All Les Mis Concerts I Have Seen

Well, I have NOT just seen Les Mis by film and stage show. I also have seen three concerts- the 10th, 25th, and 2019. There is something rather interesting about all three.

Look, when the 10th and 25th came out, they were before I even was a fan of Les Mis. I never got the opportunity to see any concert live in cinemas. I was still only one when the 10th came out and fifteen when the 25th came out. In my years at Fletcher- which was where I attended for middle and high school, I remember that in high school, I wanted nothing to do with tragedies. I had to study them, but really was convinced I would never love one. That was why when I first saw the film, I wasn’t told Les Mis was tragic or else never would have gone: this happened December 2012.

So, I have a really good reason of wanting to see the 25th. Samantha Barks, one of the standouts in the film and my favorite Eponine, convinced me to watch it. I was able to rent the 25th on ITunes. Now I actually own that concert- have seen it at least 20 times. There was a lot of talent in that version: Alfie Boe, Samantha Barks, and Ramin Kairlmoo are the ones that automatically come to mind. As a matter of fact, the first repeat I ever had in Les Mis was Samantha Barks. If it wasn’t for her, my love for Eponine wouldn’t have begun-there is a reason why to this day, she is my favorite. What I did love about the 25th was the “four Valjean-Bring Him Home”, the Original Cast singing “One Day More”, and students from student production singing the reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing”.

Below shows the three Les Mis films I own- that includes the 10th and 25th concerts.

Well, what about the 10th concert- there were incredible things with this as well. I recently ended up owning it. This was the only other concert where I had to first witness it outside of cinemas. Having seeing some of the Original Cast members play the part they originated was special: such as Colm Wilkinson, Micheal Ball, Alun Armstrong, and Micheal McGuire. It even showed scenes coming from the West End, which brought me back the day I saw Les Mis in London. This cast was extremely talented-in basically both the ensemble and leads. It was amazing seeing the 17 Valjeans’ singing together- you really got to notice some of the languages Les Mis was played in: the countries ranged from Austria to Germany to Italy to Hungary to Japan, Nederlands and of course Australia, Canada, and United States- I actually was surprised that Iceland can sing English.

Well the 2019 concert- that was when I finally got to see a concert in cinemas. In 2019, I already was in love with Les Mis for six years. Well, repeats did happen (some in the same role), and others (moving up). Previously I had already seen Matt Lucas (Thenardier), Alfie Boe (Valjean), Rob Houchen (Marius), Bradley Jaden (Enjolras), and Katy Secombe (Madame Thenardier): those played the exact same part I once saw them as well. There actually was one more repeat: Carrie Hope Fletcher (Eponine to Fantine). In 2019, she was my 2nd actress moving up from role to role (that’s right Mary Kate Moore was my Fantine in November- in 2017, she was only in my ensemble/ 1st cover Fantine). That first Fantine of that year shows don’t underestimate those actors/actresses. Another incredibly talented cast- a lot of them ahead of time I knew would be fantastic in their roles knowing them from before.

Alfie Boe was actually a standout in the 25th. As for the West End, I could not even figure one out (that says something about that cast). While Joshua Grosso is my favorite Marius, Rob Houchen falls at 2nd best: all I remember about Rob in the West End was his reaction after “A Little Fall of Rain”- during the concert, I was able to see how incredible “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was. Look, this concert was my third date with my mom to Les Mis: she saw Les Mis with me in the West End and the US Tour. I knew exactly where I would really start to be in tears: no matter who I get as Fantine, I always get reduced down to tears in “I Dreamed a Dream”- that is why it is hard to pick my favorite. Then once that happens, they don’t seem to stop- I love how emotions affect me in Les Mis: it is rare in musicals to feel that kind of intensity and power. Actually- seen my Thenardier from the 25th and Madame Thenardier from the West End: it shows a completely different dynamic (the same thing happened with Allison Guinn (2017/2019: she had two Monsieur Thenardier actors).

As a matter of fact, most of the West End actors/actresses I saw are all from Les Mis. Micheal Ball (Javert) would eventually repeat: saw the 10th after: so saw him as Marius.

If I just look at 2019, who would be my favorite actors/actresses?

  1. Valjean- Alfie Boe
  2. Javert- while I don’t know, I do know that Josh Davis (Javert of 2017/2019) improved
  3. Cosette- Jillian Butler
  4. Marius- Joshua Grosso
  5. Eponine- Paige Smallwood

As for the others, really tough call. Of all actors/actresses- I think it can be hard to choose between Fantine, Enjolras, and Thenardiers.

Well, 2019 was fascinating- being able to finally experience a concert in cinemas really made that experience exciting along with seeing some of the actors I saw in London. Just like the US Tour- repeats. I don’t really get to see like any actor/actress being seen more than once: just the US Tours always seem to have different actors each time I experience a show: they always have new shows with current running shows on tour. That would lead to various actors/actresses in all of them- none of the principals have repeated: only happened at CPCC.

Good thing: the 2019 versions of Les Mis happened. Les Mis began Blumenthal’s 2019/2020 season- so with the US Tour: twice and five repeat actors in the same role- well I automatically think of them when I even think of the repeats.

Fascinating 2019 and Les Mis

*To note, only coming from 2019. Last week, I saw the 10th concert. This post is only connected to 2019*

This post is dedicated with Les Mis in 2019. There was something fascinating about this year with Les Mis. I actually am quite lucky that Blumenthal started their 19/20 season with Les Mis. So, saw Les Mis once, but twice last year. Two dates with my mom: our first date together was Les Mis in the West End July 30th, 2015.

Well, the US Tour of Les Mis began in 2017. That cast was Nick Cartell (Valjean), Josh Davis (Javert), Melissa Mitchell (Fantine), Jillian Butler (Cosette), Joshua Grosso (Marius), Matt Shingledecker (Enjolras), Talia Simone Robinson (U/S Eponine), Allison Guinn (Madame Thenardier), and J. Anthony Crane (Monsieur Thenardiers. Saw them all in Greenville with my university: the standouts were Nick, Joshua, and Matt.

Well, look at what happened in the US Tour in 2019: Josh Davis, Jillian Butler, Joshua Grosso, Matt Shingledecker, and Allison Guinn played the same parts. But would have been six if Nick Cartell did not need an understudy (Andrew Maughan). Mary Kate Moore (Fantine), Eponine (Paige Smallwood), and Jimmy Smagula (Monsieur Thenardier) were the rest of the principal actors. Actually I think Mary Kate Moore can count as another repeat: just not the same role-I only saw her in the ensemble in 2017: Fantine did not have an understudy that time around. After Melissa Mitchell left Les Mis, Mary Kate Moore secured the role of Fantine.

Now, will bring up 2019 Staged Concert. Well, back in the West End, Adam Bayjou (understudy Valjean), Jeremy Secomb (Javert), Rachelle Ann Go (Fantine), Zoe Donao (Cosette), Rob Houchen (Marius), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Eponine), Bradley Jaden (Enjolras), Katy Secombe (Madame Thenardier), and Phill Daniels (Monsieur Thenardier). So look what happened in in 2019 by the staged concert and the US Tour- so the same musical had repeats. Below comes from my West End cast.

So there were two incredible ways I saw Les Mis in repeats. Well, my mom and I got to see Les Mis with Blumenthal at Ovens Auditorium and Staged Concert. US Tour was the 2nd time the two of us saw the stage show of Les Mis: she was my date in the West End. 2019 continued that every other year pattern- 2013, 2015, and 2017 were the only other years I saw Les Mis during the stage show. Another incredible reason did belong to the staged concert in London: well, there was something incredible about watching it in cinemas. Look at the first time- most negative experience, no where close to becoming an emotional wreck, and really not a Les Mis fan. So both cinema experiences really does show my journey: from not becoming much of a fan to the 2nd chance with the film and rest is history. So, I was able to experience the staged concert in a more positive way and an emotional wreck (was expecting that): only time I saw a Les Mis concert in cinemas. After all, the 25th and 10th happened before I was a fan of the musical.

Something was kind of familiar with the US Tour and Staged Concert. Repeats coming up from seeing these actors again. Valjean (Alfie Boe), Javert (Josh Davis), Marius (Joshua Grosso/ Rob Houchen), Madame Thenardier (Allison Guinn/Katy Secombe). Well, there were others, only in two separate roles. Ensemble/Fantine (Mary Kate Moore- she started the US Tour as ensemble/understudy Fantine: she moved up to Fantine by the time I saw her). Eponine/Fantine (Carrie Hope Fletcher). So, both Fantine actresses moved up, but it is more important on Mary Kate Moore-actresses like her don’t get the respect or appreciation they deserve. Well, she managed to only start in the ensemble and understudying Fantine: some people might think she wouldn’t have been able to move up to the main lead. Well, she did, which really does show don’t underestimate those understudies: they can surprise you. Just only two were were in 25th concert- Matt Lucas and Alfie Boe. Look at all of them: repeats- only ten belonged to same roles. Below are my favorite actors/actresses for the characters. Some might surprise others.

  1. Javert- Jeremy Secomb
  2. Cosette- Jillian Butler
  3. Marius- Joshua Grosso
  4. Eponine- Samantha Barks
  5. Phil Daniels/Katy Become- Thenardiers

Well, you do have to remember where part of my actors/actresses come from. I have the US Tour as well. That is how Jillian and Joshua managed to be my favorite Marius and Cosette. I have seen the film, 25th concert, US Tour (2017/2019), West End (July 2015) and the 2019 concert- well, that does explain things since by the time 2019 ended.

So, why did I not put Enjolras and Fantine. Here’s the thing about Fantine- in the film, “I Dreamed a Dream” was the most devastating due to the song being after “Lovely Ladies”. The six others had “I Dreamed a Dream” before “Lovely Ladies”. So, that can make it difficult. Well, no matter who I get as Fantine, “I Dreamed a Dream” always brings me be to tears: that is true, and usually the first moment that reaction begins. Enjolras can be tricky due to always having an extremely talented actor in that role.

10th Anniversary Concert- Les Mis

When it comes to Les Mis, I own three versions. They are the film (my 2nd copy), 25th concert, and now the 10th. I love all of them, but for different reasons. Yes, I saw Les Mis more than just those three: the six visits with the stage show and the 2019 staged concert. At least, with the ones I own I can still see Les Mis. It is true- it is hard not to grow sick and tired of it. What did I think of Les Mis.

Cast:

  1. Jean Valjean- Colm Wilkinson
  2. Javert- Phillip Quast
  3. Fantine- Ruthie Henshall
  4. Cosette- Judy Kuhn
  5. Marius- Micheal Ball
  6. Eponine- Lea Salonga
  7. Enjolras- Micheal McGuire
  8. Monsieur Thenardier- Alun Armstrong
  9. Madame Thenardier- Jenny Galloway

Do you know what is interesting about of these actors/actresses? I saw some of them once before. I first saw Colm Wilkinson, the bishop in the film, Micheal Ball as Javert, Lea Salonga as Fantine, and Jenny Galloway as Madame Thenardier. All were seen in Les Mis- either by film or 25th concert, or the 2019 concert. While I have not seen Alun Armstrong before in as Les Mis, I saw him in Nicholas Nickleby as Squeers. I even have heard Judy Kuhn as Cosette- only in soundtrack– not in any version of the musical.

Major Spoilers- Cast

Here is what I loved about seeing Colm Wilkinson as Valjean. I actually was able to see the Original Valjean. Seeing him was a delight due to that. I loved every scene with him. From the “prologue” to “what have I done” to “who am I” to “Bring Him Home” and “epilogue”- loved watching him in all of them. He was able to sing some of the quieter songs where it had enough power to reach all of Royal Albert Hall. That shows especially during “epilogue”- after all it was his death scene. He was able to show Valjean’s strength, and his transformation. He was one of my favorite Valjean actors.

Colm Wilkinson was not the only original cast member. This time, will be talking about Micheal Ball, the original Marius. What was harder with Marius this time was some scenes were delated- scenes that make me fall in love with Marius before “In My Life”: those other scenes make you pick up on his love for Cosette and his friendship with Eponine. Just something worth noting. He still showed his passion for both the uprising and Cosette. I did love his Marius- saw the love strongly for both. Well, this concert did not have the beginning of act II- so couldn’t see how much he cared about about her. At “A Little Fall of Rain”- still could show both his compassion and heartbreak. If it wasn’t noticed during that song (which I did notice), you defiantly see it at the end. Even his “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was heartbreaking.

While on Marius, time for Cosette. Judy Kuhn’s Cosette felt like you were missing parts of Cosette’s personality. But the love for Marius was there. At least, I could see that.

Let’s go to Lea Salonga as Eponine- I actually felt like she was better as Eponine than Fantine. I already had two excellent Eponine actresses- Lea was able to join that fact. Despite being a concert, I could see how tough that character was, and picked up on the abuse she got from her father. It is important to know both her family life and Marius. It makes you understand her love for Marius. Like usual, loved her “On My Own” and “A Little Fall of Rain”. Her death scene did feel believable- it is crazy how for like all of my Eponine actresses, that scene was believable. Just shown in different ways. “A Little Fall or Rain” is incredible to watch for all Marius and Eponine actors/actresses- that scene can be seen in a lot of different ways.

Let’s get on to Fantine- Ruthie Henshall. Fantine has the hardest story to unfold. But like with pretty much all of the Fantine actresses, “I Dreamed a Dream” was still the first moment I really started being in tears. That says something about her Fantine. You really could see her unconditional love towards her daughter.

Now moving on to Javert-Phillip Quast. I usually have no idea how to describe Javert actors. But I did think I saw just a talented Javert. Don’t exactly know why, but know I loved him.

Enjolras- Micheal McGuire was an impressive Enjolras (that seems to be the case for ALL of the actors playing him). Saw the passion, which is key to his character.

Thenardiers- It is very difficult to describe what I think of them in concert form. So glad I could see their abuse on both Young Cosette and Eponine- I see those characters as parallels due to the switch, which is an intriguing part of Les Mis. Never thought I could see their abuse in concert form. You can easily see how both those characters did not like being treated that. One of the things I loved about Alun Armstrong and Jenny Galloway.

Songs:

I do have a few things I wasn’t pleased about. “In My Life” cut out all of Valjean’s lines- that would result in not really knowing his relationship with Cosette. With Eponine and Marius starting to sing together- which began at “In My Life”, you really can’t figure out or know about their friendship. I had to wait until “A Little Fall of Rain” to truly notice it. So just some things- I saw noticed. Like with all Les Mis casts- an emotional wreck. This concert made it begin at the “Prologue”, but really truly truly began at “I Dreamed a Dream”. I think my emotional response began at “Prologue” due to the Original Valjean playing the part. Just like always, “Come to Me”, “On My Own”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Drink With Me”, “Bring Him Home”, and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”. Well, I actually felt goosebumps and tears coming from “One Day More”- think that was my first time crying during that song- always felt the epic, empowering, and powerful song I always felt during that song. Some of these responses brought me back to London: in the West End, my tears started at “Prologue”- same as this production.

Staging:

Yes, it is weird bringing up staging for a concert. But, there were parts of it I loved seeing. It literally showed scenes from the Original West End Production. It wasn’t just my emotional response that brought me back to The West End. It included seeing some of the staging. Just something I wanted to point out.

Story:

Here is one word of advice: don’t watch any of the concerts if you don’t know the story. That is due to being a concert and having details removed that belong in the musical. That can make it difficult to understand the plot. Les Mis needs to have everything or else the story falls apart. Do you know what I really loved about the 10th anniversary, at the end 17 Valjean’s from 17 different countries sang “Do You Hear the People Sing” with snippets of other songs. That really does show that Les Mis has been translated in several languages- I saw Japan, Nederlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Hungary, etc–of course I saw English due to the musical beginning in London. Just you need to understand the story to see it- just my recommendation.

Les Mis Journey

Have no idea how I managed to see the musicals in ALL the versions I saw- turns out the timing was right. Saw stage show 2013 (Central Piedmont Community College- well they were the motor behind wanting to see Les Mis in London), 2015 (West End-perfect timing (so went from Valjean’s spirituality journey to mine), 2017/2019-US Tour (one in Greenville and the other Charlotte). Thank God, the US Tour and 2019 concert BOTH happened last year- if the pandemic started last year, none of that would have happened. Now that I saw the 10th concert, who are my favorite actors/actresses for Les Mis?

  1. Valjean- now even harder: Colm, Alfie, Adam, and Nick (makes things tough)
  2. Javert- Jeremy Secomb
  3. Fantine- well, she is really difficult too
  4. Cosette- Jillian Butler
  5. Marius- Joshua Grosso
  6. Eponine- Samantha Barks
  7. Enjolras- here’s the thing about his character: you never come across a very weak actor- so now with Aaron, Micheal, Ramin, Bradley, and Matt
  8. Thenardiers- Phil Daniels/Katy Secombe

There is a reason why my favorite actor for each part is sitting there: will try to explain simply

Let’s start with Eponine- even when actresses try to be just as good as Eponine, they can’t tie with Samantha Barks. Look, she has the advantage of being first and was key to falling in love with Eponine. The 25h concert never would have been watched if I never had her.

Well, while still on the beginning of the love triangle- time to bring up Marius. Well, he is an awkward, kind, sweet, compassionate, and brave Marius. The unique thing about Joshua is that he made the character more charming and made Marius almost a core favorite. That awkwardness started on the street and lasted until the end of act I. He did treat falling in love with Cosette like “I don’t what to do with it”- he literally said something like “I don’t know what to say”. Even at “A Little Fall of Rain”- he focused a lot more about comforting Eponine: it wasn’t until the end when he showed the heartbreak. Literally, when I saw him with Talia, he took this pause like he was stunned, and then he said the “grow” in a heartbreaking way. Then with Paige, I literally thought he wasn’t going to end the song, but eventually did. Still a standout in the cast.

There is an incredible reason why I was able to remember Jillian’s Cosette. It all had to do with Joshua’s Marius. She somehow could connect to his awkwardness. They really felt like an incredible production: in 2017 and 2019, I really was able to dig deeper into their relationship while not ignoring Eponine.

Look, with Jeremy Secomb. He was the first Javert I even felt something for. Usually, I never can feel sympathy for Javert. But in Jeremy’s case, finally could. Most notably with “Javert’s Suicide”- I was feeling his torment before he even started singing. That says something: it is challenging for ALL Javert actors to be that impressive or be portrayed. I think that does give you an idea of how complex the character is.

Katy Secombe and Phil Daniels were one of the funniest I saw. So glad I could also pick up on their despicable and abusive nature. I could see how terrified Young Cosette was. So, picked up on it early on. It is hard to show both sides- but when you see them, it creates such an incredible version of The Thenardiers.

In addition, you have to remember that part of these casts came from the US. So, there are some actors/actresses on this list that I know others have not seen due to living outside of the US. The US is how I see musicals- I live there, and in a major touring city.

What I Learned from Tragedy

Well, it was back in high school when I first discovered the genre of tragedy. I treated the genre very poorly. Told myself I will NEVER love a tragedy (little did I know what would happen in my first year of college. Throughout all the years I was at Fletcher (referring to high school)- stayed close minded to that genre. Each time one was read, I already did not like any of them.

Then out of the blue in December 2012, I experienced Les Mis for the first time. My family was taking my sister and I to see the film. I actually was unsure coming in, but the only reason why I decided to go is because I knew the song, “I Dreamed a Dream”. I wasn’t even told what genre the musical was so that way I would even go. If I had known Les Mis was a tragedy, that first time never would have happened.

Well it was after Fantine’s death when I realized Les Mis was a tragedy. I was extremely shocked and confused. Never did a tragedy exist in musicals before: all I had seen previously were happy musicals. Nothing made sense at all. I didn’t even know how to respond or feel or react. So that experience was not the best time I even had. Even though I thought Les Mis was TOO DEPRESSING, I somehow came out with “Do You Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. Then a day or a few weeks later, I don’t know why I did that, but I started researching the musical myself.

March 2013- I don’t know why I decided to watch the film again. That time around, I got so much more out of Les Mis. It helped a lot knowing ahead of time that I was seeing a tragedy. I was able to realize there was something special about Les Mis, and at the same time, I felt uplifted at the end. That made no sense at all- I originally thought all tragedies were pure sad. But after the 2nd chance, the rest is history.

Halton Theater

By Summer of 2013, I was obsessed with Les Mis. I had dug quite deep into the musical trying to figure out why I felt uplifted. I soon found the answer: the themes of hope, love, forgiveness, compassion, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption were why. That same year, the community college I attended put on a phenomenal production of that musical. I was there three times: first with family on Nov. 15, and an usher the 17th and 24th. That production truly was the motor for wanting to see Les Mis in the West End.

Well, July 30th, 2015 was when I saw the West End production. I already was going to be in England that year for a Bristol Pilgrimage, which would start in London. My family went up two days early to get used to the time change and get more out of London. I was seeing Les Mis with my mom, and our seats were the 9th row back from the stage. It was surreal at first- from seeing the Queen’s Theater to buying souvenirs to noticing I had an understudy for Valjean to seeing the set to seeing how close I was- nothing felt real. Then after I heard the first notes of the orchestra, I knew this was no dream, but a dream becoming reality. Those first notes also told me it was going to be more than expected, and they were right.

What do you know: Nov. 5th, 2017 was my fifth time seeing the stage show. This time I was with Gardner Webb University. Once again had a understudy (this time for Eponine). I was seeing it in Greenville at the gorgeous Peace Center. I came in fresh meaning I wasn’t go to compare the cast to my West End. Making that decision made me see the US Tour cast for what they were, and was able to respect and appreciate my understudy. It actually lived up to the West End cast in their own way. After all, this was the 25th anniversary production: it felt like it had more Victor Hugo in it, and it truly showed the vastness of Paris. There were some scenes I loved a lot more in this particular production: for example, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”.

Peace Center

What do you know again: that every other year pattern continued. This time, I experienced the US Tour with Blumenthal. That was Nov. 3rd, 2019, and was another date with my mom. 2019 had five of the exact same actors/actresses playing the same role as 2017- the Javert (Josh Davis), Cosette (Jillian Butler), Marius (Joshua Grosso), Enjolras (Matt Shingledecker), and Madame Thenardier (Allison Guinn). Another thing happened again: another understudy (for Valjean).

Just like 2017, Joshua Grosso and Matt Shingledecker were still standouts. I can easily say why Joshua was a standout, but not for Enjolras. As a matter of fact, Joshua has become my favorite Marius- part comes from his chemistry with Cosette, part came from an added personality trait (awkwardness), and part from how he interacted with Eponine. Due to that, I was able to explore Marius and Cosette a bit further, but at the same time not ignoring Eponine. That new personality trait made Marius a much more charming character- due to that, Marius is almost a core favorite character.

Ovens Auditorium

So in a short period of time- four theaters, four casts, and in total six times. The stage show might only have four casts, but I have seven casts in total: I also have seen the film, 25th concert, and the staged concert of 2019 (which I saw in cinemas). I think it is crazy how for some characters, I only have five actors, some I have six, and for some seven. 2019 was filled with a number of repeats—part of which were from my West End cast and the rest the US Tour.

Les Mis truly taught me a lot about the genre of tragedy. What I once believed about tragedies and what I knew about musicals were challenged. I never knew a tragedy is not just a tragedy. Due to Les Mis’ spiritual side, it makes it inspiring and uplifting. Due to the nature of the book, it makes perfect sense why the musical is sung-through. Through several of the songs, there is some kind of spiritual nature happening. Compassion is shown at death scenes, most of the characters have hope, etc……I believed that death scenes would be both unmemorable and that song couldn’t happen at those moments. I thought I knew the full capability of musical emotions, but Les Mis truly showed me a different side to emotions: due to heartbreak entering the picture, it strengthened them and made them more powerful. I think I had a hard time with tragedies at first because the word can through you off guard, and it seems as if I didn’t know “catharsis”- that is why tragedies are more and make you have a positive experience and not the other way around.

Les Mis is the reason why I am passionate about musicals. I actually am able to pick up on negative emotions faster in other musicals. It still is odd going back to Fletcher remembering how I once felt about the genre. Les Mis proved me wrong in more ways then none.

Death in Musicals-Happiness

Well, there are tragic musicals. That would mean characters do die in some of them. There is one thing that might be a bit surprising, which did surprise me as well. There are actually deaths that have joy in them. That would not make sense. When we think of death- we think of grief and mourning. We do not even think that happiness could happen. Well, there actually is and the only way to understand is to understand the character. Les Mis is where I first saw deaths as memorable. SPOILERS.

First up is Fantine’s death. What we have seen is nothing but tragedy in her storyline. She literally was left alone to care for her daughter, Cosette. She is a struggling single mother, who left her daughter in the hands of the Thenardiers (little does she know the abuse Cosette will face). She did find a job at Valjean’s factory, but was fired. Well, this is when things get uncomfortable- her life has literally shattered: her dreams are broken and she had nothing left to do but become a prostitute (“Lovely Ladies” is the hardest scene to watch). She is suffering a lot, but it is all of an unconditional love for her daughter. She eventually became seriously ill due to living on the streets, but luckily Valjean came to help her. When she was dying, he made a promise to raise Cosette-this gave her peace and comfort for once and a bit of happiness. So you see, you have to understand her love and hope for Cosette to figure this one out.

Come to Me
Come to Me

Second is Eponine’s death. Eponine is another tragic character. She is an unloved, abused, and neglected teenager. She grew up in the criminal world and ended up living in extreme poverty. She was never shown kindness by anyone. She literally only had one good thing in her life-Marius, who also was the only person who showed her kindness. Due to that, she fell in love with him, but unrequitedly. She was more loyal to him then her parents. She would do anything for him no matter the cost, which eventually led her to the barricade. She ended up sacrificing her life for him, which left Marius devastated, but at least he showed her compassion by holding her in his arms and giving her comfort by staying there until her death. The happiness comes from Marius being there. So once again another example.

A Little Fall of Rain from the Les Mis film- Samantha Barks (Eponine) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius)
A Little Fall of Rain

Jean Valjean’s death is another example. He is our main character and is the father of Cosette. After all, he is the one who promised to raise Cosette after Fantine died. Cosette meant a lot to Valjean. Cosette had a better life once Valjean entered (she used to live with Eponine’s parents). After Cosette and Marius married, they ended up going to Valjean as he was dying. So he was able to see Cosette one last time- that is where the happiness comes from.

Finale

So you see, even tough moments can have the positive emotions going on. I never once would have though that even some of the most heartbreaking moments could possibly have happiness in it. It all comes down to understanding who characters are. The tragic musicals, you need to be able to pick up on the positive emotions or else the trap of calling the musical TOO DEPRESSING comes up- that is what I originally called Les Mis. In Les Mis, I had to dig deeper to find what why I felt uplifted at the end because it did not make sense. All of the characters have their tragedies and their hopes- even the most tragic characters have some kind of light going on. Even the survivors have something tragic to deal with. You just have to understand characters to understand what I am talking about.