joey is my favorite Jack, I loved the sense of maturity I found in Ashton.

Wicked-5x

August 2006– At the Gerswhin Theater on Broadway. I was with my mom in NYC at the time. Little did I know the impact Wicked would have on my life. All I can remember is where we were, and my favorite song at the moment. My favorite song was “Popular”, and still is my favorite Wicked song. If it wasn’t for this particular experience, Wicked might not have been in my life. If Wicked didn’t enter my life, there is a possible chance I wouldn’t have become a musical theatre fanatic. Only visit on Broadway, and the others were by the US Tour.

2008?– I honestly don’t know when my 2nd time was. It was the 2nd time I remember the least. The first and second times I saw Wicked, I learned some important things that would be essential later on in musical theatre. As in, about emotional connection about the emotional and complex side of musical. Plus, I started to understand the concept of love triangles (but I had no idea how so little I really understood). Four core emotions were existing- excitement, love, joy, and sad. After this round, I thought the only thing I still didn’t understand about the love triangle was the plot twist (turns out there was something else I still couldn’t grasp).

2013– this time a date with dad. This time around, I only wanted to go because my dad still hadn’t seen it. He even gave be the better seat (this happened after the tallest guy in the auditorium sat it front of me). After the show ended, my dad said to me something around the lines of- “I can understand why you love the show as much as you do”.

January 2016 got an amazing opportunity when my university was taking students to see Wicked. So I was ended up seeing a musical that changed me for the better with an university that changed me for the better. I felt most vulnerable this time around- for starters, my first time finally realizing “I’m Not That Girl” was not the sad song I thought, but instead heartbreaking; and the emotionless “No Good Deed” finally had emotions.

Part was result of being with my university and part was due to Les Mis entering my life. After all, “On My Own” helped “I’m Not That Girl” out- as they are both unrequited love songs, but only one is ironic. As a result, I further examined the love triangle to understand things better- as in parts of the love triangle that are tricky to figure out.

Here was home to my favorite Elphaba (standby), Glinda, and Fiyero.

Crazily enough, this happened in my 10th year of loving the musical.

September 2021- looks like things came full circle. As it was my 2nd date with my mom to Wicked. Plus, so happened to be at another milestone of loving Wicked- my 15th year of loving it. True, my favorite trio and individual Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero remains at my 4th cast, but still loved this cast. But for different reasons.

Les Mis- 6x

November 15th/17th/24th 2013– wait, 3x at CPCC??? How was that possible- well that helps if you were an usher. That’s right, I saw it once with my family and twice as an usher the first time I saw the stage show of Les Mis. I was able to see the cast improve from production to production- they were at their strongest at the final production- as in the 24th. There was no way of knowing this was a community college production. I had called the show phenomenal- still hadn’t see a professional production of the musical yet.

As a matter of fact, this production was truly the motor of wanting to see the musical in London

July 30th, 2015– where to start here? I honestly have no idea where to begin. If it wasn’t for the adult choir, this wouldn’t have happened- if they weren’t in residence at Bristol Cathedral, our church wouldn’t have gone to England- including the choir, family and friends joined (due to that, a pilgrimage was built around it- as going to places in and around Bristol, but first a few days in London). For the group, London would only be like 2 and 1/2 days, but my family went up two days early.

There were actually two things I loved about that night- 1) that it was a double date night (my dad and sister, and my mom and I), and 2) what my actual memory was. The moment I saw The Queen’s Theater (it will always be Queen’s Theater to me), nothing felt real, even buying souvenirs (i had culture shock buying the playbill), noticing I had an understudy for Valjean, even seeing the set, and noticing how close I was. But then it happened, the first notes of the orchestra- hearing them made me realize this dream was becoming reality and that it would be more than expected. Well, I was an emotional wreck like I thought and laughed when I thought I would be.

November 5th, 2017– I had a bit of a dilemma this round. I had to choose between Charlotte and Greenville. Either go with my mom again or with my university. That was a tough decision- I was thinking of the two venues at first. My university also knew me as a huge Les Mis fan, so they would be surprised if I didn’t choose to go with them. I also love the Peace Center, as I once saw Phantom of the Opera there. So, I had another opportunity to go that beautiful theater again,.

Glad I choose the university route- Greenville. I would be helpful to students who still hadn’t seen it. Since my prior cast with the West End Cast, I knew I shouldn’t compare especially if I got an understudy. I wanted to see this cast for what they are, and because it was the new staging, you would get a different perspective on the same show. Plus, just because my previous cast was my West End cast doesn’t mean that anyone in this cast could be worse (anyone could possibly be better or just as good, as I know from experience touring actors/actresses have just as much talent, and also know to respect understudies if we get them).

It just so happened that I did get an understudy- this time around for Eponine. My standouts ended up being the Valjean, Marius, and Enjolras. At intermission, the girl sitting next to me starting asking me Les Mis questions, and I was able to help. Like expected, an emotional wreck- don’t think that reaction will stop. Little did I know I would see some of those actors again.

November 3rd, 2019– Well, my first time seeing the tour in Charlotte. And my 6th visit with the stage show. Well, some of my actors from my 2017 cast were in this production= including an ensemble member who moved up to play a lead (that’s right, Mary Kate Moore originally was cast in the ensemble/1st cover Fantine, and eventually secured the role of Fantine after Melissa Mitchella left). So glad Joshua and Matt were still in the cast- as they were two standouts (as Marius and Enjolras) from 2017. Emotional wreck again.

Conclusion

You were probably expecting Wicked and Les Mis to be on here, as they are are my favorite musical. Yep, tied for that place- they literally are both sharing the place for my favorite musical. There is so way to really compare them. There is a 4th musical I saw twice, but can’t count because I only remember seeing it once (Lion King).

Favorite Actors that Were not First

Yes, the first actor is really important, which can range from movie casts, concert and/or live stream casts, and stage casts. But, every so often, the first actor is not always our favorite actor in a role. This time, I decided to make a list of my favorite actors for characters who weren’t first. Some of these actors were mentioned a lot, and some weren’t.

The Actors:

  1. Jillian Butler- Cosette (5th and 6th cast)
  2. Joshua Grosso- Marius (5th and 6th cast)
  3. Jeremy Secomb- Javert (4th cast)
  4. Mary Kate Morrissey- Elphaba (4th cast)
  5. Amanda Jane Copper- Glinda (4th cast)
  6. Ashley Parker Angel- Fiyero (4th cast)

Conclusion

Yes, I could only think of Les Mis and Wicked actors- but it is all I could think of. I saw all of those actors in person- one of which was a standby. My favorite Elphaba was a standby when I saw her, and there was no way of knowing. Les Mis and Wicked are strongly meaningful to me, and the musicals most responsible for my massive love for musicals today.

All the Moms of Literature/Musicals

Today is Mother’s Day! It is a day to celebrate mothers. When I think of Mother’s Day, what automatically comes to mind are loving ones. However, I decided to do something a little different. Today, what if I mentioned ALL mothers- as in the unloving and loving ones? But, where exactly- the ones of literature and musicals?

Molly Weasley

When it comes to literature mothers, she is one of the first ones that comes to mind. She may have seven biological kids, but she acts like she has eight total. That is because how lovingly she takes Harry as her own. She worries about ALL her children- explaining why her biggest fear is the death of her children. She has unconditional love for her kids.

Narcissa Malfoy

True, probably not as good a mother as Molly (but still has unconditional love for her son). If you compare Darco’s dad with with his mom, she is so much better. Explaining some of her actions- like afraid for her son’s safety in Half Blood Prince. Than during Deathly Hallows- she was most worried about him- as in not knowing if he was still alive or not.

Fantine

Well, a literature/musical overlap mother. I adore Fantine for her unconditional love for Cosette- despite what it led to. Abandoned by Cosette’s biological father, Fantine was left to fend for Cosette by herself (Cosette was little very young). She had to leave her daughter in the hands of the Thenardiers (little did Fantine know how poorly they would treat Cosette). Soon enough, she found a job at Valjean’s factory (however, that led to major consequences)——only due to others finding out about her daughter.

So she had to go to the extreme——-becoming a prostitute. Leaving on the streets would lead her to becoming deathly ill, but at least Valjean soon was able to help. Even on her deathbed, she still was thinking about Cosette—-Valjean promised to her that he would raise Cosette (that gave Fantine peace and comfort for once).

Madame Thenardier

What did I say? I was going to include the unloving moms. She treated Young Cosette as a servant, leading her to be a broken child (at least Cosette had strong hopes she would be rescued). Based on the book, Madame Thenardier didn’t even love for three sons (Gavroche and two younger unnamed ones). At first, she did love Eponine and Azelma—but when they were teenagers it didn’t seem that way. Only because their parents raised them horribly- they abused them and raised them to be criminals.

Marilla

I almost forgot about her- the adoptive mother of Anne from “Anne of Green Gables”. The newest series I learned to love is “Anne with an E”, where I rediscovered the books. At first, Matthew and Marilla were disappointed that it wasn’t a boy, but soon enough learned to love Anne.

Kim

One of the newest moms I discovered in musical theatre. In 2019, I saw two musicals by the same composer/lyricist team—–saw Miss Saigon and Les Mis that year. So I had a feeling I would be at times an emotional wreck in Miss Saigion (knowing my Les Mis reaction). In some ways, Kim reminded me of Fantine. She kinda of had that unconditional love towards Tam.

Conclusion

All, I could think of——I still feel like there are some moms missing