(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. : )
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!