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How were you introduced to Les Miserables? 
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Post How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
This topic is currently being discussed and I was surprised that it was never discussed here. So how were you introduced to Les Mis?

I was introduced to Les Mis at a very young age. When I was a baby/toddler, Come To Me was one of my mom's many lullabies that she would sing to me. My parents would also play the Original London Cast CD in the car very often in my early childhood. By the time I was 5 or 6, I was singing along to Castle on a Cloud and I would sing Valjean's parts of Come To Me, while my mom sang Fantine's before bed. My mom took me to see it for the first time in 1998 in Toronto (with Colm Wilkinson) when I was 6. I barely remember anything except for the prologue, Come to Me, Castle on a Cloud, the barricade scenes (because I was covering my ears due to the noise) and the finale. My parents then bought the 10th Anniversary Concert on VHS, which we would watch every now and then. Soon after that, I tried to get my friends into it, but they didn't get it, being the 6 or 7 year olds that they were. I then moved on to other, more normal obsessions for boys that age, such as cars, dinosaurs, etc. I went through another brief Les Mis phase in grade 6, moved onto other phases, and then rediscovered it when I saw it a second time when a touring production returned to Toronto when I was in grade 9. I have been a constant since then, seeing it for a third time in Syracuse during the 25th Anniversary US Tour and reading the unabridged novel about a year and a half ago.

What are your stories?


Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:38 am
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
As a French, like any other french, I cannot really say when I was first exposed to les Misérables.

In France, young Cosette and Gavroche are part of popular culture. The other main characters like Valjean, Javert and the Thenardiers are very well known, even from those who never read the book, saw the musical or a movie adaptation of the novel. Eponine, Enjolras, Fantine and others are know by those who are actually familiar to les Miserables, any form of it (Novel, Musical or Movie)

Speaking of the musical, I remember listening to "La Faute à Voltaire" with my sister and cousins when it came out in 1980.
I also remember all the fuzz around that show. It really was the show to be seen at that time.
Being quite young (I was 4 in 1980) an not living in Paris, I of course never saw this production.

I later came to get a copy of the Original French Concept album which I listened over and over... and over. That was about when the show opened in London. I had no idea that the show was revamped and always assumed it was direct translation of the musical I knew.

In 1991, a major event occured : the show was finaly comming back to paris ! And as my family moved to paris, I was able to see it. I was so excited to see it at last ! And discovered all the changes made to the original musical.
I really had a blast. Even if I could only afford seats at the very last row of the higher balcony of the theatre.
I then saw it a second time a few month later, but this time I was at the very front row.

Seeing that marvelous Paris Revival cast perform the show at only 3 or 4 meters away from me is a memory that I will keep in my head forever...


Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:59 am
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
My best friend was into musicals and in late 96 he saw it for the first time in Duisburg, Germany. He was absolutely thrilled and tried his best to introduce me to it, mainly I think because he wanted to sing the "Confrontation" together with me. We had a kind of a cappella band at that time together. So he told me about the story and all that...and he showed me his videotape of the 10th Anniversary, which had been broadcast on a German TV station. Therefore the very first things I remember hearing and seeing are "Do you hear the people sing" and the "Confrontation", both from the TAC, yet I don't remember which one came first. But it gripped me. And I was never into musicals before. I lend out the novel at my local libary (1200 pages slightly abridged), read it, fell in love with it. Meanwhile my best friend and his brother created the first German fanpage on the web, which still exists: http://www.lesmis.de
The German cast recordings became my favorite CDs to listen to during 97 and we even entertained the class singing the Confrontation... :D I taped every snippet about it that was on TV at the time (which reminds me that I need to digitalize that...real pearls on those tapes).
And on October 14, 1997 I had the pleasure to see it live for the first time. What a night. I remember vividly how I grasped for air when the courtscene came up during "Who am I?". Absolutely mindblowing stuff. What a show. It started my love for musical theatre, however I'm still more into "great stories that were turned into plays that happen to be sung". 5 more visits followed, including the sad farewell at the last show ever in Duisburg. I haven't had the chance to see it again live on stage-yet. But I love it to the bone and collect everything about it, especially related to the Duisburg time.

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Last edited by Auf die Barrikaden on Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:40 am
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
My mom is a trained actor who studied at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, so musicals were always a topic for discussion when I was a child, I took the most interest in them of any of my brothers. Then, in 2006 I think, I saw a video of Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel doing The Confrontation on TV and I got interested in Les Miz. I watched the 10th anniversary Concert and practically memorized and I've been a huge fan ever since.

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Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:43 pm
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
My parents saw it multiple times before I was born, but I didn't see it till I was 14 on NYE. My parent's biggest regret was that they didn't introduce to me the music beforehand, because that would have helped me immensely. I think I've seen it two times since then professionally, one student production, and I have three or four recordings of Les Mis.

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Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:42 am
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
I first heard "Castle on a Cloud" and "Little People" on the first Broadway Kids album when I was about seven or eight.

When I got a little older, and kept reading about the show in the bios of actors in other shows I liked, I became more curious about it and started exploring it online. Then I got the CSR highlights CD, then the TAC video, then some of the other sound recordings... by the time I finally saw the show live, I was already in love with it!


Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:38 pm
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
Hello,

(This topic has actually been discussed zillion times in the past :) , but that is the beauty of new members)

I wanted to treat a friend to a special night, so i bought two tickets. It was November 2001. You can guess what happend next :)

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Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:47 pm
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
98 film version was how I was introduced to it.

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Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:52 pm
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
My high school did it my freshman year. Saw it and got floored.


Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:11 pm
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
'twas my first performance in a musical, at 8 years old!

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Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:38 pm
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
I was introduced very young, and for some reason my parents bought the London Cast Recording, which is what I grew up listening to. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized that "I Saw Him Once" and "Little People" weren't in the Broadway version. And I had grown so accustomed to the differences in songs like "Stars" that the final versions sounded odd to me when I finally introduced myself to the Symphonic recording.

I was fortunate enough to play Jean Valjean as a senior in high school, and it really capped my childhood that was filled with belting "Who Am I?" in the shower. Now I just post recordings of my wife and me singing each track on YouTube ;)

To me, this show is in a class all its own, and I can't determine if it's because of the quality, or because it was the first true theatrical experience I can identify with. Either way, it's one of a kind, and I don't think I'll ever love another show quite as much for the rest of my life.


Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:11 pm
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: How were you introduced to Les Miserables?
Very familiar with most of the songs from being involved with theatre.

Didn't hear the entire score or really know the full story until I saw the movie...

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Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:01 pm
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