May 29, 2012

Les Miserables, Part Two: The Music

A post about Les Miserables!  Yay!  (Ouch.  You guys are deafening me with your applause....)

First, A Small Matter...
First of all, when I first heard of Les Miserables and listened to the 10th Anniversary Concert, I automatically assumed that there were spoken lines in the musical, like in Phantom of the Opera and My Fair Lady and Singin' in the Rain and all the other musicals I've seen.  Even in light operas (Gilbert and Sullivan being my absolute favorite), there were some spoken lines.

Not so with Les Miz.

You can't imagine how surprised I was to find that there were absolutely no spoken lines.  Sometimes in the 10th Anniversary Concert soundtrack, it sounded like they spoke the lines, but no - it's all singing in the musical.  Everything.  I'm not kidding!  It was SO cool!  Even the recitations (what the half-spoken, half-sung lines in light operas are called) in between songs are still sung, all with one melody or another. For example, my sister (who goes by Arwen on this blog when she posts... which has been never as of today) and I call one melody 'The Dying Song' because it's what *Spoiler Alert!*  Fantine sings when she's dying, then what Valjean sings when he's dying, then, strangely, what Eponine sings in 'On My Own.' *End Spoiler Alert*  I can't remember what tune some of the "Recitations" are set to, but I think some of it is to 'The Dying Song.'

Anyway.  Interesting little tidbit you might or might not have known.

A Few of My Favorite Songs
Need I even say what this little section is about?  Hopefully you've gathered it from the title.  : )
I skip (or don't even have on my iPod) a few of the songs, namely "Lovely Ladies" and "Master of the House," because they're just full of... well, things that are not very edifying, if you know what I mean.  Which, by the way, is the one small issue I had with the musical.  Unlike a movie, you can't fast-forward, skip, or mute things in a musical.  Either you take what I call a Strategic Bathroom Break or you have to sit through it.  I chose the latter.  After the above two songs, my ears and eyes were burning.  Thank goodness, the rest of the musical more than made up for those few minutes.

Hmm... this is harder than I thought.  It's really easy to pick my favorite songs from, say, the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid ("She's in Love," "Positoovity," "Kiss the Girl," and "If Only") or, again, the Broadway version of Little Women ("Astonishing," "How I Am," "The Fire Within Me," and "Small Umbrella in the Rain"), but Les Miz is a little harder, especially since I have two versions to pick from - the cast I saw live, or the 10th Anniversary Concert Dream Cast.  (Notice, if you will, that the 25th Anniversary Concert is not listed.  That's partially because I haven't listened to the whole thing, and partially because I, ahem, don't like the parts I have listened to.  *cough* Nick Jonas as Marius! *cough, cough*)

I shall attempt, however!  Let's start from the beginning.  I'll just pick the songs I liked from "my" cast and not compare it to the awesome 10th Anniversary Concert Dream Cast.  I won't explain all of the reasons why I absolutely adored each and every one of "my" cast members - that's another post - but just the songs.  That way, the post will be shorter.  : )  (Keep in mind that these songs are in the order they were sung in, not by which I liked.  I could never pick a favorite!!)

(Now that I think about it, it would probably make more sense to write about the cast first, then the music.  Oh, well.  : P)

Also, just a little warning - this post is full of spoilers about the actual musical.  Just so ya know.  : )

"On Parole/The Bishop" and "Valjean's Soliloquy" were both amazing - "Valjean's Soliloquy" probably my favorite-er of the two, but they blended together so it seemed like one song.  "My" Jean Valjean, Peter Lockyer, did such a good job bringing such an amount of depth and emotion to the songs he sang!  Also, the acting that went on during the songs were just... wow.  'Took the silver, took my FLIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!' was the best part!  In that part, Valjean ran across the stage, was caught by some guards, and as he tried to get away (and they beat the daylights out of him and took the silver he took), Javert (played by the totally amazing and very talented Andrew Varela, who also played "my" Phantom when we went to see Phantom of the Opera) appeared and looked down on him.  (Yes, I meant to say that.)  I felt so bad for Valjean!  Then the bishop came and saved him - yay!  (As a side note, after Peter finished with "Valjean's Soliloquy," I clapped really loudly and practically screamed.  The young man in front of me, winced and said, "Ouch!"  I just laughed and said, "I'm sorry!" and tried to make my cheers a little quieter after that.  Hehehe...)
"I Dreamed a Dream" would be next on my favorites list.  Oh, my stars, I think the young woman they chose for Fantine, Betsy Morgan, was almost the best pick.  I didn't really like whoever it was in the 10th Anniversary Concert Dream Cast (Ruthie Henshall, I think), but she had the (how to describe it...?) harshness, I guess, that the character demanded.  "My" Fantine was different.  She sang like she'd had a more beautiful life before everything turned bad - with no harsh vibrato - and her voice echoed that.  Anyway, her version of "I Dreamed a Dream" was absolutely breathtaking.  (And I found a [yes, very bad] recording of her singing it on YouTube!  Yay!  Here it is.  She sang it better in the version we saw, but it's still pretty good.  : D)  Probably my favorite Fantine... ever.  Yes, I loved her that much!

Next would have to be "Who Am I? - The Trial."  Again, Peter sang with so much emotion... it was so amazing just how much you could imagine him as Jean Valjean!  At the beginning of the song, it's just him on the stage, all alone, with the amazing backdrop behind him.  (More on the sets later...)  In the end, right before 'So, Javert, you see it's true!', a court appeared in the back with Javert and a judge and a lot of other men.  Just slid over in about three heartbeats.  (The way the sets changed was just amazing.  It was so fast!  Almost like the last song in Mary Poppins [the musical], "Anything Can Happen."  The sets change as the song progresses, just one after the other, right in a row and you can't even tell how they're moving, just that they do.  That probably doesn't make any sense, but it's what it looked like!)  Such a great song!
"The Confrontation" comes next.  Unlike the 10th Anniversary version where you could hear both Valjean's and Javert's parts really well, whoever was controlling the microphones had the singer with the less-important part turned down.  (Seriously - like either one of their parts was less important!)  First Javert's mic was down, then Valjean's.  That was a little weird, but I got used to it in roughly two seconds.  : )  After that, they actually got into a fight and Valjean, who we all know is stronger than anyone Javert has ever known, totally beat Javert and ran away before he was able to even get up.  Very cool.

"Stars" would be next.  (And I just realized that I forgot that song on my first post... : P  Nuts.  And it's such an interesting song!!)  Javert is definitely way up there on my list of favorite warped-religion-villains (along with Judge Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame and King Ealden from The Sword in the Stars).  Oh, my stars, it was so good!  (No pun intended...)  Personally, I'm a little biased about Andrew Varela's amazing portrayal of Inspector Javert.  (See this post....)  I'm a little weird, too - I like good villains!  "Stars" is a really good song - in my opinion - because it perfectly shows what Javert is thinking and his motives towards re-(re-)arresting Valjean.  And yes, I guess I am a little biased.  Decide for yourselves.  : D

The whole Rue Plumet part is another favorite.  This includes "Rue Plumet - In My Life," "A Heart Full of Love," and "Attack on Rue Plumet."  We had Laura Wiley as Cosette, Max Quinlan as Marius, and Chasten Harmon as Eponine.  They were all extremely gifted and did an amazing job with their parts - Max and Laura convincing everyone that they were truly in love, even though they'd only met for five minutes once before, and Chasten convincing everyone that she was in love with Marius and making us all sad for her ('These are words he'll never say... not to me!').  In case you don't know the setup, there's a balcony on the side of the stage - on which Cosette stood when Marius threw pebbles at the window - and a big gate and stone wall in the middle of the stage - that Marius climbs over when he finds out that the gate is locked.  Max did such a good job making the song actually seem like it'd be sung.  Softly at first, 'A heart full of love...', then more forcefully, 'A heart full of song!'  She ducks back into the room and slams the balcony door.  Crestfallen, Marius sings (one of the only times it's more like speaking), 'I'm doing everything all wrong!'  Then she comes outside and sings with him.  Good scene....  Until Thenardier ruins it.  : P

Which brings us to "One Day More!"  It was a little less powerful than the 10th Anniversary version (because, obviously, they only have about forty people as opposed to about four hundred...).  It was still amazing, though!  I could hardly keep from singing along with them.  I still nodded my head to every single part... because, you know, I know all of the words.  : D  One of the coolest parts about this scene is that they're walking through the streets of Paris as they sing.  Even though all of the actors are marching in place, the backdrop behind them (which is projected onto the back of the stage... which I probably should have mentioned before because all of the sets are like that) moves backwards.  No kidding!  It didn't look cheesy or dorky at all, just very breathtaking (but not quite as much as another awesome set later...)!  Here's the YouTube link.  A lot of it isn't our cast (only Eponine and Javert are "right"), but it still gives you a little glimpse of what we saw.

Then comes the Intermission, which I barely got through.  : )  The way they started again was so neat!!!  At most of the other musicals I've gone to (I think it's safe to say all of them), the lights have dimmed and you know it's about to start so you'd better get in your seat... or, in my case all the time, your right seat because you were sitting in your cousin's, talking to someone who went with you.  : )  Anyway, there was absolutely no warning with Les Miz.  Just the huge opening chords and timpani and awesomeness of "Building the Barricade."  It's the big, "Bum, BUM!!!"  Then the curtain comes up and you see the Streets of Paris set and the two balconies on the side (that come together to form the alley in "Look Down.")  So cool...  But, being a musician, I'm weird like that.  : P

The Barricade scene....  Whoa.  So much went on, and it was really interesting - even though eight songs took place there.  I really can't pick out a favorite song from this part because they're all so good!!  I'll just go through them one by one.  : )  "Javert's Arrival - Little People" would definitely be a favorite because Javert was so bad and Gavroche was so good!  Joshua Colley, who played Gavroche, was so good at putting so much emotion and character in his voice alone that I could hardly believe he was only nine!  (While we're on the subject of Gavroche, let me just say that *Spoiler Alert!* I was so sad when he died.  Like, moved to the point of tears!  When he sang about Javert, he stopped right after, 'This only goes to show what little people can do!'  I was really disappointed that he didn't finish the song.  But then, after "Bring Him Home," he goes to find bullets.  ('You need somebody quicker - and I volunteer!'  ...  'Look at me, I'm almost there!' *sniff*)  Then... bang!  He starts singing, 'And little people know when little people fight.  We-'  Bang! 'may look easy pickings but we got some bite!'  Bang!!  'So never kick a dog because he's just a pup-'  Then you hear another Bang!!!, and Gavroche keeps singing really slowly and painfully (while I try really hard to keep from crying!) 'We fight like twenty armies and we won't give up, so you'd better run for cover when the pup... grows...'  And then, horror of horrors, another really big, much louder BANG!!!!  They shot him right in the middle of his song!  And Grantaire, who'd become a really good friend of Gavroche, fell to his knees and wailed.  (I thought he'd gotten shot at first...)  Sadness...  Why must the cute die young?!  *End Spoiler Alert*

The next one of my favorite songs in the Barricade scene is probably "Little Fall of Rain."  Don't let the title of the song fool you.  This is one of the saddest songs in the musical because *Spoiler Alert!* Eponine dies.  Tragic!  She's delivered his letter to Cosette (which was intercepted by Jean Valjean, who stayed behind to find out more about Marius - more later in this post), and come back, telling (or rather, singing to) Marius that she's going to stay with him.  He protests, and she falls onto a bench.  He finds out that she's been shot, she falls into his arms and they sing the song.  'Don't you fret, Monsieur Marius...'  Yes, it's a very, very sad song.  Chasten Harmon, who played "my" Eponine, did a very good job actually making it seem like she'd been shot.  Then Marius was really sad when she actually died... I felt so bad for him!  *End Spoiler Alert*  Anyway...  One of my favorite songs in the entire musical and it's so sad.  Now that I have the picture of everything that happened in the song whenever I hear it... and it makes it quite sadder.
Next is when Jean Valjean lets Javert go after Enjolras lets him 'take care of him!'  ('The law is inside out; the world is upside down!'  'Do what you have to do - this man belongs to you!')  Anyway, I didn't say spoiler alert because I think that everyone needs to hear about what a hero Valjean is!  Seriously, people - he lets him go.  After who knows how many years of Javert tracking him down (remember the line, 'I will be there!'), he just lets him go!  Tells him to go, Javert disappears, and Valjean shoots his gun up into the air (producing real smoke - I love, love, love real things like that!).  Enjolras looks at him, and he just nods.  An amazing scene!  (Then Javert commits suicide with a very cool set thing - he jumps off the bridge - the same one from "Stars" - then the bridge moves up and the backdrop changes from the river to inside the river!  Cool, no?!)

After that, the students sing "Drink With Me."  This song is another one of my favorites, and it's more recently a favorite because Arwen didn't want it on our iPods because, "Hello!  First Marius is singing about how much he loves Eponine and doesn't want her to die, then right after that, he's singing about Cosette again!  And they're drinking, and they're singing about women.  This is not going on our iPods."  All true.  However, (a little more back-story - this should only take a second) something went wrong with my iPod a few years ago and there wasn't any music on it anymore.  I had to put each song back on - a very long task.  I knew most of the songs that were supposed to be on my iPod, and some that weren't, but a few from Les Miz got on that I didn't think they should (such as "Beggars at the Feast," which is also not the best song in the world...).  "Drink With Me" was one of them.  And now, even though I think everything she was trying to say was true (except for the part about Marius loving Eponine... but that's another post for another time!), I really like the last little bit because it shows that Marius was truly in love with Cosette (even if they'd only met for five seconds, then the whole Rue Plumet scene).  'Do I care if I should die, now she goes across the sea?  Life without Cosette means nothing at all!  Would you weep, Cosette, should Marius fall?  Will you weep, Cosette, for me?'  What is there not to like about that?!

Then... "Bring Him Home."  My grandma tells us that every time she hears the song, she starts crying.  This time was no exception.  Sitting right next to her, I started getting a little teary-eyed, too.  This song comes right after "Drink With Me," and Marius' singing about Cosette.  He didn't know it, but while he sang, Valjean was watching him.  He'd been keeping an eye on Marius, but when he started showing his true feelings for Cosette....  Thus, "Bring Him Home."  Valjean has totally changed his opinion of Marius and asks God to keep him safe and bring him home.  Such a sweet song....  Did I mention how much I like Jean Valjean?!  A little on Peter and the actual song - he did such a good job!  I'd heard the song numerous times before, but I think his might be my favorite version.  Here's the link - listen and decide for yourselves!  (Although, I think the way he sung it when we heard it was a leeeeettle less... um, slidy.)

Then comes "Second Attack - The Final Battle."  Another "Whoa..." song.  The saddest aspect of this song is, as it's the final battle, they all die.  (Sorry to be so blunt, like the program, but that's what happens!)  The thing that makes it so sad - besides the fact that you see Marius first get shot and fall down, then Grantaire, then all the others, then finally Enjolras - is that every time someone gets shot, a spotlight shoots down on them.  Then, it goes off, and another student dies and another spotlight goes on him.  At the end, after the last guy dies (and sings something, I just can't remember what!  How annoying...), all of the spotlights go on right on the students.  Eventually, Valjean gets up from where he fell (on top of Marius, by the way), limps over to a sewer gate, and pulls it open.  He drags Marius in and shuts it behind him.  Then, Javert climbs over the barricade with a torch (a live, really flaming torch, people!  How cool is that?!), looking for Valjean.  The barricade comes apart, and a wagon is pulled across the stage by one of the Inspector's allies (I don't know what they'd be called...).  Javert holds up the torch and you see Enjolras and Gavroche inside, looking very dead, which made me sad again.  He gets mad and runs away.  Then comes the coolest part!!!  This is the amazing set part that I was talking about....  The jaw-dropping, endlessly amazing part.  Ready for it?  The backdrop behind the barricade, which had been the same city street that was in the "One Day More!" song (you just couldn't see it very well), starts moving down.  Then, it goes beneath the street and a sewer appears.  Cool, right?!  *sigh*  It looked cooler than I can ever explain it.  Anyway, Valjean appears out of nowhere, carrying the unconscious Marius.  It was seriously the coolest set thing in the entire musical!  (Ooh, and I found The Final Battle on YouTube.  Take a look!  This was our Marius, but not our Valjean or Enjolras - our Enjolras was not blonde!)

My next favorite song is "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables."  Our Marius, Max Quinlan... wow.  A friend of mine that also saw it agreed with me that he looked like he was about to start sobbing at the end.  He made me feel like he actually was Marius and that he had actually lost his friends and a pain actually goes on and on!  ('Oh, my friends, my FRIENDS!!!  Don't ask me what your sacrifice was for!')  Really the best version of "Empty Chairs" that I've heard - and that's saying a lot, because I'm a huge fan of Michael Ball as Marius!  Just... I'm a huger fan of Max Quinlan.  Sorry, Michael.  (Now that I think about it, Nick Jonas doesn't hold a candle to Max.  Sorry, Nick, but there it is!)  I can't find a YouTube link... but I will be looking!  : )

And that brings me to my next favorite song, "Epilogue (Finale)."  Debatably one of the best songs in the entire musical, it's got it all - everyone comes back and sings.  Everyone.  Eponine, Fantine, Gavroche!, Enjolras, Valjean, Marius, Cosette - everyone.  Except Javert.  My sister and I can sing Eponine and Fantine's harmony (what we call "Take My Hand" ['And lead me to salvation...']), but Chasten Harmon and Betsy Morgan did a way better job than us.  WAY better.  And that's what, five seconds of the ten-minute song?!  The entire thing was... whoa.  Soooooo good.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!
Tomorrow comes!
Tomorrow comes!!!!

Thus is the end of my exceedingly long post on the music of Les Miserables!  Up next, the cast!  (Hehehe - like I haven't talked about them enough already!!)


Happy Gotcha Day, NK!!

Today is the anniversary of the day that we adopted NK.  Happy 3rd Gotcha Day, Sweetie Pie!

May 24, 2012

Randomness Yet Again

(Above, my adorable little brother with a ribbon from my younger sister's birthday present.  Isn't he just adorable?!)

Thanks so much for being patient with me, everyone.  I know there have only been crickets on my blog, and I'm soary.  (I've had the most hectic week of my life!  Well, maybe not my life, but definitely the busiest week of 2012!  Let's just say that I have had no free time.  Poor Sir Percy has been left in the Kindle, his life frozen right in the middle of saving a family in Sir Percy Leads the Band...)

I've been doing a lot of things lately - chiefly...

A piano EXAM.  The examiner was from England and had an accent - one of the only happy things about the exam.  He was so bubbly, he reminded me of Mr. Bingley!  "Do sit down," he said, motioning towards the piano seat.  Once I'd adjusted it, he asked, "All comfortable?  Good!"  I just wanted him to talk.  Forget about the pieces I had to play and things I had to sing!

A violin recital.  I played 'Adoration,' and didn't do quite as well as I'd like, but one of the moms said I did very well.  : )

Homeschool Day at Six Flags!  I only rode two rollercoasters - I can't stand them! - but I had an excessively diverting time talking to friends and parents of friends.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jane Webster.  I finished it in about three sittings.  (I had to stop in the middle to study for a big history final I have sometime next week.  : P)  It was so good!  I seriously cried at the end.  Like, sobbed.  It's written entirely in letters - one-sided, mind you, yet very entertaining.  It's about a young orphan girl (a very promising young girl!) who gets chosen, by a trustee at the orphan asylum where she lives, to be educated at a college.  The man doesn't want her to know who he is, but she's supposed to write to him.  (She calls him Daddy-Long-Legs because she knows he's really tall.)  He never writes back, but that doesn't stop her.  Really good!  (Again, I sobbed at the end.  Tears of joy!)

I've started writing my first (well, technically second) post about Les Miserables.  It's about the music, and that's all I'll say.  : )

I've been writing a lot lately, too, which is a lot of fun because I didn't have much time this past school year.  I might post a bit of what I write soon.  Would you guys like to read it?

Well, we're going to watch Ivanhoe (starring Anthony Andrews... *sigh*) again because my dad hasn't seen it yet.  I'll close with a few random quotes that I've found over the course of the past few days.

"I do wish that mice and snakes and toads and angleworms are not so portable.  You never know what is going on in a perfectly respectable-looking child's pocket."
- Dear Enemy by Jane Webster

"It isn't the big troubles in life that require character.  Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh - I really think that requires spirit."
- Daddy-Long-Legs by Jane Webster

And a quote that I found the other day that describes perfectly my absolute favorite color...
Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.
- Pedro Calderon de la Barca, 17th-century Spanish playwright

I'll try to get my next Les Miz post up soon, but I don't know when.  Thanks for your patience!


May 16, 2012

"Well, I'm back."

*sheepish wave*  Hey, everybody.

*ducks rotten tomatoes*

I can't tell you guys how sorry I am.  I built up all this hype and excitement and told you I was going to tell you all about Les Miserables, but then I got myself on computer restriction by being on too much.  : P
So, I just want to apologize for not posting when I said I would.  I hope you'll find it in your hearts to forgive me.  : )

The Les Miserables posts (I do say "posts" because there are several, lol...) are still coming... if you guys still want them, that is.

Deepest apologies,


May 3, 2012

Les Miserables, Part One: The Story

Okay, so this is the first post in a series of I don't know how many about Les Miserables the musical.  : )  This is going to be fun!

First of all, let me say that the ENTIRE thing was AMAZING.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: It was truly worthy of the word epic.  Everything was perfect - the cast, the songs, the sets, the story, everything!  (Well, except 'Master of the House' and 'Lovely Ladies,' but I'll get to that later.)

This first post is for anyone who doesn't know the general storyline.  Going to the actual musical helped me understand the plot a lot more, because I'd only heard the music before.  (I have the 10th Anniversary Concert soundtrack and haven't gotten the 25th Anniversary Concert soundtrack because I didn't like the way Nick Jonas did Marius.  I watched his version of 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' the other day and didn't think it was as bad as I thought.  I think I'm caving...  : P)

But I digress....

The following is the story synopsis from inside my awesome and amazing "Souvenir Brochure," along with the song titles and my comments in italics.  Warning: The synopsis is the entire thing, and definitely not spoiler-free.  Actually, this entire series of blog posts will contain a lot of spoilers.  I'll try to warn you for some of them, but I might forget.  Sorry!


Act One

Prologue: 1815, Digne
After 19 years on the chain gang (aka, in prison) ("Prologue"), Jean Valjean find that the ticket-of-leave he must display condemns him to be an outcast.  Only the Bishop of Digne treats him kindly and Valhean, embittered by years of hardship (poor guy...), repays him by stealing some silver.  Valjean is caught and brought back by the police and is astonished when the Bishop lies to the police to save him.  ("On Parole/The Bishop")  Valjean decides to start his life anew.  ("Valjean's Soliloquy")

1823, Montreuil-Sur-Mer
Eight years have passed and Valjean, having broken his parole and changed his name to Monsieur Madeleine, has become a factory owner and Mayor.  ("At the End of the Day")  One of his workers, Fantine, has a secret illigitimate child.  When the other women discover this, they demand her dismissal.

Desperate for money to pay for medicines for her daughter Faintine sells her locket, her hair, and then [gets into "a bad business, Eugene..."  Sorry... : P].  ("Lovely Ladies")  Utterly degraded ("I Dreamed a Dream"), she gets into a fight [with someone] and is about to be taken to prison by Javert (The villain and a very evil [but still cool] guy!) when the 'Mayor' arrives and demands that she be taken to the hospital instead.  ("Fantine's Arrest")

The Mayor then rescues a man pinned beneath a cart.  ("The Runaway Cart")  Javert is reminded of the abnormal strength of convict 24601 Jean Valjean, who, he says, has just been rearrested.  ('And he comes to court today.  But of course he now denys it...'  Okay, okay, I'll stop!)  Valjean, unable to see an innocent man go to prison, confesses that he is prisoner 24601.  ("Who Am I? - The Trial")  (After that, he runs away)  At the hospital, Valjean promises the dying Fantine to find and look after her daughter Cosette.  ("Fantine's Death")  Javert arrives to arrest him, but Valjean escapes.  (And they have a fight!  It was really cool!)  ("The Confrontation," which has got to be one of the coolest songs in the musical!)

1823, Montfermeil
Cosette has been lodged with the Thenardiers, who horribly abuse her while indulging in their own daughter, Eponine.  ("Castle on a Cloud")  ("Master of the House," which I don't listen to for multiple reasons; more on that later)  Valjean pays the Thenardiers to let him take her away to Paris.  ("The Bargain - Waltz of Treachery")

1832, Paris
Nine years later, there is unrest in the city because of the likely demise of the popular leader General Lamarque, the only man left in the government who shows any feeling for the poor.  ("Look Down")  (Marius and Cosette meet... fatal attraction at first sight!)  A street gang led by Thenardier and his wife sets upon Jean Valjean and Cosette.  They are rescued by Javert, who does not recognize Valjean until he has gone.

The Thenardiers' daughter Eponine, who is secretly in love with the student Marius, reluctantly agrees to help him find Cosette, with whom he has fallen in love.

News of General Lamarque's death circulates in the city and a group of politically-minded students stream out into the streets to whip up support for a revolution.  ("ABC Cafe - Red and Black")  ("Do You Hear the People Sing?")

Cosette is consumed by thoughts of Marius, with whom she has fallen in love.  ("Rue Plumet - In My Life")  Eponine brings Marius to Cosette ("A Heart Full of Love") and then prevents an attempt by her father's gang to rob Valjean's house.  ("Attack on Rue Plumet")  (Well, not really - Eponine saves them)  Valjean, convinced it was Javert lurking outside his house, tells Cosette they must prepare to flee the country.  ("One Day More!"  Probably one of my favorite songs!)

Act Two
The students (Including Enjolras, who must not be left out!) prepare to build the barricade.  Marius, noticing that Eponine has joined the insurrection, sends her away with a letter to Cosette, which is intercepted by Valjean.  Eponine decides to rejoin her love at the barricade.  ("Building the Barricade - On My Own")

The barricade is built and the revolutionaries defy an army warning to give up or die.  ("Back at the Barricade")  Javert is exposed as a police spy (By Gavroche, who must also not be left out!).  ("Javert's Arrival - Little People")  In trying to return to the barricade, Eponine is killed.  ("Little Fall of Rain" - SAD!!  I almost started crying!  Major AWD moment here, though!)

Valjean arrives at the barricade in search of Marius (to check him out).  ("Night of Anguish")  ("First Attack")  He is given the chance to kill Javert but instead lets him go.  (Epic scene!!!)  The students settle down for a night on the barricade ("Drink With Me" - a song I really like now; more later) and, in the quiet of the night, Valjean prays to God to save Marius (for his little girl.  Sadness... "Bring Him Home")  (Gavroche dies... Weep, weep - all weep!!!  "Little People")  The next day the rebels are all killed.  (How blunt is that?!  This scene was so cool... More on THAT later, too.  "Second Attack - The Final Battle")

Valjean escapes into the sewers with the unconscious Marius.  ("The Sewers")  After meeting Thenardier, who is robbing the corpses of the rebels ("Dog Eats Dog"), he comes across Javert once more.  He pleads for time to deliver the young man to the hospital.  Javert lets Valjean go and, his unbending principles of justice haveing been shattered by Valjean's own mercy, he kills himself.  (Blunt again, but that's what happened!  "Javert's Soliloquy")  ("Turning")

Unaware of the identity of his rescuer, Marius recovers in Cosette's care.  ("Every Day - A Heart Full of Love (Reprise)")  (During this time, he has trouble accepting the fact that he's the only one of the students that's still alive and sings an amazing song called "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables")  Valjean confesses the truth of his past to Marius and insists that he must go away.  (Sadness, peoples...)

At Marius and Cosette's wedding, the Thenardiers try to blackmail Marius.  ("Wedding Chorale - Beggars at the Feast")  Thenardier says Cosette's 'father' is a murderer and as proof produces a ring which he stole from the corpse the night the barricade fell.  It is Marius's own ring (Horror!) and he realizes it was Valjean who rescued him that night.  He and Cosette go to Valjean where Cosette learns for the first time of her own history before the old man dies.  (Blunt yet again!!  Arg.  Why does this musical have to be so sad...?)  ("Epilogue (Finale)")

The End

Well, that's it!  My take on all this, plus everything else, later!!  : )