BWW Interview: Jillian Butler of LES MISERABLES at Bass Concert Hall
"Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men? It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again." Familiar lyrics to the familiar show LES MISERABLES. The story tells of redemption and unity. It also shares the hope of so many wishing for a better world to live in. LES MISERABLES continues to entertain audiences around the world and is currently touring North America with a stellar cast. Jillian Butler plays the role of young Cosette trying to find her own way in a world full of turmoil. BWW caught up with Butler as she and the cast prepare to perform in Austin, Texas from September 10-15, 2019.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got involved in performing.
I started off in middle school. I was convinced to do my first musical then and I caught the theater bug. I started singing and then in high school, I was in choir and drama. I fell in love with it and never looked back. There's nothing else I ever really wanted to do. I followed that passion.
You ended up at the Boston Conservatory. How was that experience?
It was amazing. It's such an artistic city too so just to be immersed in that world and so close to New York as well. But the whole school, the whole curriculum, how it was; you're always so busy. It was a good way to get a taste of the business as well. It was a great way to grow and cultivate my skills. I loved the program.
You have done a lot of shows over the years. You were in WICKED as well and you were in CINDERELLA and many others. Is there any particular role that you have felt like it was your dream role?
WICKED was definitely a dream role. I joke because I didn't know LES MIS to the level that I think people know and love it. I was never someone that grew up singing LES MIS all the time. I think that has helped me love it in a different way and now Cosette has definitely been a dream role I didn't know I needed in my life. I feel like now, stepping into Cosette and in the show, I needed it in a different way, spiritually. It's helped on those days I'm not feeling the best. Cosette is so light-hearted and strong-willed and I think she is a dream for me to play in my life.
There's so much to be said about the character Cosette in the first place. Tell us a little bit about how you got to be Cosette in the tour of LES MISERABLES.
It was the standard audition process. I was on tour with WICKED and I sent in a self-tape. From there, I had a series three or four callbacks and then I had to have a final callback with our Marius, Josh Grosso. I sang with him a few times. I remember when they flew me out for that one, I thought that this might be the real deal, maybe the final one since he was singing with me, since he already had the role. They were pairing him with me to see how we sounded together. That was my final callback and it was an amazing experience just to be in front of that creative team as well. I got a call that they wanted me to play Cosette and I couldn't believe it. Our cast is pretty spectacular and I'm lucky to get to work on this production.
The final question I like to ask people is what advice do you have for someone thinking about getting into this business?
I would say, be kind. Know that you are your own individual and you have something special and not compare yourself to other people. There's a lot of talented people but, people remember who's nice. Bring that energy to whatever you're doing. Try to enjoy the process. It's two years of doing [LES MIS] and that flew by. I'm trying to enjoy the process and the journey that it I'm on.
I know people are going to love our version [of LES MIS]. I think it's a very important story to be told right now. It's really about the survival of the human spirit.
Don't miss the opportunity to see LES MISERABLES in Austin, Texas at Bass Concert Hall. The show runs from September 10-15, 2019. Secure your tickets so you don't miss this timeless show.
PHOTO CREDIT:Matthew Murphy