Les Mis Collection (Part 4)

Well this is my 4th post relating to my Les Mis collection. That is because a couple days ago, I added something to that collection. So I will be talking about it once again. Some things in my collection are kind of interesting in a way.

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The above pictures gives kind of an overview of just how massive my collection of Les Mis stuff is. I think it bizarre how Eponine is holding both the book and the original Broadway soundtrack. I have listened to the songs in that soundtrack who knows how many times- over maybe over 800 times and yet not sick and tired of them. The book is an unabridged copy of the book, and it took me less than one summer to finish the book: fun fact- I read the unabridged book the same summer I saw the musical in the West End.

Okay, I have to explain Eponine a bit. Every year around Valentine’s Day, Gardner Webb has this Candy and Critter’s event where students make a stuffed animal. Well, this year I wanted to make a stuffed animal and name it after a musical character. I had never named a stuffed animal after a musical character before, and it had to after a musical character before; here’s the catch- it had to resemble a musical character in some way and had to be a musical character I love. I eventually came across the skin of the bear in the photo, and I realized it reminded me of Eponine. I mean Eponine tends to wear a brown color scheme due to her living in extreme poverty and there are heart-shaped patches, which to me reminded me of the fact that Eponine is part of a love triangle; but eventually I looked even closer and there were stitch marks around the patches; and instantly I thought of the unrequited love. So I named the bear, Eponine- it not only resembled Eponine, but Eponine was also a character I strongly love in Les Mis and in the entire musical theatre world. To make the stuffed animal, we go to these stations and hand stuff the animals so it is an unique experience.

I own both the movie and the 25th anniversary concert. I remember reading a movie review, which referenced the fact that Samantha Barks, a standout actress from the film, played Eponine in the 25th concert as well. That fact led me to watch the 25th concert as well. That is why I have seen one less Eponine actress than all the other characters. I watch the movie a lot more than the concert due to it being shorter. I still find myself an emotional wreck watching either of these, and that is a good sign.

Found within in that gigantic collection picture, there are three separate playbills: CPCC (Central Piedmont Community Community College), Queen’s Theatre (West End, London), and the Peace Center (Greenville, South Carolina). Thinking of playbills, I also have each of those tickets.So yes, three production and 5 times- so how is that possible? Well, I ushered twice for CPCC’S production along with seeing it once with family.  I have two separate filers in that gigantic photo as well: one for the West End and one for CPCC.

I have a easy version piano book. I own a page to screen book, which explains the musical’s journey from how it went from Victor Hugo’s book to the movie musical. My most recent part of my collection is this book, which explains how the musical went from the book to how it became the sensation that it is: it basically stops in the musical’s more early years- it doesn’t talk about the film for instance.

In that gigantic photo, I have these very fun colored pencils. The names of the pencils say things like “do you hear the purple sing”, “tantine”, “blue4601”, “green him home”, and “look brown look brown” among other things.

The big poster in the upper left I never thought I would own. When my school was advertising to take people to Les Mis in Greenville; they used this gigantic poster. Student Activities- knowing how much I love Les Mis gave me that gigantic poster after they took it down. The poster right next door it is one of the souvenirs I got from the West End. The two paintings were painted for me in my first semester at Gardner Webb: I was in a dorm where there were two R.A.s per floor: the R.A. who wasn’t my main one painted those for me knowing how much I love Les Mis.

I feel like my graduation cap fits perfectly into my Les Mis collection: I wanted to decorate it in a way that represents what everyone on Campus knows me as: they know me as a Les Mis Freak- which is why it is very Les Mis themed- the gray and yellow border represents the tragedy and spirituality of the show. The words in red and blue bring out the fact that the show takes place in France. I had the hardest time coming up with the right words: then I realized just how much the words “A Heart Full of Love” can work- while it is the romantic duet- I have such a heart full of love for Gardner Webb so it does work.

The two t-shirts- the gray one was another souvenir I got at the Queen’s Theater. The red t-shirt was made by one of friend who knows just how much I love the show so I felt like it just perfect. I been to two Les Mis parties. At my very first Les Mis party- the host knew a friend who knew a friend who knew someone who has played Valjean so that friend got in touch with that actor so the actor signed a souvenir program for me.

Below are some Les Mis-related pictures. The entire top row except for the upper left comes from times I have seen the show. The last two in that row come from my experience in the West End. I actually met the actor (Adam Bayjou) who played Jean Valjean at the stage door. Still seeing Les Mis in the West End was the best theater experience of my life and will always be one of the BEST. The other one was at the Peace Center in Greenville when I saw it with my school: I had a major dilemma that year: see it with school or see it in my hometown: I choose it with school because 1) the Peace Center is such a gorgeous venue and 2) it would create such a lasting memory with my school. The upper left is from last Halloween when I was Eponine: that was my 2nd time that year since I dressed up as her for a Les Mis party earlier that same year. The lower left picture; I included Eponine in the picture.

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July in Review

Today I will talk about my highlights of July 2018.

Symphonies: Celebrate America Pops Symphony

Every year in Charlotte, there is an outdoor symphony series called the summer Pops. One of them is for Fourth of July, which is usually celebrated before Fourth of July. That one uses songs such as God Bless America, National Anthem, America the Beautiful and a section that honors our veterans and this symphony had a overture from the musical, Guys and Dolls.

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Trips: Lake Hartwell, Georgia

So I went to a long weekend trip to Lake Hartwell. I went there to be with members of my extended family: this sounds crazy, I was with third cousins during that weekend. I spent time on the lake for only two days. I helped bake a blueberry pie.

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Musicals: Newsies (BIG SURPRISE)

Well, I wanted to see CPCC’s production of Newsies to see how they could handle the dancing. The week came and all week, my family never seemed to tell me that I was going to see Newsies or anything. So I naturally assumed that it wasn’t going to happen.

Than this happens: Saturday: one of my best friends from college shows up at my house without her telling me. I did not know why on earth she would suddenly show up. She asked me if she where we were going: I said “no” and she was glad. I really had no idea what surprise she had up her sleeve. She drove the two of us downtown, and then we were near CPCC. We drove in the theatre parking deck: I was telling her only those seeing Newsies can park: she just told me “she just wants to see the theatre”. That made no sense to me one bit. Okay, now the two of us were waiting in the will call line and she was saying “I just want to see the theatre” and I was like “just talk to an usher”. It turns out in the end she bought the two of us tickets to see Newsies in June. So there you have it: when I totally thought I wasn’t going to their production: I ended up seeing it.

Below is a link to the Newsies review

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/newsies-surprise/

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This was basically an overview of my July 2018.

Favorite Songs From Sound of Music

Sound of Music is a musical that has been a favorite musical of mine since childhood. So it is a very special musical. Like Phantom, I don’t know if my favorites take up ten or not.

1. Edelweiss- a huge reason why this is my favorite song from Sound of Music because one of my memories associated with it is that is was my first piano recital song. The first time I saw Sound of Music live (2015), the 2nd half of the song I actually cried, which has never happened to me before

2. Do Re Mi- I mean who doesn’t love singing along to this song. It is a very easy song to learn the lyrics to. It is a wonderful moment Maria has with the children. She and the children finally find a bond with each other.

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3. My Favorite Things- once again, who doesn’t just love singing along to this song. It is another fun loving song. The melody is very energetic and the lyrics are very wonderful that it is just fun to sing along to.

4. Sound of Music- of course the title song is one of my favorite songs. It gets you to start to know Maria. It shows you just much she is connected to nature and music.

5. Something Good- I just love this romantic song found between Maria and the Captain. I love how the Captain’s heart has finally softened. He used be very stern, but through Maria, he was able to learn how to soften up. It is a very beautiful love song found between the two of them.

6. Climb Every Mountain- I don’t know what it is, but something about it makes it one of my favorite Sound of Music songs. It is just of my favorite act I closers

7. Sixteen Going On Seventeen- this is another romantic duet, but filled with more innocence since it is for a more younger couple

8. Lonely Goatherd- just a fun song no matter on stage or screen. One stage, it happens during the thunderstorm, but on screen it is during a puppet show so either way just a fun song.

9. So Long Farewell- once again a very fun song

So you see, Sound of Music’s score is very fun score. But it does have an emotional song towards the end and it is Edelweiss. That particular song does have a tinge of sadness in it and I didn’t know it had that tinge of sadness for several several years; I had to see the stage show first.

Favorite Songs From Phantom of the Opera

Now, I will talk about my favorite songs. I do not think I have a top ten favorite list of Phantom songs. Now here are my favorite Phantom of the Opera songs.

1. Overture- this is the first time I included an overture in the series. Well, it is just the most perfect overture. When I saw the musical at the Peace Center in 2014, the moment the overture started, I just couldn’t take eyes off of that chandelier. It gives you an overall taste of the mood that Phantom of the Opera is: the overture is both haunting and beautiful.

2. Think of Me- such a gorgeous song. That is really why I love this song.

3. Angel of Music – same reason why I love Think of Me.

4. Phantom of the Opera- the reason why I love this song is that you finally get to meet the Phantom. It is just gives you this overall haunting feeling.

5. Music of the Night- this is just a very very beautiful song. This is my favorite song that the Phantom gets to sing.

6. All I Ask of You- just a gorgeous duet between Christine and Raoul. It shows just how much the two of them love each other. It shows that Raoul will protect Christine. It shows just how perfect of a couple the two of them are.

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7. Masquerade- I love looking at all of the beautiful costumes in this number. It is also a very beautiful number. It seems that a lot of my reasons for loving various numbers is for their beauty.

8. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again- what I love about this song is both its beauty and the heartbreaking nature behind it. It shows just how much Christine loved her father and that she is still grieving his death.

 

Most of my favorite songs in Phantom of the Opera are beautiful songs. Of course I love the title songs, which isn’t beautiful, but actually haunting. I love how the musical isn’t fully haunting, but instead hauntingly beautiful.

 

 

 

“Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” Review

Here’s the thing about sequels of musicals: a lot of times they don’t do too well or are even that good. But this sequel is an exception. I recently watched it with my family. It does focus on two storylines: it does show what happened when Donna first met Sophie’s three possible fathers and does focus on another storyline, which is basically a continuation of Sophie’s story.

Possible Spoilers:

This musical is still just as fun and happy as the original, but is tinged with a bit of sadness. That is only because in Sophie’s storyline, her mother has died. Sophie decided to reopen the hotel in her mother’s honor. A lot of people dislike the sequel just because Donna died in that storyline, but I think it makes a really good story. I love how the entire sequel uses some of the same songs from original and uses some new ABBA songs as well. I love seeing how Donna met all three dads. Several scenes made me laugh. It is interesting how certain scenes connected to each other. I have nothing wrong with the double storylines.

Young Donna was played wonderfully by Lily James, who played who as a very fun and obnoxious. She just wanted to travel, who just had a feeling she wanted to be in Greece. While getting there, she first found Harry and then Bill. It was on the island where she first encountered Sam. Amanda Seyfried was just as incredible as Sophie as she was in the original. Even though her mom died; at least Meryl Strep got in sing in the final scene in the movie so she did get a very final part as in showing she was always watching over Sophie.

So this sequel is one that is worth watching if you loved the original. It gives you a lot of laughs. It does remind me of the original in a lot of ways, and that is part of why it works.

Top Ten Songs from Newsies

Now, I am on to my first Disney musical, Newsies. Newsies is the most recent musical I have seen live. I have only loved it for two years after seeing it on tour August 2016. So here are my top ten Newsies songs.

1. Seize the Day- this is my favorite song from Newsies. This is also my favorite dance number in the entire musical. It includes them dancing on newspapers. It is such a fun number, and it is truly when the strike begins. It is just a very fun number.

2. Carrying the Banner- what I love about Carrying the Banner is that it introduces you to the bond that all the Newsies share. It shows just how much they really care about each other and shows what they are all about. You are introduced to how incredible the dancing is in this musical

3. The World Will Know- once again, another dance number. This is right after Jack brings up an idea of the strike. It is when they truly form their union. You are shown another amount of dancing. Each time you see the incredible dancing, the more and more you root for the Newsies it seems.

4. King of New York- well, another dance number. This is what I like to call their big tap-dance number. This is when Katherine tells them they finally made the front page

5. Santa Fe (Prologue)- this opens up the musical. It introduces you to both Jack and Crutchie. It tells you about Jack’s dream to go to Santa Fe. It really shows the intimate bond these two Newsies share. So you quickly can get emotionally connected to the show.  This is shown as a very hopeful song.

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6. Santa Fe- this time Jack is singing Santa Fe all alone. This happens right after a big fight breaks out. Jack witnesses all of this and sees Crutchie being arrested. This hurts him quite a big deal, which makes Santa Fe a sad song. A lot of the times, the best musicals have sad songs in them. It is an incredible act one closer. He reflects on his dream again; he just wants to end the strike as soon as possible. He just doesn’t want his brothers to get hurt again, and that shows just how much he cares about them.

7. Something to Believe In- there is something magic about Disney love songs. This is a very beautiful love song found between Jack and Katherine.

8. Letter From the Refuge- this song is a song added to the tour and is now used for any production of Newsies. This song is Crutchie’s solo he sings at the Refuge. This song is heartbreaking, but it shows that he still has hopes for the strike. So he is still optimistic despite his current situation. It helps further the bond between Jack and Crutchie. I really love that this song was added.

9. Once and For All- the melody of this song shows the Newsies determination. They have sneaked into the World to use Pulitzer’s Printing to print their own paper to ask all young workers to stop working for the day.

10. Watch What Happens- This shows Katherine’s frustration at trying to write a report on the strike. This is basically a song about how passionate she is about her work and dealing with writer’s block. This really lets us get to know who Katherine is.

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As you can tell, just about all of these songs deal with the Newsies. It is very important to root for the Newsies because well the show is all about them. Katherine is rooting for them as well because she after all becomes the reporter of the strike. Newsies is a fun, dance-filled, and at times emotional musical. I said at times emotional musical due to songs like Santa Fe and Letter From the Refuge.

Top Ten Songs From Les Mis

Oh Boy, how can earth can I pick my top ten songs from Les Mis. That to me is like picking a needle in a haystack. Les Mis’ songs are just that brilliant, but will just do the best I can do. This musical is filled with emotional songs that touch you in such a way that even words alone can’t describe them.

Extremely Spoiler Heavy:

1. On My Own- this will always be in my top ten no matter what. It is just a very beautiful song with a lot of depth and strength filled with emotion. I have this very beautiful connection to Eponine. I love being able to experience just how deep and strong her love for Marius goes, which is perfectly expressed through this song. It even gives you a glimpse of her life outside of him through this song. This even has become my favorite solo in the entire solo. This song can be portrayed in several different ways: each way a different group of emotions can be shown.

2. A Little Fall of Rain- this song is filled with emotion in a very touching and bittersweet way, but super heartbreaking. This is after all Eponine’s death scene. Marius is devastated  in this duet, but he does the right thing by being there for her. It allows her to be happy for once in her life. It is packed full of emotions. It really shows just much Marius really cared for her. It shows just how compassionate he really is. Even though he is breaking, he stays brave for her. There is just something about this song that touches me in such a beautiful way. This just happens to be my favorite death scene in the entire musical. This is once again another song that can be portrayed in several different ways- for instance, Marius can show his grief and compassion and Eponine can express her emotions, pain, and dying in various ways.

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3. One Day More- this song just had to be there. Just the perfect act I one closer: do I have to say more?

4. Do You Hear the People Sing- another perfect ensemble song. It perfectly expresses the students’ passion for the uprising. You can feel their fire, their passion, and it makes you root for them even if you know what is to happen in the end.

5. Epilogue- This includes both a death and a reprise of Do You the Hear the People Sing making it show both the tragedy and the spirituality of the show. Valjean is dying, but like with most characters, he doesn’t die alone. Cosette and Marius arrive so he gets to die with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in-law by his side. So during that death, you are feeling very heartbroken, but once that reprise happens, you start feeling this sense of hope. I feel like this version of Do You Hear the People represents heaven. This shows how Les Mis perfectly mixes tragedy with elements of spirituality. Perfect ending to such a heartbreaking musical.

6. Empty Chairs At Empty Tables- of all the characters who don’t die, Marius is my favorite character. That is part of why this song is in my top ten. It shows all the trauma Marius faced at the barricade. He had to witness the death of Eponine and later all of his friends got killed. This song is extremely devastating: I even think it is even more devastating than On My Own. It reminds you of everything that happened at the barricade.

7. Drink With Me- What I love about this song is the intimate feeling found between all the students. It doesn’t seem that sad the first time you watch Les Mis. But once you know the fate of the uprising, it gets heartbreaking. This is when you really see how much they really care about each other. When you know this is really the last moment they will be with each other, it really hurts. You are faced with the reality that all of the students, but Marius, will die if you know what is going to happen.

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8. Bring Him Home- even this song does the same thing that Drink With Me does. Once you know what is going to happen, it affects this song. Valjean is singing this song hoping Marius will survive. It is just a very beautiful song that is a prayer and shows the importance of God in the musical. It reminds me of the reality that Marius will be the only one to make it out alive. That really hurts.

9. I Dreamed a Dream- Yes, I was going to include this song. Once again; another heartbreaking song. It is hard listening to this song; it hurts me much more in the movie than the stage show due to placement. It shows how Fantine got caught up in the situation she is in. Sad reality she has to put up with.

10. A Heart Full of Love- this song has a incredible brilliance behind it. It is mostly this romantic duet between Marius and Cosette so I am literally feeling so happy for the two of them. But just out of nowhere, Eponine starts singing. Than I have no idea what on earth to feel: I am still feeling happy for Marius and Cosette but then I am feeling heartbroken for Eponine- it becomes this jumble-load of emotions being thrown at me.

 

Literally about all the songs I put are heartbreaking songs. That is the reality that is Les Mis. About every single song is a heartbreaking song; there is only about two or so songs that give you a breather. One of the unique things about the Les Mis songs is that are just multiple ways to portray the songs.

I couldn’t literally pick just my top ten; just picked ten for now; but some will always be there no matter what. One of the Look Downs, Red and Black and some others could have been on this list. It is nearly impossible to pick my top ten Les Mis songs.