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

Loving Moms in Stories

Considering today is mothers day, I decided to bring up the loving moms in the world of literature. That means books, operas, movies and musicals. What was interesting is that some of these overlap. This was so much harder then I thought.

Molly Weasley

Not only does she love her kids, but she also loves Harry like her own. In the Harry Potter series, she basically takes Harry in as her own.

Sarabi

She is Simba’s mother and does love him.

Fantine

She has an unconditional love for Cosette. She gets put into a difficult situation when her “lover” basically abandons her and her daughter. Now what? She had no choice, but to leave Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers, but what she didn’t know is how poorly they will treat her daughter and that they will scam her out of money.

Yes, she finds work in Valjean’s factory, when her secret comes out, she gets fired. That all leads to her becoming a prostitute and leaving on the streets. Valjean eventually discovers this after intervening to protect her from going to jail. Valjean, out of compassion, agreed to care for her child. For once, Fantine found peace and comfort. Fantine’s hope was that Cosette would have a better life then she had.

Her demise wasn’t even her fault- it was more Society’s fault. At least Valjean helped her in the end.

Kim

Kim and Fantine are kinda of similar in their relationships to their children- that is a way they are somewhat parallel. I said that because Kim has an unconditional love towards Tam. You truly start to notice this through “I’d Give my Life for You”. She would rather give him a better life then the one she has at the moment. At the end of Miss Saigon, she sacrifices her life- that actually makes Chris realize that he still truly loves Kim. He agrees to take care of Tam, the son he never knew existed.

Tragedies in Musicals

What tragedies are in the musical theatre world? At first glance, there really aren’t many tragedies that exist with musicals. True, there are a LOT of tragic moments, but may not necessarily be in a tragedy. So, what musicals automatically come to mind?

  1. Hadestown
  2. Miss Saigon
  3. West Side Story
  4. Rent
  5. Les Mis

How do you think I discovered the genre of tragic musicals? I learned about that genre the hard way. Les Mis was the beginning, but had to be given a 2nd chance. True, I started in the movie theatre with the film, but didn’t really know if I liked the musical or not. Good thing I gave that movie a 2nd chance in March 2013- the rest is history after that. In some ways, it was more of a combo of Rent and Les Mis that made me love tragedy. I really once thought I would NEVER love a tragedy.

Rent did led me to giving opera a chance- due to it being based off of La Bohème (which is my favorite opera). Since I love Greek Mythology, it is of no surprise that I am fascinated by Hadestown- which luckily is coming to Charlotte later this year.

Importance of Ovens Auditorium

Blumenthal Performing Arts is home to about seven theaters. Their main theater is Belk Theater. At Belk, you can see operas, musicals, symphonies, and ballet. I saw Sound of Music, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Lion King, Newsies, Pippin, Rent, Come From Away, Mamma Mia, Porgy and Bess, and La Cage at Belk. As for operas and ballet, saw La Bohème and Nutcracker there.

Despite Belk being the main theater, it isn’t even the largest. That really surprised me when I learned that Ovens is actually bigger- Belk may have more levels, but Ovens is wider and deeper. If Ovens didn’t exist, there is a good chance many musicals never would have made it to Charlotte. Ovens is able to host musicals when something is happening at Belk. So Ovens allows for a lot more availability.

While I did not see many musicals at Ovens—–I am glad that Ovens does exist or else none of them might have made it to Blumenthal. I saw Addams Family, A Christmas Story-The Musical, Les Mis, and Wicked at Ovens. Whenever I think of Ovens, I think of Wicked: I was able to catch that musical three times on tour. The latest time I saw Wicked, I was watching it with my school. When I saw Les Mis at Ovens, it was a date with my mom: that was our 2nd date to Les Mis: the 1st was in London.

I did not like ALL the Blumenthal shows I saw, but defiantly liked most. Addams Family, Porgy and Bess, and La Cage were musicals I did not even like.

Common Trait Among Tragedies

Tragedy is a genre that can be hard to understand at first. Those stories sound like they are just sad. But in reality not true- that “catharsis” is why they are worth. I really started to notice something that is true for just about every tragic musical. Why is that just about all of them fall under the sung-through category?

The only tragic musical that is not sung-through is West Side Story, a modern version of Romeo and Juliet. This musical is dance-driven. For some odd reason, I can appreciate West Side Story and dislike the play that it is based off of.

Look at the other tragic and sad musicals: Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Rent, and Hadestown. They all just happen to be sung-through musicals. I may not have seen Hadestown yet, but for whatever reason know it is sung-through. When I read Les Misérables, the material sounded perfect for being sung-through: due to the emotional nature of the book. Both Rent and Miss Saigon are based off two operas: La Bohème and Madame Butterfly: those two operas are sung-through. Now Hadestown- yet another tragedy and still in that nature. For some strange reason, tragedies can be best expressed when the show is entirely sung. That is all because of the emotional weight tragedies bring-they have to be heartbreaking, but at the same time have so much more. Or else, they would become kind of bland and boring.

I don’t have a picture for Hadestown because I haven’t seen it. I am extremely fascinated by Hadestown especially because it is based off of a tragic myth. I have loved mythology since I was a child. Now I heard three songs from Hadetown, and love them. Charlotte is going to get Hadestown October 2021- hopefully Blumenthal doesn’t postpone the show.

Did you notice this-a lot of tragic musicals being sung-through? Why do you think that just happens to be a pattern?