My opinions on Marius

Les Mis is filled with several characters. However- two of them are disliked when they shouldn’t. Marius and Cosette are unjustly hated mainly because 1) Cosette is not that complex and 2) complain that Marius is a jerk, loves Cosette instead of Eponine and believe that he did not treat her fairly. Well, that is insane- basically, what people are saying is that all they want is for Marius and Eponine to end up together. I do not agree at all.

Major Spoilers:

Look- there are certain plots in some books that if you get rid of one tiny thing the entire story falls apart. That is the case for Les Mis. It had to be Marius and Cosette. How can you call Marius a jerk? Look- he is a good and kind person. Eponine saw him that way, and that was the reason she fell in love with him. She needed him in her life because the rest of her world was filled with darkness. Marius was her only light- and the only good thing. She had to make sure he stayed a part of it.

Marius knew she lived a tough and dark life. Look at these lyrics that Marius said “her life was cold and dark”- so he did know. You can’t call Marius a jerk in “A Little Fall of Rain” or the events leading up to it. While the letter he sent Eponine away with was to Cosette, he did not do it with selfish intentions. I think he was trying to protect Eponine- he did not want her to get hurt or killed from the uprising. I think he asked why she came back when he saw her was because he was worried. Then- it happened- she collapsed in his arms. Marius became aware that Eponine was dying after seeing her gunshot wound. He was devastated, but still made the decision to stay there with her- how can anyone not see the compassion there- he was there to comfort her. He actually gave Eponine the happiest moment of her life-the fact that he was there, and that was all that mattered to her.

“A Little Fall of Rain” does say a lot about Marius- it shows his level of compassion and how much he did care about Eponine. It was at the end when he said “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. That is how I know he knew that Eponine had a sad and dark life. If he was not a kind and sweet person- where would all of that compassion have come from. He was close friends to Eponine. Little did he know that he would eventually become the only survivor from the barricade.

Let’s look at outside of Eponine. Marius was a revolutionary and wanted to do good. His closest friend in the students was Enjolras. He had a passion for the uprising. While he was struggling between his love for Cosette and his passion for the uprising, he ultimately decided to fight. He had this incredible amount of bravery. Marius did have to fight even after losing one person important to him- it is sad to think during “A Little Fall of Rain” that he soon will lose the rest of his friends.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables- Joshua Grosso (Marius)
Marius

Yes, people don’t like Marius with Cosette. Marius’ relationship with Cosette helps bring out hope into this tragedy: at the end, all they have left is each other. It had to be Cosette since her life improved (Eponine and Cosette are mirrors of each other) and she does represent hope and light. While it appears that all Marius cares about is Cosette, that is far from the truth. He still has the passion for the uprising and still has a good friendship with Eponine. People do not like how he treated Eponine when it comes to Cosette—-but I disagree. While Marius asked Eponine to find Cosette for him, etc, that does not mean he was treating Eponine unfairly. At the barricade with the letter- that was not selfish, but selfless (he was trying to protect her, in my opinion). Marius was unaware that Eponine loved him- he loved Eponine, but as a friend more anything: you have to remember she never told him until her death. She would do anything for Marius, and she did go as far as sacrificing her life for him.

In simple terms, he is an awkward, brave, compassionate, and kind revolutionary.

Unpopular Musical Couples

As musical theatre fans ourselves, we all have unpopular opinions. What does that mean? Well, it has to do with us being in the minority of loving characters, friendships, and couples, etc…… You get the picture. I am going to talk about two of my unpopular musical couple opinions. SPOILERS

Before continuing, they happen to come from two extremely famous musicals- two of the longest running musicals and that are world-wide sensations.

Raoul and Christine

Seriously, why would anyone think that it should be Christine with Phantom? After all, the Phantom is abusive, revengeful, destructive and capable of murder (he literally wanted to kill Raoul if she didn’t choose him)- meaning it would be a very unhealthy relationship. Plus- she never loved Phantom- literally: she was scared of the Phantom.

All I Ask of You- Phantom of the Opera (Raoul and Christine)
Raoul and Christine

Raoul would never hurt Christine. He is this sweet guy and they were childhood sweethearts. Soon, they found each other again in the events of Phantom of the Opera. They are the ones who are in love. Raoul would protect Christine from harm- this is an angelic, beautiful, and healthy relationship.

Marius and Cosette

Their romance in helps bring hope into the tragedy. Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light, which is why she needs to fall in love. The unrequited love in Les Mis, which happens to Eponine, is handled better. What Eponine does is help bring Marius and Cosette together and eventually sacrifice her life for Marius. Marius does love both Eponine and Cosette- in different ways: Eponine as a friend and Cosette romantically.

The switch that happens between Eponine and Cosette (Eponine’s life goes from good to bad and Cosette’s life goes from bad to good) always has intrigued me- another reason why it had to be Marius and Cosette. You strongly can see Marius’ love for Eponine during “A Little Fall of Rain”- yes, it is Eponine’s death, but based on the fact that he is devastated does say that he really did value their friendship. He and Eponine were close friends. Look at the beginning of act II: why do you think he sent her away- he was trying to protect Eponine from being hurt or killed- so for those saying, he did not treat Eponine fairly or saying he wasn’t compassionate; need to look again. Why do you think he asked Eponine why she came back-he was worried for her safety- so when she collapsed, he became aware she was shot and that her wound was fatal. He did not leave her to die alone- he stayed to hold and comfort her despite it being hard on him. Yes, this post is dealing with Marius and Cosette- but it still is important to understand Marius’ relationship to Eponine and Eponine’s love for Marius to further understand why I love Marius and Cosette as a couple.

Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) and Marius (Eddie Redmayne)- Les Mis film
Cosette and Marius

Eponine needed the unrequited love- it worked for her storyline- it was a huge reason for her bravery and strength and she needed someone like Marius in her life. One of Marius’ lines was “her life was cold and dark”- see what I mean: he was the light- unfortunately the only good thing. Look- the way her story ended was perfect- the fact she died in Marius’ arms. The couple had to be Marius and Cosette. Would you have wanted the love triangle any other way or would you have loved Eponine at all if things were different?

Marius and Cosette are perfect for each other- Marius would not have survived the barricade if it wasn’t for Eponine and Valjean. Eponine sacrificed her life for him and Valjean carried him away from the barricade after seeing him injured. Cosette may not be as complex as several characters, but she is this innocent, charitable young woman who wants to know of her past. Marius is a lot more complex than he seems: the brave, sweet, compassionate, and awkward revolutionary.

You first strongly feel the love Marius and Cosette have for each other during “A Heart Full of Love”- even though it was obvious when they first bumped into each other that it was love at first sight, but “A Heart Full of Love” is when they truly got to meet each other for the first. Cosette helped Marius recover from his wounds from the barricade- I believe that does show the love Cosette has for Marius. They are usually said they truly have their happily ever left since they are two survivors- however, that is far from the truth. All Cosette and Marius have left is each other- if you actually think about it. Cosette never knew her mother and at the end lost her adopted father. Marius, on the other hand, faced loads of trauma at the barricade: he lost everyone that meant something to him: first Eponine and later Enjolras and the rest of his friends.

Yes, for Marius and Cosette- I basically brought up the entire love triangle- however it all connects as to why I love Marius and Cosette as a couple. You can’t get rid of one tiny detail in the musical or else it turns to shambles- that is one of the brilliant natures of the show.

How Unexpected things can Completely change a Person

Well, it is true that in life unexpected things do happen. They can either happen for the worse or for the better. This post will focus on how it can change someone for the better. I will focus specifically on one musical theatre character: Jean Valjean. THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS.

As a bit of background, Jean Valjean is the protagonist of Les Mis. He is an ex-convict, who left prison as a harsh, angry, and bitter man. He believed love can never change a man. When he left prison, society was mistreating him and not giving him a chance- as in not giving him a job or a place to sleep or even food to eat. All of that made him more angry with society. Will anyone ever change his views on society or make him see things in a new light?

Enter the bishop: the bishop welcomes everyone in his home. He has an unconditional love for people. He welcomed Valjean into his house and did give him a place to stay and food to eat. Despite that, Valjean still stole from the bishop. Not EXPECTING the bishop to say he stole from him, Valjean was surprised when he said, he actually gave all of that as a gift including the two candlesticks that was forgotten. Valjean was shown love, compassion, mercy, grace, and forgiveness- all of Valjean’s actions after this particular scene were driven by the example the bishop gave to Valjean. It was for the better- it allowed Valjean to become a better person in more ways than one.

Jean Valjean (Nick Cartell)- What Have I Done
Jean Valjean

Then there’s Cosette. Cosette is Fantine’s daughter, and out of compassion for Fantine, Valjean promised to raise her. This promise was made during Fantine’s death. Valjean defiantly was not expecting to become a father. Ever since leaving prison, he did not know the feeling of love. He knew he had to help Fantine, and the only way he could was to become Cosette’s adopted father. Fantine had suffered so much- Cosette deserved so much more than the suffering that her mother faced. Valjean eventually realized just how broken Young Cosette is- she after all had been abused by The Thenardiers and treated as a servant. It was through Young Cosette where he felt love for the first time- it was through her where he truly was able to become a better person. Even as a teenager, Cosette’s life drastically improved. Valjean literally went to the barricade to protect the one that his adopted daughter loves (Marius): that is just how much he loves his adopted daughter.

Jean Valjean and Young Cosette- Hugh Jackman and Isabelle Allen
Jean Valjean and Young Cosette

A New Revolution- 6th

On November 3rd, I saw Les Mis at Ovens Auditorium during the US Tour. As so many know, I am a massive fan of the musical. This cast will consist of some of the actors I saw back when the tour first was launched- only five of the nine actors from last time were part of this particular cast.

Cast:

Jean Valjean: Andrew Maughan (Understudy)

Javert: Josh Davis

Fantine: Mary Kate Moore

Cosette: Jillian Butler

Marius: Joshua Grosso

Eponine: Paige Smallwood

Enjolras: Matt Shingledecker

Monsieur Thenardier: Jimmy Smagula

Madame Thenardier: Allison Guinn

Young Cosette: Mackenzie Mercer

Gavroche: Robbie Crandall

Seats:

The best seats, at Ovens, in my opinion are in the Mezzanine. I got to sit in the Mezzanine. I loved those seats- I got to see everything and hear everything. They were also were part of the center.

Staging:

As this is the new production, I still love it. I love how it adds a little bit more color by using the paintings as the backdrop- those also add a bit more Victor Hugo into the set. I loved how “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was staged- that was one of my favorite parts of the new production. The new staging really shows the vastness of Paris. My only disappointment though was that when time changed- there was no year on the backdrop- that does help explain things.

Portrayals:

Jean Valjean- I was hoping to get Nick Cartell (a standout from 2017), but ended up with an understudy. Because he was an understudy, I knew I had to respect and appreciate his Valjean. In most cases, that wouldn’t be the case. Usually, when I see Les Mis, my tears start at “I Dreamed a Dream”- but when I saw it, guess what happened- I started crying during “What have I Done”. I started to become an emotional wreck sooner than I expected. So, Valjean’s transformation started to show- I was wondering how would be tackle “Bring Him Home”, the song many Valjean’s look forward to singing the most. I loved his version of “Bring Him Home”. So, Andrew defiantly was able to bring out Valjean’s transformation.

Javert- so, Josh Davis was an actor that stayed with the tour in 2017 and was part of my cast yesterday. I was wondering if he would be better yesterday. I always struggle with Javert. It is hard to find common ground or feel sympathy. I think Josh was a little bit stronger this time around. He defiantly mastered Javert’s voice like last time, and the reason why I said he improved was because I think he had a much stronger “Stars”.

Fantine- I wanted Mary Kate Moore as Fantine. Back in 2017, she was part of my ensemble, and then in 2018, she become Fantine after being the understudy. It is hard to watch any Fantine on stage. Just like I expected- “I Dreamed a Dream” reduced me to tears. Her Fantine was amazing.

Cosette- Jillian Butler was part of my 2017 cast. She has this beautiful soprano voice. She somehow can connect to a charming and awkward Marius. It actually makes those two a more adorable and better couple. I strongly love Jillian and Joshua together as Marius and Cosette.

Marius- I am glad that I saw Joshua Grosso again. In 2017, he was one of my standouts. So seeing him again was such a delight. He was still a charming and awkward Marius- one example was during “A Heart Full of Love”- he literally treated falling in love with Cosette like he had no idea what to do. Once again, during “A Little Fall of Rain”, he focused more on comforting Eponine less than the heartbreak he was feeling. People might think he should show the heartbreak more, but do not forget in that scene, Marius is also supposed to show comfort and compassion to Eponine as well. At the end, the reaction was a bit different- that was because he was interacting with a different Eponine. I did not even know if he was going to end the song- that did tell me was heartbroken over her death. So, I saw all of the same things I loved about Joshua’s Marius in the first place.

Paige Smallwood- While Jillian and Joshua were still Marius and Cosette, I had a different Eponine. I had no idea how just one actress could impact the love triangle. She could affect it in a minor or major way only because I already saw the other two back in 2017. “On My Own”- that song actually made me cry this time around. “A Little Fall of Rain”- so believable and I could easily tell she was getting weaker and dying and that she was dying after getting shot.

Matt Shingledecker- He was a standout from 2017. It was nice getting to see him this time around. So I had two of my three standouts from last time. He still felt like a passionate leader. It can be hard to describe why I love Matt so much.

Allison Guinn/ Jimmy Smagula- I had seen Allison Guinn both in 2017 and this time around. I had no idea what she would be like with Jimmy. I knew I loved her as Madame Thenardier so it was interesting seeing her with a new Thenardier. Like many Thenardiers, they were hilarious. So Allison does work well with Jimmy.

Young Cosette/Gavroche- The children of Les Mis were Mackenzie Mercer and Robbie Crandall. Playing Young Cosette and Gavroche, they had a challenge to do. To be on stage and to be a child in a show like Les Mis is not easy. They still were incredible in their roles.

Some of my Favorite Les Mis lyrics

Well, part of why Les Mis is such a wonderful musical is because of it’s powerful songs. What are some of my favorite lyrics from its songs?

-Even the Darkest Night will End and the Sun Will Raise

-To love Another Person is to See the Face of God

– A Heart full of Love

– A Life About to Start when Tomorrow comes

-Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in Heaven has in store

– A Little Fall of Rain can Hardly Hurt me Now

– Drink with me to days gone by. Can it be you fear to die? Will the world remember you when you fall? Could it be your death means nothing at all? Is your life just one more lie?

-Bring Him Home. Hear my Prayer.

-etc: there are a lot of beautiful lyrics in Les Mis. That is part of why it is a powerful musical

What do I love about Jean Valjean

I am talking about another principal character in Les Mis.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

In Les Mis, Jean Valjean is the protagonist. In my opinion, he is one of the best main characters in musical theatre. He has one of the best character arcs.

Jean Valjean starts out as a broken man. He ended up in prison by stealing a loaf of bread for his sister and nephews. His sentence ended up being five years, but fourteen more for trying to escape. So, just for stealing a loaf for bread, he was in prison for nineteen years. Prison hardened Valjean into this angry and bitter man. He was quite mad at society when he was released- he ended up more angry at them when he realized society was not treating him fairly just because he was an ex-convict.

Well, one of my favorite scenes in Les Mis is the bishop scene. The bishop may be a minor character, but is a truly significant one. The bishop welcomed Valjean into his home, gave him something to eat, and somewhere to sleep. Despite this kind gesture, Valjean still stole silver from the bishop. After being caught and being returned to the bishop, the bishop actually ended up telling the policemen that he gave the silver as a gift (he added the candlesticks to all the silver he stole). The bishop was able to teach Valjean mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love. The bishop forgave Valjean for stealing all of his silver.

Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and Young Cosette (Isabelle Allen)
Valjean and Young Cosette

During “What have I Done”- you begin to understand who Valjean once was and shows what the bishop taught him. He no longer wanted to be the bitter, harsh, and angry man he once was. When the time advances the first time, you realize that Valjean has defiantly changed. In 1823, he has begun to show compassion towards others. He is the owner of a factory and the mayor of the town- so he defiantly has changed.

Well, after he saw that Fantine, once of his former workers, has been sexually harassed and is about to be sent to jail. He ended up preventing Javert from allowing that to happen- Valjean realized that Fantine is now living on the streets and is now seriously ill. He has shown Fantine a lot of compassion in this particular moment: he wants to help her especially because she has a child.

“Who Am I?” is one of those scenes that has Valjean go through a major dilemma. Either he has to give up being a mayor and owner of the factor or turn himself in to prevent an innocent man from going to jail. A man was wrongly accused of being “Valjean”. In the end, Valjean actually turned himself in even though he still has a promise he has to fulfill.

A lot of compassion seen from Valjean is during “Come to Me”, which is the first death in Les Mis. It is Fantine’s death scene, which is a duet found Fantine and Valjean. Fantine is still worried about her daughter. In this number, Valjean agrees and promises to raise Cosette as his own. In the most unexpected of ways, Valjean has to become an adopted father. Valjean stays with Fantine during this entire moment. Little does Valjean know how much of an impact Cosette would have on his life.

I find it interesting that BOTH Valjean and Cosette were still broken when they found each other. After all, Cosette was currently a slave in the inn of the Thenardiers and Valjean was still broken due to this life in prison. They ended up healing each other. Ever since adopting Cosette, she was the first person fell in love with. Cosette got a better life after living the Thenardiers- Valjean was a good father to her even though it would be difficult. Valjean had to raise Cosette while being an ex-convict. While he would overprotect and shelter Cosette, it would be because he is in danger of being caught by Javert.

In act II, there is a reason why he went to the barricade. He wanted what was best for her. After finding out that she was in love with Marius, he did not want him to die. During “Bring Him Home”, it was sung as a prayer to make sure Marius comes out alive. That song truly does show Valjean’s love for God. After Marius does fall unconscious during the Final Battle, Valjean carries him through the sewers to make sure he makes it out alive. This was all done out of love for Cosette.

Bring Him Home (Nick Cartell)- Jean Valjean
Bring Him Home

At the end of Les Mis, he does die: but like most characters is not alone. He does die with both Cosette and Marius (his now son-in-law).

What do I love about Fantine

Another principal character in Les Mis is Fantine.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

The hardest scenes to watch in Les Mis belong to Fantine. She may be one of the principal characters, but has the shortest amount of stage time. What I love the most about her is her unconditional love towards her daughter. Her ultimate demise is not even her fault- it is actually both society’s and The Thenardiers’ fault.

When she fell in love with Felix and got pregnant with Cosette, he ended up abandoning the two of them. So Fantine was left to fend for herself. In France at the time, it was dangerous to know you had a child out wedlock. She had such a strong love her Cosette, but had no idea what to do now that she was abandoned. She soon had to go to extreme measures and leave Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers (not knowing how poorly they would treat Cosette). She did find a job at Valjean’s factory; however the Thenardiers kept on demanding more and more money (but those letters were hoaxes telling lies). It was soon discovered she had an illegitimate child- that was what made her get fired from her job. She was even more desperate now- how was she to care for Cosette now? Her life got even worse and now all of her dreams were broken. She hoped that her daughter would have a better life than she currently was having.

Now, she had to take things to even more dangerous measures. “Lovely Ladies” is the hardest scene to watch in Les Mis. She had to end up selling her locket, hair, and even turn to prostitution just for the sake of Cosette. This has always been the hardest scene to watch- once you understand why it had to be there, it makes it a bit easier to watch despite being really hard to watch.

Due to living on the streets, she become severely ill. When she attacked a man in self-defense, Javert did not care that she had a child and just saw her as prostitute. He did not give her any mercy or compassion. Only one person was able to help her- Valjean was there at the time- after realizing that she had a child and was fired from his factory, he ended up preventing her from going in jail and took her to a hospital. Her may not have been able to save her life, but promised to raise Cosette as his own. He stayed with Fantine until she died.

Fantine and Valjean- Come to Me
Fantine and Valjean