Childhood Musicals- The Importance

There are different phases when it comes to musicals, which it was for me. So far, it was the childhood musicals, middle school/ high school musicals, and the college musicals. Those combined are way I am the musical fan I am today.

Yes, the childhood musicals are the beginning of what I know them to be. After all, it is very hard to not to be exposed musicals after childhood. After all, several of children are exposed to Disney, which makes an amazing chance they will come across a musical at least once in my life time.

While Wicked truly was the beginning of my musical theatre journey, those childhood musicals still made a part in my love for musicals. Due to being born in 1994, I was around the classic Disney musicals: Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, and Aladdin were the ones I remember the most. It was their main love song that stuck with me the most- I fell in love with “Beauty and the Beast”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, and “A Whole New World” are a huge reason why I know I saw those musical movies. It was the childhood musicals that made me want to see Dance/Spectacle in musicals, and they started one of the core emotions: the one of excitement.

It wasn’t just Disney musicals I fell in love with in childhood. The ones I remember the most outside of Disney were Annie and Sound of Music. “Tomorrow” and “Edelweiss” are my favorite songs from those musicals. Now that I know of emotional connection in musicals, I now have realized why I loved them and why both of them are meaningful. I was connected to Annie’s optimism- I am also an optimistic person. So without knowing, I already formed an emotional connection with Annie. Just like Annie, I couldn’t figure what the meaning of Sound of Music, but after picking up on emotional connection, I know exactly why it is one of the meaningful musicals- it belonged to family and music. They also formed a role in the foundation of musicals.

I really don’t remember if love was also was an emotion I discovered in elementary school or middle school. While three love songs stuck with me in elementary school, I honestly don’t know if I picked up on love. So, that was a huge reason why I usually say excitement and joy began the first core emotions, and at the time had no idea there were five of them. Some of my childhood musicals had sad or heartbreaking songs, but I honestly had no idea.

There is something about childhood musicals that can’t be expressed in other musicals. After all, when I see them I feel like a child again, and then of course there is the nostalgia. I love all of them more than ever now- now that I am aware of the five core emotions. Those musicals really started the foundation of what I want in a musicals. So, they played a huge part in my journey before the love was sparked.

What do you think makes childhood musicals so special?

Edelweiss

This is my 3rd Rodgers and Hammerstein musical I am talking about. Sound of Music holds a lot of meaning: in terms of the nostalgia. Sound of Music is my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. I think it is the hardest one to dislike when it comes to the duo. Why do I love the musical?

Songs:

Sound of Music has an exciting collection of songs- of course you have the love songs and one on a more emotional note, but for the most part, Sound of Music’s songs stay on the exciting nature. Sound of Music is filled with a lot of earworms- from “My Favorite Things” to “Do Re Mi”. You just can’t help but sing along.

Characters:

Maria- She is an extremely likable protagonist. Her love for music is one of the reasons why she is an wonderful characters. I do love how she is finally is able to connect to all of the children: at the beginning all of them don’t respond well to Maria, but she has the ability to get them to warm up to her.

Von Trapp Children- I love the children. They start out not even liking a governess at all (they ALWAYS have found a way to get one to leave). However, by being taught to sing, they finally are able to connect and eventually want Maria to stay and eventually become their mom.

Captain- I can easily find him not to be a likable character. After all, he runs his house very strictly. He does not even seem to love his children at all. He is this stern and unhappy man caused by the death of his wife. He does love his children, but it is hard for him to truly show it. Maria helped him- when he finally heard his children singing, that brought happiness back into his house.

Plot:

I love this story. It is basically about Maria , a nun-in-training, who has to spend time as governess in a family of seven children. She is not very good at being a nun- by being late, spending a lot of time outside the abbey singing, etc…. so being governess will test her if she really wants to be a nun or does she really not?

Conclusion:

Sound of Music holds a lot of meaning in my life. I have loved it since I was a child- there is something amazing about those musicals. When I saw the musical in person 2015, I felt like a child even in those songs that never made it to the movie. A new different level of meaning was added. Sound of Music remains to this day my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

Favorite Song: Edelweiss

Favorite Protagonists of Musicals

One of the most crucial elements of a musical is the protagonist (the main character). It is their story that we want to follow along with the various subplots. Who are some of my favorite protagonists?

  1. Elphaba/Glinda
  2. Aladdin
  3. Belle
  4. Simba
  5. Elsa/Anna
  6. Jack Kelly
  7. Christine
  8. Jean Valjean
  9. Annie
  10. Oliver
  11. Harold Hill
  12. Maria- the Sound of Music one

Why do two have two protagonists listed. Frozen and Wicked just happen to have two main characters in them, and I wouldn’t choose one over the other to be the primary protagonist.

Musical Theatre- the Meaningful Ones

There is one thing that is true for ALL musical theatre fanatics. We know there are musicals in our lives that meaningful and others that are not. The ones that are meaningful end up in our favorites pile. They are the ones that tend to stay with us. What are some of those meaningful musicals in my life (I think you can predict some of them)?

Wicked:

  • I may have had meaningful musicals in my life BEFORE Wicked. However, where did my journey with musicals truly begin? When I first saw Wicked, I was only 12 in NYC on Broadway with my mom. All I can remember is that “Popular” was my favorite song at the time. Before Wicked, I do not think I even knew what an emotional connection was or the emotional and complex side of musicals was. I discovered all of THAT due to Wicked. Wicked made sad come to the forefront, and I do not even remember if love came to the forefront or not due to Wicked, but there is a good chance it might have. I am totally aware that it was Wicked that first made me pick up on the concept of love triangles. Wicked sparked my love for musicals- Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero became important parts of my life especially Elphaba.

The three pictures above were from three of the four times I saw Wicked. I saw it once with mom, once with mom and my sister, once with my dad, and once with my university. Each time I saw Wicked, the show got better and due to the emotions deepening I became more vulnerable to the musical; so my emotional connection remained.

Les Mis:

Well, a love may have been sparked by Wicked, but there was no passion. I THOUGHT I knew musicals. I once told myself I will never love a tragedy. I told myself there was only four core emotions: excitement, love, joy, and sad. I told myself ALL musicals were happy and comic that had a few sad moments here and there. I told myself there was no way a death scene would be memorable, and that a song could not happen during one. I even thought I knew just how intense emotions can get in musicals- well Les Mis would challenge everything.

My family was on vacation in Florida in 2012, and we went to see the Les Mis film. I honestly did NOT want to see the film. I was so unsure about it. I only knew it was a musical: not if it was a COMEDY or a TRAGEDY: so I was blind to it being tragic. So I was blind to HEARTBREAK as well. After the first death, I completely realized Les Mis was tragic. I honestly did not know how to respond- I was shocked and confused. I still left the movie theater with “Do You hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. I still was NOT the biggest fan of the musical. The strangest thing though was a few days or maybe at least a week or two weeks after, I started researching Les Mis (do not know why).

Well- there came a point in 2013 when I decided to give the film a 2nd chance. Good thing I knew it was tragic. I started to fall in love with Les Mis. I slowly begin to realize that the musical had something special about it and that it did make you feel uplifted. By summer 2013, I became obsessed with Les Mis. Les Mis is WHY I am a musical theatre fanatic (maybe not the most accurate word). This might sound strange, but I was not an emotional wreck in the beginning; that was a reaction that was built up over time. I never thought a musical could be just how intense (I think true Les Mis fans know what I am talking about) it could get. I have an emotional connection to almost every story in Les Mis- to Valjean’s to Fantine’s to the love triangle to the Uprising. Usually in a musical, I know what my favorite song is, but in Les Mis I can’t even narrow it down.

Sound of Music:

  • Childhood musicals are nothing like the ones that enter you life in college. They have this kind of nostalgia that no other musical can achieve. Sound of Music is one of those musicals. I have loved Sound of Music since I was a child. It had been meaningful for that long- even longer that Wicked.

Annie:

  • Annie has a similar kind of meaning that Sound of Music has. It is another childhood favorite. Before Wicked entered my life and became my favorite musical, Annie was my favorite musical. Each time I see the 1982 musical, I feel like a child again. I am like Annie in the fact that we are both optimistic- I never figured out why I loved the character until my college years.

Rent:

  • This is another sad musical that entered my life. A big thing that makes Rent meaningful is its message. While being sad, Rent is truly a celebration of life. It is about living your life in love even in the face of fear- that is what the Rent characters have to deal with: after all this musical takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s/1990s so getting it is quite scary so there is a good chance that if you get that disease there is a high chance you are not going to survive. So these characters, instead of living in fear, they choose to live in love and in the moment- only four of the major characters have the devastating disease, but it still affects their friends. It is truly the message of Rent that makes it meaningful- No Day But Today!!!!! Rent, like Les Mis, makes me an emotional wreck.

Newsies

Courage cannot erase our Fear. Courage is when we face our Fear

Seize the Day

I fell in love with Newsies August 2016 during the US Tour. At the time, Joey Barreiro, my favorite Jack Kelly, was leading the tour. At the time, I remember being mind-blown by the dance. I felt an emotional connection quickly- it started out between the intimate and special bond between Jack and Crutchie and soon after, my emotional connection grew between all of the Newsies. I knew I loved Newsies, but did not even realize that Newsies was already meaningful to me. However, a few weeks later after hearing “Seize the Day” and picking up on the lyrics “Courage cannot erase our Fear. Courage is when we face our Fear”, I knew for a fact that Newsies was meaningful. I really do not know what drives me to those lyrics in “Seize the Day” so much- what I do know is that “Seize the Day” is my favorite song from the musical. Newsies is not my only favorite and meaningful Disney musical.

What are some your meaningful musicals?

My Favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals

One of my favorite duos in musical theatre are Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are one of the most famous composer and lyricist teams. They are part of the Golden Age of musicals- their Oklahoma changed the world of musicals forever in 1943. The singing and acting element was already interrogated into the plot- Oklahoma added the final piece to the musical- they were able to add dance to the plot; it wasn’t like it was just there to just be there- dance finally made sense. What are my top favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals?

Oklahoma

  • I have loved Oklahoma for five years now. The love began with the film. It only was last year when I saw the stage show. Oklahoma is a romantic musical comedy with double romances with one being more important than the other. Now, let’s me say why I love Oklahoma.

Songs

  • Everyone know you can’t love a musical without good songs. From “Surrey With the Fringe on Top”, “People Will Say We’re in Love”, “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, and the title song, “Oklahoma” makes Oklahoma such a memorable musical. Of course, those are not all the songs. Just giving examples.

Characters

  • I am still trying to figure out WHO they are. I do love Curly, Laurey, Will Parker, and Ado Annie. I have such a strong hate towards Jud, which makes me love Curly even more. That sounds a bit crazy- but it is true. Look, Oklahoma consists of two love triangles, and one of them consists of Curly, Laurey, and Jud. Curly will do anything to make sure Laurey does not end up with Jud, who is the villain of Oklahoma: Jud is a horrible person who is abusive who will harm both Curly and Laurey. Any R and H musical has two romances- the other is a love triangle- but once again: I love Will Parker and Ado Annie together. Still- I barely know these characters. Yes- Curly and Jud fight for Laurey and Will Parker and Ali Hakhim fight for Ado Annie, but who each end up is who I would see fit for each of them.

Plot

  • Many people think Oklahoma’s plot is too simple- meaning it revolves around this social event. I do not really see it that way. Oklahoma is more of a romance- the one between Curly and Laurey. They are in love with each other, but do not like admitting it: at least they eventually do. It also has the subplot between Will Parker and Ado Annie despite the fact that Annie has a hard time making up her mind even though the one she truly is in love with is Will Parker. Well, it really is two love triangles- I would rather not have the third person in each scenario, but it is clear who that it is. Oklahoma’s love triangles are weak compared to others I have seen, but they are not fully weak. It also is dealing with Oklahoma eventually becoming a state: it only is United States territory at the time it takes place in.

South Pacific

  • My love for South Pacific began at the same time my love for Oklahoma began. As a matter of fact, it was in the same week. I was leant both of the movie right before a snowstorm. So, I watched both movies five years ago. So far, I only saw the movie of South Pacific. Like any R/H musical, there is a double love story.

Songs

  • I love the songs in South Pacific. The songs are a combo of exciting, love, and heartbreaking songs. From exciting songs like “There is Nothing Like a Dame” to romantic songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” to heartbreaking love songs like “This Nearly Was Mine”. My favorite song in South Pacific is “Some Enchanted Evening”- I do not know why, but I somehow know.

Characters

  • Just like Oklahoma, I know names of characters, but still barely know WHO they are. There is Emelie, Nellie, Joe Cable, Liat, and Bloddy Mary. My favorites of this list are Emelie and Nellie, who serve as the main couple in South Pacific. Out of those two, Nellie is our protagonist. There actually isn’t an antagonist in South Pacific- I think South Pacific is more of a man vs. self conflict.

Plot

  • South Pacific is a romantic musical comedy. It is crazy to think about how easily the musical could have been a tragedy, but it isn’t. It is about Nellie and Emelie’s romance and one a subplot is Joe Cable and Liat’s romance. Joe Cable and Liat’s romance is actually tragic. An underlying theme found in South Pacific is racism, and I think that theme might be our “antagonist”. One of the songs is brilliant- “You’ve got to be carefully taught”- the brilliance of that songs come from the fact that your’e taught not born racist.

Sound of Music

  • This is my favorite and the longest R/H musical that has been part of my life. It is actually one of my childhood musicals. Childhood musicals are important because they help form a foundation for what musicals are. They hold something that no other musical can achieve. I first saw it through the movie, and in 2015 saw the stage show. I was surprised by my reaction during “Edelweiss”. When I saw it live, I was crying during “Edelweiss”, and that was a reaction that was brand new to me. I never once thought the songs in Sound of Music would have sadness in them.

Songs

  • These songs are easily singable and memorable. From “Do Re Mi” to “My Favorite Things” to “Sound of Music” to “So Long Farewell” to “Climb Every Mountain” to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to “Something Good” to “Edelweiss”. As a matter of fact, the first musical theatre song I memorized the lyrics to are “Do Re Mi”. There is no way you can’t dislike these songs. “Edelweiss” is my favorite song in Sound of Music.

Characters

  • I love a number of these characters. Maria is an easy likable protagonist. She is amazing with the children and teaches them to sing. She helps bring happiness into a house that used to filled with darkness. The Captain may be stern with Maria and the children, but yet still loves his children. He eventually warms up to Maria after hearing his children sing- all he needed in his life is music.

Plot

  • How in the world can you dislike the plot? I really do not need to say more. Honestly- how can any musical theatre fanatic dislike Sound of Music? It is my favorite of the classics- when I mean “classic”, I am talking about the Golden Age of Musicals.