Watch Ramin Karimloo and the Cast of LES MISERABLES Perform at Press Preview, Talk Rehearsals & More!
BroadwayWorld Contributing Editor Alan Aronshtam attended the Les Miserables press preview on September 16 to see a few numbers from the show, and talk about the latest Canadian revival with the cast.
This morning I had the pleasure of making my way down to Wallace Film Studios on the west side of Toronto to see a few numbers from the latest Canadian revival of Les Miserables as well as to talk to the cast about the rehearsal process and the changes in this 25th anniversary version. Ramin Karmiloo, originally from Toronto, began the short concert by singing "Bring Him Home" before being joined by the rest of the company for "One Day More."
When asked about the excitement of being back home doing this iconic musical, Karimloo said "It's funny, because I really don't know how to answer that. I've been lucky to have plenty of offers to come home, but none of them felt right. I feel so passionate for this show, and it's a great time for this show, so I'm very excited to just do this production, because I've never done this (the 25th anniversary) production and it's back in my old stomping ground it warms my heart. I also have to be careful not to do the same Valjean, but with this new cast and production I feel like I've never done it before."
Karimloo is no stranger to the part, having played Valjean on the West End back in 2011. "It's not an advantage or disadvantage. Well, it's kind of a disadvantage if you come back with the expectation to be doing it the same way. I said to them (the producers) that we're starting from scratch - a blank page. We've also got a different director, a new set, so it's nothing like before, which is great."
Next I spoke to Samantha Hill, who will be playing the role of Cosette. Cosette is the daughter of Jean Valjean, and has yet to see much of the world. This new production is being cast much younger and is focusing much more on the text than the original, so I asked Hill what her thoughts on Cosette are. "I'm trying to bring out a boldness, a vivaciousness, that sort of first love feeling. I'm trying to make her kind of like a rebellious teenager. She's lived a pretty sheltered life, but she's at an age where she wants to know more. Then she meets Marius and falls in love."
We also talked about what is was like to work with the legendary composing team that wrote the show. "It was wonderful. I got a chance to work with Claude Michel, and just his insight on the music was so helpful - in terms of dynamics and the music and technique. We spoke about the character, and it was a very special thing."
When asked if she was intimidated to be performing the work in front of the composer, Hill states "It was intimidating at first, but they're very kind people. There was no sense that they know what they want and nothing else. They're very open to interpretation."
I had a similar chat with Perry Sherman (Marius). He also described working with Claude Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubill: "The one thing Claude Michel said to me, after giving me a big hug, was just have fun with it. I think that was a really good thing to say because a lot of times you're doing this sad show but you can't do this show and feel sad. You have to have fun with it because it's big and dramatic - and that what musical theatre is about. "
Lastly I spoke with Dora Award Winning Actress Lisa Horner. When I last interviewed Lisa, she was in the middle of her run as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of OZ at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. First we spoke about the transition into her new project: "It was an interesting transition. We did the Sunday matinee and I started rehearsal Monday morning. I had to say goodbye to all my friends who were going on tour, but then coming into work Monday morning was a nice change because the music is just so gorgeous - we started music right away - and I was transported because the music is really all encompassing."
I also asked Lisa about working with the composing team: "Amazing! They were the friendliest men I ever met. They sat and waited, because you know, rehearsals can be tedious and there is a lot of starting and stopping. There were a couple of times I got to sit and watch Claude Michel sit at the piano and compose new music on the spot and Alain Boubill with him, talking and creating. It was an honor. A real honor."
Les Miserables will begin previews at the Princess of Wales Theatre on September 27, and will have it's opening night on October 9. Tickets are available on TicketKing.