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 Magical Musicals

There are various types of musicals- in genre, in type of song, in stories (as in being complex or simple), and even the kinds of characters. But, even different adjectives can describe them—one word I can use it “magical”, which isn’t just limited to Disney musicals. So, what are some of my favorite magical musicals?

Wicked

Due to being a fantasy, it for sure has a magical feel. Elphaba has magical powers, which she was born with. OZ has a lot of magical elements—it does have different weather patterns than the typical world, and even the costumes of characters are slightly different. You really can feel the magic in this show- by the sound of the songs, by character names, by dance and spectacle, and even the costumes.

Wicked means a lot to me—–a musical that has been loved since August 2006. Drawn mainly to the powerful and beautiful friendship and the complex and strong love triangle. Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero are the only characters I am emotionally connected to—-especially towards Elphaba.

Frozen

I can’t wait until June of this year—seeing the musical in person for the first time. I already have learned to love the the added songs to the stage show. I have loved Frozen since I saw the animated movie- my favorite songs being “For the First Time in Forever” and “Let it Go”. As a matter of fact, the musical shares a couple of parallels with Wicked. Elsa was born with powers of snow and ice while her sister, Anna, was not. I actually am a lot like Anna—-outgoing, optimistic, impulsive, and full of life (plus, I am the youngest).

Beauty and the Beast

I still can’t believe I hadn’t see this Disney musical in person. All I have seen are the animated and live action movies. The enchanted castle adds a lot of magic to the show——especially with scenes such as “Be Our Guest” and most especially at “Beauty and the Beast”. The “Beauty and the Beast” scene is so magical- the two costumes, the enchanting and beautiful song, and that incredible dance (just wow, so magical)—-you really can feel their love in that number. Plus, the Beast’s transformation when the curse was broken- what isn’t magical about that? Than after course, at the final dance.

Cinderella

This Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is magical. I still really hope to catch this one in person. I feel like the magic of Cinderella is very similar to the one found in Beauty and the Beast. After all, there is still a magical and incredible transformation—-you know what I am talking about (the transformations the Fairy Godmother did before Cinderella left for the ball). In addition, the magical and enchanting dance between Cinderella and the Prince—-as seen through “Ten Minutes Ago”. I even feel like its magical when the glass slipper finds its owner after a major search- “It’s a perfect fit”

Aladdin

Most of the magical side of Aladdin comes from the Cave of Wonders, The Genie, and one song in particular. The Cave of Wonders is the place where you come across the magic carpet and the lamp with the Genie—–Aladdin ends up owning the magic carpet and becomes the Genie’s master. In all of the scenes, “A Whole New World” is the most magical- I mean, flying on a magic carpet with the one you love- how romantic and amazing.

Lion King

How can a show dealing with animals be magical? Well, any Disney musical has to have some kind of magic. I feel like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is part of the magical side of this musical. It can be hard to describe the magical side in this musical.

Newsies

True, it is based off an actual event in history- The Newsboy Strike of 1899, but it still is a Disney Musical. “Something to Believe In” is an innocent and magical song—-that seems to be the feel of a number of Disney love songs. Plus, several Disney musicals are home to strong talent in the dance—-Newsies really discovers that.

Only Friendship Love for Musicals

Outside of the ROMANCE in musicals, it seems that the 2nd most common type of love is friendship. Those friendships vary in different ways- the ones that feel like family, the ones that have an intimate and strong bond, and some of them actually are unpopular opinions. POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

The Rent Gang

I only just discovered this group of friends about 9 and 1/2 years ago. They are one of the groups that feel like family. True, they have their arguments at times, but at least they make up. They have their struggles because part of the group has HIV/AIDS- as in four of them. They actually live their lives in love and in the moment—–NO DAY BUT TODAY.

Mark and Roger are best friends, who live together.

The Newsies

This is yet another group of friends that feels like family. They share a brotherly bond that is tight-knit. They have a cause (the strike) they strongly believe in and never give up. Jack Kelly is their leader.

Found within this group of brothers is yet another friendship——the intimate and special bond between Jack Kelly and Crutchie, two best friends and my favorite Newsies. Crutchie is the most vulnerable of the group due to his bum leg and also the most optimistic—-his optimism even shines at The Refuge. Jack would rather protect his brothers than be part of the strike- explaining his inner conflict.

Friends of the ABC

They share a lot in common with the the Newsies- both have a strong brotherly bond that feels like family and both have a cause they strongly believe in. Plus, both groups have a leader. Enjolras is this group’s leader, who is more passionate about the cause (the uprising). I even love it when you see them when they are vulnerable (“Drink With Me”). They never give up—-even when they know they are going to lose and most likely going to die.

Eponine and Marius

This is an unpopular opinion, but I love their friendship (true not in the book, but love how it got it changed for the musical). Marius is someone that Eponine needed in her life. He was her light and the only good thing in her life. He was the only person who showed her kindness and even compassion. Look- Marius was worried about her- I think that was why he sent her away from the barricades and why he asked why she came back.

“A Little Fall of Rain”— true, he was devastated, but he stayed with Eponine because of his compassion. She ended up giving her life for Marius. Marius ended up comforting her in this scene, and it was the happiest moment of her life because he was with her.

Aladdin, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim

This was actually one of the newest friendships to enter my life. I really don’t know what I love about this friendship. In the stage show, it did create some incredible scenes and songs. Hard to explain- they were an incredible replacement for Abu.

Lumiere and Cogsworth

Wait, what is so incredible about a talking candle and talking clock? I honestly don’t know exactly.

Elphaba and Glinda

Well, it wouldn’t be a friendship musical post without these two. These two create a pretty powerful and special bond. They may be enemies at first, but eventually they became best friends. They really made a huge impact into each others’ lives- “because I knew know, I have been changed for good”. I really think the love triangle actually strengthens their friendships—-it really shows their loyalty to each other——they wouldn’t let a boy get in the way of their friendship because they didn’t try to steal Fiyero away from each other (well, they both went both unrequited love). “For Good” really explains how much they meant to each other——–it actually is the most emotional song in the entire musical.

I have loved this friendship for a pretty long time—considering that I loved Wicked since August 2006.

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.

Newsies

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.

Newsies

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

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.

Fantine

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.

Eponine

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.

Cosette/Marius

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.

Annie

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