I wrote this on MySpace blog back in February, and wanted to move it over here to share with a perhaps larger audience. Since I wrote this, the 25th anniversary show has been shown on PBS. It was an excellent show, with Lea Salonga moving over to play Fantine, and a different actor playing Eponine, and it featured a wonderful Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean. But Nick Jonas played Marius, and while Nick Jonas is a good enough singer, he just didn’t have what it takes to play Marius – mostly he played the role as if he were a petulant little boy – and in the 10th anniversary show, Michael Ball played Marius, as he did on the London stage, and I absolutely love Michael Ball. One of these days I shall have to write a blog all about him.
Anyway, I thought I would share this blog with you. The wonderful Colm Wilkinson plays Jean Valjean, and the show features Lea Salonga, the aforementioned Michael Ball, and a wonderful American singer named Michael McGuire, who, while still doing occasional music shows, went on to become a lawyer who works out of California.
I’ve included a site for the 17 international Valjeans that were featured at the end of the 10th anniversary show, and mentioned my faves among them. Enjoy.
Subject : Les Miserables
Posted Date: : Feb 8, 2011 7:11 AM
Last evening, I decided to watch my tape of the 10th anniversary of the Les Miserables show shown on PBS a few years ago. This is the one that includes most of the original singers, or at least the singers I like the most, both in the show, and in real life.
The cast for this show, which was music as opposed to acting, include Colm Wilkenson as Jean Valjean, Philip Quast as Javert, Ruthie Henshall as Fantine, Michael Ball (woof woof) as Marius, Michael Mcguire as Enjolas (man, those are fascinating eyes on this one), Lea Salonga as Eponine (and who can resist Ms. Saigon, even if she is from the Phillippines), Jenny Galloway as Madame Thenardier, Alum Armstrong as Thenardier (these two certainly stole the show), and Judy Kuhn as Cosette. It was filmed in the Royal Albert Hall, and at the end, 17 Valjeans from international casts around the world came up to the stage and sung bits of Do You Hear The People Sing in their native languages. I’ll list a few of my faves from that bunch in a moment. At the top of this blog is the YouTube address to see this last part of the show. I would like to know who your faves are.
Another song was, of course, I Dreamed a Dream, the song Susan Boyle sang when she became such a surprise hit on the Brit talent show, who was ridiculed for her looks when she came out on stage, and when she opened her mouth, softened Simon Cowell’s expression to the sweetest one I have ever seen on that man, and who took her and made her a hit. Of course, there are many hit songs from Les Mis, and I can’t begin to list them all. Just say it is one of the most enjoyable musical experiences I have ever had. And I haven’t seen the show live.
I not too long ago actually read the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo since I had not read it for many years (back when I was in school in the 50s), and it helped me understand the show better when I watched it afterwards, especially this rendition of it. If you have not seen Les Miserables in any form, it will be worth your while to do so.
Anyway, my list of faves from the international cast: They were an assortment of basses, baritones, and tenors, and, of course, Colm can sing at all levels, though he is basically an Irish tenor.
Takeshi Kaga – Japanese. He makes my heart jump – what is it about these dark-haired, dark-eyed, tenors. I find myself falling in “love” everytime I see one.
Jeff Leyton – Ireland. Well, duh!!!
Rob Guest – Australia
Michael Burgess – Canada
Henk Poort – Netherlands (love those Dutchmen)
Reinhard Brussman – Austria
Oystein Wiik – Norway
Kurt Ravn – Denmark
Craig Shulman – US (I wouldn’t be patriotic if I didn’t include him)
Egill Olaffson – Iceland (I just have to include Iceland in any list of people only because it is a fascinating country)
So who do you like?