Years ago when I was younger, I was absolutely obsessed with musicals. I'm pretty sure I have at least a couple entries on here about how I absolutely fell in love with Les Miserables during college. My sister had bought the broadway cast recording and since I was bored one night, I listened to it and it was amazing. I had always loved Disney movies for the music, but for some reason it had never occurred to me that musicals would be the same thing only bigger and better. Overnight a new world opened and I starting buying cast recordings and listening to them over and over. People who knew me during that time were probably quite exasperated that I would walk around singing the entire score of Les Miserables to myself wherever I went. When I moved to Chicago for grad school, I even took advantage of the theater opportunities there and would buy myself discount balcony season passes meant for students and got to actually see some of the shows I had only listened to on cd.
It's not to say that my interest in musicals extinguished in the years since, but it was often overshadowed by other interests. The one place that musicals always pop back into my head though is at the airport. For some reason, I feel this obsessive need to sing to myself while at the airport and standing in those ticket or security lines. I get a few strange looks for sure, but I find it comforting to sing in those circumstances. I think it just gives me a way to pass the time without becoming annoyed or fretting, and god knows there's nothing else you can do while standing in a security line. And just to note, it's not like I'm belting out showtunes at the top of my lungs or even in a normal voice. I'm pretty sure that sort of thing would guarantee me some extra screening time after all.
I've always loved music in a specific and particular sort of way. Songs which tell a story with a melody that carries through. I've never been all that interested in pop music of any sort, having bought almost no non-musical music cds in my life and only being a radio listener at best in my teens. Honestly, I couldn't even understand much of the thrill when I saw friends following bands and groups and discussing music in general. At the time, I was more likely to have The Little Mermaid soundtrack playing in my car than anything from the Top 40. In fact, I think my friends back then discovered a rather particular form of hell when the one person who had a car and was willing to drive them around also had a tendency to sing along to disney soundtracks wherever you went. Apparently, it's really hard to act cool under those circumstances.
For the past day or so, I've been listening to broadway cast recordings that I snagged from a massive torrent online. I was surprised to note that the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert had taken place last year and I eagerly went to download a copy of the video. I would have loved to have been in the audience for it, but given that it took place in the UK, even if I had known about it ahead of time and was willing to pay the price for a ticket, it wouldn't have happened. I had also watched the 10th anniversary concert and bought both the video and audio cds. It had been dubbed The Dream Cast and I had no reason to doubt that given the quality. This is especially true now, after having seen the 25th anniversary concert. It was really sad to not have Colm Wilkinson play the role of Valjean though it was spiffy to see Lea Salonga back, even if it was as Fantine instead of Eponine. All in all, the cast was just lacking in almost every single role compared head to head. The biggest disappointments were the casting of Marius and Thénardier. I know Marius is supposed to be a callow youth, and the person they got surely fit that role, but he just couldn't carry the part as far as his voice went. The person who played Thénardier wasn't awful, but only lacking by comparison to the amazing job Alun Armstrong. At least Jenny Galloway returned as his wife, and she was wonderful as always.
25 years. It's almost hard to imagine that that much time has passed. Ever time I listen to these musicals, I always wish that I had been blessed with some talent to really sing. It's not like I'm tone deaf, but I always wished that I could sing well enough to match the music in my head. There's always something about a beautiful voice that always gets me right to my core. People are often asked what single attribute could make you fall in love with someone, and I think it might be that for me. I only wish I had a voice to match.