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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread

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Littleshopofcarrie
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#1
Posted: 9/1/15 at 4:23pm

Anybody going tonight or soon to see Alfie Boe, Montego Glover and Alex Finke in Les Miserables? Can't wait to here how they all are! (But mainly Montego New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread )

Jace2017
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#2
Posted: 9/2/15 at 8:40am

Did anyone go last night?

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LizzieCurry
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#3
Posted: 9/2/15 at 8:46am

I did! Marcus DeAngelo (Gavroche) and Alex Finke (Cosette) were actually the standouts for me. Apparently Marcus is 13, and the older Gavroches have always leaned toward not being too sweetly cute, which was the case here. It's kind of a relief. Bravo! Alex Finke felt like the Cosette they wanted Amanda Seyfried to be. Adorable, curious about the world around her, sweet voice.

Even having attended Colm Wilkinson's first performance on tour before they all went to Shanghai, and closing of the 3rd national tour, I have never heard screaming for What Have I Done and Who Am I? like I did last night. A good portion of the orchestra stood for Bring Him Home, too, which I think was possibly planned by the fans Alfie has acquired during his crossover career. (It just felt a little off; not that it wasn't sweet.) I thought his Valjean was mostly reserved, with flashes of anger and frustration.

Montego Glover was very strong in pretty much everything but I Dreamed a Dream, which surprised me. She was excellent overall, but some of those longer notes sounded like a bit of a strain for her.

I might not have internet access for most of the rest of the day; sorry this is short. I'll post more when I can.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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kec
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#4
Posted: 9/2/15 at 10:51am

None of the fans I know who  were there last night said anything about a planned standing ovation for Bring Him Home,  but I know when Alfie has sung it in concert (mostly in the UK) he got standing ovations every time he sang it.  

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#5
Posted: 9/5/15 at 2:09pm

I went to see the show last night (my 3rd time), and had a great experience. I went specifically to see Alfie, because I think his performance as JVJ in the 25th Anniversary Concert is probably the best I've ever seen. And let me tell you, he did not disappoint!

 

I mean, obviously his performance didn't have quite the same grandeur and level of energy that the concert had, but you can't expect him to replicate that 7 times a week in a moderately small theatre. However, he was GOOD. I think his voice is so amazing. He's not the most physically expressive actor onstage, but his voice has so much strength and passion behind it that it doesn't even matter to me. 

 

The last time I saw the show was almost a year ago, so most of the principals were new to me, with the exception of Chris McCarell (whom I saw as Marius when he was the understudy), and Jason Forbach (whom I have coincidentally seen as Enjolras all 3 times). 

 

Gavin Lee was the biggest stand-out for me. His Thenardier was like no other interpretation of the role that I've ever seen. It reminded me a bit of Mr. Wormwood from Matilda, and I'd actually like to see him take a crack at that role. His Thenardier was spindly and jerky and slimy, in the best way.

 

Alex Finke was also quite good. She really breathed life into that dead character, in a beautiful way. She's not the traditional ingenue type, which worked in her favor for me. 

 

I'd agree with Lizzy's observation that I Dreamed A Dream was Glover's weakest moment, which was a real shame. I got the sense that the audience generally felt the same. Last night's audience was very vocal throughout the show, but the applause for I Dreamed a Dream was more polite and subdued. She seemed to be mixing some notes that are usually belted, which would be fine, but she didn't seem very confident in her mixing. During the part where she sings "turned her dream to shame" and continues going up on "Shame," she was mixing, then stopped before the last note, took another breathe and belted the last note, which was very awkward. Her acting through the rest of the show was fine, but nothing extraordinary. I think she might be a bit miscast. 

 

We saw the understudy for Eponine, and she was excellent. I think I might make another post about her in the "Understudy Review" thread, but I will say here that she was actually one of the best Eponines I've seen or heard. 

Updated On: 9/5/15 at 02:09 PM
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LizzieCurry
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#6
Posted: 9/5/15 at 2:55pm

She took a breath in the middle of "shame" again? How awkward. From her other work I really didn't expect that to be a regular thing.

And yeah, I LOVE Gavin Lee. I saw him in May as well and he's so perfect.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
bwaylvsong
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#7
Posted: 9/5/15 at 3:36pm

I'm not surprised at all- the money notes in IDAD sit right in her passaggio.  As weird as this sounds, I think it would be more comfortable for her vocally if they raised the key a whole step or so.

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#8
Posted: 9/5/15 at 3:52pm

I bet you're right about raising the key for montego.  

I do not know why Les Mis is so against changing keys for replacements (other than it costs a little bit of $ to have the orchestra parts recopied).  Lots of shows have tons of keys for replacements and understudies.  

 

bwaylvsong
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#9
Posted: 9/5/15 at 4:05pm

They lowered it for Daphne Rubin-Vega in the last revival, so it's been done.

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jdrye222
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#10
Posted: 9/5/15 at 4:18pm

Well they should.  

I would guess Montego needs it higher as previously posted.  

Side note - I can't imagine going from ISBY straight to Les Mis!   Ugh!  So much more work and so much more depressing.  I loved her in ISBY

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#11
Posted: 9/5/15 at 5:04pm

Haven't seem Les Mis in 20 years, but I've watched that Les Mis concert dozens of times.  I'd love to see Alfie Boe.  I might have to make a visit.

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#12
Posted: 9/5/15 at 8:00pm

jdrye222 said: "Side note - I can't imagine going from ISBY straight to Les Mis!   Ugh!  So much more work and so much more depressing.  I loved her in ISBY"

So did I! And I dunno, her stage time might be about the same. :)

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
dev101
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#13
Posted: 9/6/15 at 9:02pm

I'm really dying to see Alfie Boe in the role. I loved his concert performance, but I also really loved Ramin's high notes and his take on the role. Should be interesting to see how the two compare

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#14
Posted: 9/7/15 at 1:06am

There are no words to describe my disappointment with the show I saw today. It was my 4th visit to this production, and overall I would describe it as an 'Ok community theater production." Unbelievably amateurish throughout with some really bad cases of marking and going too over the top. Sound mixing made the show sound like I was listening to it through a wall.

Alfie was ok. He acted the role fine, but sang it in these different tones and keys that did not flow together at all. He was much, much, MUCH better in the filmed concert.

Poor poor Montego. That woman is talented beyond belief, but should not be anywhere near this role. She cannot sing it. Her acting was so over the top it was like she's never set foot on a stage before. I feel so bad that her talents are being wasted in this.

Alex Finke was okay. Her voice was a little shrill in the higher parts of "In My Life." But overall the best of the new guys.

Gavin Lee was awful and inaudible as Thenardier. He's making some weird (stupid) choices and the song was really hard to sit through. 

Wallace Smith is by far the most talented person in the production. His voice was made for this role, and I'm so happy to see him getting to excel.

 

Bring on Miss Saigon, because it's really time for this production to close up shop.

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#15
Posted: 10/4/15 at 12:27am

I have seen the show twice with the new cast. I have gone specifically to see Alfie Boe each time, so needless to say I was disappointed that he has been out both times. Today when I bought my ticket at the box office I specifically asked if he would be on and was told that he would be. When I got to the theatre, I saw that he wasn't. Fortunately I saw Will Ray both times I went, and he makes a great Valjean.

 

This production of Les Miserables still remains my least favorite production I have seen of the show (including the tour with the original staging and countless professional and community theatre productions). The direction is just plain terrible, the set is so incredibly cheap looking, the lighting is atrocious and way too dark, and the orchestrations are paper thin.

 

Brennyn Lark is the standout in the cast. On My Own was the highlight of the evening. Her voice is just sublime. It is also the only point in the night that the orchestra has that swelling and rich sound. Montego Glover has a lovely voice, but her acting is not that great. Earl Carpenter and Gavin Lee are remarkable. All the main roles are in pretty good hands right now, which is good.

 

I won't be going to back to try to see Alfie Boe. It's frustrating that he was out both times I went, but life goes on. 

 

"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
Updated On: 10/4/15 at 12:27 AM
theminutepast
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#16
Posted: 10/4/15 at 8:53am

How does Brennyn Lark play Eponine? Does she bring anything interesting to the role?

tmcgriff
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#17
Posted: 10/5/15 at 12:34am

The thing I loved the most about Brennyn Lark was that she really brought that tough girl exterior and was consistent with it. I feel like many Eponines have tiny glimpses of it, but once they start focusing on her desire to be with Marius, she turns into a lovesick, whiny puppy. I feel like Brennyn was consistent with her characterization in every circumstance the character is in. So even when she was singing On My Own, it was how I feel Eponine would truly perform it. It felt like part of the story, and sometimes I feel like it is its own separate entity.

Hope that made sense.

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#18
Posted: 10/5/15 at 10:24am

She strikes a pretty much perfect balance between tough and wistful/sad. 

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#19
Posted: 12/9/15 at 12:12am

Bump.  I just saw this production for the first time tonight and felt compelled to write my first real review on this site.

Last night I saw a revival of a musical on Broadway that was so good that it took away major flaws in the shows writing and elevated the material:  the Spring Awakening Deaf West revival.  Tonight I saw a revival of a musical on Broadway that was so bad that it elevated how flawed the show's writing is:  Les Miserables.  I have never had a desire to leave a show at intermission until tonight.  

But let's start with the good:
- Alfie Boe is the best sung I will ever hear Jean Valjean.  His performance was thrilling... if you had your eyes closed.  More on that later.
-The Javert (understudy, Andrew Love in a BRILLIANT Broadway debut) and Thenardier (Gavin Lee, original Bert in the stage production of Mary Poppins) were the best two I have ever seen in the roles.  I kept waiting for them to come back every time they weren't on stage, especially Love (Stars and Javert's Suicide were easily the highlights of the evening).
-The chemistry between Gavroche and Grantaire.
- Brennyn Lark (another Broadway debut) was quite good as Eponine.  Not as transcendent as Love and Lee... but very nice in the role.

WHAT DIDN'T I LIKE?
(almost everything else)
- First, (and this doesn't reflect on the show so much) the audience was the most horrid audience I have ever been around in a Broadway show.  I don't really know what I was expecting from a big tourist show...but still.  Cell phones were being used EVERYWHERE with no ushers in site.  One 20 something-year-old  in front of me was snapchatting through act one.  Worse yet, she was texting.  And every time she got a text, the flash on her camera went off in a strobe manner.  I went down to the row behind the one she was in during A Heart Full Of Love and whispered a couple of very nasty places she could pull her head out of if I saw her phone or a light from her phone again.  And I didn't see the phone.  But it didn't stop her from munching on candy and chips through act two and crinkling her bag loudly while doing it.  This isn't a p*ucking movie theater.  And this was going on EVERYWHERE.

- Alfie Boe can't act.  He can sing while following blocking... but he cannot act and that made him not effective at all in the role.  

- Everyone else in the cast wast just... serviceable.  That's it.  Completely forgettable and serviceable performances.  I don't go to Broadway to see serviceable.  People shouldn't be paying well over the $100 mark per seat and getting "serviceable" from 8.5/10 cast members.  They left no mark and I have already forgotten everything about them.

- The performance loses all the elegant and simple beauty of the original staging.  Should shows stay as they always have been staging wise?  God no.  As I saw with Spring Awakening last night, shows SHOULD be revived in radical new ways.  But this is not a radical new production.  This is a water down (read:  cheaper) production.

- I realized that I have outgrown enjoying Les Miserables as a piece of theater.  It is simply not good writing.  The lyrics of criminally bad and the show is the same five (maybe less) melodies over and over again.  The characters are all simply emotions with names.  It is simply a long and tedious show with very little artistic pay off.  I used to love it but as I have seen other (read: better) shows I realize more and more how turgid it truly is.

Broadway World's Fireman.
Updated On: 12/9/15 at 12:12 AM
TerrenceIsTheMann
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#20
Posted: 12/9/15 at 12:19am

A lot of this is to be expected when a show is open for this long. It's whole audience is tourists essentially.

neonlightsxo
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#21
Posted: 12/9/15 at 1:17pm

TerrenceIsTheMann said: "A lot of this is to be expected when a show is open for this long. It's whole audience is tourists essentially."


That's simply untrue. If you have a good director, they will make sure their show is in shape. Have you seen Wicked recently (or really, any time in the past 12 years)? Joe Mantello cares about the quality of his show.

 



Updated On: 12/9/15 at 01:17 PM
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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#22
Posted: 12/9/15 at 1:39pm

It's not long running shows necessarily. The Book of Mormon, Phantom, Jersey Boys, Wicked, and Lion King all do a good job at maintaining their shows.  They have been running so long that they have got it down to a science. Chicago is the exception to this. The shows that are not well maintained are shows that have been running for a while, but not a massive amount of time. Les Mis has a lot of original cast members who have been in the show for a long time, and they are closing.

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#23
Posted: 12/9/15 at 3:32pm

What is with these lax ushers?!

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New Les Mis Replacements Review Thread#24
Posted: 12/21/15 at 6:42pm

Seeing the new cast on Friday with Will Ray as Valjean, I believe. I will be sure to report my opinion here.