I am so excited about the making and the release this year of the movie musical of Les Misérables. I think it is fair to say I am a fan and have been for about 25 years. If I had to choose it would have to be my favourite musical. When I think of Les Mis … it makes me feel both young and old. I remember first hearing the music .. standing around an old dusty music room listening to a tape of a tape … someone had from their parents who had visited London and come back with this “great new musical’s soundtrack”. I remember listening to the music and the performers and being mesmerised. There were no pictures (and of course no internet) and no way of acquiring them … just and old tape and some beautiful music. I remember we all learned to play the music with our own musical instruments and for those that like to sing … we all took our parts. For me that was Eponine. I have sung for hours Les Mis and I have some very fond memories of coming together with friends and sharing our passion for this amazing musical.
And while I am waiting with eager anticipation for the release of the movie. I do not envy the job of the producers, director and casting director in selecting the cast for the movie. For while people are passionate about the musical and will want to see the film … this can tend to people to having VERY strong views on the casting … and I am no exception. There are some roles for in Les Mis for me that really can’t be sung by another performer … it really is that simple. Anyone else is a compromise … and compromise is just not acceptable when it comes to Les Mis. 😛
So I acknowledge that for my cast to come together would require a time machine. But I guess that is one of the advantages of putting together a dream cast rather than a real one … you can have all of the people that you love the most without worry about pesky thinks like time, place and age. So if the impossible was possible … this is who I would bring together for my Les Mis.
My Dream Cast
Jean Valjean – Colm Wilkinson
I will acknowledge that my first role selection is not based on who has the best voice … but more of a emotional choice. For me I can not go past Colm Wilkinson. He is the original … he is the master … he is Valjean. Anyone else just walks in his shadow.
But am going to cheat with this one and have a second Jean Valjean … my understudy … Alfie Boe. I could listen to him sing all day.
Although I have to include as a special mention how much I loved the Bring Him Home Quartet from the 25th Anniveray Concert … OHG. I would try and do something to have all of these men in the movie.
Javert – Philip Quast
Ok… this is one of the roles that I would disagree with the casting of the movie. I think Philip Quast was amazing as Javert and could have easily have resumed the role for the 2012 movie. He has also been previously recognised by Cameron Mackintosh as the best Javert. I know Russell Crowe is the smart commercial decision and will do an excellent job … but for my dream cast I choose Philip Quast.
Fantine – Debbie Byrne
I was really torn about who to put for this one. I am also a big fan of Patti LuPone, Lea Salonga and Ruthie Henshall. But as I had already cast Lea as Eponine … it came down really to Patti LuPone, Ruthie Henshall and Debbie Bryne. For today I choose Debbie. She is an amazing actress and performer. If you want to hear more … check her out on the Complete Symphonic Recording or her knock out performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. … But I am also really interested to see what Anne Hathaway does with the role. If she does half as good as what I think she will … she will be totally amazing. But until I see her in the movie … my Fantine is Debbie Byrne.
Marius – Michael Ball
For me there will be only one Marius … and that is Michael Ball. I fell in love with his voice all those years ago and I am still a fan (I know there are quite a few of you rolling your eyes now). I have not heard anyone sing Marius that comes anywhere near Michael’s performance. Like Colm with Valjean. Michael is the original … he is the master … he is the one and only Marius. Follow Michael on Twitter here.
Madame Thénardier & Monsieur Thénardier – Sacha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter
I know that this is a very bold decision as I have not seen or heard either of them in the role. But I would be very very very surprised if they are not totally amazing.
But just in case I have totally wrong … I have my understudies of Matt Luas and Jenny Galloway … who were amazing in the 25th Anniversary Concert.
Eponine – Lea Salonga
For me this is the role that I have spent the most amount of time considering. While it is tempting to choose Frances Ruffelle for sentimental reasons (Eponine from the Original London Production) … but my favourite and the one I always hear when I hear the music in my head is Lea. She is just amazing.
Although I am really looking forward to seeing Samantha Barks perform in the movie. I think they made an excellent choice for the role. I would love to hear her sing with Michael Ball. Hmmm…
Cosette – Amanda Seyfried
I know I am doing this again … but I think that they have made a very good decision in casting Amanda Seyfried as Cosette. But as my understudy I would have Judy Kuhn from the 10th Anniversary concert.
Enjolras – Anthony Warlow
For those of you who haven’t heard Anthony Warlow sing … he is just amazing and one of Australia’s greatest talents. With ease and perfection he just seems to go between musical theatre, opera and operaettas. He is just one of those performers that if you see they are in the cast … then it is worth going and seeing the production.
Young Cosette – Lea Michelle
Yes … this is Rachel from Glee. But Lea started her professional career on Broadway in 1995 as a replacement in the role of Young Cosette. I only wish there was a better recording of this important role in her career.
So who would be in your Dream Cast?
Are you a big fan of Les Misérables? Who would you have in your Dream Cast (if time, place and age were no barrier)? Would you choose the same as me? The same as the Original Cast? The Original Broadway Cast? The Original French Production? The Complete Symphonic Recording? The 10th Anniversary Concert? the 25th Anniversary Concert? Or a tour or local production? Who would you choose?