Unpopular Opinions

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Prisoner 24653
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:31 pm

Hehe, yup! He played the Phantom in the musical by Ken Hill (which inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to do his own version), and also played Dracula in a musical version by Christopher Orton (different from Frank Wildhorn's version).

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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Acaila » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:37 pm

I've seen him in Dracula, but he's totally just McCarthy to me in that :D
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:47 pm

Yup, exactly my problem with him in general.

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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Jean Gringoire » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:21 pm

Lea Salonga's Éponine leaves me cold. She sings the part very well, but I really don't get any sense of the character from her. She was a much better Fantine.

I prefer In My Life to On My Own. I think that Cosette's dilemma has the potential to be more dramatically interesting than Éponine's, and this is the best glimpse we get of that and her and Valjean's relationship, which was sadly underwritten.

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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Auf die Barrikaden » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:57 pm

I like Gary Morris and his Valjean portrayal on the CSR. I think his acting, especially in Valjean's Confession is -for an album- spot on. His BHH is arguably not the best aesthetically sung out there but he puts alot of heart and soul into it.

I don't give a **** about different accents on stage or on record. And I will never understand the British vs American debate. Seriously, what's the point?

OMO deserves to be cut. Entirely. Or at least given back to Fantine. The lyrics are pointless, it's the Captain Obvious song of the whole show. It adds nothing to the character we already know. And the way it has been turned into this American Idol show-of tune on stage is beyond awful.

Lea Salonga's Fantine in the 25AC annoys me. I have no idea why such a great singer chose to sing her role that way. IDAD is a pain to watch. In no EMOTIONS!! good way. She was far better as Éponine.

Fantine is cast too old. You could never sell me Madeline Alberto as a youthful 20something girl who learns the hardships of life. I guess I have Patti LuPone to thank for that...
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Enjolvert » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:01 am

I kind of agree with you on Morris. I don't think he's brilliant but he's not terrible either. There's certainly a lot worse that can be heard about there as Valjean. For me, what's mainly off-putting on him is the way he sometimes says the words. His voice is fine, but there's something about him sometimes in the songs which can be distracting and seems a tad out of place.

As for the accents, my first introductions to Les Mis were casts with pre-dominantly Cockney such as the OLC for the likes of Thenardier's and Gavroche, as well as the TAC, so I'm just kind of used to it and don't feel as if the American ones suit. What is annoying though is when performers try to force the English accent and it either sounds fake, or sounds like a combination of both.
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby The Bricklayer » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:25 am

Auf die Barrikaden wrote:Fantine is cast too old. You could never sell me Madeline Alberto as a youthful 20something girl who learns the hardships of life. I guess I have Patti LuPone to thank for that...

I like Betsy Morgan. May not exactly pass as a youthful 20 something girl, but I think she comes pretty close.
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:40 am

Auf die Barrikaden wrote:OMO deserves to be cut. Entirely. Or at least given back to Fantine. The lyrics are pointless, it's the Captain Obvious song of the whole show. It adds nothing to the character we already know. And the way it has been turned into this American Idol show-of tune on stage is beyond awful.


I like what the movie did with that song. Where it is in the stage version, yeah, it's pretty Captain Obvious-y, but when it's put before One Day More it really makes you (or at least it made me feel) feel like Éponine's going into a downward spiral (which of course she is if you know the book).
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Lamarque-is-Dead » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:02 am

Colm Wilkinson is overrated (not saying he's bad, but there are a lot of Valjeans I like better).

I can't stand On My Own. Like Jean Gringoire, I prefer In My Life.

I also prefer Musical!Cosette to Musical!Éponine in general (at least Cosette briefly gets to sing about something other than her love for Marius).

I have no problem with Turning.

I'm not a huge fan of the Original French Concept Album.
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Flynn » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:10 pm

I have a few.

- I can't stand "I Dreamed a Dream" one bit. Part of that is I think the English lyrics are absurdly melodramatic, but I also just don't care for the song itself- I usually skip over it on the OFC as well.

- My favorite recording is probably the OFC. Mostly due to the orchestrations, but also that I think a lot of the cuts of various songs work a bit better than their later revised versions (One Day More especially).

- Related to the above, I much, much prefer Éponine's original solo to "On My Own"- and this is coming from someone who likes "On My Own"! I think they just should've tried harder to make the original lyrics work properly in English, instead of basically giving up and rewriting the song entirely.

- I never saw the fuss with either Jenny Galloway or Alun Armstrong. The former leans too much towards comedy and the latter always seemed...distracted all the time.

- As much as I love "Look Down" and "What Have I Done?", I think the Prologue is absolutely unnecessary and really should just be dispensed with. It would shorten the overstuffed first act, anyways.

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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Gervais » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:06 pm

Hello Flynn! :mrgreen: Would you like to introduce yourself in the Intros thread?


Out if curiosity, how would it work without the Prologue in your mind? I know the OFC could get away without it because the story's fairly well known in France, but the details arent common knowledge in most of the US. Just a reference to his past life somewhere in Montreil sur Mer, I'm assuming?
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Flynn » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:24 pm

I actually think it would be fine as it is with the prologue cut- most of the information we need is doled out effectively through the later songs, and if there were any serious questions they'd be answered through "Valjean's Confession".

I suppose if we had to have it I'd prefer it be cut as it is on the OBC recordings- excising the unnecessary parole bits and getting the best-written bits out there.

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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Acaila » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:28 pm

Speaking of the original French version, I was reading the other day that that version started with a narrated quote of Hugo's "So long as there exist......books like this cannot be useless" quote. Thought that was quite nice :)
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Rachelle » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:12 pm

Auf die Barrikaden wrote:I like Gary Morris and his Valjean portrayal on the CSR. I think his acting, especially in Valjean's Confession is -for an album- spot on. His BHH is arguably not the best aesthetically sung out there but he puts alot of heart and soul into it.

I don't give a **** about different accents on stage or on record. And I will never understand the British vs American debate. Seriously, what's the point?

OMO deserves to be cut. Entirely. Or at least given back to Fantine. The lyrics are pointless, it's the Captain Obvious song of the whole show. It adds nothing to the character we already know. And the way it has been turned into this American Idol show-of tune on stage is beyond awful.

Lea Salonga's Fantine in the 25AC annoys me. I have no idea why such a great singer chose to sing her role that way. IDAD is a pain to watch. In no EMOTIONS!! good way. She was far better as Éponine.

Fantine is cast too old. You could never sell me Madeline Alberto as a youthful 20something girl who learns the hardships of life. I guess I have Patti LuPone to thank for that...


If they gave on my own to fantine, they should at least bring back l'un verse l'autre.
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Re: Unpopular Opinions

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:15 pm

Acaila wrote:Speaking of the original French version, I was reading the other day that that version started with a narrated quote of Hugo's "So long as there exist......books like this cannot be useless" quote. Thought that was quite nice :)


Indeed, that was really nice! I kinda wish more productions did that.

Now a few more from me...

- I liked some aspects of the OFC and respect it for being the original version, but I'm not that thrilled with most of the cast, and a lot of the orchestral arrangements bug me. Also, I don't think it works as a musical quite as well as the version we have today.

- I prefer "Stars" as the lead-in to the 1832 transition, rather than "Waltz of Treachery" -- I like WoT as a song and agree that it's important to the story, but the transition from that song to "Look Down" always felt awkward to me. I was thrilled that the film put "Stars" and "Look Down" back together and thought the musical transition between them was pretty cool.

- Although I like Kaho Shimada and Seiko Niizuma a lot as Éponine in the Japanese productions, my favorite Japanese 'Ponine is Anza Ooyama (from the 2003 Light Blue cast) by far. Although she doesn't have a powerhouse rendition of "On My Own" like Niizuma (and Shimada, to a lesser extent), her portrayal when taken as a whole is heartbreaking if you know the language, partly because she's less sure vocally. She'll emphasize a word here or there in a way that severely increases the pathos I feel for the character, and normally, I'm not even much of a 'Ponine fan. I always, without fail, get teary-eyed at her "Éponine's Errand" and ALFOR, and that's just on the album! I'm not sure if she's my favorite 'Ponine of all the productions because I've seen/heard other superb ones like Celia Keenan-Bolger who were more Brick-faithful, but Anza is definitely a strong candidate. (Then again, I'd need to see a video to know how Brick-faithful or otherwise Anza really was, so hey.)


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