Guten morgen, alles! Wie geht’s? It has occurred to me that musicals have taught me so much and that, in a sense, I’ve grown up alongside them. As I grow older, they seem to mature in a way too. The characters seem more complex, the plot seems deeper, and my appreciation grows as well. So… today’s post is all about what my favorite musicals have taught me. First and foremost, though… let’s take a look at today’s lineup!
1. LES MISÉRABLES
6. THE LAST FIVE YEARS
7. A TALE OF TWO CITIES
8. STARLIGHT EXPRESS
9. THE SOUND OF MUSIC
10. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
I’ll probably do a part two sometime soon because (obviously) I couldn’t fit all of my favorites on this list! Anyways, los geht’s!
There’s so much that I owe to LES MIZ. Really. LES MIZ has changed so much in my life. It’s introduced me to friends, it’s brought an important part of my studies into my life, and it’s overall expanded my understanding of so many things. It’s helped me to better understand humanity at its best and at its worst and to be more sympathetic of situations that I may not know the wholes story of. In general, I think that LES MIZ has made me a better person. But not only has LES MIZ taught me a lot about life, it’s also taught me a lot about emotions too. Heartbreak can also have inspiration mixed in with it. Love isn’t selfish, it’s selfless and it’s not about you. Love’s about the other person. All of that’s stuff that LES MIZ has taught me and I will never not be grateful to this musical for all that it’s done in my life.
I think that a lot of people are sometimes baffled at my obsession with this musical. While it’s immensely popular in the German-speaking world, in the English-speaking world, it’s only familiar to some. But I’m going to try to do my love for this musical justice in this post. I love this musical for so many reasons. But ELISABETH has also taught me so much. If it weren’t for ELISABETH, I don’t know if I would have taken up my German studies again which I’d fiercely neglected for years. But ELISABETH brought the language right back to me. Like LES MIZ, ELISABETH has greatly taught me about people and how they react to situations. It’s taught me about the sadness that people face and barrel through. It’s taught me about regret on a scale that I’ve never seen before. It’s taught me about the pain that living can bring. It taught me that being myself is something that I should embrace and not shun. It’s taught me that love is hard to come by but that true, real friends can be harder to identify. It’s taught me that sometimes we make mistakes.
I still remember the first time I listened to WICKED. I was sitting in my room, and I decided that I was going to listen to the German version of “Dancing Through Life”, “Tanz Durch die Welt”. Of course, at the time, I’d never heard any of the songs from WICKED—I didn’t even know that in English, the song was called “Dancing Through Life”. For all I knew, it was called “Dance Through the World” (the literal translation of the German title). But WICKED has brought so much into my life. WICKED’s shown me a wide emotional spectrum that had been completely nonexistent in my life up until that point. WICKED showed me the importance of sticking to my morals. It showed me the importance of finding good friends. WICKED showed me the importance of giving everything I do a fighting chance because I might be able to accomplish something. WICKED’s shown me that characters can be really, really relatable.
Oh, for so long, I thought that CATS was something that I shouldn’t waste my time with. For a long time, I thought that it was a musical for children and one that I wouldn’t like anymore. But I’m glad that I gave it another chance after all this time. Because I fell in love with it all over again. And really, with each passing day, I fall in love with it even more. And I know. Some people are probably staring at their screens right now and thinking “This girl’s gone off the deep end. She thinks that CATS is a good musical that has taught her something.” But guys, there is a lot more to CATS than you’d think. But you have to be willing to look at it like that. So what has CATS taught me? It’s taught me that forgiveness is something that shouldn’t be withheld. It’s taught me that friendship is important. It’s taught me about life in general. It’s taught me so much and I can’t even put it into words.
Since before PHANTOM, Oberhausen closed last year, I’d been following the growth of a new German-language musical called SCHIKANEDER and watching it come together through updates on Instagram from the people in the show, most specifically, Toby Joch. But when I finally got my hands on the cast album, the first song I listened to was “Träum Groß” [Dream Big]. It’s the sort of title that compelled me to skip right to it. And you know, SCHIKANEDER really is a musical about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. It’s a musical that’s taught me to value friends. It’s a musical that’s taught me to value the talents that God has given me. It’s taught me to work hard. It’s taught me to reach for the stars. It’s a musical that’s taught me that dreaming big isn’t a crime. It’s a musical that’s taught me that smiling and laughing really is the best medicine. It’s taught me that in life, sometimes things go wrong—a lot of the time things go wrong—but that I’ve just got ot push through.
THE LAST FIVE YEARS is a musical that has broken me emotionally more than I thought was possible, really. Yeah. Maybe more than LES MIZ has. Because in THE LAST FIVE YEARS, there isn’t quite that element of inspiration as obviously there. And yet, as I’ve revisited it more and more over time, I have discovered that inspirational side of THE LAST FIVE YEARS. THE LAST FIVE YEARS has taught me that just dreaming isn’t enough—you’ve got to also get out there and make things happen. It’s taught me that love can be tough and sometimes it can hurt. It’s taught me that sometimes everything goes right and then, sometimes everything goes wrong. It’s taught me that laughing is the best way to end the day. It’s taught me that even though things can get hard, having someone there to help you through it can make it so much easier. It’s taught me that communication is key in any relationship. It’s taught me that teamwork is ever so important. It’s taught me that sometimes all people need is a little bit of motivation to realize their true potential.
Like LES MIZ, A TALE OF TWO CITIES taught me that love is selfless and is more about the person that you love than yourself. Like Éponine, Sydney Carton was willing to lay everything on the line—even his life—for the people he cared about. It’s acts like that that inspire hope in me. But beyond that, A TALE OF TWO CITIES has taught me that life can be painful at times—painful beyond belief—but that somehow, everything will end up alright in one way or another. It’s taught me that friendship is to be valued because it can truly be the light in that seemingly dark, hopeless circle.
In terms of musical theatre, STARLIGHT EXPRESS has showed me that there really is no limit to what you can do in musical theatre. Want to make a musical about trains? Do it. Do it, and give them roller skates and super awesome fireworks. Make an amazing racetrack set. But beyond just that, STARLIGHT EXPRESS has taught me that anything’s possible if you give it a real, fighting chance. It’s also taught me that sometimes, you have to just let go of things. It’s taught me that people will try to knock you down but that you’ve just got to get right back up on your feet again. It’s taught me that childhood is something to be cherished. It’s taught me that life’s not always easy and sometimes you have to fight through it. It’s taught me that even if everyone else thinks that you’re not capable of doing something, you’ve just got to work hard and prove them wrong.
Family is one of those things that sometimes I think many of us take for granted sometimes. I know that I do. But THE SOUND OF MUSIC has really, really showed me the importance of family and how a family can bring so much joy. THE SOUND OF MUSIC has taught me that sometimes things don’t go according to plan but that’s alright. It’s taught me that sometimes things change and that’s perfectly fine. It’s taught me that sometimes even when we don’t understand it, things take a turn for the worse but that we’ve just got to make the best of it and see where it takes us.
In the world of musical theatre, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has really showed me how beautiful theatre productions can be. It’s taught me that just a chandelier rising can be one of the most exhilarating moments in theatre that I’ll ever experience. But beyond that, PHANTOM’s showed me the harder reality of humanity and society. It’s taught me that finding the strength to push through the bad is one of the most important things to learn in life. It’s taught me that kindness is important but that being firm in decisions is also important. It’s taught me that even though we sometimes don’t understand why, things happen.
So, that’s it for me today! What have some of your favorite musicals taught you? Tschüss!