Who is Marius?

Next character on this series is from Les Mis.

Major Spoilers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Talents of the Actors and Actresses I Have Seen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Musical Characters Who do not Seem Complex, but Are

Possible Spoilers:

Fiyero is an example of a musical theatre character who does not seem complex, but he actually is. A lot of his complexity comes from his role in the love triangle. The other part comes from his transformation as the story continues. He arrives to Shiz as a bit of a jerk, but does soften up in the Lion Cub scene and in act II, he becomes a courageous and mature young man.

About the love triangle, his  role in the love triangle is really complicated. He does start out as being in a relationship with Glinda so it seems like they are endgame, but you will find that is not true. Here’s the thing, in act II, he realizes he does not love Glinda, but instead Elphaba so that you leaves you with a question why  does this plot twist happen? So if you look at act I, there were hints that show he has a crush on Elphaba. Back to the Lion Cub Scene, it appears as if he has a crush on Elphaba, but he does not seem aware of it or neither does Elphaba. He can’t stop thinking of the Lion Cub scene. Than look at the chemistry: his chemistry is much weaker with Glinda and stronger with Elphaba.

He just is this character that is very hard to get to know. The curveball he throws into the love triangle makes you question and think about thing.

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Marius also is one of those characters. I know he seems simple on the surface, but there is so much more going on especially if you combine who he is from the book and who he is in the musical. You discover in the book that he has a political conflict with his grandfather and that political conflict makes him complex. Then in the musical, he is sweet, kind, compassionate, awkward, and brave. He cares about Eponine and is quite upset when she dies and since he stays with her when she is dying, that shows just how much compassion he is capable of. He eventually has to deal with survivor’s guilt after being the only survivor from the uprising.

So Marius has a lot going on: the political conflict, being a revolutionary, dealing with survivor’s guilt, falling in love for the first time and looking after Eponine. If you combine the book and the musical, you see a much more developed and complex character. My interpretation of Marius uses his relationship with the students and Eponine from the musical not the book.

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What are other characters you feel are much more complex than they seem to be?

Favorite Cosette Actress

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

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Favorite Marius Actor

I was debating if I should do the Les Mis characters or not due to my last series about my top three Les Mis actors and actresses playing the principal characters. I even made it clear who my favorite actor was for each principal character.

As some may know by now, Joshua Grosso is my favorite Marius. He was my most recent Marius and I saw him in Greenville with my school. There is something about him that draws you in. Of everyone in the love triangle that I saw, he was the strongest actor. I am someone who always expects Eponine to be the strongest actor, but in this love triangle it was Marius. The fact that Marius was the strongest actor in this love triangle made me look at it in a different way.

He just has this wonderful charm that draws you in. He shows the awkwardness of Marius. Before Joshua, I always knew him to be a kind, compassionate, and brave young man, but never thought of Marius as awkward. It just never occurred to me so I loved the unique awkwardness that Joshua was able to show. Joshua was perfect with Jillian Butler’s Cosette and those two actually felt like a young couple who just fell in love. It was so adorable seeing the two of them together.

Joshua was able to bring out the heartbreak that Marius experiences in act II. In “A Little of Rain”, I know it seems as if he doesn’t show enough emotion, but the way he portrayed it actually works. He was just trying to stay calm and brave for Eponine throughout the scene. He actually shows the heartbreak at the end of the song. At the very end, Joshua did not say or sing the last word for about five to ten seconds almost as if he was stunned that Eponine died, but the way he said “grow” at the end was heartbreaking to listen to. The fact that he could express his heartbreak in one word helps add something wonderful to his Marius.

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Then during “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, the emotion he brings was heartbreaking. Having the candles helped the emotion shine through. His Marius is just charming and awkward and it really works. I don’t what it really is about his Marius that makes him my favorite. There is just something special about his portrayal. The fact that he brought awkwardness to Marius makes me love the character even more and the awkwardness made him make Marius his own. Marius is my favorite character who doesn’t die in Les Mis and his Marius makes you love Marius.

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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 Eponine Actresses

Once again, they are coming from the movie, 25th anniversary concert, community college, West End, and Greenville. The unique thing about Eponine is that instead of narrowing down from five actresses, I am choosing from four actresses. I was debating if I should do my top two or top three since I only have four actresses to pick from, but went with three because that is how many I did for the entire series.

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

Samantha Barks:

Samantha was my first Eponine since the movie was my first full experience of Les Mis. Then I saw her again in the 25th anniversary concert. Since she played the role in both, I only have four Eponines to pick from.

Her portrayal of Eponine in the movie is one of the biggest reasons why I fell in love with Eponine. She played a lonely version of the character and showed how alone Eponine is. All of her scenes were heartbreaking and was able to show the hurt found in the unrequited love even in those little bits of singing throughout as in the parts that she was singing to herself. Her version of “On My Own” was so powerful and it showed a lot of heartbreak and a lot of loneliness and then at the end she was actually crying. In her little bits of dialogue, she was able to show the heartbreak of unrequited love.

In this version of Eponine, the movie, she sacrificed herself to save Marius from being shot. Her “Little Fall of Rain” in the movie was so believable. She started the song quiet and as the song progressed she just got weaker and weaker and that was shown through voice and body language and that made me believe that Eponine was dying. Without Samantha’s Eponine, I don’t know if I would have loved Eponine as much as I do today. She is still my favorite Eponine and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that she was my first Eponine. Without her Eponine, I don’t think I would have become as attached to Eponine as I am today.

Not only was she incredible as Eponine in the movie, I also loved her as Eponine in the 25th anniversary concert. While her movie performance was much more intimate, I loved her Eponine in the concert as well even though her Eponine is much more intimate in the movie. She still was able to bring out the heartbreak that Eponine was feeling and I still was able to believe in “A Little Fall of Rain”. She just portrayed Eponine in a different way, but both times she was still true to the character. In the 25th concert, I still loved her version of “On My Own”. She was a standout in the movie and the 25th concert and in my opinion was the best actress found in the love triangle in both scenarios.

 

Carrie Hope Fletcher:

Here’s the thing, Carrie was literally almost as good as Samantha and that was only by an inch, which does show just how incredible she was as Eponine. She was literally right up there. I ended up seeing her in the West End. Like I already said previously, the West End love triangle dynamic was the strongest and I remember in that moment when Marius first bumped into Cosette with Eponine watching, I remember just feeling so much at once and that first moment is a huge reason why I love this particular love triangle dynamic so much and I felt the heartbreak in all those little bits. She did give new insight into the character and that new insight I wasn’t that prepared for.

Before the West End, I honestly thought I knew Eponine really well, but I wasn’t prepared for that new level of insight I was going to gain from Carrie. Instead of portraying her as a lonely girl, her Eponine was more angry and it took me offguard when she showed that during “On My Own”. I never expected Eponine to have anger, but I eventually realized it does fit the character. Due to that new emotion found in “On My Own”, Carrie was able to make the role her own. Of everyone in the love triangle, she stood out the most.

She is one of the biggest reasons why my West End love triangle was as strong as she was. In all of her scenes leading up to “A Little Fall of Rain”, she gave the heartbreak that she needed to show due to the unrequited love. When it was either the moment that Marius and Cosette first bumped into each or during “A Heart Full of Love”, I was feeling several emotions at once due to the dynamic due to her, Zoe, and Rob.

I remember right before “A Little Fall of Rain” hearing a gun shot and I looked up and saw a nonverbal made by Carrie’s Eponine and I was able to pick up on the fact that Eponine just got shot. So that helped me start to believe in “A Little of Rain” before the song even began because that nonverbal showed not only was she shot but also in pain. It really helped build up to “A Little of Rain”.

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Talia Simone Robinson:

Talia is my Eponine in Greenville and she went on as an understudy. While she wasn’t as good as Samantha or Carrie, she is still in my top three. Talia definitely wasn’t a weak Eponine and she wasn’t solid either. She was actually better than being a solid Eponine and that is one of the reasons why she is one of my top three actors who have played Eponine. She was very playful around Marius and that does help show that she is in love with him. The love triangle found with Talia, Joshua and Jillian wasn’t that effective in the moment that Marius and Cosette first bumped into each other, but the love triangle got stronger as the story continued.

It was during “A Heart Full of Love” that I was able to feel for all three of them. That was when I was able to feel for all three of them so at least in this love triangle, I was able to feel for all three of time at some point. About “On My Own”, I think her version gave me goosebumps and even though I was in the balcony, I think I heard some tears at the end.”A Little Fall of Rain”, I noticed that she was struggling to move and that did show that Talia’s Eponine was weak and that made me believe in the fact that Eponine was dying. Also she was able to be quiet enough for what the scene required.

Eponine was quite easy to narrow down. After all, I only had to choose from four actresses. Of all four, one of the actresses was what I could call solid and that was my community college Eponine. All three actors on this post were much better than solid. They were anything from amazing to excellent.

So expect a post on the Thenardiers tomorrow.