Day Sixty/Sixty-One (Phantom of the Opera/Les Miserables)

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Ignore the Cats segment of this picture. It is entirely irrelevant to this post. Besides, I have heard mostly bad things about that show. Evidently, there’s not much plot outside of the general “oh look cats”. The song “Memory”, out of context, is a really emotional fantastic song. But I’m here to talk about the other two musicals, both of which are favorites of mine and I will defend them to the death.

I’ll get into Hunchback on a later day, but I have read the book and I loved it. One day I’ll get around to reading the original novel of Les Miserables. I love the 10th and 25th Anniversary concerts. I love the movie. I have spent far too much time mentally comparing them. The 10th is the best though, because it was the first one I saw and the cast is perfect. Everyone fits the roles they are playing and performs the hell out of them. The 25th anniversary has a stellar cast too, but a lot of the actors and actresses just don’t measure up quite as well. The movie has it’s moments, but most of it is just okay. The camera angles really bothered me throughout the film. Was it really necessary to have so many close-ups? Also it was clear which actors were movie stars and which were trained in musical theatre.

But, regardless of the little differences, the show remains the same in all three versions. They are all spectacular in their own way. I love how there’s no real main character. I suppose the story follows the redemption arc of Jean Valjean, but it also follows many other characters throughout their personal journeys too. Fantine. Eponine. Cosette. Marius. Javert. Each character feels like they’re the main character of their own story. The whole story is a good history lesson. There is plenty of room for shipping wars (#TeamEnjolrasAndGrantaire). There are some fantastic songs to belt out. Lots of tragedy to sob through. Lots of deep compelling messages. 10 out of 10. This show is a masterpiece.

Phantom of the Opera is nothing like Les Miserables. I just happened to get into both musicals around the same time and they’re both very dramatic and over-the-top. I prefer Phantom of the Opera, personally. The book was great, but I read it so long ago that I hardly remember most of it. The facts are similar to the musical, but the tone is very different. I remember first borrowing the Phantom of the Opera DVD from Blockbusters (feel old yet?) and rewatching it every single day for a week. I remember looking up everything I could find on the story. I remember writing bad fanfiction. I remember talking nonstop about it. I loved the love triangle and thought both male leads were so compelling (especially The Phantom). I loved the music. I loved the vocal talent. I loved how melodramatic and intense it is. I love everything about it. A few years later I watched the 25th anniversary and it is just as good as the film. Better in many ways, too. In that version, I will always prefer Raoul. We’re just going to pretend Love Never Dies never happened. It’s a very flashy fanfiction with great music.

Why do I randomly mention this? Well, earlier today I realized that Enjolras and Grantaire in the 25th anniversary of Les Miserables were Raul and The Phantom in the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera. I was stunned and immediately started watching every video of both shows that I could find. Which led me to the 10th anniversary and film versions. Which led me to writing this entry. Both shows are incredibly important to me and I love everything about them. From the plot to the characters to the themes. They’re two of my favorite musicals easily. I can do without watching Cats, though.

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3 thoughts on “Day Sixty/Sixty-One (Phantom of the Opera/Les Miserables)

  1. Wicked was what sparked my love for musicals when I saw the musical on Broadway. It did make me understand the more emotional and complex side of musicals.

    Well, look what happens when Les Mis enters my life. It decides to challenge everything I once knew about musicals. I grew up believing all musicals were happy and Les Mis showed me that tragic musicals exist. I even realized that I was 100% blind to heartbreak growing as well. Les Mis made me view emotions in a way that I never viewed them before. My journey began with the movie, which led into a community college production, which led to me seeing the show in London. This musical turned my love of musicals into a passion.

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      • To be honest: back in high school, I really looked at tragedies in a very negative light. That was when I realized tragedies first existed. I thought they were just sad and so I ignored them and was so close-minded. Good thing when I saw the movie of Les Mis that I did not know it was tragic

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