by Ryne Preheim
Since Tom Hooper’s production of Les Miserables just hit the movie theaters recently, I thought it would be a good time to review the Original Broadway Cast Recording of the musical and compare it to the new cast in the movie.
With Colm Wilkenson as the Valjean role, you receive his heavenly voice in a way Hugh Jackman could never express no matter how hard he tried. Colm’s voice is soft and elegant but also strong and powerful, taking the listener by force as it caresses your ears through each and every single note. While Jackman played the role superbly, Colm owns it with such authority you wish the entire album were just him, that is until you hear the other roles come into play. While Mr. Jackman’s emotional performances left me teary-eyed in the theatre, he does not match Colm’s masterful performance of the role.
Javert is voiced by Roger Allam on the CD, compared to Russell Crowe it is quite the step up. While Crowe’s acting was on the money, his singing was a little dry in my opinion and left something to be desired. You don’t feel that way with Allam as he powers his way through “Javert’s Suicide,” but shows his vulnerability in “Stars.” The listener obviously can’t see his face, but they can almost feel the emotion glide off each syllable of every word.
Marius was originally played by Michael Ball who also stared in the West End version. For this one I would say Eddie Redmayne played the part masterfully in the movie and his voice was extremely proficient in both the tenor and baritone parts. While Michael Ball is the original, I can’t help but feel that his voice falls a bit short of Redmayne’s.
Now on to the supporting roles. These characters include: Enjorlas, Cosette, Eponine, Fantine, The Therandiers and Gavroche. I will mostly summarize each one seeing as how there are a lot of characters left. The original Eponine is Lea Salogna and while Samantha Barks does perform well she can’t compare to this veteran of the theatre.
Amanda Seyfried I honestly did not enjoy during the film, so advantage goes to the original cast. Both Fantines performed superbly and you can definitely expect Anne Hathaway to be nominated or even win an Oscar for best supporting actress. I enjoyed Sacha Baren Cohen far more than the original Therandier, and Helena Bonham Carter in the same respect.
The Therandiers from the movie provided a far better comedic relief and entertainment factor than the original Broadway cast version. Aaron Tveit seemed a little young for the role of Enjorlas in the movie, but performed it well, I would say both the original and the newer version perform the role outstandingly.
And last, but not least, Gavroche is an interesting role, Daniel Huttlestone owned the role with a dead on accent and a beautiful voice to match. While in the original cast Gavroche’s voice is outstanding, he doesn’t usually use the accent in an excellent way.
Tom Hooper did produce a great version of Les Miserables, but I must say that the Original Broadway Cast takes the cake and my favoritism; however I do highly recommend both for any musical fanatic.