There are a wide range of characters that I love in musical theatre. But what are things I tend to look for in a musical character. What makes those characters become favorites. Below is a list of characteristics that I tend to want from a musical character.
- Relatability/ Emotional connection
It seems to me that a good chunk of musical characters that I love tend to be courageous or optimistic. Courageous characters I love include Elphaba, Eponine, Enjolras, Gavroche, the other students of the Friends of the ABC, Belle, and all the Newsies. That is sure a lot of brave characters and from that list, only Elphaba has been part of my life for quite a long time, which traces back to 2006. My love for those Les Mis characters traces back to 2013 and the Newsies traces back to 2016. Belle does trace back to my childhood, but I had to rediscover her recently since I nearly forgot that I even loved Beauty and the Beast.
Whenever I think of optimistic characters, I always tend to think of Annie first. She may be simple, but still memorable. The students in Les Mis, Young Cosette and the Newsies are hopeful characters.
One important characteristic of musical characters is whether or not you can relate to them or not. But there are some characters I love that I cannot even relate to that well. I can easily relate to Annie, Elphaba, and Belle. I can emotionally connect to characters that I don’t even relate to, which include an amazing set of Les Mis characters, the Newsies, Fiyero, etc. Having those two types of traits makes you care about the characters and makes you want to feel their emotions.
There are both simple and complex musical characters. Out of both sets, I tend to prefer complex characters. Complex characters that I love are Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Jack Kelly, and the Beast and they feel more real than the simple characters. These are the kind of characters that are more likely to express the negative emotions through song, which is due to the fact that they tend to have a higher amount of conflict. They tend to be easier to care about. Complexity is a huge part of why I prefer complex characters, but I do love simple characters. My favorite musical character is Elphaba and she is complex, and Wicked was the musical where I started to understand the emotional side and complexity of musicals.
What about the loving characters? Those characters are incredible characters as well. They tend to put others needs before their own. They tend to care about the needs of others and have a big-heart found within them. Loving characters that I love are Elphaba, Eponine, Fantine, Jean Valjean, and Belle. It is crazy not being able to name many loving characters at this moment because so many musicals have characters fall in love.
Even loyalty is an incredible musical character trait to have. Whenever I think of loyal characters, my first thought is Eponine. She stays loyal to Marius despite the love being unrequited. She chooses to be loyal to him instead of her parents. She constantly puts aside her happiness and continues to love him and assist him in anyway she can. Sometimes I feel like loyalty and loving somehow really belong together.
Are there other characteristics that make a musical character wonderful?