Putting aside my recent frustration at the post office and the continuing saga of my immigration headache, I’m having a fairly entertaining couple of weeks hanging out in Paris theaters. Tomorrow night, Michel‘s musical theater troupe returns to the stage with their September reprise of Pas de Gondoles pour Denise. I’m obviously partial, but this amateur troupe’s latest production is, quite simply, top-notch fun … and the Paris theater critics agree. A fun and uplifting tale about the search for love, the story of Denise unfolds on stage through powerful vocals and impressive choreography, with a musical score set to the melodies of popular songs. I’ll be there Friday night (with friends) and Saturday night (with Michel’s family) for my third and fourth times seeing the show.
As much as I’d like to encourage you to come out and see Denise, there won’t be any available seats for the September shows by the time you read this. They will go on tour around France, though, in the coming months, so stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, how about this:
That’s right! Sister Act … the Musical … in French!
Now that Les Caramels Fous are on vacation until the September reprise of Pas de Gondoles pour Denise, I can turn my attention to another musical, one with a slightly larger production budget: the latest adaptation of Les Misérables. There have already been at least 55 film and television adaptations of Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, but this will be the very first film adaptation of the musical. The Christmas 2012 release will be director Tom Hooper’s first feature film since The King’s Speech, and expectations are accordingly high. His adaption of the word-renowned musical will bring to the screen such big names as Hugh Jackman (as Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (as Inspector Javert), Anne Hathaway (as Fantine), and Helena Bonham-Carter (as Madame Thénardier), as well as such lesser known, though no less talented, stars as Amanda Seyfried (as Cosette), Eddie Redmayne (as Marius), and Samantha Barks (as Éponine). Perhaps surprisingly, even Sacha Baron Cohen (yes, that Sacha Baron Cohen … of Borat, Brüno, and Dictator fame) will make an appearance as Thénardier. Come to think of it, he might just be perfect for the role. All in all, that’s quite an impressive cast.
Les Mis was the first musical I ever saw, some 20 years ago, and watching the adaptation for the silver screen this Christmas will be the first time I will have seen it since. The musical version of Hugo’s masterpiece treats the same themes of broken dreams, unrequited love, redemption and social justice as does the novel, but the musical does it in a way that only musical theater can: Continue reading I Dreamed a Dream
Most of you know that I’m married to an amateur singer and dancer. Michel has been a member of a musical theater troupe here in Paris called Les Caramels Fous (“The Crazy Caramels”) for about four years. While they may not be a professional company, let me assure you that the musicals performed by this thirty-year-old all-male, all-gay troupe are anything but amateur. When I first met Michel in April 2009, he was getting ready for the premiere of the Caramels’ musical Madame Mouchabeurre (“Mrs. Butter-Fly”), a comic retelling of the opera Madama Butterfly set in Brittany in the 1950s and 1970s. Michel played several roles, including a Breton woman wearing an outfit from the ’50s, a Breton man in traditional costume, a French sailor, and an American paratrooper. Madame Mouchabeurre had three highly successful runs here in Paris in June 2009, October/November 2009, and June/July 2010, the Caramels playing three performances a week to packed houses for three- or four-week stints each time. Starting in November 2010, the Caramels took Madame Mouchabeurre on the road for several more performances all around France: Charleville-Mézières (Ardennes), Nantes, Fréjus, Merignac (Bordeaux), Blagnac (Toulouse), La Baule, and Nice, before returning to Paris for another performance at Puteaux last December. Continue reading No Gondolas for Denise