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Student Blog: Broadway Characters as Songs From Red (Taylor's Version)


Which Broadway couple is most like All Too Well (10-Minute Version) (Taylor's Version)?

Student Blog: Broadway Characters as Songs From Red (Taylor's Version) Taylor Swift just dropped her second re-recorded album, Red (Taylor's Version), and I am more obsessed with it now than I was when it originally came out in 2012. So, in honor of this momentous album and all of the wonderful songs on it, I've decided to assign a broadway character or relationship to each of the 30 songs on the album, excluding acoustic versions and songs that are on the album twice. Also, I will be skipping "Ronan" because that song makes me very sad and cry a lot and I cannot emotionally handle analyzing it.

1. State of Grace (Taylor's Version)

"Love is a ruthless game/Unless you play it good and right"

Starting us off is the one and only Bobbi from Company. I am talking about Bobbi not Bobby because I have only listened to the new version of Company, so that's what I'm going off of. Bobbi spends the show trying to figure out what love means to her. Is the love she is given by her friends and her community enough or does she need romantic love? The love Bobbi tries to give and tries to recieve never works out in the way she expects it to. For Bobbi love is something ruthless, cutting her up and leaving her stranded or making her the happiest person around. The relationship Bobbi has with love is complicated and very realistic, just like a normal person.

2. Red (Taylor's Version)

"Losing him was blue like I'd never known/Missing him was dark gray, all alone/Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met/But loving him was red"

Eponine struggles so much throughout her time alive during Les Miserables and one of the things she struggles with is the unrequited love between her and Marius. Eponine has pined after Marius for a very long time, but she never is able to begin a relationship with him. During "On My Own" she talks about how when she imagines him next to her, the world is brighter and better than what she is experiencing. The knowledge that she has lost him forever to Cosette turns her world dark and gray. She goes through the range of emotion that Taylor experiences in this song.

3. Treacherous (TV)

"Your name has echoed through my mind/And I just think you should/Think you should know/That nothing safe is worth the drive/And I would follow you, follow you home/This hope is treacherous/This daydream is dangerous"

I have decided to dedicate this song to the one and only pairing of Elphaba and Fiyero from Wicked. These two almost got put underneath State of Grace, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I think these lyrics represent their relationship when they have first started hiding out together, because they are trying to figure out whether or not this relationship is worth risking their life for. I feel like during Act 2, before "As Long As Your Mine", they are both understanding that this relationship is very serious and something intense but also that this is a dangerous relationship to be in because of the way society would react seeing Elphaba.

4. I Knew You Were Trouble (TV)

"I knew you were trouble when you walked in/So shame on me now/Flew me to places I'd never been/'Til you put me down"

This is not the only song on this list that is about a romantic relationship but I put it in a different light. For this song, I've chosen to put it in the context of Cady Heron from Mean Girls and her relationship with Regina George. Cady knew, from the moment she walked into North Shore High, that Regina and the plastics were not good people, but she felt this attraction to them anyway. It makes sense because when we're told not to do something, we're much more likely to go out and do it. Cady knew that there was a chance befriending the Plastics would end horribly and it kind of did. While everyone made it out alive, there was a lot of fighting, bad moments, and ended friendships. Cady knew that the plastics were trouble when they walked in, but she didn't let that stop her and then ended up broken-hearted by the evilness inside of them.

5. 22 (TV)

"We're happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time/it's miserable and magical"

For this iconic bop, I was chosen not one character, not two, but a whole cast. I've decided that this song best represents the whole cast of Be More Chill. They're all teenagers just trying to get on with life. While in the show, murderous technology does make it harder for them to experience high school, they still have a lot of the same issues any teenagers have. From throwing Halloween parties to joining a club simply because your crush is in the club, they're just feeling everything and doing everything.

6. I Almost Do (TV)

"We made quite a mess, babe/It's probably better off this way/And I confess, baby/In my dreams, you're touching my face/And asking me if I wanna try again with you/And I almost do"

My favorite songs on the album has to go to one of my favorite underrated couples in all of musical theater: the man and woman from "I'd Give It All For You" from Songs For A New World. For those of you who don't know, in this show every song features new characters, played by the same actors. In this song, we witness two exes meeting again after their breakup and talking about how they realized that they needed each other and all they ever wanted was the other person. This is parallel to the relationship in "I Almost Do" because both relationships features exes that are looking back on what they had and realizing that while they had issues, the relationship itself worked in a way that no other relationship will work.

7. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (TV)

"We are never, ever, ever getting back together/you go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me"

This is another entry that is going to an entire cast of people, this time the cast of queens from Six. This song is a fun bop about knowing what you're worth and being able to look back on a relationship and be glad that it's over. I think the bubbly feel of the song mixed with the lyrics about fighting and manipulation really just gives a feel for what Six is like. But also, none of the queens are ever getting back with Henry.

8. Stay Stay Stay (TV)

"You took the time to memorize me/My fears,my hopes and dreams/I just like hanging out with you, all the time/All those times that you didn't leave/it's been occuring to me/I'd like to hang out with you/for my whole life"

Before we begin this entry, I will say that I have not seen or heard Newsies in a very long time and this is just going off of the information I remember so just be aware of that. This song is for Jack and Katherine from Newsies. I chose this song because they had that initial connection with each other after meeting multiple times and they stayed together through that. After finding out about Jack's plans to move to Santa Fe and Katherine's family history, they still stayed together, which to me, is just showing that they are dedicated to each other and they will stay, stay, stay together for a very long time.

9. The Last Time (TV)

"This is the last time I'm asking you this/Put my name at the top of your list/This is the last time I'm asking you why/You break my heart in the blink of an eye"

While I know this song is about a relationship, I'm going to take it an apply it to Campbell from Bring It On and her perspective on life early on in the musical. There is a point in the show where Campbell has been forced to transfer schools, leave behind all her friends and cheer team, and relearn everything she's ever known. In the context of the show, this song is Campbell begging for someone to put her first and for things to go right for her. The song is about being desperate for love and respect and just a want to be put first. Campbell is watching the world move on without her and the people she love move around her but still not seeing her and she just wants to be a part of the world in the way she used to be.

10. Holy Ground (TV)

"Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress/We had this big wide city all to ourselves/We block the noise with the sound of 'I need you'/And for the first time I had something to lose"

I chose this song for Satine and Christian From Moulin Rouge and more specifically from their relationship standpoint during "Elephant Love Medley". This is the beginning of their relationship and they are in a beautiful, loving place. At this point, their happiness is so important to them and they have something so important to them. Satine's whole life has been about being the Sparkling Diamond and Christian's has been about finding his place as a Bohemian and artist. This new relationship gives them something to lose because they just were able to gain something. The highs are so high but when they hit a low, it is so low.

11. Sad Beautiful Tragic (TV)

"We had a beautiful magic love there/What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair"

When I think about tragic Broadway love affairs my mind goes to Eurydice and Orpehus from Hadestown. It truly is a beautiful and tragic story because their love was so magical and special and their ending was so horrifyingly sad. The two of them experience such a pure sense of love that so many of us would be lucky to have but once Eurydice goes to the Underworld, their relationship ends. Orpheus goes after her because he loves her so much and he would be willing to risk his life to see her and bring her home. Tragically, Orpheus looks back at Eurydice on their way out of the Underworld, which forces Eurydice to become trapped there forever. They are the very defintion of sad, beautiful, tragic.

12. The Lucky One (TV)

"They say you bought a bunch of land somewhere/Chose the Rose Garden over Madison Square"

For me, the character I think of when I hear this song is Dee Dee Allen from The Prom. Dee Dee begins the show being this larger-than-life Broadway legend, thriving in the spotlight. As we get to know her better, we uncover that Dee Dee does care about more things than just the spotlight and being famous. She ends up truly caring for Emma and Principal Hawkins, both in their own way. It's never confirmed, but at the end of the show, it can be assumed that Dee Dee does possibly end up in a relationship with Principal Hawkins, who is a high school principal in Indiana, not a big-time Broadway legend or any other celebrity. Dee Dee learns what fame means to her and that maybe it is not the most important thing in her life.

12. Everything Has Changed (TV)

"Come back and tell me why/I'm feeling like I've missed you all this time/And meet me there tonight/And let me know that it's not all in my mind"

This song is going to Anya and Dimitri from Anastasia. They both met and had feelings for each other but let those feelings out as bickering and fighting. The one line that grabbed me and really made me think of them is the line written above. Spoiler alert, but Anya and Dimitri discover that they actually met each other as children, before the murder of Anya's whole family. I feel like their relationship is based on the feeling that they had when thinking about one another and how they felt like there was a connection there, even before they escaped Russia together.

13. Starlight (TV)

"It was the best night/never would forget how we moved/The whole place was dressed to the nines/And we were dancing, dancing/Like we're made of starlight"

You already know that a song about dancing, being dressed up, and having a great time is going to be about my girls from The Prom, Emma and Alyssa. While in reality this song is about the love story between high-class people, the lyrics can be applied to so many other situations and relationships. The chorus of this song is just joyful and looks back on a time when things were just a party. For Emma and Alyssa, they seem to be made of starlight when they're at prom because they have worked so hard to get to this point and it is truly a moment of joy and probably one of the best nights they've ever experienced.

14. Begin Again (TV)

"I've been spending the last eight months/Thinking all love ever does/Is break and burn and end/But on a Wednesday in a cafe/I watched it begin again"

While this next choice might seem a little strange, I've chosen Mimi and Roger from Rent for this song. When we meet both of these characters we are told about how their past relationships have ended horribly. Together, Mimi and Roger find love once again and have to try to put their past relationship trauma behind them to live in the present. While it is hard for Roger to open himself up to love once again after his last relationship ended with his girlfriend committing suicide, he eventually does and we are presented with a couple experiencing the purest form of love for the first time in a long time.

15. The Moment I Knew (TV)

"And what to do you/when the one who means the most to you/is the one who didn't show"

Ok, so this one kind of works with the relationship I think it does but it needs a little bit of explanation. So, I chose to put this song with Maureen and Joanne from Rent. While Maureen never abadons Joanne at her birthday party or steal her scarf, Maureen does cheat on her and Joanne has a moment of revelation on stage about that fact. This song is about having that moment of revelation that the relationship you thought you had is, in fact, not the one you actually have. The song is about when Jake Gyllenhaal did not come to Taylor Swift's 21st birthday party after saying he would come, leading Taylor to know that the relationship was over. Joanne talks to Mark about their relationships with Maureen, leading Joanne to understand that she was cheated on and that her relationship with Maureen is now always going to be different.

16. Come Back...Be Here (TV)

"Taxi cabs and busy streets/that never bring you back to me/I can't help but wish you took me with you"

Surprisingly, this couple only appears twice on this list, but they could easily fit into every single song on this album. Jamie and Cathy from The Last Five Years are wonderfully problematic and they have so many issues. While they will appear later on this list, focusing on a different point in their relationship, this song focuses on the time when Jamie was successful and a popular author, while Cathy was struggling to book any work in New York. Jamie is in his own world, thriving and writing, doing everything he said he was going to do. He begins to move away from Cathy because he is just so successful and she is not. There are obviously other issues in this relationship, but one of the major ones is that Jamie refused to stay with Cathy as he moved up in the social ladder. This song comes from Cathy's perspective as she notices that Jamie is moving away from her and that there is a chance the relationship is ending because of that separation.

17. Better Man (TV)

"And it was always on your terms/I waited on every careless word/Hoping they might turn sweet again/Like it was in the beginning/But your jealousy, oh, I can hear it now/Talking down to me like I'd always be around"

This song is for the one and only Jenna Hutcherson from Waitress. To me, this song is about her relationship with Earl after she leaves him. It is assumed that at the beginning of their relationship there was real love between Jenna and Earl, but as time went on her love stayed but his frayed. We see his verbal and physical abuse to Jenna during the show, but she still remembers the times when it was good. I think that if Earl was a better man, they could have stayed together, but he is who he is. For a long time, Jenna took the abuse from Earl because she wanted things to get better, but she does end up leaving because she knows that he is not the person she needs to be with.

18. Nothing New (TV)

"How did I go from growing up to breaking down?/And I wake up in the middle of the night/It's like I can feel time moving"

This one was kind of hard for me to figure out, but eventually, I ended up giving this song to Carrie White from Carrie. Carrie begins her story as a young, scared, girl who is just behind her peers in a multitude of ways. Then, she begins to use her telekinesis and she starts harnessing her power, both with her supernatural powers and her power as a young woman. Then, there's the prom, which sees Carrie both breaking down mentally and breaking down buildings and people around her. I think that Carrie would relate to these lyrics simply because she feels like she's losing something and wasting something because of the way she is behind her peers and the way she does not feel like she's living up to her full potential.

19. Babe (TV)

"Since you admitted it/I keep picturing/Her lips on your neck/I can't unsee it/I hate that because of you/I can't love you babe/What a shame/Didn't want to be the one that got away"

One of the most popular Broadway love affairs to grace our stage in recent years in the relationship between Eliza and Alexander in Hamilton. This relationship, while praised by many for being very loving and strong, also was a part of the first sex scandal in American history. "Babe" represents Eliza's feelings after she finds out that Alexander cheated on her. Just like in the song, Alexander admitted that he cheated, not just to Eliza but to everyone, and it is something that she cannot unsee or forget about easily, which is understandable. I think that Eliza is hurt that her love story with Alexander is ending and it has nothing to do with her and almost everything to do with him.

20. Message In A Bottle (TV)

"'Cause you could be the one that I love/I could be the one that you dream of/A message in a bottle is all I can do/Standing here, hoping it gets to you"

"Message in a bottle" is all about having a crush on someone and just putting the vibes out and hoping you get something back. A cast full of people having crushes on each other is Spring Awakening. The song "My Junk" is simply about how everyone wants to get with the other characters and they're trying to put it out there and some people get positive reactions, others don't get reactions at all. The characters are constantly singing about the other students we don't see in their school that they do like and it just fits with the message of "Message in a Bottle", which is why I chose that cast.

21. I Bet You Think About Me (TV)

"But now that we're done and it's over/I bet it's hard to believe/ But it turned out I'm harder to forget than I was to leave/ And, yeah, I bet you think about me"

For this song, I've chosen to talk about Elle Woods and Warner Huntington III from Legally Blonde. This song is about a relationship where someone was left very fast because their partner thought that they were too different, but once the relationship is over, it's so much harder to forget the person than they thought. I think that this song relates to Elle and Warner's relationship because Warner left Elle because he thought she wasn't serious enough for him, even though she was insanely in love with him. Elle made it hard for Warner to forget her because she became incredibly successful at Harvard and graduated at the top of their class. This song gives off vibes close to "So Much Better", in that it's someone looking at their former partner and pretty much telling them that they're thriving without them.

22. Forever Winter (TV)

"All this time I didn't know/You were breaking down/I'd fall to pieces on the floor/If you weren't around/Too young to know it gets better/I'll be summer sun for you forever/Forever winter if you go"

This one is for my favorite girl, my dream role, the wonderful Sonya from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. This song to me feels very connected to "Sonya Alone", which happens when Sonya sees the way Anatole's departure affects Natasha. Sonya has such a deep and emphatic bond with Natasha and seeing her suffer is almost as painful as if Sonya herself was suffering. Sonya is ready to do anything for Natasha and will be the light of her life and support her through all of this. Sonya is emotionally and mentally more mature than Natasha and is willing to take on the brunt of the emotional weight so Natasha can live her best life.

23. Run (TV)

"And the note from the locket/you keep it in your pocket/since I gave it to you/there's a heart on your sleeve/I'll take it when I leave"

Bouncing off of the last entry, this is another one from Great Comet: Natasha and Anatole. The song is about running away with someone, which is what Natasha and Anatole try to do. Eventually, Anatole leaves Natasha in Russia and runs away because the community is attacking him for manipulating Natasha and trying to run away with her even though he is already married. The line I really loved about this relationship is above and I really liked the last part of it. Natasha was someone who wore her heart on her sleeve and was so open about her love for others and Anatole really stole that love from her and took that heart from her when he abandoned her.

24. The Very First Night (TV)

"I wish I could fly/I'd pick you up and we'd go back in time/I'd write this in the sky/I miss you like it was the very first night"

Are these lyrics taken out of context? Absolutely. Am I desperate to come up with something for this song? Also, yes. For this song, I've chosen Dan and Diana Goodman from Next to Normal. While the song is not about this, I've chosen to relate these lyrics to Dan's want and need to go back to the beginning of his relationship with Diana. He misses what it was like before the death of Gabe, before Diana's mental illnesses took over, before everything in his life changed. There are multiple times when Dan admits that he misses what life was like before everything changed and he wants to go back to that life. When using that context and these lyrics, it makes sense and you can see how the song connects to this relationship.

25. All Too Well (10-minute version) (TV)

"And you were tossing me the car keys/'fuck the patriarchy' key chain on the ground/we were always skipping town/And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now/He's gonna say it's love/You never called it what it was"

Ending our list today will be the one and only, Cathy and Jamie from The Last Five Years. Everything about their relationship falls into place with this song and the short film that goes with it, from the manipulation, the one-sided love, to the falling apart of deep love. I definitely see Jamie as Jake Gyllenhaal and Cathy as Taylor Swift in this situation. Cathy put everything into this relationship and the affection was never returned. Just like Taylor and Jake's relationship, Jamie was more successful than Cathy, and was Cathy was just not a part of his world the way he was a part of hers. I encourage absolutely everyone to listen to this song and think about Cathy and Jamie and how perfectly their story fits into this one.

So, there you have it. 25 songs and (almost) 24 characters or couples. I tried not to repeat couples, but Cathy and Jamie just fit in so well with every song and I just had no choice. But otherwise, that is it! I hope you enjoyed and I hope you stream Red (Taylor's Version)!

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