Saturday, November 24, 2012

Q&A after "Les Miz"

After the debut screening of "Les Miserables," director Tom Hooper (center) and cast members Samantha Barks (Eponine), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Amanda Seyfried, and Anne Hathaway, joined Lincoln Center monitor Annette Insdorf (not seen here) for some Q and A with the audience. It was incredibly cool. The actors were asked about how they prepared for their roles, and Tom Hooper cited Victor Hugo's novel as the main source they all went back to. Anne Hathaway said she investigated the lives of sex slaves, which was heart-breaking, and they all talked about the stamina needed for singing through this musical.

I was impressed by Tom Hooper's decision to keep the musical sung-through. It's pretty much operatic in that vein, but I thought it worked. He said he had consulted Baz Luhrmann on this topic, and I was glad he did, because Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge" is one of my favorite movie musicals.

Another question that was asked was about everyone's first experience with the stage musical and how it affected them. I thought that was a great question, and I want to pose it to you:

Where were you when you first heard about or saw Les Miz?

I was 19, and I was at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Upon hearing me sing, one of my classmates said I had to sing "On My Own" from Les Miz, and she shared the music with me. I ended up singing the song in a talent showcase where I met my future husband, so it has special significance to me.

I later worked with Gina Milo, who had understudied Eponine and got to perform the role on Broadway. She and I became close in Lucky Stiff at Mason Street Warehouse. She was the quirky ingenue, and I was the big belty bad girl, so of course we had a blast together.

I recently did a musical theatre round table with some cast members from the Les Miz tour and Broadway production, so I got to see first-hand rehearsals of "Stars" an "Empty Charis and Empty Tables." It was really incredible work!

Seeing the film version of Les Miz yesterday made me think of these talented performers I have been fortunate to play with, and I'm inspired to keep working in the field. As Tom Hooper said in last night's Q and A, there is something extra emotional that comes out of an actor when they sing. It's like they access another part of themselves and bring something else to the table.

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