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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Barricade Boys: The Musical


A few months ago, Sierra, a friend of mine, mentioned in passing that the barricade boys really should have their own musical.  I didn't pay much attention to the suggestion at the time but the next morning I woke up and started working on ideas :)  The first draft was just the bare bones of the new musical.  There were only two songs that had been rewritten (One Day More and Bring Him Home) and the rewrites were pretty basic.  Anyway, I sent it off to Sierra and she was really enthusiastic about it (well...she is the most enthusiastic person I know when it comes to the barricade boys).  I'm hopeless at doing major rewrites to songs (the original lyrics always seem to get in the way) but Sierra is rather brilliant at it so she jumped right in (you'll learn more about that in a bit).  I did majorly rewrite 'I Dreamed A Dream' (which become a solo for Jehan) but that's about it :)  And now I would like to share my interview with Sierra (it was sort of weird to interview her about it because I knew so much about the project already :).  The only thing I regret about the whole thing was that Courf didn't get a solo.  We could have done one for him to the tune of 'Castle on a Cloud', if we'd thought of it sooner... :)

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What exactly is the musical about?

Barricades Boys: The Musical is a story based off of Les Miserables which is a famous novel written by Victor Hugo. Instead of focusing on the entire plot of the book, Barricade Boys: The Musical focuses on the story of a group of young students living in 1832 Paris, France. They are known as the Les Amis or The Friends of The ABC and are fighting for higher education and equality within France. During the musical we follow the lives of these brave young men and their fight upon the barricade. From passionate Enjolras to the steady Combeferre, the cynic Grantaire to the poet Jehan, and beautiful Eponine and her little brother Gavroche, you will once again see the characters created by Hugo in a more personal and in-depth light.

Where did you get the idea for the musical?

Well, some of it was from the Les Miserables musical but a lot of the ideas that inspired Barricade Boys: The Musical came from the book itself. I think Hugo really wanted us to pay attention to the boys and the things they teach us about friendship, standing up for what we believe in, and sacrificing for love. To me the Les Amis are at the heart of the story since everything seems to come together at the barricades. If you look at the story of Les Miserable in this light you begin to realize that the musical really doesn’t touch the personal lives of the boys. Since I wanted to see the boys' personal lives brought into play, I thought why not write one? I mentioned the idea to Eva and it just took off from there.

Are there any influences from the brick that show up in the songs?

Yes, we really wanted to bring out the picture Hugo painted of the young revolutionaries. With that in mind, we added a lot of little phrases that people will be able to recognize if they've gotten a chance to read the brick. Little things like Combeferre’s reply of “To be free” when arguing with Marius was able to be brought out and put into light through the songs. One of my favorites is the friendship between Combeferre and Enjolras which has been sadly neglected in the main musical. We’ve also added a lot more tension between Grantaire and Enjolras - which is how it is in the brick.

What was the process of re-writing the songs like?

It was inspiring as well as exciting. In order to really get the points and ideas across we had to make sure that we got the emotions, events, and ideas surrounding the boys just right. Having to do that brought me closer to Les Miserables as a whole but also a lot closer to the boys.  Also the placement of the songs is really unique because we didn’t follow the exact pattern of Les Miserable so it was fun trying different placings of the songs.  As for how Eva and I worked the songs out together, I would generally write the first draft and then send them to Eva where she would polish them up by working her magic. She definitely had a harder job then I did! 

What is your favorite song?

My favorite song would have to be ‘Come With Me’ (a remake of Fantine’s ‘Come To Me’) It’s a song portraying a conversation Enjolras and Combeferre have after the barricade has fallen and they’ve both died. It brings to light the fact that Enjolras had the weight of the world on his shoulders and his best friend (Combeferre, of course) is telling him that he’s not alone in what happened. The lyrics are beautiful and when put to music, it’s tear jerking.

Who is your favorite barricade boy?

Well of course there’s Enjolras, because who doesn’t love the chaste, revolutionary leader? However I would have to say Combeferre is my all-time favorite. He’s smart and passionate about revolution but he is a bit more human than Enjolras. He doesn’t only see the people suffering around him as a cause for rebellion but also a sad and terrible truth.

Do you have any other plans for the musical?

At the moment I don’t believe Eva and I do. I’ve considered writing a full screenplay for it; however, that would be a very complex process. If Eva backs me up on it though, I’m sure that would be a future option. 

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If you're interested in reading a copy of Barricade Boys: The Musical, email us at barricadeboysmusical@hotmail.ca.  Be sure to let us know what you think!



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