[this is not a review. it's a bunch of ramblings that have no rhyme or reason. just to let you know.]
Until yesterday, I'd never been able to find a musical that rivaled Les Miserables because Les Mis is perfect and my mom won't let me watch Phantom of the Opera and I'm not in the least interested in Wicked (or any of the other musicals of that kind). I was talking to Ally about the Scarlet Pimpernel musical and listening to a couple of songs from it that she had recommended (Into The Fire and Madame Guillotine are EPIC, btw). I was looking for some actual clips of the songs on Youtube...and accidentally stumbled across A Tale Of Two Cities: Live In Concert (sort of like the 10th or 25th Les Mis concerts).
The odd thing was that a few nights ago I had read an abridged version of the story (my mom won't let me read the full thing because she's going to teach it to me next year in school). It was actually a Wishbone version *blush* with Wishbone as Charles Darnay. Anyway, I watched the whole thing yesterday afternoon and I'm watching it with my mom and my sister now. I told her (my sister) all about the plot last night and she couldn't wait to see it :)
The cast was amazing. The woman who plays Lucie - Brandi Burkhardt - seriously looks like Romola Garai. At first I thought she was RG and so did my brother. He came downstairs once when she was singing and he said "Isn't she the girl from Emma?" :) I didn't like Charles very much (well, I really don't like Charles in general). His singing was great but I just got an overall feeling of 'meh'. But. When he and Sydney were singing 'Let Her Be A Child' and he was tearing up, it almost reconciled me to his performance. I guess I just like Sydney too much to really like Charles...
SYDNEY WAS AMAZING. Whenever I read the book, I always pictured him as Hadley Fraser (hmmmmm....I wonder why that would be...) but I think he'll always be James Barbour to me now. His acting/singing was incredible and absolutely perfect for the character. All of Sydney's songs were so sad, though. Although he could be funny as well. Like when he comes to see Lucie (right after she's accepted Charles' proposal) and she gives him a scarf and since it's quite small, he's rather at a loss to what it is for a moment. "A SCARF!"
That was one of the rare times I laughed because, seriously, this musical rivals Les Mis for general heartbreakingness. There's this line that made me completely lose it - a line during 'If Dreams Came True' (sung by Sydney about Lucie's daughter) that was so sad (at least to me) that I had to turn off the video and have a good cry.
'Knowing her's an endless second chance'
I don't know why that line struck me as being so heartbreaking, but it did. There was another song where Sydney is listening to little Lucie's bedtime prayers ("Now I lay me down to sleep...") and later on at the beginning of 'Let Her Be A Child', there's a reprise of that. I'm tearing up just thinking about that song.
She mustn't know the sorrow.
She mustn't know the tears.
Tomorrow mustn't bring her,
A future that she fears.
There were several songs that brought Les Mis to mind, particularly the opening number - 'The Way It Ought To Be' - which reminded me of 'At the End of the Day' and 'Reflection' which reminded me of 'On My Own'.
But when the dawn comes,
And you awaken,
You're still alone.
Just a dream.
This musical was beautiful. The costumes (eeeeep! Sydney has a greatcoat!), the music, the lyrics, the singing, the story...everything was gorgeous. It's definitely a close second to Les Mis. And now I want to see it live :)