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Theater Monday: Casting couch

Something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while, but kept putting off, until today because the day feels right.

Welcome to the casting couch! Where I take some of my favorite musicals and dream up my perfect cast.

Today we are looking at Notre-Dame de Paris, lyrics by Luc Plamondon, music by Riccardo Cocciante, based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The show has 7 named signing parts: two females, Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys, and five males, Frollo, Gringoire, Quasimodo, Phoebus and Clopin.

This show was played in London for a couple of seasons, and a shorter version was mounted in Las Vegas for about the same amount of time, and if I remember correctly, there was talk of taking it to Broadway, but that never happened.

Say the show was returning to London, and I had a chance to choose the cast. Who would I pick?

For Esmeralda: Samantha Barks. She’s a great singer, she can hit both the high and the low notes (this part is actually really hard, and I can understand that they cut the first part of the Bohemienne song, to remove the really low notes and allow the directors to cast sopranos as Esmeralda, but I don’t have to like it) and she’s really beautiful; I would have no problem believing that three guys fall head over heels over her face.

For Fleur-de-Lys: Katie Hall. This is a soprano part, who’s on stage for a very short amount of time and has to show a great deal of development, going from wide-eyed ingenue to dark and fierce scorned woman. From what I’ve seen of Katie Hall, she can handle it. And I love her voice so much, I want to see her in everything.

For Frollo: Earl Carpenter. This character is a combination of the blind righteousness of Javert and of the obsessive lust/love of a Phantom, and Earl Carpenter happens to be one of my favorite actors to have played both parts.

For Gringoire: Killian Donnelly. This character opens the show, and the actor playing him needs to grab the audience with pretty much nothing but his voice. That voice needs to be extraordinary. Killian Donnelly’s voice is extraordinary.

For Quasimodo: Fra Fee. The role was written for a new singer (at the time, of course, he’s become a superstar since) who was a very strong, powerful baritone, despite his young age. (He also had a very peculiar, gravelly voice, but you can’t ask for everything). Fra is another young singer who is a strong, powerful baritone, and I love his voice.

For Phoebus: Alistair Brammer. This part calls for a Disney Prince kind of voice, and he has it. Also, he’s good-looking, which is helpful when one plays a part who has multiple characters attracted to them.

For Clopin: Ramin Karimloo. The part was created by a rock singer, who brought a lot of raw energy on stage, which Ramin Karimloo can certainly bring. The part is also canonically stated to be a person of color, and this Iranian-born actor qualifies.

I also have a Broadway dream cast for this show, but it needs some work. So that’s enough for tonight.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Anything goes Friday: I love Youtube

I’ve been having this really good week in regards to Youtube. This week-end I was thinking about this old tv show I really liked as a kid, and I got a yen to watch it again. “I wonder if it’s on Youtube,” I said to myself, and then I looked, and it was.

And then after my post about Notre-Dame de Paris on Monday, I pulled out the cd because I put myself in a mood to listen to it, and I found the English version concept album. “That’s right! They made the whole show in London,” I said to myself. “I wonder what that was like. Maybe I can find the lyrics or something.” I turn to Google, and one of the first results is a Youtube video of the whole London show. That video let me to the Spanish version, and the Russian one, and a few other things as well. So really, it’s been a good week for me and Youtube.

So I’ll probably spend a good part of Valentine’s Day on Youtube, as it is currently my greatest love. But first I’d like to put some links here, about the blog tour. We had a few hiccups at first, but it looks like we’re off and running now. I’ve had three spotlights yesterday

One on Bakawa’s Book Fair: http://bawakas-bookfair.blogspot.ca/2014/02/the-admirer-by-aurelia-osborne.html

One on Down Write Nuts: http://jrosealexander.blogspot.ca/2014/02/author-spotlight-aurelia-osborne.html

One on Writer’s Inspiration: http://theinspirationalpen.blogspot.com/2014/02/spotlight-on-admirer-by-aurelia-osbourne.html

And one today, at Celtic Lady’s Reviews: http://www.celticladysreviews.blogspot.ca/2014/02/the-admirer-by-aurelia-osborne-blog-tour.html?m=1

 

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Theater Monday: Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the very first, if not the very first, musicals I saw live. It sparked my interest in the genre, and made me discover some great singers.

Notre-Dame de Paris is an adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel of the same name. The lyrics were written by the famous Québec lyricist Luc Plamondon and the music by Italian-French singer-musician-composer Riccardo Cocciante, and the original cast featured singers from many different French-speaking backgrounds.

(I say singers and not actors because, well, the people who played these parts weren’t actors. There isn’t a musical theater tradition in Québec, not like in New York or in London; you can’t make a career out of musical acting. So when someone puts a musical show together, they cast singers, and usually pop singers, the kind your hear on top 40 radio. The shows are very song-heavy/dialog-light anyway, so it all works out for the best.)

Anyway, I first learned about Notre-Dame de Paris when I heard an excerpt from one of the singles of the concept album on the radio. I only heard the very last bit of the song, and the dj didn’t do the post-presentation thing they do sometimes, so I was left with a very nice melody in my head, and a vague impression that this song reminded me of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. (I’m not sure why it reminded me of the Disney movie and not of the book, because the book reading experience had been the more recent one, but anyway. Also, if Disney is the only experience you have of the story, you should try the book, because otherwise you are missing something.)

Of course, the show was first mounted in France, so it took a year to get to Canada, and then another year to go on tour to my hometown. So by then, not only had I learned the concept album by heart, I had bought the official sound recording of the whole show, and rented the official video recording many times, and learned the whole show by heart. The downside was that I could tell when they changed the range of the melody because tour-Esmeralda apparently couldn’t hit the low notes. The upside is that I was ready for the fact that there was no goat for Gringoire to run away with.

(For the Disney-only people; in the book, there is a poet called Pierre Gringoire, who stumbles across the Gypsy court. Esmeralda saves his life by marrying him, but nothing happens between them, because Esmeralda is in love with Phoebus and Gringoire falls for her goat. At the climax of the story, when Esmeralda is about to be hanged, Gringoire looks at the goat and says “I can’t save them both”, and he runs away with the goat. SEE WHAT YOU ARE MISSING?!)

I wish I could have seen the original cast, signing the show in that huge theater in France. It must have been awesome. But as it was, I am very happy that I had the opportunity to see this show, and to have all these albums, and that DVD.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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