Placement of Songs in Musicals

I think the placement of songs can affect the emotion of a musical song. It also can help explain the sound of the song. I will use some examples to explain what I mean by this this.

“I Dreamed a Dream”

  • By having this song before “Lovely Ladies” in the stage show gives the song a small amount of hope.
  • However, by having the song after “Lovely Ladies” in the movie makes the song even more heartbreaking and you lose that sense of hope.

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“One Day More”

  • This song has to be the act I closer due to the sound of the song and what is being sung. It happens the day before the uprising. It is talking about that Javert plans to spy on the students during the uprising. It is talking about what the Thenardiers plan to due to those who died. It talks about Marius and Cosette will miss each other when they will be parted. So it has to happen before the uprising.

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Actually all of the Les Mis songs are carefully placed. That is part of how brilliant the musical is.

“As Long As Your’e Mine”

  • This song has a very mature melody. It has to be because at that point in the story, both Fiyero and Elphaba have matured so the song has to sound the way it does. It also has to be in act II due to the plot twist.

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“I’m Not That Girl”

  • The innocent feeling of the song is in there due to who Elphaba is when it is sung. By this point, Elphaba has not yet matured and is a bit innocent, which explains why the melody has that feeling in it. It has to be in act I or else the plot twist really wouldn’t be in the story.

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What you think about this? Do you think placement of the song is important?

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Wrap-Up of Top Three Actor/Actresses in Les Mis

The past couple of days I have talked about my top three actors and actresses that I have seen in Les Mis.

It was an interesting series. It really showed just how differently these actors and actresses portray these characters. I was able to explore much more of some of these actors and see what they brought to the role. The fact that these actors and actresses come from more than one cast does show how talented they are. I loved how I was able to mention understudies because it shows that they have a lot of talent and those understudies were Adam Bayjou (Jean Valjean) and Talia Simone Robinson (Eponine). It was interesting who I decided to pick and I ended up with. It was interesting that every single character used my  principal cast on my West End and Greeville. I did not realize that when I first started the series, I would love it as much as I did.

My favorite of each character: not will have one since I can’t decide

Jean Valjean: Can’t pick at the moment

Javert: Jeremy Secomb- only Javert I could feel any kind of sympathy for the character so that is a plus to his Javert.

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Fantine: Can’t decide

Cosette: Jillian Butler- she has a beautiful soprano voice and works perfectly with Joshua Grosso to form a quite adorable couple.

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Marius: Joshua Grosso- he brought out this unique awkwardness that I never saw in Marius. I never knew Marius to be awkward until I saw Joshua. He just really shines as Marius in so many ways.

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Eponine: Samantha Barks- She was able to bring out the heartbreak found in unrequited love and  was able to show just how lonely and alone Eponine is and because she was my first one, she is my favorite Eponine.

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Thenardiers: Phil Daniels and Kathy Secombe- they were able to be very funny while at the same time show their darker side.

Enjolras: Can’t decide

 

Top Three Fantine Actresses

It is time for me to pick my top three actors who have played Fantine.

Criteria is as follows:

  1. These are only opinions. I am not necessarily going to talk about actors that people are familiar with. You do not have to agree with all my choices since they are just opinions
  2. Not going to leave out understudies. I am not going to leave off an understudy just because they are an understudy. Going to include them if they are good enough to be in the top three.
  3. Based off of different things such as their voice, how they might say a certain word, how well the emotions are portrayed, dynamics, among other things

Melissa Mitchell:

What was interesting about her portrayal  of Fantine is that she brought out the naive side of Fantine. While she didn’t show the desperation of Cosette much, I still loved her Fantine. But I thought it was amazing how she was able to focus on Fantine’s more naive side and to me it works. Not only is Fantine a desperate single mother, she is also a naive women as well. She was the from the touring cast I saw in Greenville.

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Rachelle Ann Go:

She was my Fantine when I saw Les Mis in the West End three years. The moment I saw her Fantine, I started crying. You could clearly see how desperate she was even before she became a prostitute. Her “I Dreamed a Dream” was heart-renching and as the show continued her Fantine became more and more desperate.

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Anne Hathaway:

She was my first Fantine since my first full experience of Fantine was the movie. Anne Hathaway’s performance of Fantine was devastatingly heartbreaking. Her “I Dreamed a Dream” was more heartbreaking than the others and a big reason for that is due to the song being after “Lovely Ladies” instead of before.

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Now that I just finished Fantine, you might start to notice a pattern happening between my top three favorite portrayals. By this post, you will have noticed that so far each one has had my West End and Greenville actors.

Tomorrow be for Cosette

Les Mis Milestone

Even though I first saw the movie of Les Mis six years ago in December, my journey of it really began about March of 2013. I said that because after that movie I really did not know if I liked that musical or not due to being shocked and confused that it was a tragedy, but despite the confusion, I still started researching. However, my love for the show really kicked off five years ago when I gave the movie a second chance.

Ever since the movie, the musical has come a long way. I still continue to watch the movie till this day and still not sick and tired of it. My first portrayals of all these characters come from the movie. The 2nd time I was able to calm down and not be shocked by it being a tragedy. My understanding of the emotions in Les Mis and my understanding of the characters has deepened over these five years. One of the things I remembered about the second time was that it was when I fell in love with Eponine due to Samantha Barks portrayal. She would become my favorite Eponine. When I found out, she played Eponine in the 25th anniversary concert, I decided to watch that concert.

Not only did this movie make me fall in love with Eponine, but it also made me fall in love with some of the other characters. After all, this was my first full experience with Les Mis. It was where I believe I fell in love with Jean Valjean, Enjolras, Gavroche and the students and Fantine. I started to fall in love with Fantine due to Anne Hathaway’s devastating portrayal of Fantine. It was where I began to appreciate Marius, I think. I have watched this movie over 50 or so times I think: it feels like so much more. I still get emotional watching this movie and that is part of why the songs are so brilliant and why I am not yet sick and tired of Les Mis.

 

Ever since the movie, I have researched the musical a lot. My love for Les Mis eventually turned my love for musicals into a passion. I am currently obsessed with the musical. I first saw the stage show in 2013, which was a community college production. I ushered twice for that production and saw it once with my family. It may have been a community college production, but it felt professional. My dream of seeing Les Mis in the West End was created all because of seeing the stage show for the first time.

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It was December of 2013 when I finally decided to watch the 25th anniversary concert. Like I said earlier, I watched this concert because Samantha Barks, my favorite Eponine, played Eponine in this concert. Alfie Boe ended up blowing me away as Jean Valjean and he became one of my favorite Jean Valjeans’ and at this point he was my favorite Jean Valjean. Like expected, Samantha Barks was wonderful in this concert. Ramin Karimloo would be such a passionate Enjolras. So I also own this concert so my Les Mis collection keeps on growing. This concert is worth watching due to an incredible cast. Plus, it has the Valjean quartet at the end, “One Day More” sung by the original cast, and students singing the reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing”.

 

My dream of seeing Les Mis in the West End came true soon after developing my dream for wanting to see it in London. My family was going up to England in 2015 to go on a pilgrimage with our church. The choir was going to be in residence at Bristol Cathedral and that pilgrimage started in London. So in 2015, my family went up two days early, which I found out in 2014. That was when I started convincing my parents to take me to see Les Mis in London. I remember in June sitting in my room and my mom texted me emojis of the French flag and musical notes and I do not know what she was talking about. She told me to check my email. When I found out I was going to be seeing Les Mis in London, I ran up to my mom and started crying. My dream was going to come true and that day was July 30th, 2015.

I remember on July 30th, it took a while to find the theatre. When I saw the theatre, it didn’t seem real that I was going to see Les Mis. Even when I bought souvenirs and the most surprising thing about the UK is that I had to buy my playbill. Back in the US, the playbills were handed at the door, but this time I had to buy my playbill. On the way to the auditorium, I found a sign that said I had an understudy for Valjean and that was going to be Adam Bayjou. It was crazy because I was in London fulfilling my dream, but yet was going to be an understudy for Jean Valjean.

I remember hearing the first notes of the orchestra, which were so powerful, and realizing this dream was becoming reality just by hearing those notes, I know the production was going to much more than expected. Not only did the cast including the ensemble were brilliant, but the staging was as well. The revolve helped with time change. I loved seeing the building of the barricade along with several other barricade scenes such as it turning when Gavroche climbed over or it turning after the final battle and you could see all the dead bodies on it and singing a light on Enjolras.

 

But Adam Bayjou was going to turn out to be one of the best Valjean’s I ever saw. I remember sitting in my seat and looking at the set and realizing how close I was to the stage. My mom wanted to make sure I got the best possible seats. So we were nine rows back from the stage. My other actors were Jeremy Secomb as Javert, Rachelle Ann Go as Fantine, Zoe Doano as Cosette, Rob Houchen as Marius, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Eponine, Phil Daniels as Monsieur Thenardier, Kathy Secombe as Madame Thenadier and Bradley Jaden as Enjolras.

Back to Adam Bayjou. His version of Jean Valjean made me forget I was watching an understudy. Jeremy Secomb would make me actually connect to Javert and that during his suicide scenes and that really was strong talent because I don’t like Javert. This was the strongest Javert and Jean Valjean  dynamic I have ever seen. Even the love triangle had such a strong dynamic. When Marius first bumped into Cosette with Eponine watching them, that was played so well that I was feeling so many emotions and the same happened during “A Heart Full of Love”. I was shocked to feel anger during “On My Own”, but eventually realized it does fit and due to that new emotion, I got new insight into Eponine.

This cast was quite brilliant, epic and passionate. I can’t describe the talent I found in this cast that well. That same summer I read the unabridged book, which did have an effect on the West End production. The book may have been a brick, but it made me appreciate the musical even more. After the production ended, I stood up right away and usually that doesn’t happen whenever I see a musical. Usually I wait until I see my favorite actor, but this time I stood up right away, but this time I stood up right away which really goes to show just how talented this cast is. This cast will always be special because of my dream to see Les Mis in the West End. After the show, I actually went to stage and met Adam Bayjou and he signed my playbill.

Below is a review from seeing Les Mis in the West End. I wrote this view a couple months after seeing it in London so it may not be fully accurate, but still is quite close.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/i-dreamed-a-dream/

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The picture above is from my 2nd Les Mis party. One of my mom’s friends is a big Les Mis fan and she decided to have a Les Mis party due to my love for it. The first year, the party was a surprise and my mom tricked me by telling me to wear my Les Mis shirt which says “Keep Calm and Talk about Les Mis”. After all, this shirt was a shirt my friends made me for one of my birthdays. My mom told me that her friend wanted to watch the movie of Les Mis. But it would turn out to be party so I was dressed as just a fan. With Karaoke, I sang “On My Own” and I was called Eponine for the rest of the night.

The next year 2017, since I knew about the Les Mis party, I was able to dress up as one of the characters, and I decided to dress up as Eponine. I found all of these pieces in just one trip to Goodwill. The makeup, which I used as dirt, came from the makeup kit I bought for Stage Makeup, a class I took in Fall 2016. It was the shadow from the kit and it was brown and was perfect to finish the Eponine look. In order to look like her, I had to get myself “dirty” since she was a girl living in poverty. I was still young enough to dress like her and she become one of my favorite characters from the musical.

Below is my link

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/les-mis-party-2017/

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The picture above is from my 5th time I saw Les Mis. I had a choice last year to see it in Greenville with my school or in Charlotte with my mom. It would be my fifth time seeing the stage show, but my 1st time seeing it on tour. I wanted to know how different the 25th anniversary production was from the version I saw in London. Once again, I would have an understudy, but this time it was for Eponine and that was Talia Simone Robinson. I was much further back from the stage since I was seeing from the balcony, but I got to see everything. The Peace Center is such a wonderful place to watch musicals in the United States. The standouts of this production were Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean, Joshua Grosso as Marius and Matt Shingledecker as Enjolras. The other principal characters were Josh Davis as Javert, Mellissa Mitchell as Fantine, Jillian Butler as Cosette, Anthony Crane as Monsieur Thenardier and Allison Guinn as Madame Thenardier. By seeing Les Mis in the balcony, I was able to pick up on how well these actors could project and I could hear everything even when they were quiet.

Even though I missed the revolve, this staging was wonderful. They used Victor Hugo’s paintings in the background but the problem was they never put up the years for the different time changes. Using the paintings put a bit more color in the set. At times the paintings would be moving. You could tell the vast size of Paris. You would be watching a part of a scene and than the set opens up, and that effect makes you get a feeling of how big Paris is.

About my standouts, Joshua Grosso stood out due to the awkwardness he brought to Marius, which made me love Marius more and he matched perfectly to Jillian Butler’s Cosette. He even portrayed “Empty Chairs At Empty Tables” in a heartbreaking way. At the end of “A Little Fall of Rain”, Joshua said the last word in a heartbreaking way and waited about five or ten seconds until he said it as if he was stunned that Eponine died. With Nick Cartell, his “Bring Him Home” was so soulful and was quiet enough and strong enough for what the scene required. Considering the fact I was an emotional wreck watching Les Mis a 5th time, it shows that I still have a wonderful emotional connection to Les Mis and that I am not yet done with seeing the stage show of Les Mis.

If you want more about my experience with this production, below is a link to that post.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/review-of-les-mis/

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Above is a picture from Halloween. I may have dressed up as Eponine for 2017’s Les Mis party, but because I had all the pieces, I decided to be Eponine for Halloween. This time I made myself “dirtier” than I did for for the party. I started getting into costume around three and stayed dressed as Eponine until after 9:00. I literally went to dinner dressed as her and went to the Gathering, my school’s student-led worship service, dressed as Eponine. Several people had no idea who I was so I had to explain. After the Gathering, there was a bonfire and I went to that. It was a bit cold, but I went around school dressed as Eponine without a coat to truly look like the character. Eponine is a girl living in extreme poverty so I had to show that, which was shown through the “dirt” and not wearing a coat.

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Above is a bear from this year’s Candy and Critter’s event. I never named a stuffed animal after a musical character. When I looked at the different stuffed animals to make, I came across this bear, and it reminded me of Eponine. It had the right color scheme and it had heart-shaped patches with stitches around the outside. Eponine tends to wear costumes with a brown color-scheme. Those heart patches with the stitches around the outside reminded me of a broken heart.

Below is a link about the day I made Eponine. It is quite special having a stuffed animal named after a favorite musical character.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/candy-and-critters/

 

Below is a link explaining my entire Les Mis collection.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/les-mis-collection-part-three/

As this post shows, I have gone on quite a journey with Les Mis. Les Mis is a show that changed the way I view musicals forever. It taught me that tragic musicals exist and that tragedies go beyond their tragic side. Les Mis for example has a beautiful underlying spirituality with themes such as compassion, forgiveness, love, hope, humanity, sacrifice and redemption. It was my first introduction to heartbreak in musicals. It would impact many other musicals. I noticed that because of Les Mis, emotions are much easier to pick up on. It may have been five years, but I already know so much about the characters and the storyline. I know about interesting parts about the story such as the mirror images of Eponine and Cosette. I understand why certain things had to happen to make the story work such as why the love triangle is set up the way it is and why so many characters had to die and son on. So this post may be long, but gives a good view of my entire journey with Les Mis. I still cannot believe that I saw the stage show in 2013, 2015, and 2017 because there is a bit of a pattern there. Those years make up 5x seeing the stage show.

Reviewing the Songs of Les Mis songs

This will be mega post. I decided to put together all the Les Mis songs and analyze each one of them in one post. So due to that, this will be a spoiler heavy post. I will not do all the bits of the musical, but have many of them.

Work Song:

This song opens up the show. This is when we understand the harsh conditions that prisoners have to experience. We are first introduced to Jean Valjean, the protagonist, in this number. We hear the prisoners anger and we can just see how extreme the work the prisoners all have to do. We learn that Valjean was in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family and was sentenced for five years, but fourteen extra for trying to escape. Even though it was his time to leave prison, he was sent to live the rest of his life on parole. We get to meet Javert, the antagonist, later on in the number. We learn that Javert doesn’t really care about Valjean’s story at all.

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What Have I Done:

This song is an epiphany song for Jean Valjean. Valjean was just shown an incredible amount of mercy in the previous moment. The bishop let Valjean stay there for the night and gave him a meal, but Valjean stole some silver, but the bishop forgave him. This song is when he reflects on his life as a prisoner and what he learned from the bishop. He realizes he has to become a better person, but to do that means breaking parole. He thinks about the mercy the bishop gave him, which taught him the ways of the Lord. Valjean decides to live by the example set buy the bishop. He expresses the guilt and anger he had of being a prisoner and expresses the compassion shown by the bishop. So this was a huge turning point in Valjean’s life.

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At the End of the Day: Time advances to 1823

So much is going on in this number. First you are introduced to the poor and you learn their conditions and it is not looking good for them. They seem to be treated unfairly. Then you advance into the factory and that is where you first are introduced to Fantine, a struggling young single mother. The factory women are spreading rumors about her and steal a letter and all the factory workers learn that she has a daughter, which turns into a fight between Fantine and a factory worker. The foreman is the one to settle things and the women convince him to fire her and they do. This song illustrates how unfairly both women and the poor are treated in 1823. So it is quite dangerous to have an illegitimate child. So it is a number where sadness and heartbreak and desperation are expressed.

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I Dreamed a Dream:

This is Fantine’s solo number. Here you learn about Fantine’s background. You learn that Cosette’s biological father abandoned her and her daughter, Cosette. You learn how naive she once was and she still is a bit naive. She is devastated that she no longer has any income in order to pay for Cosette. She had dreams once, but now they are shattered. This is a very heartbreaking number and now Fantine has to do whatever she can do to pay for Cosette. The melody is extremely beautiful and such a wonderful song to listen to.

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Lovely Ladies:

This song is the hardest song and scene to watch and listen to. This number is when you really get to see how desperate Fantine is. She sells her locket, her hair, and herself to get money for Cosette. This is when she turns to prostitution in order to care for her child. While she hates her life, she does it out of love for Cosette. She has such a selfless love for her child. You might think this choice is a bit selfish since she is now a prostitute, but women did not have many options so prostitution was her only option. While the melody is quite catchy, it is still a tough song to watch, which is even harder to watch than death scenes.

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Who Am I:

Previously in the runaway cart scene where Valjean helped rescue a man who was trapped under a cart, Valjean learned that “Valjean” was arrested and about to be sentenced. Valjean knowing that an innocent man was accused of being him, Valjean is faced with a moral dilemma and he has such a big decision to make. Does he not turn himself in to protect his factory or does he go to court and tell the truth? Valjean never forgot how unfairly prisoners are treated and that is does harden you and he can’t bare to see an innocent man get the same fate he got. But in the end, he makes the right choice by turning himself in even though it puts his workers and his job in trouble, but he still made the right choice.

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Come to Me:

This is the first death scene in the musical. In a few scenes back, Valjean intervened to keep Fantine from being arrested. Even though Fantine is weak and dying, she is still concerned about the well-being of her daughter. Valjean shows compassion to Fantine and agrees to raise Cosette as his own. This gives Fantine peace and comfort for once. This really goes to show how much Fantine loves her daughter and she hopes her daughter will have to better future. This is quite a memorable death scene.

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Confrontation:

This immediately follows Fantine’s death. Valjean and Javert are having an argument. Javert tries to arrest Valjean and Valjean tries to prove he has become a better man and a promise to fulfill. This song goes to show how badly Javert wants to arrest Valjean for breaking parole.

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Castle on a Cloud:

This is when we first are introduced to Cosette. She is only eight and we realize that she is not treated very fairly. She is horribly abused by the Thenardiers. They force her to be a servant and she is quite a broken child but with an amazing spirit. She has hope she will one day be rescued. This is a cute, but heartbreaking song.

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Master of the House:

I am so glad this number exists. This is the big comic relief number. You already have seen a lot of heartbreak. The opening number is already heartbreaking and after that leading up to the bishop, Valjean is treated unfairly by society since he is a prisoner. You have gone through Fantine’s storyline, which is so hard to watch and you see how much Cosette is being abused. So you need a bit of comic relief. This song highlights the pick-pocket nature of the Thenardiers, but at the same time, you can’t stop but laugh. This is a very catchy song and is much-needed.

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Suddenly: Original song in the movie

This number is only in the movie, but it is important to understand Valjean’s love for Cosette. Valjean has already taken Cosette away from the Thenardiers. Ever since leaving prison, Valjean has never known love and Cosette has never known love either. Valjean has just become a father in the most unexpected of ways. You start to understand how much Cosette means to him. He is filled up with love and he knows he can’t tell Cosette about his past and will protect her. This song is so beautiful and love seeing this scene play out in the movie. Valjean knows it will be tough raising her since he is always on the run due to being an ex-convict.

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Look Down: Paris, 1832- the last time switch.

Similar to “At The End of the Day”, you see the conditions of the poor. You realize that things haven’t changed much. The poor still aren’t treated right. You are introduced to the rest of the characters. You first come across Gavroche, Marius, and Enjolras in this number. Gavroche ends up introducing you to the Thenardiers and their daughter, Eponine. You realize that the family is now poor and living on the streets of Paris and they are scamming people out of money forcing Eponine to be part of the schemes and she is the one who watches out for the police. With Marius and Enjolras, you learn of the outbreak of cholera epidemic since General Lamarque is dying of cholera. You start to see their plans for an uprising. This has such an epic feel to the song. So much is happening in this number, but very important.

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Stars:

This is Javert’s first solo. This song is very hard to describe. You see that Javert has a religious aspect of him. This is Javert lying out his beliefs and he is saying how he is devoting himself to the law especially for capturing Valjean. I still struggle with understanding what this song is about. Even though I don’t like Javert, it still is such a beautiful song, but is an important song for getting to know Javert.

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Red and Black:

This is when we are introduced to the rest of the students who are part of this political group. You learn their passion towards the uprising and you also are first introduced to their brotherly love of each other. You learn that Enjolras is the leader. In terms of Marius, he has just fallen in love with Cosette before Stars. He is a bit distracted by the girl he loves. Even though he is close to the students, he is so much distracted by this girl, but yet he has no idea who her name is yet.

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Do You Hear the People Sing:

This is the number when the students go out into the street trying to rally some support. This is quite a passionate number and they are hoping others will join them. This is when you learn about their hope and passion for the rebellion that is to eventually come.

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In My Life:

This is really the first number you are introduced to adult Cosette. She is reflecting on Marius, the boy she is in love with, and wants to know more about her adopted father. You learn just how sheltered and protected she is. She is demanding to know more about Valjean. Later on in the number, Valjean enters and that is when she wants to know more answers about his past and she seems to know how dark his past is, but he really doesn’t want to tell Cosette about his past. The second half of this song is between Marius and Eponine. Well right before Stars, Marius asks Eponine to find where Cosette lives and though reluctant, she agrees seeing it will make him happy. It is already clear she loves Marius before “In My Life”. Marius keeps on talking about Cosette in front of Eponine oblivious to her love for him. She is reflecting on the fact that the words he is saying hurts knowing that he will never love her.

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A Heart Full of Love:

This song is mainly a love duet between Marius and Cosette. They first mainly meet each other and learn each others names. Throughout most of the number, you feel happy for them. But towards the end, Eponine joins in reflecting on her unrequited love for Marius and than it is conflicting between feeling happy for Marius and Cosette, but at the same time feeling heartbroken for Eponine. That is part of why this love triangle is so effective.  This song is very romantic and very beautiful.

 

One Day More: Act I Closer

This song is one of the best ways to end the first act. You have each character talking about their passion, which eventually overlaps. They are curious what the next day will hold since the uprising is the next day. Valjean’s reflects on his past, Cosette and Marius bring up their love for each other, Eponine reflects on her love for Marius and knowing he does not notice that she does love him, Enjolras reflects on the uprising, Javert talks about how he plans to spy on the students and the Thenardiers plan to rob the dead in the sewers. The citizens are in this number too also curious what the next day will hold. But when their passions all overlap, it is quite powerful. It is hard to describe how powerful this song is, but perfectly ends act I.

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Before moving on to On My Own, I just want to mention that the students are starting to build the barricade. Based on the stage show, Marius saw Eponine disguised as a boy and gives her a letter to give to Cosette. While that seems selfish, it is not because he just wants Eponine safe. I brought all of this up to show that On My Own does not open up act II exactly.

On My Own:

This is Eponine’s main solo. In the intro part, you learn a bit more about Eponine’s life. You realize just how alone she is. She does not have a home because she is living on the streets. Marius is literally all she has in life. In this song, she reflects on the current situation she finds herself in. This song is about her unrequited love, but goes beyond her unrequited love. You learn she gets through the day by visualizing that Marius is in love with her even if she knows it just a fantasy that she is creating. As the song continues, you realize how strong her love for Marius is. She will always stay by his side and love him even though he doesn’t love her. He is the only happiness in her life. Towards the end, you realize that she does not have much happiness in her life. This is such a beautiful and very heartbreaking song.

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A Little Fall of Rain:

Eponine has just returned to the barricades. She eventually is shot and her wound would turn out to be fatal. Despite knowing she is dying, she still looks for Marius. After she collapsed in his arms, Marius realizes she is shot and weak and dying. Knowing this, it worries him and hurts him a lot. Even though he is devastated, he shows Eponine an incredible act of compassion by holding her, being with her and comforting her while she is in a lot of pain.

Eponine realizes just how much Marius cares for her. She is feeling this incredible sense of happiness even though she is dying. The song is quite tender and intimate. This scene is very hard on Marius, but never leaves her side. The first thing Marius says after she dies is “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. Even though he didn’t love her, he knew that her life was not easy and knew just how brave she was. This is my favorite death scene in the musical. It is hard to find the joy in this if you didn’t realize how dark Eponine’s life and how strong her love for Marius is.

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Drink With Me:

The students already know just how outnumbered they are. This shows their vulnerable side. This shows the friendship in such a beautiful way. It is very intimate but very devastating. They know they are going to die and they know it is a lost cause and they still have such a brotherly love for each other. This is the last moment they really have with each other. Marius expresses about Cosette wondering if she is going to miss him if he dies. Plus, he is still devastated over Eponine’s death. This is such a beautiful and intimate song to listen to.

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Bring Him Home:

While the students are sleeping, Valjean is praying to God to make sure Marius survives. He came to the barricades to protect Marius since Cosette loves him. This is such a soulful and beautiful piece and it really shows just how much Valjean loves God. This song is a bit sad especially when you realize that Marius will be the only one to survive.

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Before going on into the next song, I just want to say that during the final battle, the students still decide to fight even if they are going to die. Marius eventually falls unconscious and Valjean carries him and the only way to escape is through the sewers.

Dog Eats Dog:

This is my least favorite song from the musical. This is when you see Thenardier robbing of the corpses. You really see his villainous nature in this number. But still, my least favorite number. Thenardier is so frustrating. You can love him in one way but hate him in another.

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Javert’s Suicide:

At the barricade, Valjean has shown Javert an incredible act of mercy by forgiving him and letting him go. This puts Javert in quite a dilemma and Javert even lets Valjean go after Valjean emerges from the sewers carrying Marius. Javert’s view of life has been conflicted. He realizes that people can change and realizes he has set his principles and beliefs all long. Even though the law says it is against the rules to break parole, but doesn’t want to chase Valjean any further because Valjean changed and has become a better person. He no longer sees a purpose in life so he kills himself. This is a big epiphany for Javert. He could have received the mercy and forgiveness from Valjean but he doesn’t accept it.

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Turning:

This song is a heartbreaker. The women are singing about how the students have all lost their lives and about what they were fighting before. They were only students and died in one night. These women were related to the boys in one way or another. They realize that not much has changed since those boys died.

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Empty Chairs at Empty Tables:

This song is extremely heartbreaking. Marius is the only survivor and feels like he should have died as well. Marius has lost everyone he cares about except for Cosette at the barricade. He first lost Eponine and eventually lost Gavroche, Enjolras, and the other students in one night. He has gone through so much trauma. He has no idea how he managed to survive. This song reminds you of the unsuccessful nature of the uprising. Marius is very devastead and quite broken.

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Wedding/Beggars at the Feast:

This song is during the wedding of Marius and Cosette. The Thenardiers crash the wedding and gave away some crucial information to Marius. Marius learns that it was Valjean who saved him. In the scene previously, Valjean told Marius about his past. In this particular number, he realizes it was Valjean who rescued him so he knows he wants to thank Valjean. The Thenardiers provide another comic relief number, which is Beggars the Feast. Act II almost needs the comic relief much more than Act I. Act II has many more deaths.

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Finale:

This number starts out with Valjean dying waiting for death to great him. He has lost Cosette so his heart is broken, but that is what he will eventually die from. The spirit of Fantine visits him thanking him for raising Cosette. Before he dies, Cosette and Marius arrive and Marius tells Cosette it was her adopted father that rescued him. Cosette eventually learns that her father is dying and she is quite broken. All Cosette and Marius is each other, but at least there is a sense of hope. Depending on which version, in the movie, the bishop and Fantine sing the last couple of lines with Valjean, but in the stage show, it is Fantine and Eponine.

Right after the lines “to love another person is the see the face of God”, the song goes straight into a “Do You the People Sing Reprise”. This finale may be quite heartbreaking, but this reprise fills you up with hope. This is literally the most perfect way to end a musical. One of the shows biggest spiritual themes is hope.

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So there we have, a review of Les Mis songs. While some aspects of the plot may be lost, these are just the main songs. As you can see, there are so many emotions to juggle. Sometimes you have joy found at a very heartbreaking moment. Or the opposite happens where you are happy for most of the song and then you have to add heartbreak to the mix. You can first feel heartbreak for the first chunk of a certain number and than feel hope. So Les Mis is a gigantic emotional roller coaster. It is very hard for me to describe just how much I love this soundtrack. This soundtrack is a big reason why it has lasted in London for more than 30 years and why the show still tours and why there are still school productions.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/suddenly/”>Suddenly</a&gt;

Spiritual Themes of Les Mis

Today, I decided to focus on the various spiritual themes in Les Mis and where they are located in the musical. There will be some overlap between these themes so some scenes might repeat sometimes. SO THIS WILL BE A HEAVY SPOILER POST.

Love: in various ways 

Love for God:

1. First is shown in the bishop scene. The bishop clearly loves God. It is shown through how he shows forgiveness, compassion, and mercy on Jean Valjean. The bishop allows Jean Valjean to have a second chance at life.

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2. Another obvious scene is during “Bring Hime Home”. This is the scene where Jean Valjean is praying to God to make sure Marius survives the barricade. Jean Valjean went to the barricade to protect Marius because Cosette, his adopted daughter, loves Marius.

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Love for a Child:

  1.  Fantine’s selfless love for Cosette- She is a single mother was abandoned by Cosette’s biological father so she is left to care for Cosette by her self. At the time was dangerous to have an illegitimate child so she leaves Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers, but little does she know how horrible they will treat her child. After getting fired from Valjean’s factory, she literally sells her locket, her hair, and her body in order to care for her child. She is willing to die in order that Cosette has a better life. So she is selfless when it comes to Cosette.

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2. Valjean’s Love for Cosette- Valjean adopts Cosette after her mother dies. Even though Cosette is not Valjean’s biological father, Cosette makes such a huge impact on his life. It makes him even more compassionate than before. She allows Valjean to be a kinder person and later because of how much she loves Cosette, he goes to the barricade to protect Marius, the love of her life. He is willing to sacrifice his happiness for the sake of Cosette’s.

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Romantic Love: Love Triangle

1. Cosette and Marius – These two make such an adorable couple. They are perfect for each other and help add hope to the story. They are meant for each because Cosette represents hope and light so these two need to be together.

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2.  Eponine and unrequited love- Eponine loves Marius, but he loves Cosette. But the way she responds to unrequited love is amazing. She will do anything for Marius to make sure he is safe and happy. That is why she makes sure Cosette and Marius end up together. That is why she screams at Valjean’s house to protect Marius even though it means standing up against her father. That is also why she takes a bullet for Marius at the barricade. She is willing to sacrifice everything even though Marius is the only good thing in her life and that to me takes a lot of strength. She falls in love with Marius because of the kindness he shows her.

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Love for Friends:

1. The love found between all the students is incredible. This love found these friends is so inspiring. They have such a brotherly love for each other. They are a group of college students who are a political group who are planning an uprising against France’s weak government. At the barricade, they eventually realize they will eventually lose and die, but yet they still fight.

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Love for the Law:

1. Javert-Love for the law is quite a weird one. Javert does have this love for the law. He strictly follows it. He believes “once a crminal always a criminal”. After Valjean broke parole, which is against the rules, Javert is determined to capture Valjean send him back to prison. But once love for the law is very odd.

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Hope: 

1. Fantine- Yes, I said there will be some overlap. Fantine has hope that her daughter, Cosette, will have a better life.

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2. Eponine- Marius is the light of her life. He is all she has in life. Her love for him is extremely strong and deep. He is the only person in her life that shows her kindness. Throughout the show, she shows true love towards Marius even if it means losing him forever.

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3. Cosette- She represents hope and light. As a child, she was terribly abused. But she still has hope she will be rescued and she eventually is by Jean Valjean. When she becomes a teenager, she falls. in love with Marius.

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4. Marius- His love for Cosette is hope. The love for each other brings hope to the story. If these two didn’t love each other, Marius would have died at the barricade.

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5. Enjolras, Marius and the students- These guys have hope for the rebellion. That is mostly shown in act I. Even in act II< they hold on that hope even when they realize they are going to die and lose. But they still have hope that others will eventually stand up against the weak government. They are so passionate about the cause that they are willing to die.

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Forgivness: 

1. The bishop scene- After Valjean steals the bishop’s silverware, the is able to forgive Jean Valjean and shows him an incredible act of mercy. The bishop gives Jean a second chance at life.

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2. Valjean forgiving Javert- Javert is Valjean’s enemy but is able to forgive Javert. At the barricade, Valjean lets Javert go and end up forgiving Javert and this takes Javert by surprise.

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Compassion: 

1. Valjean showing compassion to Fantine-This happens in two ways. First shows compassion to Fantine by intervening to protect Fantine from being arrested. Then as Fantine is dying, she is still concerned about Cosette and Valjean promises to raise Cosette as his own and this gives Fantine peace and comfort as she is dying. Valjean stays with Fantine as she is dying.

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2. Marius showing compassion to Eponine- This is mainly shown during “A Little Fall of Rain”, Eponine’s death scene. After Marius realizes that Eponine is shot and dying, this totally devastates him, but he still decides to be with her and comfort her while she is dying. Eponine is dying because she takes a bullet for Marius. Marius totally cares for Eponine and he holds her until she dies. It it hard on Marius, but he shows comfort to Eponine.

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3. Valjean and Cosette- Valjean is able to show compassion to Cosette. He is able to rescue her from the Thearndeirs. When realizing that Cosette is being terribly abused by the Thearndiers, he is thankful that he rescues Cosette. He promised he would raise Cosette after her mother dies. Not only does he keep his promise, but he rescues Cosette from a life of abuse.

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Sacrifice: 

1. Fantine- Like I said, themes seem to overlap each other. Fantine is willing to sacrifice everything including her life in order to care for Cosette. She is such a selfless mother willing to die to make sure her child gets a better life than she had.

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2. Eponine- She risks everything for Marius. Even though he is the only good thing in her life, she is willing to make sure that Marius ends up with Cosette. Everything she does it out of love for Marius. Her love for Marius shows that she has a spark of goodness left in her and that shows she is kind of different from her parents. She is willing to sacrifice her life so that he will survive the barricade.

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3. Students- Due to how passionate these students are, they are willing to die for the cause they strongly believe in. They are college students and they all die for this uprising. Enjolras, the leader of the group, is the most passionate  about this cause, which makes his death very heartbreaking. The students also are willing to die even if they know they are going to lose.

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4. Jean Valjean- He is willing to sacrifice his happiness for the sake of Cosette’s. When he finds out that she is in love with Marius, he goes to the barricades in order to protect Marius to make sure he comes out alive. When Marius gets seriously injured and falls unconscious, he carries Marius through the sewers and makes him strive the barricades. Another scene he shows sacrifice is when he turns himself in when an innocent man is accused of being the “real” Valjean and he can’t bear to see an innocent man get sent to prison because Valjean knows what is like.

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Humanity: From worst to best

1.Thenardiers- They represent the very worst of society. They only care about themselves and money. The first scene you realize they are quite abusive is when you see how they treat Cosette. Then during Master of the House, you realize they are in fact pick pockets. After Cosette gets rescued by Jean Valjean, they start using abuse on Eponine, their daughter. They raise her to be a thief and criminal and they fall into extreme poverty. AT such a young age, they kicked Gavroche, their song out of the house. Then with both Eponine and Gavroche die at the barricades, the Theanrdiers don’t even care. They do not love both of their children.

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2. Javert-He is this obsessive policeman who has a very shady view on the world. He views the world in black and right and believe that no one can change. He is further up in humanity than the Thenardiers. He always tries to do good even if it may not be the right thing to do.

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3. Eponine- She is a young girl who doesn’t have a lot of good things happen in her life. She lives with parents who abuse her and teach her the ways of being a criminal and forces her to participate in their schemes. The entire family falls in to extreme poverty. She falls in love with Marius, but that loves falls unrequited. She falls in love til him because of the kindness she shows her. I think the reason why she has s park of goodness in her is mainly because of Marius. Her love for Marius is quite strong and deep and constantly shows true love towards him. She eventually takes a bullet for Marius and dies in his arms.

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4. Students- they are a group of college students who are planning an uprising against France’s weak government.

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5. Fantine- She is a selfless mother who does anything in order to provide for Cosette. Even during her death, she is still concerned about Cosette, but Valjean agrees to raise Cosette as his own.

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6. Cosette- She represents hope and light. After Valjean rescues her, she lives a very sheltered life, but i don’t blame that because Valjean is always on the run from Javert. But Valjean gave her a better life. She is such a sweet person and she falls in love with Marius and their love help provide hope to this tragic tale.

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7. Marius- He is such a nice, sweet, and a little awkward law student. who is capable of an amazing amount of bravery and compassion. His bravery comes from being willing to be part of the rebellion. His compassion is mainly shown through how much he cares about Eponine. When Eponine is dying, he ends up staying with her and comforting her and holding her while she dies even though this devastates Marius. He is the only survivor from the barricade and eventually realizes that Valjean is the reason he is alive and ends up thanking Valjean.

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8.   Jean Valjean- He starts out as being a harsh, hateful, and angry man and it doesn’t seem like he will become a better person. But then he meets the bishop who teaches him the ways of the Lord. The bishop shows him compassion and forgiveness and mercy by allowing him a place to sleep and food to eat and forgives Valjean after stealing his silver.  These actions gives Valjean a second chance at life and is determined to become a better person. It is why he rescues Fantine from being arrested, why he turns himself in when an innocent man is accused of being the “real” Valjean. He even promises Fantine that he will raise Cosette.

All of his actions he does after the bishop scene he does out of the example the bishop teaches him. He shows compassion to a number of people. He rescues Marius from the barricade. He raises Cosette. So you see as the show continues he continue to becomes a better person.

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9. The Bishop- Even though the bishop plays such a small role in the musical, his role is crucial. If he didn’t show compassion and forgiveness, to Valjean, there really wouldn’t be a story. Valjean would have stayed a hateful and angry and harsh man if it wasn’t for the actions the bishop does. He shows compassion by allowing Valjean a place to sleep and food to eat and is able to forgive Valjean.

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So you see , Les Mis deals with various levels of humanity. You have the the very worst and the very best and those in between.

Redemption: 

,1. Jean Valjean- Valjean goes on a path to redemption after the mercy shown to him from the bishop. By the end, he become a very saintlike and compassionate person despite his years in prison.

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Because Les Mis deals with so many areas of these spiritual themes, it makes Les Mis so much more than just a tragedy. It has this beautiful underlying spirituality, which is what I am able to relate to. It is why this tale is so inspirational. It is why it is not too depressing and why I am not sick and tried of it.

A Selfless Mother’s Journey

Major Spoilers Ahead:

Another character I love from Les Mis is Fantine. Of all the Les Mis characters, her story is the hardest story to watch. Most of my love for Fantine comes from her selfless love for her daughter. She is a struggling mother who was abandoned by her love who left her to care for her and her daughter, Cosette alone. But at the time, it is dangerous that you had a child out of wedlock so she has to deal with difficult situations. She has to leave her child in the hands of the Thenardiers, but little does she know how poorly they will treat her child and that they will scam her out of money.

She finds herself in Jean Valjean’s factory and she sends a weekly sum to the Thenardiers for the sake of her child. But the Thenardiers never use it to provide for her child. One day she gets a note saying that her child is deathly ill but her secret comes out. She really believes the note. She is fired by the factory and she is devastated. She realizes her dreams are shattered and has to find another way to get money. So she has to sell her locket and hair and herself to provide for her child. So she literally has to become a prostitute. This might sound like a bad idea, but she does it out of love for her child. So she is mother who has quite a selfless love for her daughter. It is the whole prostitute scene that makes Fantine’s story the hardest storyline to watch.

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In the next scene, Fantine’s situation gets even worse. She was sexually harassed by a customer and in self defense she attacks him. But Javert seeing her lower in society than the “gentlemen”, he tried to arrest her and sentence her six months. Valjean comes to her rescue and realizes she has gotten very sick. He realizes that he indirectly fired her from his factory so he feels quite guilty, but shows her an incredible act of compassion. As she lays dying, she is still worried about the care for her child. So Valjean promised to raise her child. So my love for Fantine comes from how selflessly she cares for her child. Her storyline is even more heartbreaking after seeing it a 2nd time because after you realize that the Thenardiers are horribly abusing Cosette so it adds the more heartbreak to Fantine’s story.

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