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My Confirmation | December 10, 2017

Guten Morgen, Leute! Wie geht’s?

Yesterday, December 10, was the day of my Confirmation. It is true that I am “old” compared to other people when they get confirmed but it’s been an issue in our church that people get confirmed a lot later than they ought to for various reasons. So, by my church’s standards, I’m actually quite young to be getting confirmed–the youngest in probably a decade or more. It’s something that we’ve been working to get fixed but it’s a slow and tedious process. We’re making baby steps towards it and improvement is certainly there. We just have to be patient and trust that the Lord will answer our prayers regarding this matter.

Anyways…

The verse that my pastor chose as my Confirmation verse is Psalm 55:22:

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (KJV)

This is reminiscent, in some ways, of the verse that I chose as my favorite verse during my examination last week which was Psalm 9:9:

“The Lord also will be a Refuge for the oppressed, a Refuge in times of trouble.” (KJV)

Both of these verses remind me that God is on my side even if the world, perhaps, is not. My Confirmation verse, however, is also one that reminds me to cast my burdens and troubles upon the Lord and “take it to the Lord in prayer.” Since I have now referenced the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, I figure that it is a good time to talk about the hymn that was chosen for my Confirmation: “Let Me Be Thine Forever” (TLH #334).

1. Let me be Thine forever,
Thou faithful God and Lord;
Let me forsake Thee never
Nor wander from Thy Word.
Lord, do not let me waver,
But give me steadfastness,
And for such grace forever
Thy holy name I’ll bless.

2. Lord Jesus, my Salvation,
My Light, my Life divine,
My only Consolation,
Oh, make me wholly Thine!
For Thou hast dearly bought me
With blood and bitter pain.
Let me, since Thou hast sought me,
Eternal life obtain.

3. And Thou, O Holy Spirit,
My Comforter and Guide,
Grant that in Jesus’ merit
I always may confide,
Him to the end confessing
Whom I have known by faith.
Give me Thy constant blessing
And grant a Christian death.

I think that this hymn is an absolutely beautiful Confirmation hymn. It was sung at the beginning of the Divine Service and definitely put myself and my cousins who were getting confirmed with me in mind of the Confirmation vows that we were about to take. The whole service, in fact, caused me to meditate upon my faith and the profession that we had made on Wednesday, December 6. The sermon text that my pastor chose was Isaiah 43:1:

“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” (KJV)

The sermon, like the rest of the service, was greatly instrumental in causing myself to reflect on my faith, to renew my baptismal vows to myself (as I should everyday) before renewing them publicly before the congregation, and to examine myself before going to the Lord’s Supper for the first time.

I realize that this post is very scattered and all-over-the-place. I wish that I had the ability to make things make sense in this sort of post but alas, my mind doesn’t seem to want to focus on any one thing for too long and I cannot be as eloquent as I would like to be. But then, I suppose that this post is mostly for me to look back on in the coming years to remember my Confirmation. I, of course, will be very glad if others draw something from it but, in the end, I have written this post mostly to reflect on later. It is a day that I want to remember forever and in this way, I am preserving it in my memory almost exactly the way that it was as I remembered it.

Vielen Dank und tschüss! 

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My Favorite Musical Theatre Headcanons?

Guten Morgen, Leute! Wie geht’s?

I’ve spent a lot of time on Tumblr over the last month, avoiding studying for finals (I know, I know…) and while I was scrolling through, I saw a post about TANZ DER VAMPIRE headcanons and I thought that I would write a post about my favorite musical headcanons! Los geht’s!

  • That the 1617 girl was Krolock’s wife and also Herbert’s mother. I’d always supposed that Krolock had some sort of romantic connection to the 1617 victim but I really enjoy the notion that he was married to her while he was alive and that she was also Herbert’s mother. Because I definitely think that Herbert is Krolock’s biological son, not adopted (because, apparently a lot of people think that Herbert is adopted). And I just think that this adds some more tragedy to Krolock and “Die unstillbare Gier” (as if that song wasn’t tragic enough as it is).
  • That after the events of TANZ DER VAMPIRE, Alfred, Sarah, and Krolock all live as friends together. I mean, obviously I want Sarah and Alfred to be “endgame” but I think that it would be interesting if the three of them became friends. I also like the headcanon that Krolock sees a lot of his human self in Alfred so that would definitely add to the appeal of this. But… I guess that we’ll never really know how that turns out.
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Marjan Shaki as Sarah, Thomas Borchert as Krolock, and Lukas Perman as Alfred at curtain call for TANZ DER VAMPIRE at the Ronacher theater in Vienna
  • That one day Alfred and Marius (TANZ and LES MIZ respectively) meet. I mean… just imagine how wonderfully awkward this would be. And it would be really cute. I mean, Alfred and Marius are kind of the same except one fights against crazy, hungry vampires and one is trying to take down an oppressive regime! Honestly, I just think that they’d be best buds (after the initial awkwardness).
  • Cosette and Marius sing nursery rhymes to their children about Les Amis de l’ ABC. When I saw this headcanon on Tumblr, I think that my heart broke a little bit. I can’t even find the post anymore but the person who wrote it wrote up this nursery rhyme that talked about each of the members and it just made my heart break.
  • That der Tod and Sisi are happily together in the afterlife or that der Tod had to give Sisi up for reincarnation and looks after this reincarnated version of her. I don’t believe in reincarnation but since ELISABETH is a work of fiction, I kind of like this idea. I read a fanfiction that used this idea and man, oh man… I loved it. Case and point, I just want der Tod and Sisi to be happy together. Because, really, I think that they’re essentially perfect for each other. Der Tod loves Sisi because she’s so alive and full of life and Sisi loves der Tod because he seems to represent freedom in her mind.
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Mark Seibert as der Tod and Annemieke van Dam as Sisi performing “Der Schleier fällt”
  • Orpheus and Eurydice do get to be reunited. This is something that’s never really answered in the Greek myth. We know that Orpheus gets torn apart by nymphs (it’s not clear if that happens in HADESTOWN or not) but we never really find out if he ever gets to be with Eurydice in the underworld. I’d like to think that they do get to be together.

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I hope that you all enjoyed this post. Today’s my Confirmation (eek!) and I will write a post about that tomorrow! I hope that you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend. What are your favorite musical theatre headcanons? Vielen Dank und tschüss!

Autumn 2017 Wrap-Up + My Winter TBR List | 2017-2018

Guten Tag, Leute! Wie geht’s?

I hope that you all are doing well! I’ll admit that I had a really bad season for reading when it comes to autumn. I mostly read textbooks for college and barely had time to read any novels and when I did have time, I just didn’t feel like reading. I’m hoping that winter is going to be much better for reading for me. Anyways, for today, I’m bringing y’all my autumn wrap-up and my winter TBR! Los geht’s!

AUTUMN WRAP-UP

  • The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson – This was required reading for my U.S. History class and it was really my first time reading it all the way through (I’d read snippets throughout my life) and I loved it. I had way more fun with this than was probably intended but hey! Might as well have fun doing required reading, right?
  • The Constituion of the United States by James Madison (and the Founding Fathers) – Again, required reading. Again, loved it. I’m a history nerd so that accounts for some of it, but man… reading through the Constitution and really just soaking in everything that the Founding Fathers wrote and seeing what no longer is in effect was just really interesting.
  • The Secret Diary of William Byrd II by William Byrd II – Required reading again but man, this was probably the most entertaining of all. Okay, technically, a lot of what is recorded in this is horrible–it includes poor treatment of slaves and his wife, etc.–but it really is an interesting read and this man’s way of writing just has something hilarious about it. It’s not so much that the contents are funny but that he “danced his dance” (exercised) and “ate milk for breakfast” almost every day. It’s hard to explain exactly how this is entertaining especially when the contents really aren’t at all that funny but if you read it, I think that you’ll understand what I mean.
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards – Yep, some more required reading. I can’t really remember what I thought about this sermon, really…
  • A Model of Christian Charity by John Winthrop – Yeah, more required reading. I don’t really remember all that much about this one either other than something about ligaments and love.
  • Nova Britannia: Offering Most Excellent Fruits by Planting in Virginia, Exciting All Such as Be Well Affected to Further the Same by Robert Johnson – Ah… just some good, old fashioned propaganda from colonial times. Required reading but thoroughly interesting when you look at how desperately clear it is that this is propaganda.
  • Food compiled by Lee Baughknight – This was required reading for my English class because all of our essays were centered around writings from this book. Not really something I’d recommend to anyone but eh, there were some interesting articles, I suppose.
  • The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 by Alfred W. Crosby – I can’t remember all that much about this book that I read for U.S. History aside from the fact that I did find it thoroughly interesting when I read it.
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann – This one was also required reading and was very interesting. I definitely want to reread this again sometime.
  • A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift – I read this one because of my English class (but not for the class so we finally have a book that wasn’t required reading!) and I thought that it was well-written and I liked Swift’s technique and can only imagine that it must have been fairly effective!
  • I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott – It’s hard to briefly explain what I thought about this book. First and foremost, I bought the book because I like history; not because I’m a fan of the musical HAMILTON (because I just am not). And well, unfortunately, this book fell short of what I was hoping that it might be. And well… you can blame a lot of that on the fact that it seemed poorly researched at times.
  • The American Promise (Vol. 1/3) by James L. Roark – This was my U.S. History textbook for the quarter and I loved it. Can’t wait to read the other two volumes when I take the other two classes (I’ll be reading vol. 3 for next quarter).
  • Everything You Need to Know About College Writing by Lynne Lerych – Of all the textbooks I had this quarter, this was my least favorite. It was just boring and didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t already know. Some things about it did make it more entertaining than it would have been otherwise.
  • Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective by Fred S. Kleiner – This was my Art History textbook and I loved it. Honestly, this was the class that surprised me the most. I know so much more now than I did earlier and I’m now frequently applying that knowledge to things like my writing.
  • Tales From the Arabian Nights by an anonymous author – Man… this was a long read but definitely a fun one. It was a nice nightly read–I took it story by story and it was definitely nice to finally read it after years of having it on my shelf.
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White – This book was okay. Not the best, not the worst. I’m not entirely sure that I will read the rest of the series but maybe I will if I have time on my hands.
  • Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney – I’ve always liked Greek mythology and it was fun to revisit this book after all those years. I did a review of it on this blog earlier this week if you’re interesting in reading a longer review.
  • Common Sense by Thomas Paine – Required reading but something that I was planning on reading anyways. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m very much an American revolutionary at heart and that I am always happy that we broke away from Britain because, to me, it was common sense to do so. Yes, I’m still obsessed with those revolutionary years and people think that I’m still living back there in my mind (and maybe I kind of am) so it was no surprise that I was every bit as fired up while reading Common Sense as I can only imagine those colonists must have been. Honestly.
  • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly – I’m reading this one right now and according to Goodreads, I’m about 60% done with it so I will be finished with this by the time winter officially gets here. At any rate, I’m enjoying this a lot so far and can’t wait to see how it ends!

And that wraps up my autumn wrap-up. A lot of required reading but I got some personal reading in as well so that was nice. Now, as for my TBR for the winter…

WINTER TBR

  • The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare – I’m going to be rereading these because it’s been so long since I’ve been in the Shadowhunter universe ad I can’t wait to throw myself back into it. Plus, I love these characters and the setting so… bring it on!
  • The Odyssey by Homer – I’m hoping to read this again soon because I’ve just been itching to do so recently! I remember really enjoying it back in high school so I look forward to reading it again!
  • The American Promise (Vol. 3) – Yeah, I’m skipping over the Civil War class until the quarter after next since the teacher that I like will not be teaching it during Winter Quarter. I figured that I’d just take that one later and skip towards contemporary U.S. History. It’s not the area of history that I’m particularly familiar with but I look forward to learning more about it!
  • Frederica by Georgette Heyer – I was meaning to get to this during the fall season but it just didn’t happen. So I’m going to try to read it during the winter sometime. I’ve yet to read a Heyer novel that I disliked so I look forward to reading this one!
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – This one was on my autumn TBR as well but I didn’t quite get to it so I’m going to try to read it during the winter. I’ve only heard good things about it so I hope that I enjoy it!
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – I really want to reread this and I hope that it will be every bit as good as it was the first time ’round.
  • A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel – I’m always up for rereading this book because it’s one of the few about the French Revolution that does Camille Desmoulins any real justice. And I’m all in favor of that.

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What do you want to read during the winter? What did you read during autumn? Vielen Dank und tschüss!

Musical Theatre “This or That?” #10

Guten Tag, Leute! Wie geht’s?

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a “This or That?” so I thought that I’d bring it back today! So, here’s the question:

Stever Barton or Hadley Fraser as Raoul in PHANTOM?

Let me know what you think in the comments! Vielen Dank und tschüss!

Psalm 9:9 | Examination for Confirmation

Guten Morgen, Leute! Wie geht’s? Ich hoffe das alles ist gut!

Last night was my Public Examination, in which the congregation listened to my cousins and I give a profession of our faith so that we can be received into communicant membership with the church. Needless to say, this was a big deal for myself and for my cousins–it’s been something that we’ve all been looking forward to for years now.

It was a big deal for the congregation as well–it’s been a while since we’ve had people as young as myself and my cousins confirmed as, over time, it has taken longer for people to get through Catechism instruction. My cousins and I decided to start an accelerated study schedule, though, learning upwards of twenty questions every week whereas we had been learning just two questions a week before. It was a difficult run but we made it through. Last night was the culmination of all of our hard work and we were nervous, excited, and a little bit horrified. But we made it through.

All my life, there has been very little that has been more daunting and horrifying than public examination. My pastor has told us time and time again that once a person goes through a Lutheran public examination, public speaking seems to be something not quite as horrifying. And well… there’s some truth to that. I have to admit that the whole time I was up there, my hands were shaking and I was very grateful to have buttons that were keeping my sleeve closed around my wrists to fidget with because that relieved some of the stress. But most importantly, I had to know that God would help me through it.

“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” – Isaiah 41:13 (KJV)

This particular verse has always been a verse that I have held close to me in times of fear and stress. Throughout the years, I have participated in the Christmas Eve Services and this verse was the one that I always took care to keep in my mind. It definitely soothed me.

The examination seemed to be over in the blink of an eye–the 1 hour and 30 minutes that we had quickly went by and I was shocked at how well my cousins and I had remembered everything that we had studied with our pastor over the past 5 to 6 years.

After our pastor had gone through all of the questions, he had my uncle ask the question that he asks every confirmand at examination: What Bible verse speaks to you the most and why?

It was a question that we were all prepared for and I think that it was probably the one that required the most contemplation beforehand. We all knew that it was coming but it was difficult to pick just the right one. Even in the car on the way to church last night, I was running through possible verses that I might want to use until I finally settled on Psalm 9:9.

“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9 (KJV)

I picked this verse because, as we head towards the last times, Christians certainly are becoming oppressed peoples and Christ said that it would be so when He spoke with his disciples. This verse, though, reassures me that although the world may be against us, we know that God is on our side.

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31 (KJV)

Confirmation is on this coming Sunday and I couldn’t be more excited.

Vielen Dank und tschüss!

[Feature Photo Credit: Steemit.com]

My Favorite Characters From Musicals That Aren’t Exactly Moral

Guten Morgen, Leute! Wie geht’s?

It’s been kind of well-established over the year that I’ve been writing this blog that I usually favor more… moral characters. Example: Raoul over the Phantom. However, I do also tend to like some characters that aren’t exactly the epitome of moral. So, today, I’m going to be talking about some of those! Without any further ado, los geht’s!

Der Tod [Death] from ELISABETH

der tod
Mark Seibert as der Tod

Yeah, der Tod isn’t really moral. But then, what would you expect from a personification of death? It’s hard to call death a villain, though, isn’t it? So, I suppose that you could say that der Tod really falls into a grey area on so many different levels. Yes, he does kill many members of Sisi’s family and effectively destroys the Hasburg empire forever but… I guess that the real question is whether or not he’s actually in control of what he does; whether or not he gets to choose whose life he takes. And I really don’t think that he is. Because, if he does have the ability to just choose who to take and when to take them, he would have taken Sisi’s life right at the beginning of the musical during “Schwarzer Prinz.”

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Mark Seibert as der Tod (again)

Plus… he says that he loves Elisabeth. And we all know that what Sisi wants most is freedom and to be able to fly free. That’s what she sees as being so appealing about death–it will allow her to be free. So, yes. As much as throughout the entire story, der Tod does try to kill and manipulate Sisi, I think that maybe he was doing it because it was really the only way for him to show that he loved her; it was the only way for him to give her something. Why would I think that? Well… reasons that contain spoilers. Man, I wish that there was a “hide spoilers” function on WordPress like there is on Goodreads. Alas, what can you do? Here, I’ll just say it in the vaguest terms possible: When Sisi begs der Tod to take her life from her, der Tod refuses to do so. You could either see this as him being unable to choose when he takes her life or you could see it as him being upset by her prior rejections of him. He does say “Zu spät” [Too late], after all.

when i want to dance
Mark Seibert as der Tod and Annemieke van Dam as Sisi performing “Wenn ich tanzen will” from ELISABETH

Many people will make the point that der Tod is manipulative. And he is. It’s part of his nature; it’s part of how he’s trying to win Sisi over. If there’s anything about der Tod that I consider immoral, it’s this. He is highly manipulative and although I understand it, it’s not exactly something that has any other explanation, unlike the fact that he takes the lives of people that are close to Sisi. I mean, that’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s death himself. But… all the same, I do really like der Tod. I think that he’s highly interesting and complex. In all honesty, I’m still trying to figure him out.

Graf von Krolock from TANZ DER VAMPIRE

My favorite thing about Krolock is the fact that he knows and acknowledges the fact that he isn’t moral. He also wishes that he could shed his immoral ways but he just can’t. Kind of like der Tod, he’s forced to destroy everything that he loves and well… at least in “Die unstillbare Gier”, he seems to be remorseful. All the same, though, he kind of concludes that there is nothing that he can possibly do to change this. I know I’m making it sound like he’s just kind of accepted the fact that he will always be thirsty for more but it’s not so much acceptance as it is resignation.

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Drew Sarich as Graf von Krolock

So, I guess that what I’m trying to say is that I feel sorry for Krolock and I think that he’s a tragic character. He’s really well-written, I think. I didn’t even like Krolock the first time I watched TANZ DER VAMPIRE because I thought that he was weird and creepy but you know, once I got to “Die unstillbare Gier” during that first viewing, I realized that it was kind of impossible not to feel something for this tortured, unfortunate count. So, yeah. Because of one song, this character has become one of my favorite characters of all time. I can’t say that I like him as much as I like Alfred–I absolutely love Alfred–but he really is one of my favorites. I guess that it just goes to show how important songs are in musicals.

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Steve Barton as Graf von Krolock

Sydney Carton from A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Alright, alright. Sydney Carton isn’t exactly immoral. At least, he isn’t by the end of the story. But he does start out as a character who you wouldn’t exactly want to invite to a dinner party. Sydney’s not immoral in the same way that der Tod and Graf von Krolock are–he doesn’t kill people or anything. But he isn’t exactly kind at the beginning of the story and he is a drunkard.

But here’s the thing: A TALE OF TWO CITIES really is the story of Sydney’s change in character, I think. He grows so much and learns what it is to love people. And that’s very, very evident in the finale of the show. In short, I love Sydney Carton. He’s definitely a tragic character and his story definitely will make you cry. He starts out as a person who couldn’t care less about other people’s welfare as long as he could have a bottle in his hand but he winds up being one of the most genuinely loving and good people in the history of storytelling. At least that’s my opinion.

Emanuel Schikaneder from SCHIKANEDER

Schikaneder’s not the most moral guy. I mean, he cheats on his wife a lot. But here’s the thing about Schikaneder: he realizes that he does love his wife and changes his ways. He’s also a character with lots of dreams and he has a lot of ambition. I think that those traits are always great when it comes to musical characters (mostly because they make for great songs).

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Mark Seibert as Emanuel Schikaneder

The Phantom from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Okay… so the Phantom’s on this list. But I think that it’s important to make it very clear that I don’t like him. I like the rest of the characters on this list, yes, but I don’t particularly like the Phantom. I mean, the man’s a murderer and a terrorist (and it’s not like he doesn’t have any control over this and he doesn’t ever really seem remorseful for any of his actions). But here’s the thing: if it weren’t for the Phantom, one of my favorite musicals ever would not exist and that would just be a downright shame.

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Chris Mann as the Phantom

As much as I do not like the Phantom, I can definitely say that I do feel sorry for him. No one should have to live the sort of life that he’s lived and no one should be treated in that way. But… that doesn’t make it okay to kill people and terrorize others simply because you don’t get your way.

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Who are your favorite musical characters that aren’t exactly moral? Vielen Dank und tschüss! 

Songs From Musical Theatre That I Think Are “The Most Real”

Guten Morgen, Leute! Ich hoffe das alles ist gut!

One of the main reasons that I love musicals are that the songs always seem to have some sort of deep, relatable message hidden (or not so hidden) within them. But… that’s more true of some songs than others, right? I think so! So, today, I’m going to be looking at some of the songs from musicals that have what I guess you could call “the most real” application in terms of analysis of the world or an emotion. Los geht’s!

  • “Die unstillbare Gier” [The Insatiable Greed] from TANZ DER VAMPIRE – Let’s be honest here, I wrote this post so that I could have a reason to talk about this song yet again. So, let’s talk about it. This song is stunning and it hurts to listen to it. Seriously, when I listen to this song, my heart clinches a little bit. The emotions are just so wonderfully brought out in the lyrics, the singing, and even the melody. But the song is such an accurate analysis of the way that the world is. And well… in the English version, Krolock ends the song with the words “There’s a prediction that I now will make and I’m sure I will be right: when the next millennium finally comes, the god most worshipped in this world will be the god of appetite…”  And well… unfortunately, that definitely seems to be the case. It’s something that I constantly see in the world these days; people care most about themselves and about taking and taking and taking. It’s not a total corruption of humanity but it definitely seems to be the path that humanity is going down and it’s a really, really sad thing.
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Drew Sarich as Graf von Krolock
  • “Promises” from HADESTOWN – Let’s counter out the depressing nature of “Die unstillbare Gier” with something a little more positive, shall we? “Promises” from HADESTOWN is a song that really is heartwarming. It’s a song where Orpheus and Eurydice admit that they were naïve at the beginning of the show, thinking that they could completely control their relationship and dictate how things would and wouldn’t go. However, in “Promises”, as they prepare to make their way back to the world above, they promise each other that they will stay together and that they will be okay even if “the wind changes” and that they will be okay without the luxuries of life. Why is this so real? Well… I think that when people enter into their first relationships, they are usually kind of naïve. But somewhere along the way, you’ve got to learn that life isn’t always perfect. And the sort of love that can outlive these hardships and difficulties is pretty much the best sort of love that there is.
  • “Turning” from LES MISÉRABLES – Of all of the songs that I could pick from LES MIZ, I suppose that it might be a little odd that I would pick “Turning” as the one that I see as being the “most real.” But here’s the thing: “Turning” really does give a thoroughly realistic analysis of what happened at the barricades. They don’t hold back. And well, I think that there’s a sort of feel to it that speaks to life in general, especially during hard times.
  • “Boote in der Nacht” [Boats in the Night] from ELISABETH – One of the many, many reasons that I love ELISABETH so much is the fact that the relationship between Sisi and Franz Joseph is so… brutally realistic. The show doesn’t try to glaze over things and doesn’t try to make things something that they’re not and were not historically. This song is the perfect example of that in action.

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What songs do you think are “the most real?” Vielen Dank und tschüss!