Right now, The Phantom of The Opera at the Royal Albert Hall is airing on my PBS station. It’s a pledge break, so I’m using the time to say hello to all the American fans who are just discovering Ramin Karimloo (Rah-MEEN CARE-em-loo), Hadley Fraser, and the lovely Sierra Boggess (bah-GUESS) tonight. I can tell from the sudden upsurge in my visitor stats that lots of folks are searching for information about these talented actors. You’re going to find entire tumblr sites devoted to Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser. These two have an avid fan base! The best way to zero in on these actors here is to visit my “west end index” page (above). This is because I bounce around between many topics, so if you’re not interested in book reviews, old TV westerns or farm animals, don’t despair.
Lots of people this weekend are searching for the answer to this question: why didn’t Michael Crawford sing during the encore? The most common answer I read during the days following the live broadcast was that he was too emotional and overwhelmed by the audience’s response. I also read that he was saving his voice, since he was appearing in another West End musical. I honestly don’t know if either of these are correct. I do know that many people were disappointed.
By the way, Hadley Fraser is one of my favorite performers on twitter. The day the Phantom DVD was released in the US, he tweeted his apology for Raoul’s “guyliner.” I love his self-deprecating sense of humor. On my small, crappy television, the guyliner isn’t so bad, but so many of the wonderful production details are lost, especially with the costumes. I’m so glad I went to see it at the cinema in October.
So, thanks for visiting The Ugly Bug Ball, and be sure to say hello. Please leave a comment!
Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo
I don’t know why I have it in for PBS! I’ve complained about the cancellation of EastEnders and the trimming down of Masterpiece. Tonight, I want to warn all US Les Mis fans about the 2 CD set of Les Misérables that is being offered as a pledge incentive during the 25th Anniversary concert broadcast. I don’t know about your local station, but KQED in Northern California is claiming that this Dream The Dream CD set is the concert soundtrack. It’s not.
The Dream The Dream CD set is a live recording of the 25th anniversary touring production of Les Misérables. Valjean is sung by John Owen-Jones, not Alfie Boe. Nick Jonas, Ramin Karimloo, Hadley Fraser, Lea Salonga, and Matt Lucas are NOT on this recording. A few cast members are the same, like Katie Hall, but the rest of the roles are performed by different actors. Now, this may still be an excellent CD set, but it’s not what the folks at KQED are claiming. This could be a simple case of ignorance, except that I called the station and told them the difference. On the very next pledge break, they continued telling viewers that it was the O2 concert recording. And that’s just wrong. Besides, the concert, and these CDs, have been used regularly for the last three months for pledge drives, so I know I’m not the only person to bring this to their attention. I urge you to call your station if they are also misinforming viewers.
Unfortunately at this time, there is no CD/mp3 download of the O2 concert. If it becomes available, I will definitely post that information.
Update: I received a response from KQED on this issue. It sounds like they are attempting to fix the situation. They are adding disclaimers to their fundraising breaks to note that the CDs are “a cast recording rather than a recording of the broadcast” (which I hope they make clear is a different cast), and they say they’re sending letters and emails to those members who requested the CDs “to apologize, to make the distinction, and to determine what additional steps are necessary for those members.” In addition, I’ve been told they will investigate whether this had happened during national fundraising efforts.