Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Except One Uncle Who... Well, Maybe Let That Pass."

It was my intention this week for Amy's Celebrate Musicals Week that I swarm the world of blogger with wondrous posts about BatB. However, seeing as I don't like to fangirl nor do I consider myself a great author of inspiring posts, time slipped away before I realized it, and here we are at the end, and I have only four posts up to show for it. 

But! Never fear! I am finding time for one last post. I had wanted to post a BatB Dream Cast, along with a comparison of the Original Broadway Cast (which shall henceforth be referred to as OBC because I don't feel like typing it all out) with the London Cast (likewise, LC). I wanted to incorporate the Australian Cast in this as well, but I regret to announce that I have heard only select songs from that performance. For the point of haste, I'm going to combine the two posts into one, smash all my paragraphs together, and then only spend time on those things that I like. (Bonus points to anyone who read that in Emma's voice.)

Now that I think of it, I probably should have saved Gaston's "You've been dreaming just one dream" line for this post. But we mustn't cry over spilled milk. Besides, the above that I used for this post's title is one of my favorite sung lines in the BatB musical, so I must use it somewhere during the week. And it works for today's post.


I never thought much about dream casts until just recently because it was until just recently that I was content to leave musicals as they were. Granted, I did have more or less favorite songs based on what the singers sounded like, but I really wasn't partial to one singer over another. Yet, now I've been learning to appreciate the singer as well as the song. I know a good voice when I hear one, and it's always a pleasure to have one's favorite songs sung by those who actually know how to sing. Did I say that out loud *coughNJinHeartFullOfLovecough*? 

So, whom do I wish to play whom? (That sound awkward to anyone else?) 

I mentioned in Amy's tag that I posted on Tuesday that I thought Aaron Tveit would make a good Beast and the more I think on it, the greater I like the idea. I've only ever heard him sing in the 2012 Les Mis, but he did an incredible job in that! Seeing him portray Enjolras, could give some seriousness to the character of the Beast, and at the same time be able to pull of his gruffness and his anger, but yet his hopefulness and his love.

I like Terrence Mann's (OBC) and Alasdair Harvey's (LC) voices well enough for the Beast, but there are parts where they annoy me and make me think that they're poking fun at the role. In the Something There segment, for example, both of them turn the Beast into an almost comical role when giving Belle the library and again when she asks for a second chance at dinner with him. Since when is the Beast comical?? I realize that is part of the musical, but I don't like it. The Beast is a man (if we can call him that in such a physical state) who suffers the consequences of his rash anger. He has a temper, but as he spends more time with Belle, he learns to soften and love. That's not a comical character, peoples. That's growth, something never to be laughed at. At least, not in a hilarious aspect. 

Wow, some comparison, Kiri, criticizing both men who played the Beast. Truthfully, I don't think I could choose between Terrence Mann and Alasdair Harvey, even though I disliked them both for making me want to laugh at the Beast. Terrence truly captured the Beast's sadness when he sang, but Alasdair, I felt, lent a little more hopefulness to the role. So, readers, you get to decide between the two. I cannot.

Whom for Belle? Whom for Belle? This one I've struggled with for a while, not exactly sure whom to choose, one because I'm extremely picky, two because I really cannot pinpoint that many Broadway singers. So, I'll have to settle for Laura Osnes. She has the spunky personality that Belle exhibits, and she's got an A-class voice, too. I've just been listening to snippets of her singing from Cinderella on Hayden's blog (so, Hayden, if you're reading this, thank you for posting your Cinderella sampler), and the more I hear of her, the more I like. 

She sounds similiar to Julie-Alanah Brighten who sings Belle in the LC, as both have a softer quality to their voices. Susan Egan from the OBC is usually pinpointed for her role in BatB, but I'm not a huge fan of her. Never have been, suspect I never will. Belle is a young woman, yearning for adventure, ready to make friends who will stay by her side, and I felt that Susan Egan didn't get that across. Sure, Belle is different from everyone else in her town, but she didn't have an ego. Not like Gaston. But I digress. Julie Brighten captured more of of the true Belle, even though it made me laugh to hear her sing certain lines. British singers, folks, singing an American musical set in France! Is this a international musical, or what? 

As soon as I told myself to post a BatB Dream Cast, my mind settled on one person to play the part of Gaston, and I haven't been able to talk myself out of it. So, I present his name here to you for your consideration. Ramin Karimloo. Wouldn't he make a great Gaston? He's got the deep voice, and he played the part of the Phantom in PotO, so I think he'd make a great villain. Just give him a gun, some of those "nobody-clomps-around-wearing-these-like-Gaston" boots, and he'd be good to go!

Burke Moses played Gaston in both the OBC AND the LC, so it hardly seems fair to compare him to himself. However, I can compare him to another Gaston. In the Australian cast, Hugh Jackman himself played the part of Gaston and, although I'm still having trouble getting my brain to process Jean Valjean being the bad guy in a red tunic and a ponytail, he did an admirable job. He gives a liveliness to Gaston that no other Gaston had given the role before, however, I'm not totally pleased with his vocals. He's a bit softer than I'd imagine Gaston to be, and he lacks a power behind his voice. Burke Moses, on the other hand, definitely captured the power of Gaston in his performance, so I'd have to pick him over the bread-thief-turned-French-villain. Or would that be the other way around?

Well, that's the last of the Dream Cast that I can think up at the moment, so the rest will be quick comparisons, for I fear time is escaping and I still have to publish this post. 

Lumiere is probably my favorite character in BatB, just because I love characters who can make me laugh. Gary Beach sang as the candelabra in the OBC, and Derek Griffiths took the role in the LC. To keep this simple, I prefer Derek because Gary sounds like he's trying to force a song over that rock he calls a tongue.

Cogsworth, another worthy person Enchanted Object of fame, is another great character for fun, even when he does not want to be. Actually, Cogsworth doesn't have a large singing portion in the musical (being too busy to get the castle to obey him, no doubt), so you don't hear much of Barry James's (LC) and Heath Lambert's (OBC) voices. They sound very similar to me, so I don't think I can decipher between the two.

Mrs. Potts. Well, who dares to follow in the great footsteps of Angela Lansbury who gave the character the iconic voice in the 1991 Disney film? Beth Fowler (OBC) and Mary Millar (LC), that's who. And of the two, I'm more inclined toward Beth Fowler's performance, liking the motherly way she acts toward Belle, and she does a marvelous job in the song. So, there.

Okay, are we done? *looks back over what's written* Looks good, peoples. So, now I say good-bye and...

God bless!
P.S. I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post, but my internet and my blog have banded against me in making it a year and a day to upload pictures to one of my posts. It's a pain, and I'm working on the problem, but for now, you'll have to content yourself with much-worded blog posts on Lianne Taimenlore.

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