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.

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Who is Cosette?

Les Mis is home to several musical characters. Cosette is another one of them. I already talked about Marius and Eponine, two of the third wings of the love triangle. Cosette is the final wing of the youthful love triangle.

Cosette is the adopted daughter of Jean Valjean. What is important to note is that Cosette was horribly abused as a child by the Thenardiers. Cosette was rescued by Jean Valjean after he promised to raise Cosette as his own. Cosette finally received some love and raising Cosette was not easy on Valjean. Yes, Cosette was over-sheltered and over-protected, but do you blame him: he is an ex-convict on the run.

Where does Cosette fit into the love triangle? She falls in love with Marius. I love how she represents hope and light. By the end of Les Mis, she loses her father, but at least she still has Marius. She is an innocent teenager, but she there is more to her than it seems. I used to think she was super boring, but she really isn’t. She really wants to know more about her past and her adopted father’s past as well.

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Who is Fantine?

Fantine’s story is very hard to watch in Les Mis.

Major Spoilers:

She is a struggling single mother. She is mother to Cosette and Cosette’s biological father abandoned them leaving Fantine left to care for Cosette. So Fantine has an illegitimate daughter and during the time period, it is dangerous knowing you have a child in that situation. So Fantine is forced to leave her child in the hands of the Thenardiers, but little does she know the abuse Cosette will face. Fantine is very naive at times and she strongly loves her daughter and her love for her daughter drives all her actions. She eventually does find a job in Valjean’s factory, but gets fired after other works and the foreman find out about Cosette.

So now Fantine is even more desperate than ever before. She does not many options. She has to pay the Thenardiers or else they will kick Cosette out. She is so naive that she does not that the Thenardiers are treating Cosette like a servant. With what little option she had, she sells her hair, her teeth, and herself to pay for Cosette. She sacrifices everything for the sake of her daughter and that is something I love about Fantine. Her circumstance led her to becoming a prostitute. Javert does not show her any mercy after she attacked a man in self-defense and just sees her as this prostitute. However, Jean Valjean comes to her rescue and seeing that she has a child and that she is deathly ill prevents her from being arrested. Even on her deathbed, Fantine still is thinking of her little girl and is still desperate about the care of Cosette. Valjean promises to Fantine that he will raise Cosette as his own, and that gives her peace and comfort for once.

Her storyline is very tragic. She has to give up everything just to care for her daughter. She just loves her daughter very much. She may be naive, but she is very loving. She is faces injustice due to having an illegitimate daughter and due to becoming a prostitute. The hope that Fantine has is that her child will end up with a better life and she finds that through Jean Valjean. He promises to raise her daughter.

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Who is Jean Valjean?

Jean Valjean is the protagonist of the musical, Les Misérables. He is one of the most complex protagonists in musical theatre who goes on quite a journey from the beginning of the musical to the end.

Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who stole a loaf of bread to feed his loaf, which put him to prison for 5 years, but for trying to escape 14 more years. So for a minor crime, he was imprisoned for 19 years. He entered prison as a good man, but being in prison hardened him, and he left prison full of hate and anger. Jean Valjean is known is known for his physical strength

Once he realized how unfairly society treats him, his soul fills up with even more anger and hates society even more. But he is given kindness by the bishop. Despite being given food and shelter, Valjean still steals from him. But the bishop forgives him and says all the silver was a gift.

So due to the mercy given by the bishop, Valjean realizes that he can change. He starts to treat people with compassion. He opens up a factory and shows compassion to the poor. So Valjean’s transformation begins to show. Valjean’s journey is a spiritual one. Valjean ends up helping Fantine, one of his former factory workers, Fantine, who has unjustly been fired from his factory. She had to turn to prostitution to provide for her daughter. Valjean prevents her from being arrested and sends her to the hospital. Valjean even turns himself in when an innocent man is believed to be “Valjean”. In an act of compassion, Valjean actually agrees to care for Fantine’s daughter,Cosette. So Valjean continues to act by the example set by the bishop.

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Cosette is the first person Valjean loved after being released. He feels like a true father to Cosette. Cosette was a broken child before. Valjean knows that caring for Cosette will be dangerous due to being an ex-convict, but he keeps to his word. Yes, he over-protects and shelters her, but I do not blame him in the danger of being sent back to prison. His love for Cosette makes him a kinder and better person person. His love for Cosette is shown in different ways. He goes as far as rescuing Marius, who Cosette loves, from the barricades to show his love for his adopted daughter. This act of sacrifice shows that Valjean has some kind of courage. He may not tell Cosette about his past, but he is an incredible father. He saves Marius from being killed at the barricades.

He does shows the importance of forgiving our enemies. In one scene, he forgives Javert. In that scene, he was supposed to kill Javert, but instead lets Javert go and shows Javert forgiveness and mercy. This happened at the barricades.

In the end, even though Valjean dies, he dies with Cosette and Marius, his now son-in-law by his side. Jean Valjean is an incredible character. He starts out as this harsh, angry, and hateful man and turns into this compassionate, loving, and caring man. Becoming a father to Cosette was such an important to his journey. One word for his journey: redemption. Valjean’s journey is a huge reason why I love Les Misérables.

Who is Marius?

Next character on this series is from Les Mis.

Major Spoilers:

Marius is more complex than it appears. What people may not know is that he has a political conflict going on go on with his grandfather. He left his grandfather to live a life of poverty. He is this complex, young and awkward revolutionary, who is part of the students of the ABC. He is good friends with Eponine, but is oblivious to her love for him. He is sweet and kind and you can see that through his friendship with Eponine and his love for Cosette and his friendship with the revolutionaries.

He is part of of a youthful love triangle between Eponine and Cosette. He is in love with Cosette and asks Eponine to find Cosette for him and she does. He constantly is naive to her feelings for him, but he still is good to her. Marius and Cosette are quite an adorable couple. They bring hope to this tragic tale and they are perfect for each other in many ways. Marius is capable of a lot of bravery of compassion.

In act II, you get to see just how much bravery and compassion Marius is capable of. It is the barricade scenes. Marius decides to fight with his friends, and that takes a lot of courage. When he first notices Eponine, he sends her away with a letter to Cosette. He sent her away in hopes to protect her because he cares about her and did not want her getting hurt or worse killed.

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Unfortunately Eponine does come back to the barricade. She shields Marius from a bullet heading straight towards him. Marius does not realize at first that she got shot, but when he does, he is devastated. You see in that moment that he is quite upset, and that shows that he did care about her. He decides to show compassion by being with her and comforting till she dies. So Marius is capable of loads of compassion. Even though he was breaking, he was still brave for Eponine and never left her side in that moment.

Marius is a survivor because he almost died but was saved by Jean Valjean. He deals with survivor’s guilt wishing he had died with his friends. He does not understand why he survived and why all his friends died. He does not know who his savior is. All he has left is Cosette and it is love for Cosette that brings hope. He has to deal with a lot of trauma because all of his friends died and now all he has left is Cosette.

I feel like Marius is under-apppreciated. He is a kind, sweet, and compassionate young man. I love that about him and I also love his awkwardness. He cares about Eponine, and I can understand why he is oblivious to her love for him. He just has a lot going on because he has a political conflict going on with his grandfather, is a revolutionary, and let’s remember on essential fact: Eponine never told him she loves him until her death. I want Cosette and Marius together as they bring hope to this tragic tale. So overall Marius is a complex, awkward, sweet, kind, compassionate, romantic and brave young man.

The Talents of the Actors and Actresses I Have Seen

One thing that really impresses me is seeing the talent I have seen on stage when I have seen musicals. Some of the ones I have seen are understudies and standbys and those can really impress me. I have had understudies for characters such as Eponine, Christine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Leading Player and Katherine Plumber. Those actors have to work harder than anyone else. I just cannot believe how talented all of the different actors and actresses I have had over the years. I have seen more actors than actresses mainly because of Newsies. Newsies has a cast of mostly males and that is why I have seen more actors.

Les Mis was the last musical I saw and I loved that cast. You had the very powerful and passionate ensemble with some talented principals. It was lead by Nick Cartell and he was wonderful as Jean Valjean and his “Bring Him Home” was so soulful and truly sounded like a prayer and he quiet enough for what the song required and strong enough for what the song required. Another standout was Joshua Grosso as Marius, and he brought this unique nature of awkwardness to the role and of all of the actors in the love triangle, he was the strongest, and I never expect Marius to be the strongest actor because I always expect Eponnine to be the strongest actor, but this time it wasn’t the case. Jillian Butler’s Cosette somehow was able to connect to Joshua’s charming but awkward Marius. My Eponine, Talia Simone Robinson (understudy), was impressive. The fact that she was an understudy made her work harder than anybody else. She had some impressive scenes and some scenes needed some work. She was very playful around Marius and was quite strong during “A Heart Full of Love”, and she was very believable during “A Little Fall of Rain”.

Matt Shingledecker was my Enjolras, and he truly brought the passion and leader side of Enjolras. Even the ensemble was very talented. They were so epic passionate and powerful. The ensemble is very impressive when it comes to musicals and they are a huge part of a show: after all they take up most of the cast.

During Rent, I was impressed with the actors. Kaleb Wells brought out quite an emotional “One Song Glory” and showed his unwillingness to get into a relationship with Mimi. Lyndie Moe, my Maureen brought out her craziness perfectly and she made me laugh during “Over The Moon”.

Newsies was a musical I saw August 2016. It was lead by Joey Barriero, my Jack Kelly. It is hard to describe why I loved Joey. I loved how he showed his bond to Newsies especially his bond to  Crutchie. He brought out the inner conflict that Jack eventually went through. He was able to bring out the emotion felt in “Santa Fe” and the song to me was innocently sad. I don’t know if the innocence felt in the song was how Joey wanted to portray the song or if it was because this was my first time seeing the show. The actors in this show were triple threats. They were very impressive in the dance. They were flipping about two or three times in a row, dancing on newspapers among other amazing tricks and able to act and sing at the same time. The dancing was mind-blowing. The picture below is Joey Barreiro as Jack.

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Highlighting all of the talented actors will take a while. By showing some of the actors, you can tell that I have seen a lot of talented actors over the years. I still have not yet seen the same actor or actress in more than one  lead role. I am glad that each time I see a musical, I am exposed to new actors. I am always thinking how on earth have they memorized everything and they make it seem easy, but in reality it is not easy. It takes a lot of work and acting it much harder than it seems. They are doing the best they can and when you get an understudy or standby, you can get a bit nervous, but I alway regret it.

For example, Mary Kate Morrisey (standby) as Elphaba embodied everything about Elphaba, but brought something new. It felt like she was the main Elphaba. Another understudy that comes to mind is Adam Bayjou as Jean Valjean. He was my West End Jean Valjean, and he played the role so well that I forgot I was actually watching an understudy. So respect the standbys and understudies. You have no idea how much harder they have to work.

Favorite Cosette Actress

My favorite Cosette happens to be Jillian Butler, Joshua Grosso’s Cosette. She just has this really beautiful soprano voice. The way she was able to connect to Joshua’s charming but awkward Marius was wonderful to watch. These two were just perfect for each other and you can’t help but notice how adorable these two are. It really feels like they have just have fallen in love. A lot of my love for Jillian comes from the way that Joshua portrayed Marius. It was interesting seeing how these two were able to have really strong chemistry with each other.

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