Friday, September 19, 2008


if any of you out there is looking for ways to make me melt, or if you know anyone who is, i have a suggestion - Les Miserables on Broadway, or in London, or really anywhere with professionals performing. I have been listening to the 10th anniversary concert cd's lately, and i am in love. i have been ever since i first listened to the cd's when i was in 4th grade. i distinctly remember being obsessed with eponine, and writing out the story line in my 4th grade journal. once after having done this, adam davis sat on my desk and we got into an in-depth discussion about the story line. he had a lot more knowledge of the overall story than i did - i was, like i said, obsessed with eponine (as i think probably every girl high school age and younger is) and the rest of the story was only important as it related to her. during our off-track breaks from school, i would make jessi come over and we would get in dress ups and "re-enact" the play. (really just my favorite songs, with me being all the coolest people. sorry jess! about all of that...) after that little phase, my interest waned some, but not so much that i completely lost contact with it. for my choir audition my junior year i sang "on my own" and thought it had so much meaning for me in my life, with whatever boy i was hopelessly in love with (at the time) and his non-existent knowledge of me. then, when i journeyed up to rexburg i found out my roommate shared the same love, and she introduced me to the 10th anniversary edition, on video. we would watch it for hours (rexburg is boring) and sing at the top of our lungs. i sang "on my own" again for my voice class. i loved it. time passed, and i went on a seriously mistaken trip to nashville, where i rediscovered that video. once again, i watched it multiple times and sang along, complete with tears during "on my own." (i didn't grow out of that phase as quickly as most. my teen angst lasted much longer than it should have. i am still dealing with the lingering vestiges of it.)

these days, and this time around with the obsession, i believe i should be searching for jean valjean and convincing him to marry me. i know he is fictional, and old, but we can't help who we love. he is forced into criminal behavior, punished for it, and becomes understandably embittered towards the human race. then, when he encounters a truly good person, he changes the direction of his life. that right there is convincing enough for me. how many people in the world would take the incident with the bishop all in stride, as their dues for having served time just because they were hungry and did something to remedy the situation. but valjean takes the opportunity to become a better person, and he sticks with it. he voluntarily confesses to his true identity after the wrong man is captured in his place. he takes in an orphan he doesn't even know and treats her as if she is his own child. multiple times, he meets the man who is chasing him because he broke his parole (if only all policemen were as dedicated as javert, the world would be a safer place. :)) and tells him that he needs to keep a promise, to finish a task he started, and then javert can arrest him again. even given the opportunity to kill javert and stop being hunted, he lets him go. instead of running away from his problems, he meets them head on and does what is right, despite the depravity around him.

despite my love for the story, and the music, i have never seen this play done professionally. (i did go when mountain view did the production, and it was well done, but not the same...) my dream is london. i would love to go to london anyway, and the capstone to the whole trip would be seeing this musical while there. (i think i remember hearing once upon a time that the broadway show is done, retired, and maybe the london one as well. it's late/early and i don't feel like doing any research, so i'll just pretend that was something else and let the dream still live.) so, like i said, if any of you out there are trying to woo me, or you know someone who is, i have given you the key... :)


PeterByrne said...

Beautiful Jenna....although it's not a video, could I suggest, if you don't already have it, that you obtain the boxed CD set that contains the entire "Les Miserables", from first note to last, on audio CD. It's something Cameron Mackintosh wanted done for all the Les Mis fans all over the world, so he recorded the entire score with the London Philharmonia, then took the tapes around the world, recording the vocal performances of all of the standout performers in their various roles. It's a multi-award winning recording, and available on 3 CDs as "The Complete Symphonic Recording". And it's stupendous. The 10th anniversary performance is wonderful too, of course, but it's abbreviated, and lacks the detailed complexity of the entire score/libretto. If you were to Google "Complete Symphonic Recording, Les Miserables", I'm sure you'd find it. I live in Australia, and have seen Les Miserables 20 times, 18 of them here in Oz, the others in London and, last year, in New York. The London and New York Les Mis were tired and lacklustre, in my view, but I understand that the new theatre in which it's being played now in London is putting on a pretty good Les Mis, although with a smaller orchestra, more backing tracks and an edited libretto, so that everyone's out of the theatre by 11pm and no overtime has to be paid. (You wouldn't believe how we were hustled out of the theatre in New York last year, at 10:59pm) I, like you, became Les Mis obsessed from the moment I first saw it (Dec. 9, 1989, Princess Theatre, Melbourne, Dress Circle, Seat F22, Enter Door 3....tix framed on the wall beside me). I immediately took singing lessons and sent in tapes of my Javert performance to the Princess Theatre, with no success. I did, however, after unsuccessfully auditioning for the Javert role 4 times for non-professional productions, finally appear in Les Miserables in 2004, in the role of Thenardier, in my home town of Melbourne. We did 12 performances, in front of 1,000 people at a time, with full orchestra, to great acclaim. My dream fulfilled!! And last year, after seeing Les Mis on Broadway, I went on to Paris, just to visit the grave of Victor Hugo, as well as to stand on the bridge over the Seine from which Javert jumped. Played the Suicide Song in my headphones from the iPod, and, I swear, almost flung myself into the water at the critical moment. Enough are a very beautiful girl - - - if ever I come to London again to see the new Les Mis, I will certainly invite you to accompany me. We can weep together, and then go out and drink wine in copious quantity, clinking glasses and toasting the masterpiece that is "Les Miserables". Best wishes, from Peter Byrne in Melbourne, Australia.

Bonny said...

Jenna, I have the complete play on CD, and it's so much better! We saw it when it was at Capital Theater in SLC, and it was fabulous. I have almost the entire play memorized now. I think I was also in 4th grade when I realized my love for Les Miz (weird), and I remember rollerskating on my back porch, singing "A Little Fall of Rain" and crying because it was so sad!