You know you're bored when you go through almost two years of blogs adding labels because you're tired of having to hunt through them when you want to look for something specific.
So you may have figured out that I'm kind of into Broadway show tunes. A little bit. If, you know, by a little bit you mean "so massively it's probably a little ridiculous." It all started with Les Miserables.
I'd heard of it before, but I didn't really "discover" Les Mis until ninth grade, in French class. We watched a non-musical movie version (I would assume the most recent one, but I really don't know) in class, and the teacher also played a little bit of the soundtrack once or twice. I don't know what it was, but something just clicked for me and I kind of went into an "OhMyGoshLESMIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" mode for a while - so much so that the second cd I acquired was the Broadway Highlights soundtrack as a birthday present. Or maybe Christmas. Whatever. All I had to play it with was a slightly crappy walkman with either headphones or these tiny little speakers, but I finally had my own room so I spent a lot of time with the door shut and the music blasting. Well . . . as blasting as it got with speakers smaller than my fist.
I've had a bit of an obsession with Les Mis ever since, and my . . . I don't know, sister-obsession I guess . . . with show tunes in general grew out of it. (And out of my participation in the drama department in high school. But that is a story for another day.) It became a dream of mine to see Les Mis on Broadway - those of you who have been reading for a loooooooooooooooong while may - but probably do not - remember that I was absolutely devastated when it closed about six years ago.
My dad didn't get why. For my 17th birthday my parents gave me a copy of the novel - unabridged, of course - and tickets to the touring show in Salt Lake . . . which didn't actually get to Salt Lake until almost a year later, but it was great having something to look forward to for so long. I read the book (1488 pages) in a week. It had been a long time since I'd carried a book around with me and read at every spare moment . . . and some that weren't so spare . . . like during class . . . not just empty moments . . . but while teaching was going on too. Probably didn't help my already dismal honors chem grade, but I really probably shouldn't have taken honors chem in the first place. And I read the WHOLE THING in SEVEN DAYS. I still rank that among my most impressive achievements.
The show, to put it epically simply, was amazing. I was spellbound and breathless from the moment the first notes of the overture sounded. I loved it. I used every ounce of my daddy's-little-girl-powers to wheedle a souvenir keychain out of my dad, because guess what? They sell souvenirs at Broadway shows! Who knew?!? Well, I didn't, at the time. Anyway, it was beautiful, it was fabulous, it was stunning, it was wonderful . . . there just aren't enough adjectives to describe how I felt about the show. Also: I may have tried to wheedle more tickets to go again the next night. Or every remaining performance. Yeah, that kinda didn't happen. And a few years later when the show closed on Broadway and I was upset my dad was all "you've already seen it," which I found exasperating. I don't think he got it when I told him it wasn't the same.
Moving on, I picked up the original London Soundtrack somewhere along the line in college, but I have yet to add the original Broadway Soundtrack to my collection, which is a little sad because they did some rewriting when they brought it across the pond, and I rather prefer the Broadway versions better . . . particularly "On My Own" and "Stars."
So. To finally start to come to the point. Les Mis originally opened in 1985. Making last year the 25th anniversary. And they did a one-night-only concert performance in London. And filmed it. And it's amazing. And they've been playing it on K-notBYU . . . the other one, whatever it's called . . . a ton lately because they just had their pledge drive. (side note: while I generally like the programming on public television, the only time they show stuff I'm truly excited to watch is during the pledge drives. Case in point: they play Anne of Green Gables EVERY time, but that's the only time they show it. Ever!) So I've watched it, like, 4 or 5 times. In the last week.
Let me get something straight right now - I'm not really much of a cryer, generally speaking. Almost never happens. That said, this is music that is just plain moving. I can't imagine anyone listening to it - really listening - and not feeling a little emotional. So it has always (especially after seeing the show) been able to draw out a few tears when I listen to it. I hadn't listened to it in ages, so watching it this week, remembering, brought back all sorts of emotions. All sorts of memories from high school, college, and even Florida. I loved it. I cried all the way through. (And I added the dvd to my amazon wish list.) At the end they brought out the original cast, which was AWESOME and did three encores, and those three songs are currently my three favorites. (I can never pick my favorite anything . . . they all change all the time. Except my favorite color. That's been blue for years. And you were all dying to know.)
Anyway, by the end of the last encore I'm all reduced to this sobbing little puddle who's spent the last four hours (because of the annoying pledge drive interruptions) shuddering with thrills and chills from the beauty of the music and the story. Crying hard enough to give myself a massive headache. So massive, in fact, that even though I went to bed shortly thereafter I could not manage to sleep it off. Which left me having to go to work with a headache, feeling emotional enough that if I didn't know better I'd think I was pregnant, and slightly red eyes . . . in other words, I'm pretty sure I've more or less had a hangover for the last week. Good times.
And for those of you who've seen me and (hopefully) had no idea, all I can say is Disney trains you well in the whole "the show must go on" thing. Seriously, you can be on break and discover that your life has turned into a really bad country song (your dog died, your mom died, your girlfriend left and took the house . . . literally . . . your lunch got stolen, your car got keyed, and to top it all off it's started raining, you work outside, you forgot your rain jacket and your shoes have holes so your feet will be soaked two seconds after you go back out) but you go out and as soon as you're somewhere that people can see you, it's automatic - you slap on a great big smile and act all excited because isn't today just the greatest day EVER?! That kind of mouse-washing sticks with you. But yeah, I've been totally faking it. Migraine city. Although I can't say I'd change anything, if it meant I had to not watch.
I do have one small complaint . . . okay, rant. *ahem*
NICK JONAS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! NICK FREAKING JONAS AS MARIUS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! JUST WHO'S TERRIBLE IDEA FOR CRAPPY STUNT CASTING WAS THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUST . . . NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, don't get me wrong. The guy can sing. He does not have a terrible voice. But he also does not have a Broadway caliber voice. His boy band days have not been sufficient preparation to fill the shoes of the likes of Michael Ball. Not to mention he sticks out like a sore thumb. With everyone else, even if you know who they are the actor gets lost behind the part they play. It's Jean Valjean, played by Alfie Boe, Fantine, sung by Lea Salonga, for example. But no, this is a freaking JoBro attempting to play the part of Marius. Again - NO!
*sigh* Luke's heard that rant before, and he'll hear it again (especially if he insists on continuing to try to defend said poser JoBro). But I feel a bit better now.
The touring show is coming back to Salt Lake in May - another perfect birthday present. I'm literally aching to go. Dying to go. Brought up the idea repeatedly since discovering it was coming back in September when we went to Lion King. Of course, I'm sure tickets are long gone by now. But it's a little bit heartbreaking to know it's here - and for my birthday too! - and we're not going to able to go. Someday we will attend the theatre more often . . . yearly, maybe even more. But although things are much better than they were for us a couple of years ago, we are not to that point yet. So if get the impression that I'm in mourning during pretty much the entire month of May . . . yeah, I kind of am.
But hopefully I won't also be hungover.
P. ost S. cript
One of the encores from the concert - the original Valjean, the two currently playing him in London and New York, and the one who played him in the concert itself. Talk about chills . . . I don't think I breathed at all the first time I heard this! I won't ask for such an extreme reaction, but the person who is not moved by this song and especially this version - that person has no soul.