It's not hard to figure out what my favorite things are... for the most part they're decorating my room in one way or another.
SO, basically, and for no real, concrete reason, Les Miserables is and will always be my favorite musical. And it's not as though I don't really love other musicals: Wicked is fantastic, The Lion King made me cry like a baby (Seriously. Uncontrollable, gasping sobs. I wept. Publicly.), The Wild Party (Lippa's version, though I haven't actually heard the LaChiusa one), etc.
But Les Mis is just different. It was the first one that I was really obsessed with. It was the first one that I saw (that I can remember). I was in high school (sophomore year? anyone?) and it was perfect. I went out with a big group of friends, we ate at CPK (I don't know why I remember that), then skipped over to the Pantages and it was phenom. I mean, god, it was Les Mis. On stage. With real people singing. And they were good! They were great!
I sat next to Adrian and Teresa, I think. Leila took her camera and made a bootlegged video of Eponine singing "On My Own" (my favorite song from the musical), which I was later able to split into just an mp3 audio clip and put in my itunes. I lost that file when my external broke last year.
I mean, it probably hasn't won the most Tony's of all of the musicals I've seen or heard. It certainly doesn't have a lot of crazy dance numbers, or costume changes or hard physical activity. It's also a little morbid. And most of the characters are really, really terrible people. In fact, it's probably not most people's favorite...
But. Since this post is about how much I love it, I can tell you that it's also about redemption and compassion and forgiveness and love (read: unrequited).
Because I feel the need to plug Susan Boyle yet again, here's that amazing clip from Britain's Got Talent. The thing that I think is so amazing about this is... well, it's just... better than Patti LuPone. Which in itself is kind of ridiculous. But I really feel like the tone and emotion Susan uses is more appropriate to the character that I'd always envisioned for Fantine.
Britain's Got Talent: Susan Boyle from Nucro on Vimeo.
Just for comparison.
And now, Eponine. Because, seriously, what girl doesn't relate to this character at some point?? And we already know how most guys feel. I mean, I know we're supposed to be all happy because Cosette is grown up and she's healthy and happy and gets everything that her mother wanted her to get... but, somehow we can't. Because... taking everything from one person and giving it to another just doesn't feel right. An eye for an eye really isn't justice at all.
Hugo's vision of this character is actually pretty different from her musical persona, but whatevs. We love her feisty street smart ways. And, even though she (spoiler alert!) dies and her love is never returned, we all kind of still wish that we were her. Her passion is just so all-consuming... it's like... she doesn't want money even though she's dirt poor, she doesn't want food even though she's starving, she doesn't want things at all. She just wants love from the one person who will never be able to give it. It's terrible for her. And like I said earlier, it's hard not to want her to succeed.
So, without further ado, here's Frances Ruffelle (OLC, OBC) and Lea Salonga (from the tour, also this). Personally, I like Lea's rendition better... I just prefer her singing and character. I never really pictured Eponine as being whiny and helpless, and that's how I think Frances plays her. But don't let me make up your mind for you.