Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bittersweet Fountain -- Part 1

I love musicals.

Seriously, there are few things in life I enjoy more than an amazing, moving musical production. If you ever found my iPod you would undoubtedly think, "Wow, this girl really likes musicals" and "seriously, does she have every WOW CD from the past ten years?" You would be right on both accounts.

But what you call a good musical and what I call a good musical may not be the same. To find out, I am going to discuss my love for my three favorite musicals starting with least favorite and going to most favorite.

Warning! Spoiler alerts!!! I will give away the ending. You have been warned.

3. Aida
Talk about a sexy voice. I am of course talking about Adam Pascal, the man who plays Radames. On my first listen to the Aida soundtrack I was sold whn I first heard him sing "Elaborate Lives". But it takes more than a sexy voice to make it into my top three musicals of all time. Aida is unashamedly a love story, but a love story embroiled in politics, war, love triangles, and family intervention. It is about two people from very different backgrounds who end up falling in love. However, their backgrounds doom them, and they end up being buried alive together.

2. Les Miserables
Epic tragedy. In a nut shell, those two words describe Les Mis. It's about discovering who you are, discovering God's plan for you, and finding your place in society. It's also about revolution. I have to say its the revolution that puts it over the top for me. (Revolutionary Europe is my favorite time period, 1789 to 1914. I'm a sucker for a good revolution). The song "Do You Hear the People Sing?" makes me want to start a revolution myself. Les Mis is a musical that doesn't just entertain - it changes you. In the very last song it demands that we strive to make the world a better place. We must hear the people sing.

1. Wicked
In my opinion, this may be the greatest musical ever written. The music is phenomenal, the story lines enticing, the comic relief hilarious, and it changed my perception of a story I've known all my life. The character Elphaba is one I relate to: she is different, awkward, and uncool. She want to change the world for the better and has the greatest dreams that she can. She refuses to be bound by the system. She is a revolutionary.

Looking at the three musicals you can sort of see the similar themes to my favorites: revolution, death, two girls who are both attracted to the same guy, and of course, bittersweet endings. I appreciate the "happily ever after" ending, but I'm a sucker for the bittersweet. Aida and Radames get to be together, but only in death while Amneris is left alive but alone. Cosette and Marius get to be together, but only after Eponine, who loves Marius, and all of Marius' revolutionary buddies die. Elphaba and Fiyero run off together, but Glinda is left thinking they are dead and alone. Ah, the bittersweet.

Why do I like bittersweet endings? Maybe its because I relate often to the person who is left behind: Amneris, Eponine, and Glinda. Maybe its because I feel like life is much more bittersweet then it is happily ever afters. I'm not sure. I only know that a truly bittersweet ending both breaks and fills my heart. This is part of the reason why I chose the name "Bittersweet Fountain". I love bittersweet stories.

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