Category: Musical characters

World’s Best Mama

About a month ago on a Friday night, I was introduced to a powerful, fierce, and desperate woman while lying in bed and snacking on some deliciously pre-made popcorn. While cuddled up in my cozy movie watching outfit, I pressed play on my laptop and started to immerse myself in the movie Gypsy. Were there…

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The Idealism of Jack Kelly

I’ve got to hand it to Disney– if they can do one thing correct it’s completely mischaracterize being a teenager, specifically in regards to romance. But in Newsies, we get to see teenagers devoid of dimension in a whole new century! Instead of a classic Disney Channel plot point such as dropping a science fair…

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Bring Back Manly Men

A real American man– he is driven, strong, demands respect, and is not interested in frivolous behavior… or at least that’s what has always been represented in the white American male. And because white has been presented as the “norm” in the United States, that is what we expect from “real men” in general. As…

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Chloe’s Crushes: an article about her varying taste in men and how they perpetuate gender roles

By Chloe Hodge While no man stacks up to my love Tommy Shelby of Netflix’s Peaky Blinders, two have come dangerously close recently, and they are none other than Davey Jacobs from Disney’s filmed version of Newsies (2017) directed by Brett Sullivan and a young Hugh Jackman as Curly from Oklahoma! directed by Trevor Nunn. Okay. What? These two fools are…

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Paving The Way for Strong Women

Women ruling the world? Surely, you’re kidding. But if you’re in Oz, that’s exactly the case. The Wiz Live!, a televised musical produced by NBC in 2015, directed by Kenny Leon, adapted by Harvey Fierstein, with original book by William Brown, choreographed by Fatima Robinson, and with musical directors Harvey Mason, Jr. and Stephen Oremus,…

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“How Do You Like Them Eggrolls, Mr. Goldman?”: Female Sexuality as a Means to Power in a Male-Dominated World

Ethel Merman. Bernadette Peters. Patti LuPone. And, of course, Bette Midler. Such musical theater giants have all taken on the iconic role of Mama Rose, and productions of the 1959 musical Gypsy, with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim,are often noted specifically for their leading ladies. In…

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Jack and Crutchie take on NEWSIES!

Watching and listening to the popular musical Newsies! brings about a thought. This has to do with white masculinity with a little bit of spice. If you have watched this musical directed by Jeff Calhoun and Brett Sullivan, you know exactly what I am talking about. Newsies! shows a difference in masculinity between two different…

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Laurey, What Happened to You

What does it mean to be an American? Is it ethnicity? Is it inextricably tied to whiteness? Is it culture? Common beliefs, ideals, and experiences that unite every single person under one cohesive identity? Oklahoma! the musical highlights aspects of American identity under a period marked by whiteness. Whiteness, as we have discussed in class, sets the…

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Not So Blonde After All

By Elise Darby In Legally Blonde: The Musical – The Search for Elle Woods, Elle Woods is perceived by many as a typical blonde sorority girl. However, she remains driven and proves everyone wrong; she accomplishes what they would have deemed impossible for her. As a Harvard graduate at the top of her class, she becomes an independent and fearless woman; she no longer seeks self-worth…

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“Bread and Love” of Two Female Characters in American Musicals

         From the birth of musicals as a distinctive art form on stage in the early 1900s to the golden age in the 1950s, Broadway has witnessed an evolution of musicals. First, modern musicals remixed elements of music and gradually took the place of European operetta characterized by romantic light music. Second, encounters of culture arose…

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The King and I: The Lab Report

In the world of reductionist scientific studies, scientists have created a pretty set system to determine if one thing has an impact on another or not. First, you want to eliminate confounding variables to ensure that the only difference in what you are looking at is the “independent” variable you put in place. This way,…

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The Musical Fetishization and Appropriation of Asian Cultures

In Western musical academia, we assign certain modes and scales to Asian music. We direct actors to use offensive accents, dress them in stereotypical costumes, makeup, compose derivative melodies, and thus continue to reinforce these racist standards in our musical consumption. Two extraordinarily popular musicals, Miss Saigon and The King and I, rely upon such…

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The Silence of White Violence: Racialized Perceptions of Masculine Aggression in Miss Saigon

By Maya P. “Sir, is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see her?” For Miss Saigon characters Chris and Thuy, I am disappointed to say that the answer is both. The 2017 Broadway revival of Miss Saigon, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boubil and directed by Laurence Connor…

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The Symbiosis of Sexism and Saigon

Broadway musicals have a knack for hiding things in plain sight. Hadestown’s entire plot seamlessly blends into the onstage set, and Hamilton conceals Lin-Manuel Miranda’s suspect vocals in harmonies with Leslie Odom Jr. and company. For Miss Saigon, the camouflage is much more sinister and pervasive. Despite the original production receiving 11 Tony nominations and…

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