After what happened at Toy Story 3, I wasn’t about to watch Les Miserables in a theater with people. I kept putting off renting the movie because who goes around looking for reasons to cry? But Lexie finally said enough and tossed the DVD into our cart at the grocery store. Fine, I said, but I’m going to ease into it.
So I watched just the end with Lexie, noting that she was a sobbing mess, but I was fine. And then I watched some bits in the middle—again, fine, no big deal. And then I watched the entire thing and was a sobbing mess. Oh, that Hugh Jackman. I read somewhere that he could play Jean Valjean with his eyes alone, and it’s so true. He breaks your heart.
So then we had to get the soundtrack so we could sing along. And I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but after you’ve been singing in musical theater mode, it’s hard to stop singing like that. So you go around belting out, “You must do your math now. Yes, you must do your math now.” Even Will, who didn’t watch the movie but likes the CD, sang back, “But I don’t want to do my math. I’d rather go outside.” Which made my day.
I’m always interested in what’s going on behind the scenes, so I thought these were some fun facts:
- Lyricist Alain Boublil was inspired to adapt Les Miserables after watching a performance of Oliver! So the entire thing was created around the scrappy character Gavroche, which made Lexie very happy because she thinks he’s adorable.
- Colm Wilkinson, who was the original Jean Valjean onstage, plays the Bishop of Digne, that lovely priest who takes pity on Valjean and starts him on a new path. And actress Frances Ruffelle, who won a Tony Award for playing the role of Eponine in the Broadway run of the musical, plays a bit part as a bawdy prostitute. Doesn’t it make you happy when the people who helped make something great are remembered and honored?
- When Anne Hathaway was seven, she got to see her mother, Kathleen Ann McCauley, perform the part of Fantine onstage. I can imagine it made quite an impact on someone so young! So cool how it came full circle for them.
Do you think I’m ridiculous, or can books and movies and musicals turn you into a sobbing mess, too? ‘Fess up, please.