Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
Les Mis is one of the longest running plays on Broadway, so you'll be surprised to learn that I had never seen it before now. My sister had the original London cast album back in the day and it felt like she was in her room playing it 24/7 my entire senior year. I knew all the words to all the songs before I graduated high school. It came to Austin on tour while I was in college and my mom took my sister to see it. I couldn't go because I was doing my own show as usual. So, I missed my chance. I went to see the movie when it came out. I was so excited to finally see the show that I had only imagined seeing in my head for all those years. I thought the movie was terrible. It was not at all what I had imagined, there were entirely too many super close-up shots and the camera operator seemed drunk. But the unforgivable thing was the actors didn't have the voices for the roles, and I went away angry instead of satisfied. So I was really excited to finally see the show staged the way it was meant to be and played to a live audience with a huge barricade on stage built just for me.
It was everything I'd imagined all those years ago. The stage had a revolve, the barricade was in two pieces and came apart and rotated so you could see the other side. There was a trap door to the sewers for the Thenardiers to pop out of. There were costume changes galore! I really liked the costumes with the one exception that I thought adult Cosette could have been dressed in slightly brighter colors.
I found an old LA Times interview with her where she talks about her approach to costume design:
"For me, it's never a matter of doing pretty costumes," said Neofitou. "I'm trying to bring a world--with period pieces, specifically, it's an alien world--to modern audiences, to make that world the present. I don't want to have a barrier between the audience and what's going on onstage. You have to make that costume so familiar, so real to that character, that the audience doesn't see the costumes, it sees the character."
"I'm trying to augment what the director is saying or the actor is doing," Neofitou says. When the emphasis of a character changes during rehearsals, which are frequently attended by the costume designer, "you do bend the costumes. The costumes are always fluid."
I have the full article linked below:
From the program I learned that there are 50 performers in the show with 22 of them understudying the 9 leading roles. Between them they wear 444 costumes and 35 wigs in the show, and the poor dressers each have to climb 600 stairs every performance.
The Queen's Theatre
The theatre opened in 1907 and ran plays and other entertainments until WWII when it was the first theatre in the West End to be bombed by the Germans during the run of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. The bomb landed directly on the building and destroyed the lobby and the facade, forcing the theatre to close. It took nineteen years and $250,000 to restore it to its original Edwardian splendour on the inside and something a bit more modern on the outside. It reopened in 1959 with a John Gielgud solo show of Shakespearean sonnets and monologues. It has been home to Les Miserables since 2004.
If you love Les Mis like most of us theatre folks do, you'll really enjoy this parody version that tells you everything you need to know about Les Mis in just three minutes. If you don't know anything about Les Mis, then watch this first!
James Corden sings Jean Valjean, Lin Manuel Miranda sings Javert, Jesse Tyler Ferguson sings Marius, Audra McDonald sings Cosette, and Jane Krakowski sings Eponine. This version is so much better than the film.