Ranks of My Five Les Mis Casts

This post will rank the actors from the movie, 25th anniversary concert film, the community college production, West End production, and Greenville production. It may not be accurate because I don’t remember some of the actors. About the community college one, I can’t put the actor down since I don’t know the names.

  1. Jean Valjean- Hugh Jackman, community college, Alfie Boe, Nick Cartell, Adam Bayjou (understudy)- hard to pick between Alfie, Nick and Adam.
  2. Javert- Russell Crowe, community college, Norm Lewis, Josh Davis, Jeremy Secomb (only actor where I found an emotional connection to Javert)
  3. Fantine-community college, Lea Salonga, Melissa Mitchell, Anne Hathaway, Rachelle Ann Go
  4. Monsieur and Madame Thenardier-community college, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, Jenny Galloway and Matt Lucas, Allison Guann and J. Anthony Crane, Kathy Secombe and Phil Daniels
  5. Eponine-community college, Talia Simone Robinson (understudy), Carrie Hope Fletcher and Samantha Barks (tough call between the two of them)
  6. Cosette-community college, Zoe Doano, Amanda Seyfried, Katie Hall, Jillian Butler
  7. Marius- Nick Jonas, community college, Rob Houchen and Eddie Redmayne, Joshua Grosso
  8. Enjolras-community college, Aaron Tveit, Matt Shingledecker, Ramin Karimloo, Bradley Jaden- tough call between all five

This list is the way it is is 1) due to not remembering some of the actors and 2) some there was no way I could pick. Enjolras was a very tough call and so was Jean Valjean because I loved all of them. Even two of the Eponine’s were tough calls so they were placed together. This is just the best I could do. All of the casts were incredible in different ways. But the ones that stand out the most were the Greenville cast and the West End cast.

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My Week in Review

This week, I had a busy week. I ended up doing three activities with Student Activities at my school. I decided to talk about each of them today.

  1. Les Mis- Gardner Webb took a group of students to see Les Mis on Sunday in Greenville. This was my 5th time seeing Les Mis live, but my 1st time seeing it on tour. It was so good that I was speechless at the end. Wonderful cast and incredible staging. There are so many reasons to love Les Mis.

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2. Pinterest Night- Wednesday I ended up going to Pinterest night. Everyone painted their own canvas with different painting. Originally I came thinking mine was going to be a Gardner Webb them. But after a friend told me that the dome looked like a stage, I decided to base it around theatre. I at first thought I only Elphaba on the stage, but decided to put Eponine too. It fits that those two girls are on my painting since I equally love Les Mis and Wicked, which puts them both on the top.

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3. Big E- I have never done this before. The Big E is located in Gaffney, South Carolina. For Gardner Webb, the doors opened at 11 at night. In the place, you can either bowl, play laser tag or end up watching a movie. Usually I never go because the movies that were being offered at the time never interested me. When I saw Murder on the Orient Express being offered, I decided to give it a try. I came and there was no way me and my friends could play laser tag since the next game started at 11:30, the same time my movie started. We couldn’t bowl because all the lanes were taken. It is hard to say what I felt about Murder on the Orient Express because I think I might have fallen asleep for part of the movie.

 

 

Pinterest Night

Last night at school, I attended Pinterest Night. It ended up being painting a picture for that. I literally came in just deciding to think of what I wanted to paint on the spot instead of coming up with an idea ahead of time. Originally I was thinking of doing a Gardner Webb theme. That is why I started with the red dome with the black line outlining it. Then my suite-mate told me that the dome reminded her of a stage, which led me to making the painting a theatre theme. The yellow is supposed to be curtains, which I did get some help on. The stars just adds to the theatre theme.

Eventually I decided the stage needed musical characters on there. I just know there had to be Elphaba on there since she is my all-time favorite musical character. I knew that somehow Les Mis had to be incorporated onto my canvas. While thinking of what Les Mis character to put, it was so hard to think of one. Then I decided that I was going to use Eponine on painting and I don’t know why I picked her.

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Major Spoilers:

In some ways it is fitting that both Elphaba and Eponine are on that canvas. I see some parallels between the two girls. Both girls live in broken families, which I think is worse in Eponine’s situation. Both girls go through unrequited love, but Elphaba eventually gets Fiyero in the end. Both of the girls are taken advantage of: Elphaba through the wizard and Eponine through her parents. Personality wise: they both are complex, strong, brave, and loyal. It took a while till I realized there are some similarities between the two of them and I think that might be part of why I love Eponine. Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical character due to how much I relate to her so I have such a personal bond to her. Eponine on the other hand is a character I don’t even relate to, but her story is so intriguing and heartbreaking, but the fact that she has similarities with Elphaba is part of the reason why I love her.

Tragedies of the Les Mis Characters

Yes, yet another Les Mis post. Today I decided to talk why each of the characters in Les Mis have something tragic about them.

Major Spoilers:

Jean Valjean- sent to jail and punished for five years just because he stole a loaf of bread to save his sister’s son and in total served 19 years due to multiple escapes. Has to serve his life as an ex-convict and faced injustice. At the end, he ended up dying, but with Cosette, his adopted daughter and Marius, his now son-in-law by his side.

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Javert- was born inside the jail, his tragic flaw is that he sees the world in black and white and believes “once a criminal always a criminal” and he thinks it is his purposes to recapture Valjean after he broke his parole. Did not know how to show love, mercy, or forgiveness or receive it. He built his principles wrong and strictly follows the law and eventually commits suicide.

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Fantine- her lover abandoned her living her to raise her daughter, but it is dangerous knowing you have an illegitimate child so she left Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers not knowing how poorly they were going to treat her. Fired from Valjean’s factory unfairly by the foreman, turned to prostitution to care for her child and later died, but she got to die knowing her child will be care for since Valjean promised he would raise Cosette

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Monsieur and Madame Thenardier- their inn went bankrupt and fell into extreme poverty

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Eponine- was raised to be a thief and criminal, unloved, abused, and neglected by her parents, living in extreme poverty and dealing with unrequited love from Marius, the only good thing in her life. Ended up dying after being shot, but got to die in the arms of the man she loves.

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Cosette- had a horrible childhood because the Thenardiers abused her and treated her like a servant. At the end of the show, she lost her father and even though she lives, she still had tragic things happen in her life. She only has Marius left in her life.

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Marius- faced loads of trauma at the barricade. He was the only survivor of the barricades. He first lost Eponine and later would loss the rest of his friends. At the end of the show, all he has is Cosette.

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Enjolras, Gavroche and Students-all lost their lives fighting for what they believed in. Gavroche is kicked out of his family at a very young age (he is Eponine’s little brother), but loved by the students

By seeing that each of these characters have faced tragedy in their life shows just how human Les Mis is. Many of them died and some of them have a very dark life or lost everything important to them. So these characters are very real because of what they had to face in their life.

Review of Les Mis

Just yesterday, I saw Les Mis in Greenville with Gardner Webb. It was my 5th time seeing it live and my 2nd time with a professional cast. With this production of Les Mis, I saw the 25th anniversary production. I had an understudy in this performance for Eponine, which was coincidental since last time I saw Les Mis, I had an understudy for Jean Valjean. I sat in the balcony towards the middle, which were impressive seats even though at first I didn’t know how much I would see since we were so high up, but still being up that high allowed me to see the entire stage.

Possible Spoilers on both plot and staging.

Leading the cast was Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean. He was such an impressive Jean Valjean. His version of “Bring Him Home” was so beautiful and sounded like a prayer and was quiet enough for what the scene required. He was warm and gentle around Cosette. It is amazing how his voice still had enough power when he was quiet during “Bring Him Home”. Then once again, he was quiet enough during his death scene. That is saying something because I was sitting in the balcony and I could still hear him even in quieter moments. During the scene where he let Javert go, he was able to act it to show that he forgave Javert.

Josh Davis was Javert and I felt like he had the right voice for Javert, but something felt off. He did a wonderful job during “Stars”. I had a hard time having an emotional connection to Javert. It is very hard to find common ground with Javert. I just do not know what it was, but something was off so he was weaker compared to Jean Valjean so part of their dynamic was off. Even though something felt way off in Javert, this production showed that Javert does have heart, which was shown when he saw the body of Gavroche when he went back to the barricades.

Melissa Mitchell was Fantine. She played Fantine as a naive young woman as opposed to a very desperate one. She played her naivety in a way that showed she was quite naive when she first became a prostitute because she did not quite understand that job at all at first even though she was fighting for the life of her daughter. She was so quiet in her death scene, but was still able to project to the balcony. It is heartbreaking that she is still thinking about her daughter during her death, but acted like she was thankful that Jean Valjean will be raising her daughter.

Sophie Knapp was such a wonderful Young Cosette. She has such a beautiful voice, which was clearly shown during “Castle on a Cloud”. She was small enough to look like she was eight at the time. She acted a bit nervous and scared around Madame Thenardier. Her “Castle on a Cloud” shows that she has hope that she will be rescued. She was quite a broken child.

Allision Guann as Madame Thenardier and J. Anthony Crane as Thenardier combined were hilarious like they needed to be. Allision Guann was able to be mean enough around Cosette and acted like she actually love her daughter, Eponine at the time. The Thenardiers’ version of “Master of the House” was quite hilarious and during the Bargain, the funny thing was the audience knew they were lying, which made it funny. Even during “Beggars at the Feast”, they were hilarious.

On to the youthful love triangle between Eponine, Marius and Cosette. This was such an innocent and youthful love triangle. Talia Simone Robinson as Eponine was an understudy and she was able to embody Eponine. During all of the Paris bits, she was very playful and flirty around Marius, but she still was able to express her heartbreak that he will never love her. “On My Own” was heartbreaking and at the end, I could hear tears coming from her, but she decides to continue to love Marius despite the unrequited love. “On My Own” demonstrates Eponine’s miserable and empty life and shows her strength and heartbreak over the unrequited love.

Jillian Butler as Cosette had such a beautiful soprano voice during both “In My Life” and “A Heart Full of Love”. Joshua Grosso as Marius was quite awkward during act I especially during “A Heart Full of Love”. It made the couple so cute and wonderful during that scene. When Marius first bumps into Cosette in Paris with Eponine standing in the back wasn’t fully effective, but feeling for all three was the most effective during “Heart Full of Love”. So I loved seeing the awkwardness during “A Heart Full of Love” and it was shown in a way that is like I am in love, but I don’t know what to do with it. This two were such a cute couple and I learned to love the two characters more.

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About Marius and Eponine, their version of “A Little Fall of Rain” was so believable. I really believed that Eponine was shot due to some of her non-verbals and noticing that it took effort to move since she was getting weaker as the song continued and she was also quiet enough. Joshua Grosso wasn’t heartbroken during the entire performance because he was comforting towards her and brave towards her. But when he ends the song with “grow”, that voice was so heartbreaking. It took him some time till he could say the word since he was quite stunned that Eponine died.

Joshua’s version of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was heartbreaking. Even during “Drink with Me”, when he sings about Cosette, it makes sense because he just lost Eponine and knows that most likely all of his friends will die and knows that if he survives, that he will only have Cosette.

Wow, Matt Shingledecker as Enjolras was such a passionate Enjolras. He brought out the intensity and passion that the character needed. All of the students were able to express their hope towards the rebellion. They also were able to show their passion towards the cause. Julian Emile Lerner was such a wonderful Gavroche. Even though he was just a boy, he keeps an eye on Paris and acts as if he runs the city. Despite being young, he had passion towards the cause as well.

About the ensemble, they were just so impressive. Their version of “One Day More” was so powerful and epic. Even in epic scenes like the opening or the second “Look Down”, there was the epicness that the songs required.

Wow, about the staging, I saw different staging than the West End. Even though the revolve wasn’t there, I still loved this staging. There was more color in this set. The different set pieces moved so smoothly between scenes. Like during “Paris/Look Down”, as the song continued, different areas opened up to show the scope of Paris. The paintings in the back actually moved some throughout the show. Those paintings gave a piece of Hugo in the show. The staging during the sewers showed how massive the sewers are and Valjean carried Marius in different ways. The staging during “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” adds even more emotion than the actor alone could do. During “Turning”, the women put candles down and then Marius comes out to sing the song and the students come out and pick up the candles and eventually blowing them out, which was a heartbreaking thing to watch.

About the sound system, the orchestra was so incredible. I could tell from the prologue that I would love the orchestra and they kept it together throughout the entire show. The sound system was incredible especially at the barricade. You could hear gunshots hit the back of the theatre so it felt like you were at the barricade.

So I would rate this production a 5/5 even though there were some actors that could have needed improvement such as Javert. But all in all, I loved this cast a lot, love the staging so much. Still such a beautiful story. To be honest, a more advanced staging gave more complexity to Les Mis. It was so good that I was an emotional wreck and that I ended up speechless.

Tomorrow, I plan to compare all three productions I have seen.

My Halloween Fun

Yesterday, I meant to talk about Halloween, but I did a question post before.

Including myself, three of my suitemates dressed up. Below are me and my suitemates in costume. This is us as Castiel, Eponine and Padme. This group of characters really shows the nature of my suite. These characters happen to exist from three books, two movies, 1 tv show, and 1 musical. All three of us ended up having dinner together in our costumes.

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I choose to dress up as Eponine since I already had the costume at home due to going to a Les Mis party earlier. I find it very fitting that I am going to be seeing Les Mis on Sunday at Greenville. I am going with my school and that will be my 5th time seeing it, but my 2nd time with a professional company and 1st time on tour. This round with Eponine, I think I look so much better. In this round, I made myself look “dirtier” and I feel like I looked much more like the character by doing that. I actually ended up going to the Gathering in my Eponine costume and after the Gathering, their was a bonfire, which I attended.

Possible Spoilers:

Here is a short description of Eponine. She is the eldest child of the Thenardiers. She is a lovely girl who has a horrible upbringing. After Cosette was taken away by Valjean, the Thenardiers started using their abuse on Eponine. When she was older the Thenardiers’ inn went bankrupt, which led them to living in poverty.The Thenardiers raised her to be a thief and a criminal who do not love her. Growing up, she had no idea what kindness was. It was Marius who first showed her kindness and ended up being the only person. That is why she falls in love with him so deeply. Even though he loves Cosette, she would do anything for him. She is streetwise, tough, brave, strong, unloved, lonely, and heartbroken. She is one of the best characters from Les Mis and musical theatre.

Parallel Musical Characters

I am doing another list post. Today I will talk about musical characters that are parallel to each other.  Next to each set, I will say why they are parallel.

  1. Elphaba/Eponine- both are young, strong, complex, brave, loyal, and are taken advantage of and live in a broken family and are part of a love triangle
  2. Young Cosette/Eponine- in this scenario, both girls are unloved and abused by the Thendardiers
  3. Jack Kelly/Enjolras- both are leaders of the group
  4. Newsies/Students of the ABC- they are two groups passionate about their cause and have a brotherly love for each other

What are some other sets that come to mind?