What if I had the talent in musical theatre. What if I developed the passion in elementary school? What if I thought about training earlier to have the talent? What would my dream musical roles be? What would the ultimate musical role be? Those are interesting questions. I know I don’t have the talent to be on stage. I decided to have a post, and play and say what they would have been. SPOILERS
Of all musical theatre characters, Elphaba would have been the ultimate dream role. She is my all-time favorite character in musical theatre. The two of us have things in common while at the same time, the two of us are extremely different. Playing Elphaba would have meant singing a song I am not the biggest fan of- “No Good Deed”. That is the only solo that Elphaba sings that I don’t like that much. I love “I’m Not That Girl”, “Wizard and I”, and “Defying Gravity”. It would have been fun to get her better by being her. She would have been the ultimate dream role.
I think of any lead character in Les Mis, it would have been Eponine. The thought of wanting to be Eponine sounds scary. It sounds scarier than Elphaba. I would have been feeling heartbreak night after night after night. I don’t know if I would have liked to die- that thought sounds daunting. I know you are acting. She is a strong, courageous, and young girl- she goes through so much- she doesn’t deserve the life she had. She had to deal with a family who wouldn’t love her, extreme poverty, and unrequited love, but at least in the end, she was with Marius. Still, if it was any lead character in Les Mis, it still would be Eponine. My parents believe that Eponine is my favorite character in Les Mis, but just afraid to admit it.
Ensemble of Les Mis
I don’t mind being a lead or an ensemble member of Les Mis. If it was a dream role, it wouldn’t matter how I end up in Les Mis.
I know Frozen only came out a year ago, but being Anna would be awesome. I relate to Anna a lot. I relate to her outgoing personality. In addition, I am also the youngest sibling. Frozen is one of my favorite contemporary Disney musicals. I believe part of why I connected to Frozen so much is due to the parallels it has to Wicked. It is coming to my hometown October 2020.
It is hard to think of dream roles when you are not going to be on stage. Thought it would be a fun thing to do.
Musical theatre fans know that in a musical they have their favorite song. There is an exception to that, and that is in Les Mis. Why do I think that is? I think it is a combination of things: the passion, the epic nature, the powerful nature, and the level of emotion. There is something found in the songs that has made Les Mis last so long in the West End, and had made it keep on touring throughout the World. The songs are key to any great musical- they are the first step- then the characters and plot.
On My Own- this is one of my favorite songs in the musical. It is perfect for Eponine. It is about her unrequited love for Marius while still giving some insight into her life outside of Marius. It perfectly complements her character- it shows just how strong of a character she is. It also shows how strong and deep her love for Marius is. A beautifully heartbreaking song, which can be sung in so many ways- different emotions can be shown each time. This easily can be my favorite song from Les Mis, but the same applies to a number of other songs from Les Mis.
A Little Fall of Rain- this song ends Eponine’s story. She has sacrificed herself after seeing a gun aimed at Marius. This is the most intimate moment Marius and Eponine have. After Eponine collapsed in Marius’ arms, he realized she was dying, and he was devastated. Despite how he felt, he ended up staying with her to the end. A bittersweet scene- you do feel devastated for BOTH Eponine and Marius, but happy for Eponine because she is in the arms of Marius. He is there for her, and is comforting her. You get to see how much compassion Marius is capable of. This is my favorite death scene in Les Mis.
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables- While “On My Own” can easily be my favorite solo, I can’t help but think about how this song can also be that song. Devastatingly heartbreaking-more heartbreaking than “On My Own”. It perfectly complements Marius- the rebellion has ended, and Marius is the only one who comes out alive. He lost all of his friends, and is now dealing with survivor’s guilt. Marius is my favorite survivor in Les Mis, and has become almost a core favorite character.
One Day More- the perfect act I finale. Do I have to say more? This easily could be my favorite song from Les Mis song too. There is no way to describe what you are feeling in this number. It is one of my all-favorite musical theatre finales.
Bring Him Home- This song is another song that can be my favorite song from Les Mis. This further highlights the love Valjean has for God, and shows his love for Cosette in a way. After all, he went to the barricade to protect and save Marius, the revolutionary his adopted daughter loves, from dying. It sounds like a prayer.
Do You Hear the People Sing- This song is a very passionate song. It perfectly shows the passion the students have for the rebellion. It easily gets stuck in your head- it got stuck in my head after seeing the movie the first time.
Drink With Me- The thing I really love about this song is how intimate it is. It shows a vulnerable side to the students. It is sadder than it seems to be- you will understand after seeing it a first time. Once you know what is going to happen to them, the song becomes heartbreaking. This is the last moment they will truly get to spend time with each other. They know this is a last cause, and that they will most likely die, and feel hopeless. At least, they still have their brotherly love for each other, and they still have the passion.
Finale- the perfect finale to a musical. The first half is heartbreaking. Valjean is dying, and he is alone in a church. However, you know he has become a better person, and that he has redeemed himself, become “saint-like”. You might think he will die alone, without anyone by his side. Soon enough, Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in-law, come to his side. I think there is some symbolism in the deaths- Fantine, Eponine, Gavroche, Enjolras and the students, and now Valjean will have died with someone with them- have you noticed a pattern with these characters? They know how to love- it doesn’t matter if it is love for a child, love romantically (even if it falls unrequited), or love for a country. After Valjean dies, you are heartbroken, but then a reprise of “Do you Hear the People Sing” starts- you are still heartbroken, but you feel hope- I think the ending represents heaven. You do not leave devastated- you leave the theatre uplifted and with hope.
See what I mean? There is something about each song that makes it hard to choose which is your favorite. Whether that is the bittersweet “A Little Fall of Rain”, the heartbreaking “On My Own”, the devastating “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, the intimate “Drink With Me”, etc….. So many of the songs have something special about them: you can see the spirituality shine in some of them: “Bring Him Home”, “Come to Me”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Finale”, “What Have I Done” are examples of that.
Do you think Les Mis is hard to chose your favorite song, and why? I gave a few examples.
What do I mean by the non-survivors? These are the characters who die in musicals. So this will be SPOILER HEAVY. I used to think a character death would be not memorable, but I learned my lesson.
Enjolras and the students
It was Les Mis that taught me that I can love a character death. I love more characters who survive than characters who don’t survive. A lot of that it because I can’t think of more. Death in musicals are not EASY to watch, but you have to understand WHY they had to happen- all of these deaths had to happen. Yes, character death is sad, and you are heartbroken because you loved the character. The only way they will continue to live is in you.
There was a time when I had this negative view on death in a musical. I believed that death was ALWAYS going to be unmemorable. How can you fall in love with watching a death scene? I truly believed that if it was going to happen with a core favorite character- after all you are going to feel angry with the fact that they are going to be killed of. I even believed that there is no way it could happen during a song- that seemed like there has a high chance that could NEVER happen. That was only because growing up, I never once came across a death song.
After Les Mis entered: Major Spoilers
All of those thoughts I had would soon be tested. Les Mis was the musical that would go against everything. Les Mis has songs such as “Javert’s Suicide”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, and “Come to Me”- all songs that deal with a death or happen while a character is dying. So my thought on a song could NEVER happen during a death scene was disproven. Even my thought on a character’s death could NEVER be memorable was disproven as well. In Les Mis characters’ deaths are memorable.
“Come to Me” is a memorable death scene. This is Fantine’s death scene. She has been fired and lost her hair, and became prostitute. She has been through some very awful things. She did what she did for the sake of her daughter, Cosette. Even while she was dying, she still was thinking about Cosette. She was still worried about what would happen to her. Valjean was with her while she was dying. “Come to Me” is memorable in the fact that Valjean promised that he would raise Cosette- so Fantine is able to die in peace. The fact that Fantine did not have to die alone- she was shown compassion by Valjean.
“A Little Fall of Rain” is also a memorable death. This time, Eponine is dying from a gunshot wound after sacrificing herself to protect Marius. During this scene, Marius is devastated, but ended up showing her compassion by holding and comforting her while she dies. Eponine is dying in the arms of Marius, the love of her life, who is also the only good thing in her life because he is the only person who showed her kindness. So I just gave you two examples of memorable deaths in just one musical. In “A Little Fall of Rain”, I am heartbroken for BOTH Eponine and Marius, but feel joy knowing that this is Eponine’s happiest moment of her life despite the fact that she is dying.
Tragic Love Stories:
Here is where things can be messy. If you fall in love with the couple, you don’t want it to end tragically, but it WILL. I know this first hand due to recently seeing Miss Saigon and falling in love with Kim and Chris as a couple. Even Kim’s death was memorable- like the other two I mentioned- she wasn’t alone. Chris was there- he actually realized he always loved her- I believe more than Ellen- that was how good Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa were as Kim and Chris were. I can especially tell due to Anthony’s Chris’ cry at the very end- he realized just how much he loved Kim. Kim died to give her son, Tam, a better life- another reason why it is a memorable death.
Yes, deaths in a musical are devastating, but they can be memorable. The first time, you are shocked. You are like “but I loved that character, why did they have to die?”. You soon realize they are meant to die even each time, you hope that doesn’t happen, but you can’t change it- that death will always happen.
As many musical fanatics know, there is always a way you become a fan of a musical. It is either by songs, stage, or film. Where did my love of Les Mis begin? It was by the musical movie.
I first saw the Les Mis film in December 2012. I came into the film with a very slim knowledge. I knew of the song, “I Dreamed a Dream”. I barely knew the plot. I knew of the actresses, Amanda Seyfried and Anne Hathaway. I was unsure coming into the film- I only went to listen to “I Dreamed a Dream”. Right after Fantine died, I came to a realization- Les Mis is a tragedy. I was shocked and confused after realizing that. After all, I never knew musicals could be tragic. I did not know how to exactly respond. By the end of the film, I did have “Do you Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head, but at the same time, I did not know if I liked Les Mis. So I had a rocky start to Les Mis. I was NOT an emotional wreck watching Les Mis this time around.
Despite not knowing if I liked Les Mis, I started researching the musical. I also wanted to listen to the songs on Pandora. I have no idea why I wanted to do that.
March 2013- I don’t why I did this, but I decided to watch the film a 2nd time. Due to knowing the film’s tragic nature, I was able to calm down. I got so much more out of it. This time around, I truly became a fan of Les Mis. By the end, I felt uplifted. I was thinking “why would such a tragic musical make you feel uplifted?”. So I continued researching it. By Summer 2013, I was officially obsessed with Les Mis. I know the 2nd time was when I began to have a beautiful bond to Eponine; I have no idea when I began to have an emotional connection to the other characters I have an emotional connection to. If I didn’t give the film a 2nd chance, I never would have a Les Mis fan.
Summer 2013- I think my family was on vacation in Florida, and we were in target in the DVD section. My mom told me, will you find it? I did not know what she was talking about at first. She told me- you know what I am talking about. I realized- my mom was talking about Les Mis. My emotional response to the film grew over time.
Present- now it is 2019, and I have watched the film so many times. Now, I have to buy another copy of the film. Usually in that amount of time, I don’t wear out a DVD. I still am an emotional wreck watching it. This film was why I love Les Mis, which led to my obsession with Les Mis. Without the film, Les Mis wouldn’t have been in my life.
Here we are venturing into the Les Misérables love triangle. It is less complex than the Wicked love triangle. It is between Cosette x Marius x Eponine: in this one Marius and Cosette are the couple while Eponine has the unrequited love. It is one of the major storylines that I am emotionally connected to. Of everyone in the love triangle, Eponine is my favorite character.
I will start by bringing up Eponine and Cosette’s childhood. At one point both Eponine and Cosette lived together. Eponine’s parents are the Thenardiers, who abuse Cosette and treat her like a servant. Eponine, on the other hand, is spoiled and appeared to be loved by her parents. Then Valjean arrives and rescues Cosette.
You already know the Thenardiers are abusive. In “Master of the House”, you learn that they also are pickpockets. You start to get a general idea of the environment Eponine is going to grow up in. You already know Cosette is going to have a better life. So the girls situations are reversed- while Cosette’s horrible childhood improves; Eponine’s life gets worse. That is one of the things that intrigues me- the switch that happens between the girls.
Eponine’s family ends up living in extreme poverty. Eponine’s parents have raised her to be a thief and criminal. You realize they do not care or love their daughter. They just use her for their advantage. She serves as watchdog for the law. She wasn’t shown kindness growing up- it never happens to her. That never happened- it eventually did happen- Marius was the only person who treated her with kindness. The kindness that Marius showed her made her fall in love with him. I am glad he was in her life- she needed Marius even though he didn’t love her romantically. Soon enough, Marius and Cosette bump into each other and fall in love with each other. Eponine is well aware that the two have fallen in love.
Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius is quite heartbreaking and painful. After all, he is the only good thing in her life. Despite that, she is the girl who would do anything for him. She risked her life several times for him no matter the cost. She ended up finding Cosette for him when he asked her to. She ended up protecting Marius and Cosette from her father and his gang. Her love for Marius is so strong that she ended up sacrificing her life for him. At least in the end, she died in the arms of Marius= at least she was with him. Her death scene was the happiest moment of her life.
I love Marius and Cosette as a couple. They are the ones who help bring hope to this tragedy. Marius had to survive the rebellion in order to keep hope alive. They are such an adorable couple in so many ways. Both of these characters are so sweet and kind. In the end, although they lost so many important people in their lives, at least they still have each other. Marius was the only survivor from the the barricade and Cosette lost her adopted father.
The love triangle offers a lot. I love all three characters. Yes, Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle, but of all three Marius is my favorite survivor. I have never found the love triangle to be silly. Even though I understand that Marius and Eponine are not friends, but neighbors in the book, I love that their friendship is in the musical.
I can’t believe I never talked about this on my blog: the importance of musical theatre characters’ backstories. Why do they matter?
The backstories shape the characters into who they are. It is one of the aspects that musical theatre characters complex. I prefer complex characters over simple characters. That is because they are more “real” than the simple ones.
What would Eponine be if she wasn’t raised by the Thenardiers? Yes, it is a horrible upbringing. If she wasn’t raised to be a thief and criminal, and ended up being unloved and neglected, Marius wouldn’t have meant anything to her. See what I mean- her upbringing is a huge reason why she is the Eponine we know her to be.
What would Elphaba be if she wasn’t born green? What would she be if her father didn’t love her growing up? Part of her complexity comes from how she was raised.
Who would the Phantom be if he wasn’t born without a deformed face? Due to how to he was treated because of it, it lead him to become ashamed of it. See what I mean.
The pattern continues with a number of characters. What happens to anyone growing up makes them who they are. Backstories are important to anyone. Backstories can be tragic- but the results are different: their actions show that- look how Phantom dealt with it versus Eponine. Phantom dealt with his pain in a negative way while Eponine dealt with her pain in a more positive way. Some backstories are not tragic at all- it still made those characters who they are.
Do you agree? Do backstories help shape a story into who they become? Does it believe it makes a character complex?