June 7, 2012

Les Miserables, Part Three: Our Cast

(Me (left) and Arwen, right after the performance... Notice our ecstatic smiles!!)

Wow. This is quite a task – to write an entire post on our cast without boring you with teeny-tiny details and a fangirlish amount of exclamation points. Well, here goes nothing.

I'm starting with who I believe is the main character (Valjean, duh) and going on in no particular order from there. It's too hard to pick a favorite of any of the characters – just thinking about it gives me a headache! I think it's more like their rank in main-character-ness in the musical. (I'll just say that if I were ranking them in the order of my favorites, Jean Valjean, and Gavroche would be taking first place and Marius, Javert, and Eponine would be in second.)

I already put a few video links in my last post, so I won't bore you with any more. Just click on the link and find the videos again yourselves. : )

I've also already talked about these characters a little in my last post, so this one will be a little shorter than that one. But only a little. : )

Peter Lockyer (Jean Valjean) – Whoa. This guy had some major talent and only looked about twenty-three! He'd only just joined the cast in March or April – before, it was Mark McVey. I really think that his version of 'Valjean's Soliloquy' was almost better than Colm Wilkinson's – I'm sorry, but it's true. I am a huge fan of Colm (I like him only a little better than Alfie Bowe...), but Peter... he blew it out of the water. He sang with such passion – he even fell to his knees at the end of the song! 'Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!' Powerful and wonderful. That just about describes Peter's rendition of every single song he sang – 'Valjean's Soliloquy' (aka 'What Have I Done?'), 'Who Am I?,' 'Bring Him Home,' and 'Finale' being a few of the highlights. I wish there were more videos online of him singing, but I shall be content with 'Bring Him Home.' Muchly hoping that Hugh Jackman will do a good job in the movie version coming out in December because he's got some big shoes to fill. (Or however the idiom goes...)

Andrew Varela (Inspector Javert) – Yes, I know I've already done a post featuring Andrew, and, yes, I know I'm biased, but... I mean, really. He's soo convincing as Javert – so twistedly awesome. (Also as the Phantom, but that's another post for another time...) His version of 'Stars' and 'Javert's Soliloquy'... Really quite amazing. I haven't heard Russel Crowe's version of either song, but if I were a betting girl (which I'm not), I'd bet that his version is better. Yes, Philip Quast and Norm Lewis were quite amazing, too, but... *sigh* Can't decide. I guess you're tired of my gushing. What can I say? I'm biased.

Max Quinlan (Marius Pontmercy) – Yet another favorite! Seriously, peoples. He had some talent. Like, majorly. I'm so bummed out that I can't find a video of him singing 'Empty Chairs' anywhere! My friend and I both agreed that he looked like he was about to start sobbing at the end as he blew out his candle. And he's very good at doing the whole AWD thing. (Amazing Wounded Distress, to borrow a phrase from Alexandra.) I have a picture of him and Mark McVey during The Sewers in my program and I'm always like, “Poor guy!” because he actually looked like he was shot! He also put a lot of personality into his singing, including, but definitely not limited to, that few lines I expounded on in 'A Heart Full of Love.' (Another really good song was 'Red and Black.' 'Black - my world if she's not there!') Again, we'll have to see how Aaron Tveit does with Marius in the movie, but... there are so many different versions that I like better (soary, but Nick Jonas is NOT one of them and Michael Ball IS!), he'll have to do really good to even make it on my list. Right now, it's a tie between Michael Ball and Max. (By the way, for a really good post on Michael Ball vs. Nick Jonas, please, please, please read this. Amy and Peyton did a really good job nailing down exactly why Michael Ball IS Marius and Nick Jonas is NOT! Now... to whether he's “my” Marius... read on, Lizzie!)

Chasten Harmon (Eponine) – Now, I can't put my finger on it, but there's something that I didn't really like about the way Chasten played Eponine. Her voice was almost too pretty to be singing 'On My Own.' I really can't say what it is, but I just didn't like Chasten's version. I'll see if there are some videos somewhere so I can figure out what it is, but for the time being I just really, really like Lea Salonga's Eponine better.

Lauren Wiley (Cosette) – Wow. Now, this version of Cosette I liked. (More than Judy Kuhn and maybe more than Katie Hall!) My sister, Arwen, doesn't like it when people... what's the word? I guess 'swing' the notes. You know, when they sing the note below the one they're supposed to be singing, then swing up to the one they're supposed to be singing. She says they have “too much 'pop' in their voice.” (Arwen also doesn't like Ramin Karimloo's version of 'Wandering Child' from the 25th Anniversary Concert of Phantom of the Opera. She and I disagree – I love his version!) I like it when people sing like that, and that's what Lauren did. It's how I sing 'A Heart Full of Love,' and I was really happy when she started singing it that way. : ) Anywho, she did a really great job of acting like she'd actually fallen in love with Marius in those two seconds they met eyes in the market! I really liked her interpretation of Cosette, and wish, like with Max Quinlan, that there were videos of her singing online!

Betsy Morgan (Fantine) – I told Arwen after the show that I couldn't decide which I thought was more of a brilliant choice for whoever cast everyone – Max Quinlan, Peter Lockyer, Andrew Varela, Lauren Wiley, Joshua Colley, or Betsy Morgan. I really think that it's Betsy now. She was sooooo good. Her one line, 'Then it all went wrong...' was almost haunting. As much as I love Lea Salonga and Ruthie Henshall, I have to say that Betsy Morgan is my favorite. (Hard decision, but I think it's true...) Not only was she very good at singing, but she was absolutely amazing at becoming the Fantine that utterly despises the person she'd become. When she sang 'I Dreamed a Dream,' you can just feel the passion and anguish in her voice. I was so sad when the Really Sad Thing happened and I knew she wouldn't sing again until the very end of the musical. Also, not only could she sing, but she could act, too! 'Lovely Ladies' – wow. Her part was the only part I liked in that song. Almost made me tear up as the mean old guy kicked her around. : ( Then Javert almost arrested her... but Valjean saved her!! Until I watch the 25th Anniversary Concert in it's entirety (Nick Jonas is the one that's kept me away; Ramin Karimloo is the one that's kept me coming back and reconsidering...), I'm going to have to say that she was my favorite Fantine ever. Hands down.

Jason Forbach (Enjolras) – I can't decide if I liked him or not. I do know that I LOVED Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras from the 25th Anniversary Concert and liked Michael Maguire from the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast, but I can't say which I liked better. Glad he wasn't a blonde, though, like whoever the original US Tour Enjo was! (The pictures in my souvenir program show a BLONDE guy as Enjo, and I'm like, “That is not Enjolras.” SO glad it's not him!) : ) I think Jason was more like Michael Maguire from the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast, and maybe I was expecting someone with a little more punch than how he delivered his lines. However, Ramin's got to be my favorite Enjolras ever.... By far! He sings with SO much force and passion for his cause, you can't help but like him! (Well, that... and his Red Vest of Power and Awesomeness and Lightburst of Complete Awesomeness!)

Joshua Colley (Gavroche) – Oh, my stars. If he were just a hint less cute, I think his death wouldn't have been as bad as it was. I didn't think Gavroche was going to be that important to me – don't know what possessed me to think that! – but after his first solo 'Look Down'... I was taken. Joshua did such a good job – I don't think I can say it enough! He didn't look more than eight or nine, but he sang with as much emotion in his voice as Peter or Andrew or Betsy or any of the other cast members! True, I don't think he was quite as cheeky or cute as Robert Madge from the 25th Anniversary Concert (who was about seven years older than Joshua, by the way!), but he was definitely better than Adam Searles from the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast! And so good at acting... Especially the reprise of 'Little People.' I didn't actually start crying, but I did get a little teary-eyed. Why must the cute die young?!

Grantaire (Joseph Spieldenner) – I liked Joseph's voice much more than the guy in the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast. I didn't even know how much of a part Grantaire had – the only thing I'd heard of him was, 'Grantaire, put that bottle down!' and 'Give me brandy on my breath and I'll breathe them all to death!' He had such a bigger part than I thought – including one of my favorite lines in one of my new favorite songs, 'Drink With Me.' *tears up* Then he had to go and die... : ( He and Gavroche had become really good friends – I think he was the one that felt the most when Gavroche died. (He fell to his knees after the last shot. Really sad...) Anyway, Grantaire was almost a surprise character because I just didn't expect him to be that important. Joseph did a great job with him – especially his greasy hair. : P However. I just found out that Hadley Fraser, who is MY Raoul and played him in my favorite version of Phantom – the 25th Anniversary Performance and was absolutely, stunningly awesome! (If you haven't seen that version yet, please do so. Certain clips are on YouTube, but the DVD of the entire performance is at Target for $15. More than worth it, because you get to hear Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom – minus his Red Vest of Power and Awesomeness, but still his Lightburst of Complete Awesomeness, heehee – Hadley Fraser as Raoul, and Sierra Boggess as Christine. Highly, highly recommended. But this is about Les Miz, not Phantom.) Where was I? Oh, yeah – Hadley as Grantaire. Oh, yeah. Well, I just watched clips and... he might be “my Grantaire.” Absolutely loved him. Anyway, Joseph was still pretty good and was my Grantaire before I saw those clips. : )

Minor Characters
Erin Cearlock (Young Cosette) – I didn't like her singing much. : P She had a British accent for the first line, then forgot it and stared down the middle aisle as she sang. I didn't really pity her much, which is not good.
Timothy Gulan and Cathryn Basile (The Thenardiers)... I didn't like them at all. Even when they said something that was actually funny and not crude or disgusting, I couldn't laugh. Not cool. Not a good feeling. Everything they sang was nasty, and the things going on in the scenes with them were disgusting. Definitely going to take a strategic bathroom break during 'Master of the House' in the movie this December!! (That, and 'Lovely Ladies'. Un-lovely is more like it...) Although... hehehe. Their funniest line was in 'Waltz of Treachery,' when Valjean is trying to basically buy Cosette from them. 'Let's not haggle for dar-liiiing Colette!' 'Co-SETTE!' 'Cosette!' That I laughed at.

Okay, now that all of that's over, let me do a little fangirlish bit.

*begins fangirlishly squealing*

Oh, my stars, everyone was SOO GOOD!! I can't believe it!! I'm so mad that there aren't any videos of most of them singing – but I am endlessly thankful to whoever uploaded the video of Betsy Morgan singing 'I Dreamed a Dream' on YouTube. If only they'd make a recording of all the people I saw. I would TOTALLY BUY IT!! : ) If only they'd replace everyone from “my” cast for the people in the movie – Peter, Andrew, Betsy, Max, Joshua, everyone – I'd buy that on DVD, too, and the soundtrack!

*ends fangirlsishly squealing*

I'm done. Thanks for letting me do that. : )

Wow. Now that I've read what I've written, it seems like more of a comparison between “my” cast and the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast and the 25th Anniversary Concert. Let me re-read it and make sure I agree with myself about whatever I said.

I do. : )

And please – don't hate me for liking, say, Max Quinlan over Michael Ball. To defend that opinion, let me just say that I love Michael Ball's voice. It's just his emotions and facial expressions while singing that I don't like so much. He looked way too happy while he was singing 'Little Fall of Rain' with Lea Salonga. (I mean, he's supposed to be really sad!) That, and his age. Nick Jonas is the other extreme – almost too young! Anyway, I think Max is “my Marius” because of his voice, his age, and his acting. He literally burst into tears after Eponine's death and I totally believed him.

Here I stand. Let the comment war begin!



Miss Dashwood said...

I have to get to bed... but I just wanted to say that I read this post, squealed muchly, and am REALLY looking forward to writing a long and involved comment tomorrow.
Also, thanks so much for linking to Petie and me!!
Oh, and I can't resist saying this (although I really do have to go)-- I found out today that Enjo is actually blonde in the book.
My world has ended.

Alexandra said...

Ohhhhh, you lucky, lucky, lucky. Seeing both POTO and Les Miz live. That's just WRONG.

Ok, so you HAVE to look up Carlos Marin singing "Music of the Night". It's amazing. In Spanish, to boot. I'm SOOOO picky about my MOTN because I believe Michael Crawford is the only person who really DOES this song perfectly, but IMO Carlos nails it. Second only to Michael. Anyway. Off subject.

Don't you just love bootleg videos? I know technically they're not supposed to record those, but how would we ever see Amazing Performers otherwise (like the bootleg of Michael Crawford in POTO...good gravy, I wasn't BORN yet when he played the Phantom, how else would I see it?!)? So yeah. I saw Betsy Morgan's video a looooooooooong time ago...I remember really liking it. I'm really picky about Fantine. :)

Anyway! I really enjoyed this post. :)

Miss Dashwood said...

(I'm back. :D)
Yay! Picture of you and Arwen! Oh my word, you girls are so purty! And I LOVE Arwen's top. Adorable! If you don't mind my asking--where do y'alls usually go clothes-shopping?

Okay, now for a hideously long comment-novel. :P Eeep, your list of favorite characters is practically identical to mine (and in that order, too!).

Wow, Valjean only looked about 23? Only at the beginning, though, right? One of my major problems with Alfie Boe in 25th was that he just looked too young and fresh-faced. Wowowowowowowow... that rendition of Valjean's Soliloquy sounds EPIC. I'll have to start scouring YouTube for some videos...

I never get tired of gushing about anything Les-Miz-related, especially Javert! Just wanted to throw that in there. :D

Eeeep, now I am SO jealous and want SO badly to see Max Quinlan sing! Do you know if there's anything on YouTube? SO glad he put emotion into Empty Chairs... but did he extend the notes properly? I mean, was it huge when he got to "oh my frieeeeeeends"? I can be picky about things like that. Michael Ball rules!!!!

Ahem, soary.

Yay, you know about AWD!!! One thing I'm sad about with 10th is that Michael Ball never got to do AWD. Sighhhhh. And Nick Jonas actually did a passingly-okay job of it (that is, he did look pretty dead) but still, I would have loved to see the sewer scene in 10th. And since you are a true-blue MB fan, I'm now UBER-curious to see Max Quinlan if you say he's just as good.

I've only seen a weeny-teeny bit of Chasten Harmon's Eponine, but I think I'd have to agree with you--she doesn't seem to have quite the right "feel" for Eponine. Now, I can't say that her voice is too pretty (what I've heard of it) because though it IS gorgeous, Lea Salonga's is even prettier and I certainly don't have a problem with HER. Heehee.

When you sing one note lower and then "swing" up one, it's called "scooping." It's a technique used if the singer isn't quite comfortable hitting a high note--it makes it easier if you can sort of "slide" up, so to speak. I use it ALL THE TIME, hahaha, because I'm a mezzo soprano and I like singing soprano. Even when I can't technically handle some of the higher parts. Ahem. (Think of Me, cough cough cough, Think of Me) Anyways, sometimes it can sound just fine (and hellooooooo, if Ramin Karimloo does it, it must therefore be awesome :P) but at other times it can be annoying. I HATE it when Sarah Brightman does it in her version of "Time to Say Goodbye," but then, I can't stand Sarah Brightman, so that may just be prejudice there. :P And have you heard the movie soundtrack for "The King and I"? Tuptim sings a song on there called "My Lord and Master" (which was ultimately cut from the film) in which she sings some REALLY high notes but scoops TREMENDOUSLY and it's actually quite irritating.

Anyways, that was my twenty-two cents on THAT. :D Lauren Wiley sounds great! Anyone who can make Cosette likable and believable (big job there!) is good in my book. :D

(Ugh, have to split this... stupid Blogger.)

Miss Dashwood said...

(Part Two :))
Acccckkkkk, Betsy Morgan. MUST FIND RECORDING OF HER IDAD PRONTO. Was her "Come to Me" good? Did she actually sound like she was dying at the end? One thing about Ruthie Henshall's version of that one that bothers me, is that she really belts out the last line. "Tell Cosette I love her and I'LL SEE HER WHEN I WAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!" The woman is supposed to be PRACTICALLY DEAD. She wouldn't have had that much lungpower left!

Hahaha, did I tell you that Enjo is actually blonde in the book? Ack. I still can't believe it... but in MY mind, he just isn't. Ramin Karimloo is Enjolras. Lovely dark hair and all. ;) End. Of. Story. Heehee, ditto everything you said about him. LOVE that phrase Ally coined about the Lightburst of Complete Awesomeness.

Robert Madge was actually 14 when he played Gavroche, but you're right, he WAS a bit too old. Gavroche is supposed to be ten or eleven. And YESSSSSSS... why must the cute die young? (That applies to Enjo and all the other guys at the barricade too. Cough, cough.)

Heehee, I started reading what you said about Grantaire and thought, "Oh my word, I MUST tell her about the Super-Amazing Grantaire from the 25th concert," but then I scrolled down a little farther and read what you'd said about Hadley Fraser. You like his Raoul too? YAYAYAYAYAY! Another HF fan! I get really annoyed at the whatsisname dude from the movie (what I've seen of him, hahaha...). His "All I Ask of You" was so flat (whereas HF's is INCREDIBLE--don't you just love how he picks her up and twirls her at the end?) and his hair SEVERELY bugged me.

But this is about Les Miz, not Phantom. Heehee. So anyways, watch Hadley Fraser's Drink With Me ASAP. You will NOT be disappointed.

Eeesh, I would totally buy a recording of these people singing (if there was such a thing... sigh) now, after your "fangirlish squealing". :D They all sound SOOO good!
I agree with all you said too. :D Even though I haven't seen it.

Oooh. Speaking of really good versions of some of these songs... can I put a little blog-advertising in her? :P Seriously, though, you should hop on over to my blog and check out the playlist on the right. The last four songs are all from the 21st Anniversary BBC Radio broadcast of Les Miz, and the singing is amazing (John Owen-Jones! YAY!) but the COMPLETELY AWESOME thing is that Anthony Andrews (!!!!) narrates in between songs. I'm NOT KIDDING. This is Sir-Percy-meets-Les-Miz. SWOON. Puh-LEESE go check it out. You will swoon. I promise. :D

Okay, end of ridiculously long comment-novel. :D

Anna Grace said...

Okay! That's it! *grabs copy of Les Miz* I am reading this book! And then watching the musical (minus two songs). *grin*

Actually, on second thought........."El Dorado" just arrived in the mail and I've only read two chapters so far...........soooo......................................................... Forget Les Miz!

(Until I finish El Dorado, that is.) :D hehehe!


Anonymous said...

Amy - Looking forward to your long and involved comment! You're welcome - LOVED that post. : )

ENJO IS BLONDE?! Argh. Well, I guess this will be one of those times that MY version of the character is different from the book. : P (Got Les Miz for FREE on my new Kindle. LOVE IT!!!)

Alexandra - Heehee... And Peter Pan, and Mary Poppins and, oh, what was the other one... OH! Beauty and the Beast. I consider myself VERY BLESSED!! : D

Ooh! Okay! Did you post that on your blog? My internet filter blocks YouTube, so I can't watch them until my sister logs in. Ooh, I'll have to look it up! Love Spanish, but can't speak it even with two years of Rosetta Stone.

YES!!! They're illegal but great. It's the only way I listen to my cast. Memory doesn't serve too well when you're trying to remember EXACTLY how they sang it! : )

Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...


Thanks! Let me go deflate my head... and Arwen's. : P We took another that we're going to put at the top, but haven't had time to design a new header. Anywhoz. Actually... heehee. You're going to hate her, but she actually made it. Sewed it herself. She's got an amazing talent for sewing and sewed our ball gowns I posted on last Christmas. Love them to death! : ) Um, clothes-shopping... hmm. I really don't like shopping - at all. HA!! Any kind... except book-browsing. That I could do forever! : D Arwen does. I probably shop at Goodwill the most, but she shops at TJMaxx and Khols a lot. I think. : )

HA! *rubs hands gleefully; cracks knuckles and prepares to reply* YAY for favorite characters!

YES!! No, like... well, I can't say when. Later. : ) He looked young in the beginning of the musical, yes - but at the end he looked, sounded, and acted as old as Colm from the 25th encore. Sad! Yup on Alfie Boe - my thoughts exactly. Me, too. Tell me if you find any videos!

Me, neither! : )

I know!! I couldn't find anything. Even on his website, he didn't have any videos or audio or nothing about Les Miz. I'll just have to wait for someone to illegally record and post it. : D YES!! The notes were properly extended. No Nick impersonation at all. : ) Yeah, the "Oh my FRIEEEEEEENDS!" was looooong. Loved it! Yup!

: D AWD never fails to make me smile (the phrase, not the actual thing - that makes me cry!!). Yeah! And Nick DID look dead, but that's about all he could do. (Besides be in need of some Tums. lol.) Me, too. Mad that they didn't include it! And, yes, I WILL post a YouTube video of him singing once one is posted!!

Yeah. I can't put my finger on it, but... anyway. Lea's is much prettier. : )

Oh, yeah! That's what it's called! Memories... : P HA!! Me, too! Doesn't really work on Christine's "AHH!!!" part in "Phantom of the Opera," but I attempt it anyway. I'm a salto, even though I used to sing soprano and still love to. : ) Think of Me... I think I can hit some of those notes... they're just squeaky! : ) Yes, I totally agree with you - if Ramin can do it, it must be awesome. : ) But, yeah, it is annoying if people make the swing too long. Blech. Hmm.. I 've never heard that song. Might watch the beginning just to see how much she scoops. Then stop it, heehee.

: D That's right! And she was VERY likeable. : )

*shakes head* I have to split mine, too.


Anonymous said...

Part Two...

I posted one... uh... my first post, I think. Or was it my second? Idk. Anywhoz, YES! LOVED her "Come To Me." MUCH better than Ruthie Henshall's and, YES, she DID sound like she was dying at the end. Fell onto Valjean's shoulder and died. REALLY sad!! ARGH, YES!! That's why I liked Chasten Harmon's version of "Little Fall of Rain" because she actually sounded like she was IN PAIN at the end and actually weakening and dying. Maybe Nick should try to do "Come To Me" - he seemed to be good at the weak-lunged thing. : P

Yes. That's so weird! Ramin is Enjolras and he has dark brown hair. It's like with Percy's eyes and "Sink me!" - the books were published before the Baroness or Hugo time-travelled and saw AA and Ramin. Lightburst of Complete Awesomeness - HA!! I just HAD to use it. : )

Yeah, he should be younger - which is why Joshua did SUCH a good job. He WAS younger and still had more emotion in his voice than Adam Searles. HA!!!! Yes - Enjo and Grantaire, especially. : P

I JUST found out and was SO mad that no one told me!! : D YES!! He is SOOO good at Raoul, and is NOT afraid to YELL! "So, it is to be WAR BETWEEN US?! This time, my clever friend, THE DISASTER WILL BE YOURS!!!" Love it. : ) Ugh, the guy in the movie was awful! I got the soundtrack before I watched it and was like, "Whaaaa?" HF is MUCH better. I KNOW!! He spins her around and dances AMAZINGLY with her in "Masquerade." Yeah, whatsisface's hair bugged me, too!

I did and almost cried. Would have if I'd been alone watching it, but my siblings were all watching it. ("Show me the Phantom! Didn't you say he was in the 25th?" "Yeah... but he's not the Phantom....") It was soooo good. Now I'm going to have to watch the whole thing!

I know! Why can't they record it?! They've got plenty of mics... doesn't take much more to send a copy to me! : )

Sure!! I won't charge you. : )Ooh, cool! I saw one that said Anthony Andrews and shrieked. Loved it! But that's the only one I've heard. The computer I'm on right now doesn't have any speakers, otherwise I'd hop on over to your blog and listen. But he's in the other ones?! AHH!!! I'm going to swoon! Arwen, my smelling salts!! : P

Loved it and THANK YOU!!

Anna Grace - Heehee!! I got a copy of it, too! Haven't started it yet, though... "Sir Percy Leads the Band" is currently OPEN. : )

OOH!! Read it and tell me what you think! You will LOVE it. : )