Musical Characters Whose Hope is [One of] Their Trademark(s)

Guten tag, leute! So… I just read a really, really good book about two teens who were just absolutely miserable but grew to find hope. And while I had a post about tragedy in mind, I decided to set that aside for some other day and write this post about the hopeful characters in musical theatre. So… here’s my top ten musical characters who display hopefulness! Los geht’s!

1. Sisi from ELISABETH – Sisi’s trademark song is easily “Ich Gehör Nur Mir” (I Belong [Only] to Me) and it’s actually what I would say is the theme melody for the whole show. Sisi displays great hopefulness but at the same time, I think that one could say that she displays great sadness as well. Sisi, though being full of hope and dreams, is also suicidal (or at least seems to be) at some parts of the show. All-in-all though, her hopefulness always pushed der Tod (Death) away. In fact, when he’s [der Tod / Death] trying to lure her to him (in “Elisabeth, Mach Auf [Mein Engel]”), convincing her to commit suicide, Sisi pulls away and says, “Nein, ich möchte leben! Ich bin zu jung um aufzugeben! Ich weiß ich kann mir selbst befrein! …Geh! Ich will dich nicht! Ich brauch dich nicht! Geh!” (“No, I want to live! I’m too young to give up! I know I can free myself! …Go! I don’t want you! I don’t need you! Go!”)

Annemieke Van Dam as Sisi

2. Tiana from THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG – In terms of hopefulness, Tiana is probably my favorite Disney princess. She just radiates hope and it’s infectious. I don’t care if I’ve been crying for hours. If I hear “Ich Bin Ganz Nah Dran” / “I’m Almost There”, I will smile and get up again. She just inspires that sort of reaction in people, I think and it’s why, over the years, Tiana has become a favorite of mine.

3. Enjolras (and the students) from LES MISÉRABLES – I think that every character in LES MISÉRABLES has some sort of hope in them. But when I got to thinking: “Who in LES MIZ just radiates hope?” I immediately knew that that would have to be Enjolras and the students. While, like I said, all of the characters in LES MIZ have some sort of hope in them, I think that Enjolras and the students are just the shining star—that pinnacle—of hope in LES MIZ in so many ways. They’re the ones who are remembered for their hopefulness. Their hope was for a new world and a better, fairer government. And they died in defense of that hope.

Enjolras and the students at the Barricade

4. Alfred from TANZ DER VAMPIRE – It can be kind of difficult to really explain how Alfred is hopeful because there are so many things that might count as “hopeful”, but at the same time… do any of them make sense? Yet, it didn’t seem right to leave Alfred off of this list. Not this character who, while hopeful, also has a cynical (yet trusting) side to him. Alfred wants to just run away and save Sarah. And he’s hopeful of this new life that he could (possibly) start with her. And, in all honesty, I think that’s the appeal of his character to me.

5. Lucy Harris from JEKYLL & HYDE – Lucy might be the character from JEKYLL & HYDE that one might least expect to be hopeful. And yet, she’s probably the most hopeful character in the musical. She sings one especially hopeful song, “A New Life”. And then, in “Girls of the Night”, Lucy sings about wanting to fly away from her life and go somewhere else and become the person she wants to be not this person that she’s forced to be. And there’s also “Someone Like You”, in which she hopes for love and adventure. And while Lucy is a tragic character, I think it’s great to see the hopeful, strong side to her, and not just the tragedy.

6. Henry Jekyll from JEKYLL & HYDE – Henry Jekyll is hopeful in a completely different way than Lucy. Jekyll wants to find a way to separate the good and evil in a person. Jekyll hopes for a new world in which his experiment works out so that only the good in a person is left while the bad is left to die. Of course, all of this does not go as planned, but, nonetheless, I would say that he is hopeful character in a rather unique sort of way.

7. Lucie Manette from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – Lucie is hopeful in the most raw, pure sense of the word. And… while I suppose that it could be said that Lucie is bland, I think that her goodness and her hopefulness is one of the things that makes me care about her. For some reason though, I think that a lot of the hate that she receives is due to this hopeful nature of her because people consider her to be “without flaws”. Be that as it may, I think that her hopefulness is strong and key to the story of A TALE OF TWO CITIES and what strongly contrasts her from Sydney Carton.

8. Elphaba from WICKED – Elphie’s hopes and ambitions change throughout the show. First, she’s hopeful of meeting the Wizard. Then, she’s hopeful about Fiyero (though she suppresses that hope that she wants to feel). Then, she’s hopeful about herself being able to fight against the Wizard. Then, she’s hopeful about saving Fiyero. And finally, she’s hopeful that Glinda will be happy. And maybe it’s her hopefulness that makes her such a beloved character—it’s definitely what makes her a favorite of mine.

Willemijn Verkaik as Elphaba

9. Raoul from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – I almost added Christine with Raoul on this list. But then I realized that Christine’s not really that hopeful of a character. In fact… she’s the opposite of hopeful for a majority of the show. She’s frightened and sometimes cynical (understandably so). But Raoul makes Christine see the hope. In a lot of ways, Raoul is her hope. But Raoul is hopeful himself. And I don’t think that he gets enough credit for his hopefulness.

Raoul de Chagny in PHANTOM

10. Emanuel Schikaneder from SCHIKANEDER – Maybe “hopeful” isn’t the best way to describe Emanuel Schikaneder. Because he’s more than hopeful. He’s confident. For him, it’s not “I want” it’s “I will”. And while he hopes and dreams, he goes the extra mile and goes and makes those dreams a reality. He doesn’t just sit around and wait for something to happen. And I really, really love that about him.

Mark Seibert as Emanuel Schikaneder in SCHIKANEDER

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So… who are your favorite hopeful characters? Tschüss!

Oh, and happy Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent to those celebrating!

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12 thoughts on “Musical Characters Whose Hope is [One of] Their Trademark(s)

  1. Would have to agree about Enjolras and Elphaba.

    While I could have said Enjolras and the students, I think Enjolras is the most hopeful of them all since he is the most passionate of the cause, which is why of all the students, his death is the most heartbreaking. “Drink With Me” is quite sad as a matter of fact, they all feel hopeless knowing that they most likely are going to lose, but even during the battle, they stay passionate. “Drink With Me” is a song that literally would not seem sad at first, but due to knowing that the students are going to die during the uprising, that song is quite sad because it is their last meal together.

    Elphaba for sure is a hopeful character. I never thought about all the things she had hope for. I knew there was the hope for working with the wizard and the hope for fighting against the wizard. But never really thought about that.

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    1. Definitely agree that “Drink With Me” is a very sad song. Enjolras’s faith and hope in the revolt and republicanism is definitely inspirational to the audience and the students who had faith in him.
      Elphie is one of my favorite characters largely due to her exuberant amount of hope!

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      1. “Drink With Me” is very sad song, but a new audience might not be able to pick up on it. How sad, all of them will lose their lives for fighting for what they believe in. Poor Marius I cannot imagine what that must have like losing all of his friends in battle

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      2. It took some time until I tuned into just how sad “Drink with Me” is. The next morning even though the students felt quite hopeless about this uprising, they still fought. “Drink with Me” really shows just how close the students are.

        If Valjean hadn’t arrived, Marius would have died with the other students.

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      3. I think my favorite line Enjolras sings is: “Let others rise to take out place until the earth is free!” because it just shows that he has hope even in his death that it will be a stepping stone towards freedom in France.

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      4. True about that. He still hopes that others will make create an improved France. Boy those students were only young. Hard to think about that most of the characters who die in Les Mis happen to die way too soon

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      5. I agree. It’s one of the saddest parts about Les Miz, I think.
        But the hurt of the students dying really hit me hard while reading the book. In the book, the students all have very unique personalities and dreams that they, for the most part, never get to see come true

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      6. Gavroche had a lot of spirit. He was so brave and heroic. The students were his family in a lot of ways. They basically took him in and he was sort of like the mascot of the rebellion

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