As musical theatre fans know, certain countries and locations are popular with musicals. Many musicals take place in US- a popular setting is in NYC in different parts during various time periods. So, what musicals do I either love or like that take place in NYC?
West Side Story
This modernized “Romeo and Juliet” musical is one I have mixed feelings on. It isn’t like I don’t like the musical. I feel like it is in between liking and loving- does that make sense? It is driven through dance. Instead of feuding families, we know have feuding gangs. Instead of Verona, we are now in NYC. Our two central characters are Tony and Maria- in my opinion, Tony is the more dominant. “Somewhere” is my favorite song from this tragic musical.
Now, we are in a musical that is on the East Side of NYC. This takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Based on the tragic opera, La Bohème, we see the bohemian lifestyle through struggling artists. There are three couples found in Rent, with the main one being on Roger and Mimi. The friends are basically like family- Roger, Mimi, Mark, Joanne, Maureen, Collins, and Angel have an incredible friendship. The musical does have an incredible message of how to live life- in love and in the moment. “Seasons of Love” is my favorite song.
The Disney musical that takes place in Manhattan- it centers on the Newsboy Strikes of 1899. The Newsies have a tough life, but their friendship is a brotherly bond that feels like family. Their leader is Jack Kelly. The Newsies go on strike due to Pultizer raising the price of papers- a decision that will make their jobs harder. This musical has exciting and emotional songs, an inspiring story and mind-blowing dance. “Seize the Day” is my favorite song.
I went with this one last because it is a childhood musical. Annie was my favorite musical back in elementary school. Taking place during The Great Depression, it is about Annie’s time spent at Daddy Warbuck’s mansion over the Holidays. She has this incredible optimism and spirit, as seen through “Tomorrow”, my favorite song from the show.
This will be the complete opposite of yesterday’s post. Yes, there are ironic heartbreaking love songs, but at the same time, there are the ones that aren’t even ironic at all. Some characters are part of tragic couples and there are also characters whose stories revolve around unrequited love- their songs are the non-ironic heartbreaking ones. POSSIBLE SPOILERS
I could have chosen any of the West Side Story songs. Maria and Tony are part of a tragic couple, who are based off of Romeo and Juliet. Their songs get sadder and sadder as the story continues. Somewhere is the closest to the finale.
All I Ask of You (Reprise)
The Phantom is one of our characters whose stories revolve around unrequited love. However, in his case, he doesn’t take it very well. Doesn’t exactly accept the situation.
As Long as He Needs Me
Even though Bill Sikes is abusive, Nancy still continues to love him. Yes, she developed a strong affection to Oliver, which can make things difficult at times. This song is very heartbreaking.
On My Own
Whenever I think of unrequited love in musicals, I think of Eponine. She has such a strong love for Marius. It actually is her greatest strength, and the only good thing in her life. It was his kindness that led her to fall in love with him. People might wonder why does she continue to love him- well, without him, she would have no light in her life.
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?
West Side Story
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.
The genre of tragedy can be hard to get used to when it is first discovered. It is so easy to call it just sad. That means it can be hard that they have so much more than just the tragic and heartbreaking nature. I know this from experience- I did once say “I will never love a tragedy. But then Les Mis enters, and everything changed. Today’s post will focus on only the love stories-as in romance.
I think the most predictable tragedies belong to the love stories. You already know that it will not end well. You know something has to happen where the couple can’t be together. You already know the ending will be tragic.
What are examples of tragic love stories:
Romeo and Juliet
West Side Story
A lot of people say that Romeo and Juliet is the “ultimate love story”-as in the best. But I actually disagree. The best tragic love story I have come across is “La Bohème”. Did you know it was “Romeo and Juliet” where I first discovered tragedies. That Shakespeare play was required in 9th grade: not only was I close-minded to Romeo and Juliet, but to Shakespeare as well. La Bohéme will always be better: such a beautiful relationship despite some complications: Rodolfo and Mimi are one of my favorite couples: I sometimes wonder if those two are one of my favorite couples: would that explain why I love Mimi and Roger as a couple.
There are a lot of duets in musicals- but they are NOT just dealing with romance. This post will be a list of duets that are only sung by one male and one female- so some of my favorite duets will be left off. The list will not be in a specific order- as in ranking.
A Little Fall of Rain
Come to Me
No Matter What
Something to Believe In
I Should Tell You
Till There Was You
Sixteen Going on Seventeen
As Long as Your’e Mine
Light My Candle
Phantom of the Opera
A Whole New World
All I Ask of You
One Hand, One Heart
The Last Night of the World
Sun and Moon
A lot of male/female duets are romance numbers. At the same time, there are a couple that don’t belong to romance- some are them relate to family, friendship, and death.