Tag Archives: Les Misérables

Top 5 Musicals

Now, I am a huge musicals fan and I’m always listening to show tunes or going to the theatre. I thought as I’m such a musicals nerd, I would attempt what I feel is almost impossible. Deciding which 5 musicals are my favourite…

  1. Les Misérables
    As you are probably aware, either if you know me personally, or if you’ve read my other posts – you will know that I love Les Mis and it is my all time favourite musical. It is the only musical that I can actually place as my “favourite” whereas ordering the rest I think is an impossible task!! I love the show so much that I’ve just been to see it for a fifth time.
    Les Misérables follows one man’s emotional struggle from wrongful imprisonment to becoming a respected member of French society. The story revolves around Jean Valjean’s attempt at starting a new life, however one man, Inspector Javert, is determined to seek him out and send him back to prison. The story also sees the students’ revolt against authority, a love triangle and a blackmailing couple out to make the most out of any situation.
    I love the show because it is more of a serious musical, which makes a bit of a change from the typical show, and it is just so powerful and moving. Although I was cynical at first, I’m really looking forward to the movie adapatation coming out this Christmas.
    Favourite song: I can’t pick one so… One Day More and On My Own.
  2. Wicked
    The untold story of the witches of Oz, Wicked is based on Gregory Macguire’s book, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It sees the unlikely friendship between Elphaba and Glinda, two very different girls who meet at Shiz University and tells their story in parallel to the events of The Wizard of Oz.
    As someone who is not a great fan of the 1939 film musical, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy of the musical. It wasn’t until I saw a perfomance from the show on television that I thought the show was worth giving a go. Luckily, a college trip to London included a visit to the show and I absolutely loved it. I have now seen the show twice and I am always listening to the soundtrack.
    Favourite song: Again, it’s really heard to pick one!!! Defying Gravity, Popular and For Good.
  3. The Lion King
    Based on the animation, The Lion King is a stunning stage adaptation of Disney’s classic movie, telling Simba’s story about life after his father is killed and his journey to become the rightful King of the Pride Lands. As a massive Disney fan, I had always wanted to see The Lion King but it wasn’t until about 8 or 9 years after it opened in the West End that I finally managed to see it and it was fantastic. Although I know the film backwards, I enjoyed the stage production as if it was something entirely different and new. The costume, make up, masks and puppetry for the who show is amazing and I would say that it helps the stage show differentiate itself from the Disney animation.
    Favourite song: Oh and two again… Circle of Life and He Lives in You (Reprise).
  4. Hairspray
    I’m lucky enough to be able to say that I first saw Hairsprayon Broadway. I had seen the movie musical adaptation a few months earlier and loved it, so when we managed to get tickets to see the show in New York, I was so pleased!
    The musical tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight girl who loves to dance. When a chance to become a dancer on her favourite show (The Corny Collins Show) arises, Tracy auditions and becomes a big star overnight. But it’s 1962 Baltimore and the white kids and the black kids of the show are not allowed to dance together on the same show, with the black kids having a dedicated “Negro Day” once a month. Along with her new friends and her family, Tracy goes on a mission to integrate the kids of the show and allow everyone to dance together. Along the way, Tracy falls for star and hunk of The Corny Collins Show, Link Larkin… but can their romance blossom?
    I’ve since seen the show a second time whilst it was touring in Bristol, with Michael Ball playing Tracy’s mother, Edna. (The role of Edna is always played by a male following the original Edna Turnblad being played by transvestite, Divine in the 1988 film with John Travolta portraying Edna in the 2007 movie musical role.)
    Favourite song: Without Love (I’ve gone for the movie version here due to the lack of Broadway/West End performances on YouTube.)

     
  5. Legally Blonde
    This last spot was a struggle to fill, there were too many choices and I finally went for Legally Blonde as I found it a surprise enjoyment.
    Based on the 2001 Reese Witherspoon movie, the musical is about Elle Woods, a blonde sorority queen whose boyfriend breaks up with her before he goes to college. Elle decides that she will do whatever she can do win back Warner, so she follows him to Harvard Law School.
    The show was had just opened on Broadway when I was in New York in 2007 and I thought the idea of the show was ridiculous. I loved the film, in fact it is one of my favourites, but I never thought that she show would be any good as a musical – I couldn’t understand what they would be singing about?! About 18 months later, I heard that the show would be coming to the West End and ended up giving the soundtrack a chance… And found it quite enjoyable! When I heard that Sheridan Smith would be playing the role of Elle in the London production, I became a bit more interested…  I hadn’t heard her sing before and early reviews said she was fantastic. My Mum & I ended up seeing the show a few months after it opened and I thought it was brilliant. I think the best way to sum up the show is in three words. Silly, fun and girly. The songs are catchy, the characters likable and I found it a really surprising adaptation that actually worked quite well as a musical. I’ve seen the show twice now and would happily see it again!!
    Favourite song: So Much Better

Honourable mentions:
Matilda I managed to see Matilda on my 22nd birthday with my parents and we all thought it was brilliant. The kids in production are fantastic and Tim Minchin has done a fantastic job at making the a stage version of the lovable Roald Dahl book.
Billy Elliot the Musical Opening in 2005, Billy Elliot the Musical is based on the British film about a young boy who discovers ballet. I left the theatre unsure whether to laugh or cry… in a good way. Throughout the musical there are many funny, happy moments as well as many sad and touching moments too.
Footloose Another musical I have seen twice because I found it very fun and entertaining. I loved the 1984 movie so when the touring production came to Bristol and I had the chance to go see the show with my school, I was looking forward to how the show would compare to the movie. Featuring many of the same 80s songs, Let’s Here it for the Boy, Holding out for a Hero and of course, Footloose, the show is fun and filled with some really brilliant dance numbers. I even saw Dancing with the Stars pro, Derek Hough play the role of Ren when I first saw the production.

So, there are mt Top 5 musicals and a couple of honourable mentions thrown in there too. It was quite hard to determine what are my favourites and even now I’ve finished the list, I’ve remembered more musicals I wish I could add!!
Let me know what you think of my Top 5 and what would be in your Top 5 list! Any suggestions of what to see next would be more than welcome too!! :D

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Les Misérables

As a huge musical fan, Les Misérables is one of my ultimate favourites. I’ve seen it three times and would go and see it again in a second. I love that it’s a more serious musical, giving something a bit different to the theatre.

Les Misérables is the world’s longest running musical and is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Les Misérables opened at the Barbican Theatre in London on October 8 1985, moving to the Palace Theatre two months later where it remained until April 2004. Since then, the Queen’s Theatre has been the home of the show.

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, the musical was written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and directed by Trever Nunn and John Caird and has won eight Tony Awards. Starting in Paris in 1980, the show ran for three months but an English version was soon to be created. British producer Cameron Mackintosh heard the recordings of the musical and began producing the new musical, which would be in production for two years before it opened.

Les Misérables follows one man’s emotional struggle from wrongful imprisonment to becoming a respected member of French society. The story revolves around Jean Valjean’s attempt at starting a new life, however one man, Inspector Javert, is determined to seek him out and send him back to prison. The story also sees the students’ revolt against authority, a love triangle and a blackmailing couple out to make the most out of any situation.

The musical was originally panned by critics on its opening night at the Barbican; calling it “glum” and criticising its length (it is 3 hours long!) however audiences loved it and allowed the show to continue its run.

2010 marked the 25th anniversary of Les Misérables and saw the production play at the Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End as well as a touring cast take the show all over the country. The celebrate its anniversary, a huge concert was staged at the O2 arena in London which featured both old and new cast members, including Alfie Boe, Nick Jonas from the Jonas Brothers and Matt Lucas from Little Britain.  During the finale, the concert cast were joined by the London and touring casts as well as the original 1985 cast, including Colm Wilkinson and Michael Ball to perform “One Day More”.

Les Misérables in numbers

42: The number of countries the show has been performed in.
56 million: The number of people who have seen the show.
40: The number of cast recordings.
308: The number of cities the show has been performed in.
45,000: The number of performances seen worldwide.
75: The number of major theatre awards the show has won.
10,000: The number of performances seen in London alone.

The musical has seen a recent increase in popularity due to Susan Boyle’s first audition on Britain’s Got Talent. Her performance of the Les Misérables song “I Dreamed a Dream” became an instant internet hit and was seen all over the world, therefore giving Les Misérables more publicity and bringing in a new audience who may not have been aware of the show beforehand.

At the 25th anniversary concert, the four actors who have played Jean Valjean in the relevant productions all joined together to sing “Bring Him Home”, one of the shows stand out numbers.  The quartet also performed the number at the recent Royal Variety Performance and the song has been released with proceeds going to Tickets for Troops.

Cameron Mackintosh has recently signed the contracts to make a movie version of the musical with Working Title.

Les Misérables is a fantastic, unique musical which never fails to give me goosebumps and I strongly urge you to go and see it, you will not be disappointed.

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