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"Les Miserables" makeup, effects, etc.? What did you do? 
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Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2002 11:23 pm
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Post "Les Miserables" makeup, effects, etc.? What did you do?
Dear "Les Miserables" Fans,

As some of you know, I was in a community production of this show a few years back. I portrayed a saleswoman, a factory worker, and a barricade protestor, and the following was the general routine for those of us who were portraying dirty, poor people:

1.) Regular stage makeup
2.) Hershey's Cocoa powder as "dirt", smudged on our faces, and, in some cases, our clothes (?)

Before the Barricade scene, I added water underneath my arms, to give the effect of "sweat", and I ratted my hair to high Heavens, but the other women wanted to look....pretty, no matter which roles they were playing. Only the two guys who were my stage companions on the barricade thought that my extra efforts were totally cool, and I was happy to be able to get that into character, anyway! If someone had told me to eat mac and cheese to yellow my teeth before the show, I'd have done it! If someone had told me to grind dirt underneath my fingernails, I'd have done it! I once went straight from the show to the grocery store, dressed in street clothing, but with my face and hair looking like that of a "Les Mis" peasant, and I didn't even care about the stares that I was receiving.

At one point, though, the makeup artist had to tell me to tone down the cocoa powder, because nobody else was bothering to use much at all, and I was the only one who looked truly dirty, so I was more noticeable than everyone else. I very reluctantly toned the powder down....but there were actually at least a few audience members who thought that most of us looked way too clean!
So, when you were in the show, what did your cast do, in order to effect the look of poverty, dirtiness, and ill health?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Till Next Time,
The Duchess of Mint
(The Original Lone Wolf)
I want someone who's the deviant version of Fred MacMurray, David Tomlinson & William Schallert....but who has the looks of guys like Dan Haggerty, Kris Kristofferson & Tom Selleck.

Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:52 am
Broadway Legend / MdN Veteran
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Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 2:56 pm
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Post Re: "Les Miserables" makeup, effects, etc.? What did you do?

I haven't been in the show myself, unfortunately, but I totally get your dedication to your dirt :lol:
It always bugs me when shows look too clean. It's just less realistic and really takes you out of the story.


Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:14 am
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Broadway Legend
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 6:06 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: Australia
Main Role: Performer
Post Re: "Les Miserables" makeup, effects, etc.? What did you do?
The first time I was in the show, some guys literally dug some mud up from a paddock and brought it into the theatre in a container. Each night they added water to make it easy to apply!

Buff :D

2003 Forum Award Winner Best Personality
All-Star Musical Character Enjolras (Les Mis)
Theme Song "Do You Hear the People Sing" (Les Mis)

Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:50 pm
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