Monday, October 6, 2014

A Question: With Which Miserableness to Start?

As most of you know or have guessed, I am a Les Mizzy. It began back in 2012 when I read the entire book* in our week of pre-Christmas break from CC and Veritas (don't try to do both at the same time. It doesn't work). My family did not see much of me. My introduction to the musical, which I love as much as the book, came a bit later. And now it's in the top 10 quoted things at my house. Anytime anyone asks anything about a sign of any sort, at least four voices chime in ''To rally the people, to CALL them to arms! TO BRING THEM IN LIIIIINE!"
I have a question for all my fellow miserables. If you're trying to introduce someone to the musical who is mildly interested, what means would you choose?
The 2012 film (which I have not seen yet)? I would think it might be a bit graphic and scare people away. And--how can I put this nicely--I have the soundtrack and the singing is not the best I've heard. But it does tell the whole story.
The 10th anniversary concert is my favorite overall cast (I mean, Colm Wilkinson as Valjean. Phillip Quast as Javert. How can you argue with that?) but Fantine's wig is terrifying and it (the concert, not the wig) leaves out huge chunks of the plot. *Huge* chunks.

And then there's this:

I do love the 25th concert, HOWEVER (and this is a big however), there's one teeny tiny gaping hole. It has a great cast, great costumes, even a decent set, but it also has this.
The Jonas. It's not that he wasn't a good Marius, it wasn't that he wasn't as good as Michael Ball, it's that he was a BAD Marius and couldn't handle the singing and couldn't handle the acting and couldn't even handle (hold) Samantha Barks's Eponine when she was DYING and...yeah. I don't want to think about it too much. *shudder*
But the rest of the cast is great (Karimloo, people!) and it includes a whole lot more of the recitative  bits than the 10th. So does the Jonas factor o'ershadow the rest as to make it unusable for introductions?

I've heard it suggested that someone read the book or listen to the 1988 recording all the way through. That sounds great, but they both require quite a bit more than the two or three hours that my hypothetical semi-interested person is willing to apply themselves to.

So, which one would you choose? Or do you have another idea?

*well, almost the entire book. After Hugo duped me into reading 200+ pages of Waterloo and the convent, I grew more careful. I skipped the sewers and Parisian slang.


Rebekah said...

I have actually had this dilemma. My own mother (my mother!!) had not been introduced to Les Mis until this year. I felt like a failure of a daughter. So when she expressed her interest in Les Mis, I considered the options and finally suggested she watch the 2012 film, which she did.

She wept through the entire thing and loved it. We watched it on Clearplay, so it filtered out all the icky stuff.

However, in my opinion, actually watching the musical live is the best introduction possible. It is, after all, only an introduction... And there's nothing like a live performance to awaken one's inner fangirl. ;)

Miss Brandon said...

*scrolls to top of page after clicking add comment. Puts comment page next to blog post, gets ready to type*

Ooooooooneeeeeeeee daaaaaaaaay morrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeee!


Ahem.. in all truthfulness apart from Hugh Jackman and Sam Barks I didn't really enjoy the film.. I really wish they had given Jarvert to Phillip.

Phillip= superb! my friend gets to have acting classes with him.. and she doesn't even know who he is......

Do not get me started on Nick Jonas..

I would reccomend if I had to.. like Rebekah probably the musical. Which is coming to where I live and I am surprisingly calm about it. Great post Catie! :D

~Evie (Diana)

sarah b said...

If I were introducing someone to les mis, my first choice would be for them to go see it on broadway. the current cast is PHENOMENAL. but if that wasn't possible, I'd tell them to watch the 25th anni concert (nick jonas and all, because let's be real, the rest of the cast is genius).

and then if all goes according to plan, they'd love it so much they'd binge-listen all of the cast albums :D