Ranks of My Five Les Mis Casts

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

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

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

Letter to Les Mis Characters

Dear Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Eponine, Marius, Cosette, Monsiuer and Madame Thenardier, Enjolras, and rest of the students,

All of you are an important part of my life. You all create such a heartfelt and inspirational story. You all showed me just how amazing a tragic tale could be and that tragedies are way more than being sad. Now I will talk about you all individually.

Major Spoilers:

Jean Valjean, you are one of my favorite literary and musical protagonists. I love the spiritual transformation you take throughout the tale. You taught me that people can raise above their upbringing. You showed me just how one person can impact someone’s life and that is something you learned from the bishop. I love that you promised to raise Fantine’s daughter as your own. I am glad you rescued Cosette and gave her a better life. I love the compassion you show to others. Love that you rescued Marius due to the love you love for Cosette. Boy there is so much I could say about your character. Your redemption is so strong and glad you got to die with Cosette and Marius by your side.

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Javert, you belong in Les Mis despite the fact that I am not a big fan of your character mainly because I love Jean Valjean. I cannot believe you always believed that people would never change. You showed me that there are people that do see the world in black and white. Still, you are very hard to find ground with just because of how complex you are as a character. All you wanted to do was recapture Valjean and send him back to prison. I wish you had realized that Valjean did become a better person. But you still fit in Les Mis. In a way I like you because you are one of the most complex literary antagonists and you do belong in Les Mis.

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Fantine, oh my, your story is so hard to watch because it is so heartbreaking. I cannot believe that the biological father of your daughter abandoned you and left you to be a single mom. I wish you did not leave Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers because they treated her horribly. Boy, at the factory, I wish those factory women never read that letter. Still you had to turn to prostitution in order to provide for Cosette. I love the love you have for Cosette. I wish you had you realized that the Thenardiers were scamming you out of money. I am so glad that Valjean came to the rescue and promised to raise your daughter as his own. He showed you compassion as you were dying and at least you were able to die in peace and comfort after Valjean made that promise.

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Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, I completely hate you, but at the same time I love the two of you. You provided the much needed comic relief, but at the same time hated you for how you treated Cosette when she was living there. You horribly abused her and made her a servant of your inn. You even were scamming Fantine out of money spreading false lies about Cosette. Well, Valjean came for Cosette and rescued her, but then you started horribly abusing Eponine and kicked Gavroche out of your house. Boy you are so neglectful and unloving towards your children. You raised Eponine to be a criminal and a thief. In a weird way, you made me realize just how fortunate I am to be living in a loving family.

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Eponine, you are one of my favorite characters in the musical. As a child, you appeared to be loved by your parents, but things were eventually going to get darker and even worse. Your parents horribly abused you and raised you to be a thief and a criminal so you lived a very horrible and dark life. Boy, at least you found light through Marius, the only good thing in your life and the only person who showed you kindness and that is what moved you to love him. At least you had him in your life even though he didn’t love you. Still, I love the way you respond to your unrequited love. You continued to stand by Marius’ side and would do anything for him so you risked your life several times. I love that you died in his arms and even though you were shot, you were at peace because you were in the arms of the man you loved. Still, you did not have many good things in your life and you were able to raise above your upbringing. Boy, there is so much I could say about you and why I love you.

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Cosette, I am so glad Jean Valjean rescued you from the Thenardiers and you were so strong as a child and always hoped you would be rescued. You ended up being in better hands with Jean Valjean. He was such an incredible father even though you and him were always on the run from Javert. Still, I love that you represent hope and light in Les Mis. You and Marius make a wonderful couple. That helps bring even more hope and light to the tale. I cannot believe that your adopted father died at the end, but at least you still had Marius. You may not be as developed as some of the other characters, but I love what you represent.

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Marius, I love the relationship you have with the students, Eponine, and Cosette. You were a revolutionary. In the case of Eponine, I love that you were in her life because she needed it because you gave light in her life. So glad that you showed your kindness and were a good friend towards her. Yes, she eventually dies and that leaves you heartbroken, but I am glad you stayed brave and stayed by her side as she lay dying from a gunshot wound. On top of that trauma, the rest of your friends died, but at least you were rescued by Jean Valjean, Cosette’s adopted father. You are such a sweet, kind, and compassionate person. You and Cosette are a beautiful couple and she helped you recover from the trauma you faced at the barricade.

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Enjolras, Gavroche, and the students, I love that you stand up for what you believe in. Enjolras, you are so passionate towards the uprising and you make such a wonderful leader. I love how all you take in Gavroche and you were like his family. Every single one of you stayed passionate towards the end even when you knew the uprising will most likely fail. I just love the brotherly love you have for each other. Still, I could on and on about why I love you all.

What are your thoughts on the Les Mis characters?

Opinions I Once Had About Musicals

This is a list of beliefs I had about musicals at one point my journey. I will talk about why I had those opinions and will talk about why I no longer have those opinions. But now, each of those points have been disproven by Les Mis.

Possible Spoilers:

My first opinion was all musicals are happy. I only said that because that was all I had seen and due to that I believed every musical was happy. Les Mis disproved that and even Rent did the same thing. But it really was Les Mis that disproved it. I saw the movie musical back in 2012 and that was my first full exposure to the musical. While watching I discovered Les Mis was a heartbreaking musical and did not know how to respond. Over time Les Mis became such an important part of my musical journey and my life. I realized NOT all musicals are happy like I once believed.

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A second opinion I had about theatre in general is that I will always hate tragedies and will never learn to love one. Both Les Mis and Rent disproved that opinion as well. I love both of them. Both of them are sad and I can be particular when it comes to tragic musicals. I love them because they have amazing songs, characters, and storylines. Both go beyond their tragic nature. Les Mis has this underlying spirituality due to its forgiveness, compassion, love, hope, sacrifice, humanity and sacrifice and Rent has the message of living in the moment and measuring your life in love.

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A third opinion I had about theatre is that a death scene can never be memorable. Prior to Les Mis, I have seen death scenes in musicals, but I have forgotten about some of them and overlooked some of them. All of the death scenes in Les Mis but Javert’s are memorable. Those memorable deaths happen to characters who do not die alone and they all have some kind of joy in their death scenes. Fantine dies with Valjean by her side who promises to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. Eponine, despite being shot, dies in the arms of Marius, the man she loves even though that love is unrequited. Gavroche and the students died standing up for what they believed in. Valjean died with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius by his side.

So far, the only memorable death scenes in musicals happened to be from Les Mis. The fact that Javert was the only character to die alone shows just how memorable the other deaths are. All of my favorite characters are dead by the end of the musical. But they still have a wonderful fate.

A fourth opinion that formed is that every musical must have some dance or spectacle element and those two are still part of my musical vision. Once again, Les Mis disproved that point again. Through Les Mis, I realized just how incredible a musical can be without a dance or spectacle element.

A fifth opinion I had is that negative emotions can never go beyond sad. I started to understand the negative emotions in middle school. By high school, I knew sad was common and was important. But I believed the negative emotions could never be more. Les Mis once again disproved that point. I realized there is more to sad when it comes to the negative emotions. I had no idea I was 100% blind to heartbreak. It isn’t just heartbreak that entered: it is just how deep the heartbreak actually is in Les Mis.

This might be connected, but even other emotions changed as a result of realizing heartbreak is musical emotion. It affected joy and love as well. Look at heartbreaking love songs and look at heartbreaking song with joy in it. Look at just how insightful and truthful and powerful they can be. Prior to Les Mis, I don’t remember if a musical song made me cry, but in Les Mis, I cry each time I listen to the song or even watch the musical in any way.

So Les Mis really showed me a side of musicals I had never seen before. I had all of these opinions only because of what I had known about musicals. It had to do with what I remembered. It had to do with how I interpreted them. Since happy musicals used to take up every single musical, I ended up calling most musicals happy and calling all musicals joyful. It makes sense why I thought a death scene could never be memorable. So in many ways, this post shows a huge reason why Les Mis played such a huge part in my musical journey.

What are some opinions you once had about musicals and did anything disprove them?

Analysis of Les Mis Characters

I did this once on my blog already. I analyzed the principal Les Mis characters, but they felt more like plot summaries than actual analysis’. For the next couple of days, I will analyze the characters of Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Eponine, Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, and Enjolras/Gavroche/the students. Les Mis is just that kind of musical that is hard to pick a favorite character and where you learn to care about all the characters including ones you don’t like.

The Thenardier Family

In Les Misérables, you get to meet the Thenardier Family, which consists of Madame and Monsieur Thenardier, Eponine and Gavroche. The musical does not make it clear that Gavroche is a Thenardier, but you discover it in the book. The best way to understand this family is to understand Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, the parents of Eponine and Gavrcohe. However in the book, there are five Thenardier children, but in the musical you only get to discover two: Eponine and Gavroche. In the book Azelma is the second born child and daughter and there are two younger brothers who are younger than Gavroche.

Possible Spoilers:

Monsieur and Madame Thenardier are not very good parents or very nice people. They are pretty selfish, greedy, abusive, and quite cruel. This is clear in the first couple of scenes you meet them in. Cosette, Fantine’s young daughter, is lodging with the Thenardiers because it is dangerous at the time to be known that you have an illegitimate child. They basically scam Fantine out of her money and make her believe that Cosette is deathly ill, but in reality that is not true. They are especially abusive towards her and treat her like the slave.

The money that Fantine sends to the Thenardiers is used to spoil their own daughter, Eponine. Following her parents’ lead, Eponine treats Cosette cruelly. At the time, it seems like Eponine will grow up to be like her parents. During the “Master of the House” scene, you discover that the Thenardiers are in fact pickpockets and steal absolutely anything and do anything they can to gain more money, which shows just how greedy they are. They basically kick Gavroche, their son, out of the house at such a young age and that shows that they are in fact unloving towards their children.

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While Valjean goes and rescues Cosette from the clutches of the evil Thenardiers, Eponine is stuck with them. Eponine, one of my favorite characters, is their eldest child and she is basically a product of her environment. The Thenardiers basically drag her into the criminal world and they fall into extreme poverty. Once Cosette is taken away, they start using their abuse on Eponine and she becomes unloved and neglected.

The only light in her miserable life is Marius, who she falls in love with unrequitedly. For some reason, Eponine was able to see the kindness in him even though she is in fact a Thenardier. This family becomes well known in Paris and they are basically in fact criminals. Eponine has to serve as a watchdog during her father’s schemes and she would rather not, but she decides to stay loyal to Marius instead of her parents.

Eponine does remember Cosette at one point in the show and she realizes that they have switched places. In the scene previously, she realizes that Marius loves Cosette and that Cosette loves Marius. She will stick by Marius’ side no matter what and this does in fact lead Monsieur Thenardier to disown her. After Eponine shows Marius where Cosette lives, the two lovers confess their love for each other. Well, Thenardier shows up and tries to rob the house, but Eponine intervenes and warns Valjean. Due to this, Thenardier ends up disowning his own daughter.

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Eponine is well aware that her feelings for Marius will always be unrequited, but she also knows that Marius is the only light in her miserable life. She didn’t do anything wrong, but she is a product of being a Thenardier. They raised her to be a criminal and she never once felt loved in her life. Marius is everything to her and she risks her life several times for him. She does stay so loyal to Marius that she ends up disguising herself as a boy to be with him at the barricades. This is a very risky move and Marius is well aware of how dark and sad her life is.

He does truly care about her despite how oblivious he is towards her love towards him. He does send her away from the barricades to protect her, but yet she still comes back, but that leads to unfortunate circumstances. She gets shot fatally and she dies in Marius’ arms. She would rather die in his arms than to die when it comes to the law. This is the happiest moment of her life and she is with the man she loves and Marius never leaves her side. Eponine is so brave but yet so unloved, neglected, and lonely. She is basically on her own. She is so loyal towards Marius and would rather be loyal to him than her parents. She has such a tragic life outside of Marius and due to that terrible life, her unrequited love is so painful and heartbreaking. But after she dies, Marius says “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. Marius knew about Eponine’s cold life and saw how unhappy she was, but also knew about her fierceness, toughness, and bravery she shows.

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Gavroche is another Thenardier and is their eldest son. He was kicked out at such a young age and is basically a street urchin. He hangs out with the students of the uprising. If you think about it, the students are basically the family he has. The Thenardiers’ don’t even care about him or Eponine. He is so brave and full of such spirit and becomes this sort of mascot for the rebellion. He bravely climbs over the barricade to collect ammunition even though he dies in the attempt.

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To be a Thenardier means to steal, to rob, to manipulate, and be a pickpocket. That is basically what the Thenardiers’ are. They don’t care about their children and they didn’t even care that both Gavroche and Eponine were killed at the barricades during the uprising. There is a line during the wedding scene when they try to scam Marius that says “clear away the barricades and we’re still there”.

That shows that they didn’t care that their children are in fact dead. Their only goal in life is to survive and all they care about is money. Eponine and Gavroche are wonderful characters despite being part of the Thenardier family. Even though I have a dislike towards Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, I love them for the fact that they provide much needed comic relief and that two of the musical’s best characters happen to be their children.

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