Last weekend I told my husband how excited I was that my favorite musical of all time, Les Misérables had a 25th Anniversary DVD out — a DVD that had made its way to redbox. His response? “I’ve never seen Les Miz.”
WHAT?!?! How could this man be my husband? How could I have never shared the Les Miz experience with him in all of the years that have passed since we met in 1999? I decided to remedy the situation immediately, and we hunkered down in our comfy recliners for a Saturday night viewing of the three-hour-long production.
During the show, which was performed at London’s 02 Arena by a special 25th Anniversary cast (including the one and only Nick Jonas as Marius), I realized I knew every single word of the musical. Every last one! That’s what comes from listening to the soundtrack for decades, I guess. Since I know I’m obviously not the only huge Les Miz fan out there, I thought it would be fun to list my favorite songs from the play and get your reactions. So here it goes:
Erika’s Five Favorite Songs from Les Misérables:
5) Who Am I? – The Trial (by Jean Valjean) — I love the melody… but the truth behind this one making the list is that for some weird reason I’ve always gotten a huge kick out of the name “Jean Valjean” — it’s like I can’t NOT giggle when I hear it. Considering the lines near the climactic end of this tune, it was bound to be one of my faves: “Who am I…. who am I… ? I AM JEAN VALJEAN!”
4) A Heart Full of Love (Cosette, Marius, and Éponine) – One of the shorter numbers in the production, but simply lovely and unforgettable. This is the one I’ve found myself humming ever since Saturday.
3) One Day More (Chorus) - Absolutely brilliant in its use of so many intertwined melodies (from other songs and character themes in the production) and cast members singing different lyrics and tunes all at once. Every time I listen to it, I notice something new.
2) Do You Hear the People Sing? (Chorus) – Some of the best, most stirring lyrics ever written. I still marvel at how its message can be applied to so many present-day situations around the world. I challenge you to NOT leap out of your seat with revolutionary fervor at the end. (Even if you’ve got nothing to revolt against!)
1) On My Own (Éponine) – No question here whatsoever. This is not only my favorite song from the musical, but it’s also one of my favorite songs of all time. It never fails to bring a tear to my eye, and I think this is the song that deserves all of the hype usually reserved for “I Dreamed a Dream.” That’s right Fantine, I said it!
I should add a few words about the 25th Anniversary DVD while we’re at it:
- If you’ve already seen the musical live, then you’ll probably enjoy the DVD. There’s a really cool part with the original 1985 cast at the very end, and the cast of this special production was stellar as well (yes, even the Jonas Bro — who I read was dating the chick who plays Éponine for a little while!). There’s a very fun DVD extra called “A Whiz through Les Miz” that I highly recommend watching after you’ve seen the main show — it’s got snippets of the original cast included, which makes for some fun “then and now” comparisons.
- If you have never seen Les Misérables, this might not be the best introduction, simply because the 25th Anniversary show was not performed as the musical normally is. There aren’t really any sets and the characters do not act out any scenes. It’s basically just all of the cast in costume, standing and singing at microphones. So you might be a little lost if you’re not already familiar with the story line. For example, I needed to tell my husband who had been shot, who was related to whom, who was dying, etc., as he would’ve never been able to figure it out otherwise because of the lack of interaction amongst the cast. However, if you’re up for getting the gist of Victor Hugo’s story and hearing what might just be the best musical score and soundtrack of all time, then don’t delay — pop it in!
Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary is now at redbox. Reserve a copy!