For starters, I screwed up. An editing snafu forced me to re-write from scratch my scoop on the Beaumont Club closing. Because of that, I totally missed the Alamo’s recommended get-there-a-half hour early recommendation. Thus I missed the cool pre-movie shorts unique to the Alamo experience. I was bummed.
Don’t let that happen to you.
I digress. Les Miserables kind of dragged early on and I wasn’t feeling the magic until halfway through. It ended strong though, so I heartily recommend it (Jack didn’t review it here for some strange reason).
However watching closeups of stars – Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe – choking out the Broadway standards, gave me pause.
Would these actors have even made the cut on Broadway if they’d tried out for the live theater edition of Les Miz sans their movie star credentials? As nobodies competing solely on the basis of their singing chops?
Who better than Theater League main man Mark Edelman – who first presented Les Miserable in KC at the Midland in 1989 – to answer that…
“I thought it was good,” Edelman says of the movie version. “You know, I wasn’t crazy about it but it was good.”
“Oh yeah,” Edelman says. “He’s actually a much better singer than he was in the movie, if he’d done that show in the studio instead of on a movie set. You didn’t hear his best vocal performance.
“He did Oklahoma in London – you can see it on PBS – and he’s really amazing. I also saw him in a show on Broadway called The Boy from Oz and he was huge. He sold out the entire engagement and he was amazing singing and dancing.
“He’s really a great actor, a great singer and a great dancer, but Les Miserables was not his best musical performance.”
How about Russell Crowe?
“”Russell Crowe as Javert was disappointing,” Edelman says. “He did not really have the range to sing the low notes.”
“I loved her. She was great and her singing was beautiful.”
All of that said, here’s where the movie version of Les Miz fell short.
“Overall it was a fine job, but the movie was not as good as the musical,” Edelman says. “It didn’t take it to another level like Chicago did. Chicago took the Broadway musical to a higher level like West Side Story did and in a funny way, Grease did.”
Part of the problem was too many closeups, Edelman says.
“On the stage, you’re looking at a vast spectacle most of the time and the closeups took a little of that grandeur away,” Edelman says.
The only actor / singer that wouldn’t have made the cut on Broadway: Crowe.
“Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway could have,” he says.