A Boyfriend’s Guide To Women And Musical Theatre
It finally happened. Maybe it was when you were giving her your best “come hither” look, as her eyes and the merlot twinkled in the candlelight. Or perhaps you were out for a stroll, and she leaned into you as the wind blew her hair. Or better yet, maybe you were lazing in bed on Sunday morning, too blissful to dress. And then she said it.
“I’ve bought us tickets for a show.” And she’s not talking about the topless kind in Vegas.
She means a Broadway show, gentlemen.
There’s going to be singing, dancing, and most likely, a lot of angst. If I may speak in gross generalities, women tend to get really fired up about musical theatre, while men (though they might not hate it) can probably think of better things to do on a Saturday night. Personally, I love going to the theatre, and the more singing about inner turmoil, the better. Yes, it’s unbelievable to burst into song, but we suspend reality all the time when watching television or films. For me, the music takes the emotion of the situation up a notch. It’s art at its finest, a beautiful marriage of story and sound.
But I digress. I’m not here to sell anyone on musical theatre. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. That being said, when presented with show tickets, be aware! The secrets of the female mind are hidden in music, harmonies, and plot-driven-lyrics. Never fear, for all will be revealed to you over the two- to three-hour course of the show (plus intermission).
However, in case you find it a bit difficult to follow the show’s plot and decipher the secrets of the female mind, I humbly present the hidden secrets in some popular musicals:
Les Miserables: There are about a bazillion characters in Les Mis, and they usually die as soon as you figure out who they are. And, unless you have a master’s degree in French history, it’s basically about a little uprising about which no one knows. That being said, keep your eyes open for the character named Eponine. Truth be told, she’s a teen-aged, uneducated, pickpocket. But we love her anyway. She has a show-stopping solo called “On My Own” right after intermission, and most likely your girlfriend will be in tears. Married, single, divorced, newly-in-love, we’re always going to love that song about unrequited love. We’ve all been there, and we never want to be there again!
Wicked: The premise is the life of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, essentially before she becomes, well, wicked. Ladies all have an inner witch (and no, I’m not substituting “witch” for the word that rhymes with it). Our inner witch is cleaver, slightly diabolical, sympathetic, ugly, but beautiful within. She is a deeper side of us. We want you to love the Wicked Witch—and us—for the lovable characteristics that you can’t see right away.
Rent: In Rent, everyone meets, falls passionately in love, breaks up or dies, but somehow still finds love again. The secrets here: we want you to love us for our creative, rebellious, and vulnerable vices, as well as our virtues. And, we’re watching to see how open-minded you are about social issues.
Phantom of the Opera: Behind the sexy, mysterious mask is a man without a nose, a partially exposed skull, and some serious anger-management issues. But with the mask and a killer song, he’s every woman’s dreamboat. The Phantom loves his lady for her talent, beauty, and everything that she could be. It’s a dark, burning, intense love, one that never rests. And we all want someone to love us that strongly. Granted, the Phantom gets a bit stalker-psycho, but in the end, he knows that, because he loves her, he must set his lady free to marry the hot, rich guy. And the heroine sails off knowing she’s always got a man burning for her, with a love deeper than she’s ever known, in addition to the young stud. Not a bad situation to be in!
West Side Story: A more classic show, where the actors talk, then suddenly burst into song. It’s a modern telling of Romeo and Juliet, though the two main characters are slightly older and more believable than the original 13-year-old star-crossed lovers. You’ve got dancing gang members, rage, sex, murder, attempted-rape, tragedy, and finally, peace and understanding on the hostile streets of New York City. Pretty amazing. Unlike Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria’s love defies social and racial boundaries. The stakes are higher for them, but their love is stronger than hate. We want you to love us just as strongly. And the dancing gang members are just cool.
So, in case you missed it, the uniting theme—or inner female secret—is loving, and being loved in return, no matter the circumstances. That, despite our shortcomings, inner witches, and external influences, someone is willing to love us deeply and passionately. You don’t have to agree with us, or with the musical. It is the emotion and feelings evoked that we want you to understand. And while you might not connect to musical theatre like your girlfriend does, deep down, don’t you also want someone who will love you just as passionately, despite your own flaws, real or perceived?
Deep down, I believe that we all have the dream and desire for a love so strong it can defy gravity, that somewhere, there is a place for us where we can make the music of the night, so we are never on our own again as we weather the seasons of love. (If you actually got that sentence, you are my hero.)