Artisteer

When Les Mis opened we thought it was a flop

~The Sun ~ 24/01/13 ~


THE day the first reviews came out for Les Mis we thought the musical was dead in the water.

I was in the original London stage cast, starring as Marius, and the critics panned the show.

The art world hated it — musicals were seen as a lesser form of theatre. They couldn’t understand why we had made a musical based on a literary masterpiece.

I was in the original London stage cast, starring as Marius, and the critics panned the show.

The art world hated it — musicals were seen as a lesser form of theatre. They couldn’t understand why we had made a musical based on a literary masterpiece.

Michael Ball
Les is more ... Michael Ball in 1985
Photostage

I remember thinking: “We’ll do 11 weeks of this then that will be that.”

Now, 28 years later, the film version of the musical is thrilling millions worldwide and is tipped to clean up at the Oscars. The stage show is back at No1 in the West End and remains one of the most widely-loved musicals of all time.

I should have known better than listen to critics. In the rehearsal room the whole cast knew we were creating something extraordinary. We were all bringing our own ideas, improvising the characters and making the story live and breathe.

It turned out audiences agreed with us rather than the critics. Les Mis became a hit because people were seeing the show, falling in love with it and telling friends.

The show really is the people’s musical. It is not just for people who like musicals — it is loved by people who are surprised to find they like it.

I know loads of blokes who don’t like musicals but love Les Mis. People just get swept up in the story, the scope and the grandeur of it all. This is a story of redemption and struggle, love and horror.

It is the intimate human stories within the epic backdrop of 19th Century France that people connect with. The characters are people we can all relate to at different points in our life.

Then, of course, there are the songs. The music helps the audience make that emotional leap into the story.

Anne Hathaway’s performance of I Dreamed A Dream is one of the greatest performances I have seen on film — ever. Anne told me her mum also played Fantine in the US tour of the show. Fantine is in Anne’s DNA and you can see that passion on screen.

Michael Ball
The original Marius ... Michael Ball

I had a long chat with Eddie Redmayne about playing Marius. My advice was that Marius can be a bit of a wimp, because he is the love interest, so the key is to make choices that make him noble rather than just wet.

His performance of Empty Chairs At Empty Tables is one of the high points of the film. But funnily enough, that was almost cut from the whole show.

Back in 1985 there was talk of removing it. I fought like a banshee to keep it because it is such a vital moment — when Marius realises the futility of war. I’m glad I did, and I hope audiences thrilled by Eddie’s rendition will agree.

They used to say when a musical was made into a film, that meant the musical was over. Les Mis is proving the reverse is true. The film is winning a new generation of fans for the stage show.

If you love the film, go to see it on the stage — there is nothing quite like it. This is a show that just doesn’t seem to date — and proves those first critics wrong to this day.

Michael Ball @ Social Media
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

JustBall.Net @ Social Media & more
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Home

Latest Updates
Radio Show
Together Again

Ball & Boe Official Page

Release Date New Album: 10 November 2017
Pre-order your copy

Concert Series: Summer & Winter 2017
Buy Tickets

Random Pictures

Contact Us | JBN - The Team | Home
Copyright © 2016 ---. All Rights Reserved. ---

Website Owners: Kerstin Wohlgemuth (Dulmen, Germany) and Julia Sedat (Potsdam, Germany)

This is not an official website. Michael Ball does not own, control, authorize or endorse it, nor is he responsible for its contents.
Any emails sent to this website will NOT be forwarded to Michael Ball..