Favorite Love Triangles in the Musical Theatre World

Romance does show up in two forms in musicals. Either they show up through an individual couple or happen by a love triangle. A love triangle forms when three people are involved—-so someone gets unrequited love, a heartbreaking situation to end up in. Some of those love triangles are weak whiles others are strong. So, what are some of my favorite love triangles?

MAJOR SPOILERS

Phantom-Christine-Raoul

This love triangle in found in the musical, Phantom of the Opera. It actually is the prime focus of the musical. Christine and Raoul are the couple while The Phantom has the unrequited love. The Phantom responds poorly to unrequited love- acts in revenge and doesn’t accept it. At least Raoul treats Christine better- they deserve to be together.

It is a mysterious and angelic love triangle. “All I Ask of You” is one of the most beautiful love songs in musical theatre.

Eponine-Marius-Cosette

This trio is found in Les Misérables, and one of my favorite subplots. Marius and Cosette are such an adorable couple and bring hope to the story—-by the way, Marius is actually my favorite survivor in Les Mis. Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light, and Marius is kind, compassionate, and loving. By the way, he is a good friend to Eponine and is worried about (I think that was why he sent her away from the barricade and why he asked why she came back).

Eponine is meant to have the unrequited love, and Marius is the light of her life. She has one of the BEST stories of unrequited love in musical theatre. The way she responds to it is incredible- she accepts it, and risks her life several times for Marius. That explains why she even goes to the barricades- to make sure he is safe- she doesn’t mind sacrificing her life her him. True, her death is heartbreaking in more ways than one- first she is dying and he is devastated, but at least she is happy due to being in the arms of Marius (“A Little Fall of Rain” is such a touching and moving scene).

Elphaba-Fiyero-Glinda

These three make up my favorite love triangle, which is found in Wicked. First, it is the first one I emotionally bonded to—meaning I first became aware of the concept due to it. Second- my favorite musical theatre character is a part of it. Third- the level of complexity it is. Of ALL love triangles in musical theatre I have come across, Wicked has the most complex one.

Explain the unrequited love situation——-not easy to do. Elphaba originally has unrequited love for Fiyero (“I’m Not That Girl”). But there were clues prior to the scene that maybe Fiyero has a crush on her- look carefully at the Lion Cub Scene and the scenes that follow “I’m Not That Girl”. This love triangle seems to develop in the same way the characters do- the love triangle truly matures when the characters do. In act II, there is an unrequited love switch- now Glinda is dealing with it (“I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)”).

In my opinion, the love triangle strengthens the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. How far will they go to keep friendship alive. Look how they BOTH responded to unrequited love—–they didn’t try to steal Fiyero away. So they wouldn’t let a boy get in between them. So, it really tests their loyalty if you think about it.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables Analysis

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

Joshua Grosso (Empty Chairs at Empty Tables)

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.

Hope in the Friends of the ABC

While Les Mis is tragic and heartbreaking, one of its biggest takeaways is hope. One of the strongest places where you notice this spiritual theme is found in the Friends of the ABC. They are an incredible group of characters.

Matt Shingledecker (Enjolras), Joshua Grosso (Marius), and the Students

The Friends of the ABC is literally a political group of college students led by Enjolras. They are planning an uprising due to a weak government. They have such a strong brotherly bond that they feel like family. Of everyone in the group, Enjolras is the most passionate. They have a strong passion and hope- you really feel it the strongest during “Do you Hear the People Sing”, their revolutionary number.

Even during the uprising, you still can see their passion even at their most vulnerable moments- as shown in “Drink with Me”- during that number, you can tell they know they are going to lose and most likely die, but you really can strongly feel their brotherly bond. Marius, at the moment, has already gone through one tragedy at the barricade- as in he has already lost Eponine (she meant something to him), and still devastated and worried about whether or not we will see Cosette again. Even when Enjolras gives them a chance to leave, they still put despite knowing they are going to die- they still have hope even at that moment.

Even the Darkest Night will End and the Sun will Rise

Finale, Les Mis

Bring Him Home Analysis

When I think of Veteran’s Day, I usually am thinking about the uprising in Les Mis. Enjolras, Marius, and the students have such a strong friendship that they feel like family. They have so much passion and hope.

God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there

He is young
He’s afraid
Let him rest
Heaven blessed
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home

He’s like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son
The summers die
One by one
How soon they fly
On and on
And I am old
And will be gone

Bring him peace
Bring him joy
He is young
He is only a boy

You can take
You can give
Let him be
Let him live
If I die, let me die
Let him live
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home

Les Mis
Nick Cartell- Bring Him Home

Major Spoilers

The song, “Bring Him Home”, takes place during Act II at the barricades. It is sung by Valjean and is one of his strongest spiritual moments. He is praying to God to make sure Marius, the young man his adopted daughter loves, survives. Valjean loves Cosette so much that he is really to sacrifice his happiness for her own. The song really shows just how much Valjean loves God. It is such a heartbreaking, soulful, and spiritual song- in so many ways, it is pretty much a prayer. Even though Valjean barley knew Marius, he knew that Marius had to live for the sake of Cosette.

As a matter of fact, the song becomes heartbreaking after the first viewing. Once you know the outcome of the uprising, it changes the emotion of “Bring Him Home”. True, Marius does survive, but Valjean has to rescue him after he was seriously injured. Here is what was really sad about the uprising- Marius was the only one who lived (Eponine, Gavroche, and the rest of the students all died during the uprising). All of those who died on the barricade meant something to Marius, and he had to lose everyone: now all he has left is Cosette. That is what makes “Bring Him Home” such a heartbreaking song.

Finale (Les Mis) Analysis

The Finale of Les Mis is one of the strongest finales in musical theatre. In my opinion, it is actually one of my favorite finales found in musical theatre. If you want to PROCEED, SPOILERS. It is the final death scene in Les Mis- it is actually when Valjean dies. The Finale is full of both heartbreak and hope. This song is a reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing”, and this time, I believe it represents heaven. Through lyrics like “Even the Darkest Night will End and the Sun will Rise” and Tomorrow Comes”, there is a lot of hope found in this song.

And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
And the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom
In the garden of the Lord.
We will walk behind the ploughshare;
We will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken
And all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Tomorrow comes!

The picture below is something I painted, but it does show the finale from Les Mis.

Even though Valjean does die, he is still happy at the moment. That is because he got to see Cosette one last time. It is actually on the night of Cosette’s wedding, and the same night Marius discovered that Valjean saved him from the barricade. So, Marius was able to thank Valjean for saving his life. Valjean’s redemption is so strong at this moment- Fantine’s spirit escorts Valjean to heaven and is welcomed by the Bishop, who played a huge part in Valjean’s journey.

To Love Another Person is to see the Face of God

The lyrics above are the most famous lyrics from Les Mis. Look how many people showed love in Les Mis who did die. Valjean’s love for God and Cosette; Fantine’s love for Cosette, Eponine’s love for Marius despite it being unrequited; and The Friends of the ABC’s love for each other and the country. Even though Marius and Cosette lived, they have love for each other despite losing everyone that meant something to them.