Tag Archives: Robert Madge

Matilda The Musical: Cast Recording

Yesterday the cast recording of Matilda was released, featuring the original cast from the RSC Stratford-Upon-Avon production.  This musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl book had a brief run last Christmas, playing to enthusiastic audiences and rave reviews.   I am posting this information because Robert Madge was part of the cast, and he’s a favorite since playing Gavroche in the Les Mis anniversary concert.  Matilda is opening October 18, 2011, in the West End, but Madge is not in London production.  (See the new cast list on the official website.)   The cast recording is being sold exclusively here for now, and it will be available on iTunes beginning October 18th.  I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m sure it’s wickedly good. 

If you want to listen specifically for Robert Madge, he sings solo lines in the opening song “Miracle” and in “When I Grow Up.” 

Matilda CD cast recording

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Les Mis: The Streets of Paris

Here we go again—more screencaps from the Les Misérables concert!  This is one of my favorite sequences.  So many new characters are introduced, revolution is stirring, and it all happens so fast.

Robert Madge as Gavroche, Les Miserables

We live on crumbs of humble piety, tough on the teeth but what the hell!

Prostitutes and Pimp, Les Miserables

When we gonna live? Something's gotta happen...something's gotta give!

Nick Jonas and Ramin Karimloo, Marius and Enjolras, Les Miserables

With all the anger in the land, how long before the Judgment Day?

Samantha Barks as Eponinie, Les Miserables

That's Eponine, she knows her way about...

Nick Jonas, Samantha Barks, Katie Hall, Les Miserables

I didn't see you there, forgive me.

Alfie Boe, Valjean and Gang, Les Miserables

What is this? Are you mad?

Javert Valjean Cosette: Norm Lewis, Alfie Boe, Katie Hall, Les Miserables

Another brawl in the square! Another stink in the air!

Related Posts:   Gavroche    My Les Mis    Please Sir, I Want Some More    To The Barricade!    Ramin Karimloo      Enjolras & Grantaire     Grantaire   Thénardier Waltz    Gavroche: Liar!     Bring Him Home    Enjolras    Les Mis: The Originals   24601    Fantine    Cosette & Madame Thénardier

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Gavroche: Liar!

Here is the sequence from the Les Misérables concert where Gavroche (Robert Madge) reveals the identity of the spy Javert. 

 Robert Madge as Gavroche, Liar!, Les Miserables

Related Posts:   Gavroche   My Les Mis    Please Sir, I Want Some More    To The Barricade!   Ramin Karimloo   Grantaire   Enjolras & Grantaire   Thénardier Waltz   Bring Him Home   Enjolras   Les Mis: The Originals

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Les Mis: To The Barricade!

As promised, here are more images from the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary concert. 

Red & Black: Ramin Karimloo, Nick Jonas and ensemble

The night that ends at last: Ramin Karimloo, Nick Jonas and ensemble

Ramin Karimloo, Les Miserables concert

Let us take to the streets! Ramin Karimloo with revolutionaries

Ramin Karimloo with Robert Madge and ensemble

We fight here in her name. She will not die in vain.

Ramin Karimloo and Alfie Boe with musket

Give me the spy Javert, let me take care of him. (Ramin Karimloo and Alfie Boe)

Ramin Karimloo & Nick Jonas, Les Miserables

Everybody keep the faith: Ramin Karimloo & Nick Jonas

Hadley Fraser, Grantaire & revolutionaries, Les Miserables, Drink With Me

Drink With Me: Hadley Fraser & the revolutionaries

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

The very words that they had sung, became their last communion...

Related Posts:  My Les Mis    Please Sir, I Want Some More    Gavroche   Ramin Karimloo    Grantaire    Enjolras & Grantaire   Thénardier Waltz   Enjolras   Les Mis: The Originals   24601   Fantine   Cosette & Madame Thénardier   Gavroche: Liar!   Bring Him Home

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Please Sir, I Want Some More

I’m sitting here this week asking myself, what’s the point of writing about the London entertainment scene from San Francisco?  It feels like I’m in exile here.  Still, a friend just made an excellent point.  She said, “Hell, it is your blog, so you should write about whatever you want.”  Taking that to heart, I’m going share my internet research with other fans of the Les Misérables 25th anniversary concert.  If you’re like me, the concert left you wanting to see more from these talented performers.

Ramin Karimloo (Enjolras) and Hadley Fraser (Grantaire):  These two fellows are kind of a package deal.  Friends offstage, they formed a band called Sheytoons last summer.  Sheytoons is a Farsi expression meaning “climb down from the Devil’s donkey.”  That seems like a lot of words to pack into two syllables, but it’s a great image.  You can watch Sheytoons videos on YouTube, or at www.raminkarimloo.com or www.hadleyfraser.com.  They don’t have a CD yet, but their sites promise that something is coming in the near future.  On Easter Sunday, April 24th, they are playing a gig at Dublin Castle in Camden, London.  I can’t attend, so I’m sending a friend in my place.  She will take photos, copious notes, and give us a full report.

Sheytoons logo

Ramin Karimloo is currently starring as The Phantom in Love Never Dies, the new sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.  His commitment is until September 3, 2011.  He just announced on twitter that he will also be playing The Phantom for The Phantom of the Opera 25th anniversary concert in October.  (These 25th Anniversary concerts just keep coming, don’t they?!)  That’s pretty impressive, because a lot of big names have done the role over the years.  Hopefully it will be filmed and released on DVD the same way the Les Mis concert was.  I rented the movie version of Phantom earlier this week, because Karimloo is listed in the credits as “Christine’s Father.”  I watched the 2½ hour movie looking for him, only to discover that his appearance was nothing more than a framed sepia photograph in one scene.  There’s a quick clip of him performing as Raoul in a documentary on the DVD bonus disc—it’s the scene with the noose.

Ramin Karimloo

Ramin Karimloo

Karimloo is really smart about using the internet and social networking sites.  He’s got his official website, a twitter account (with over 10,000 followers), a facebook fan page, and a YouTube channel separate from the Sheytoons one.  For some reason, his YouTube channel has no videos, but he has over 700 subscribers waiting for an upload.  There are plenty of YouTube videos to be found on other channels, featuring him singing, being interviewed and just acting silly.  Karimloo has a solo CD (Within the Six Square Inch) but, according to his website, it is “sold out.”  I don’t know if was self-produced or released through a record label, but apparently no more copies will be made available.  At amazon.co.uk, there is a WWII musical concept album called Bluebird featuring Karimloo, available as a CD or mp3 download.

By all accounts, Karimloo is personable, polite, and friendly to his many fans.  He signs autographs, poses for photos, and still says “ma’am.”  His messages on facebook and his video blogs convey a sense of humor and a sincere desire to make fans feel included and informed.

Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser

Karimloo and Fraser, with a bottle.

Now, on to his friend.  Hadley Fraser will be taking over the role of Inspector Javert in the West End production of Les Misérables on June 23rd, appearing with Alfie Boe and Matt Lucas.  He has played Marius in the past, and he was Grantaire (the guy with the bottle) in the anniversary concert.   The role of Javert is a quite a change from romantic youth and drunken cynic, but I’m sure he’s up to the challenge.  He might even make the audience feel sad when Javert kills himself.

Hadley Fraser as Grantaire, with bottle once again, in the Les Miserables concert

Hadley Fraser as Grantaire, with bottle once again, in the Les Miserables concert

I really like Fraser’s website.  It doesn’t take things too seriously, and it’s got a tongue-in-cheek style that’s refreshing.  Many websites are so busy hard-selling that they forget to be fun.  This guy comes across as fun.  (Just watch this for proof!)   He’s also on twitter, and his tweets are entertaining, although he uses twitter often to communicate with friends and fellow performers.  This isn’t a bad thing, but some of his tweets don’t make much sense to the rest of us.  Fraser was in an episode of Dr Who (season 2, episode 12, “Army of Ghosts”) and a horror film called The Lost Tribe.  Both of these are available streaming on Netflix, but be sure to search for “Lost Tribe” because Netflix doesn’t bother to include the “The.”  Sadly, Fraser doesn’t survive to the end of this film, but happily, this means you don’t have to watch the whole thing.  (Sorry, I’m just not a horror fan.)  YouTube has a trailer for a film called Convincing Clooney with Fraser—and Wilson Cruz, who I’ve met.  (Ha!  One degree of separation!)  Last but not least, my new favorite song is Fraser singing “Again” from Keys:  The Music of Scott Alan.

Hadley Fraser in The Lost Tribe (notice a pattern?)

Hadley Fraser in The Lost Tribe (notice a pattern?)

Robert Madge (Gavroche):  Since I started blogging about Les Misérables a couple of weeks ago, there have been many internet searches for young Robert Madge reflected in my blog stats.  I can even tell when the concert has aired on TV again.  The Gavroche post has received the most comments I’ve ever had.   I assume this is because there’s not a lot on the internet about him yet.  He doesn’t have an official website, a facebook fan page, or even a wikipedia entry (which can change at any moment!).   This could be because his management and the press aren’t fully aware of the interest that the Les Mis concert has generated in this young performer.   It could be that he’s being protected from too much exposure at such a young age.   Hopefully, Madge will do more television and films, allowing international fans to see his work.  Until then, here is a playlist of clips on YouTube where he can be seen.   Some of them are “blink and you miss him” brief, but they include several TV appearances, clips from Oliver! and Les Mis, an audio clip from Mary Poppins, and an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Robert Madge as The Artful Dodger in Oliver!

Robert Madge as The Artful Dodger in Oliver!

Over at Netflix, Madge appears in episode 5, “Succubi,” of Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, which is available streaming.   His scene is at the 13:15 mark, and he’s really great, but be warned.  The rest of the show is crude and raunchy.   Appearing in the scene with Madge is Matt Lucas, who played Thenardier in the Les Mis concert.  It’s interesting that the concert wasn’t their first time working together.  It’s also amusing how often Robert Madge has to work with a dirty face.

Robert Madge in Krod Mandoon

Robert Madge in Kröd Mändoon

After the Les Mis concert, Madge appeared in the RSC musical Matilda, based on the Roald Dahl book, but it is no longer playing in Stratford.  There’s a good chance that it will move to the West End, since the reviews and the audience reaction were excellent.  There hasn’t been any official word, and I don’t know if Madge is committed to a West End run.  I’m watching and waiting.

There were other great performers in the concert, like Matt Lucas and Lea Salonga.  I’ve been watching Little Britain and listening to Salonga as Eponine in the 10th anniversary concert.  There’s only so much time in the day, though, and this post has gone on long enough.

Update: Here’s our report on Sheytoon’s Dublin Castle showMatilda opened to successful reviews and ticket sales in the West End, but Robert Madge is not part of the cast.  Over on YouTube, his episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures (The Temptation of Sarah Jane) has been removed.  These things get re-posted often, so keep searching for it.

Related posts:  My Les Mis   Gavroche   To the Barricade!   Ramin Karimloo   Grantaire   Enjolras & Grantaire   Thénardier Waltz   Gavroche: Liar!   Bring Him Home   Enjolras   Les Mis: The Originals   24601   Fantine   Les Mis:  The Streets of Paris   Les Mis: The Big Opening   Farewell to Love Never Dies

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Gavroche

Wow, I guess I’m not the only one who sat up and took notice of 14-year-old Robert Madge in the Les Misérables 25th anniversary concert.  Here are some more screencaps of his performance as Gavroche.
 Robert Madge as Gavroche, Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert 
 
DYHTPS Robert Madge Gavroche collage
Do You Hear The People Sing?

Related Posts:   Gavroche: Liar!    My Les Mis   Please Sir, I Want Some More  Ramin Karimloo   To the Barricade!   Grantaire   Enjolras & Grantaire  Thénardier Waltz   Bring Him Home

More coming soon!

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My Les Mis

Last night was the PBS broadcast of the 25th Anniversary Les Misérables concert.  Watching it brought back lots of memories, since it’s my favorite musical.

I saw Les Misérables for the first time in London on October 2, 1986.   It was still the original cast, with the exception of Patti LuPone as Fantine, who had already moved on.  I decided to go see the musical because everyone was talking about it, but I was skeptical.  I wasn’t at all familiar with the story.  I had no idea what to expect.  It was during the very first scene, when the prisoners trudge out singing “look down,” that I fell in love with the show.  I suppose it’s because of the epic story with a large cast of characters and all that melodrama.  The music is great too, of course.  I love how it goes from a single person on an empty stage pouring his or her heart out, to the big crowd scenes.  Oddly enough, I was pleased that there was almost no dancing.  The London production had strong dramatic lighting combined with dark corners you couldn’t quite make out.   It was a perfect remedy to all the cheerful, fluffy, dance-filled musicals I’d seen up to that point.  I was completely taken with Michael Ball as Marius, and I also loved Frances Ruffelle (Éponine) and Colm Wilkinson (Valjean).

Alfie Boe, Colm Wilkinson & Ramin Karimloo, in the Les Miserables concert

Alfie Boe, Colm Wilkinson & Ramin Karimloo, in the Les Miserables concert

I liked Les Mis so much, I went back and saw it again the same week.  I probably would have continued going back, but my trip ended.  I did my best to meet the cast, standing at the stage door between a matinee and an evening performance.  I mostly wanted to meet Michael Ball, but he never came out.  Frances Ruffelle was the only person I remember meeting, and she was lovely.  I just told her she was great as she walked by, but she turned back and gave me a big smile and a thank you.  There was a small circle of other fans gathered by the stage door, and I hung back in the alley, watching who was going in as well as who was coming out.  Andrew Lloyd Webber and a woman who I believe was Sarah Brightman walked past me and went in.  I felt no desire to ask Lloyd Webber for an autograph, because I was young and arrogant enough to be unimpressed by him.   I flew home with a suitcase filled with souvenirs, including the cast CD (my very first CD ever!), a sweatshirt, and the unabridged Penguin edition of the book.  On the plane, I was seated next to a man who sat in the same row at the same performance of Les Mis, and we talked for the entire flight about our new obsession.

I was determined to read the entire 1000 page Les Misérables, so I set myself a goal of a hundred pages of day.  It worked, and I finished it on the tenth day.  The problem with reading an epic length novel is that nothing else satisfies after you’re done.   It feels like losing a best friend, and you go through a period of mourning.   Anyway, what I got from reading the book is that Les Mis is essentially a story about the Old Testament versus the New.  Javert’s philosophy is “an eye for an eye,” and his God doesn’t forgive.  He is too busy smiting his enemies.  Valjean undergoes a conversion after his encounter with the bishop, and his God is about love and grace and sacrifice for others.  Thénardier represents an existence without God or morals.  Javert destroys himself when his faith in his rigid concept of God is shaken by Valjean, and Valjean finds salvation and redemption.   One of the reasons I love the musical version is that it doesn’t secularize the story by removing the references to God.

My love affair with Les Mis continued over the years.  I was working as a tour guide at Sea World in the mid-80s, and one of the places we had to staff for hour-long stretches never got much traffic.  I would sing Les Mis songs to pass the time.  I needed a secluded spot well away from others, with my singing voice!  One year, two different friends gave me Les Mis beach towels. I saw the musical a total of five times in London at the Palace Theatre, usually in the same restricted-view box seat.   I liked to take my binoculars and find the microphones hidden on the actors.  I was delighted to discover that Javert’s microphone was disguised as the scar on his cheek.  One of the times I saw the show, I could clearly see that the actor playing Valjean and the little girl playing Cosette loathed each other.  When he picked her up and swung her around, she looked disgusted and he practically threw her down.  One of my biggest regrets was missing Mario Frangoulis play Marius by only a month.  He’s now one of my favorite singers.   A couple of summers ago, I finally saw a production of Les Mis here in the US, performed by the San Diego Junior Theatre.  Damn, those were some talented kids!  I was so impressed.

Ramin Karimloo and Robert Madge, Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert

Ramin Karimloo and Robert Madge

So, 25 years later, we have the anniversary concert.  I particularly enjoyed Lea Salonga (Fantine), Matt Lucas (Thénardier), Ramin Karimloo (Enjolras), Hadley Fraser (Grantaire), and Robert Madge (Gavroche).  It was a shame that Gavroche’s dying scene was cut from the concert, because I would love to see Madge perform it.   I don’t automatically like the boys playing Gavroche, because they can be obnoxious, but Robert Madge had just the right amount of cheekiness.  Alfie Boe (Valjean) has a lovely voice, especially singing Bring Him Home.  I’m not sure so many extreme close-ups benefited him, because his voice is so much more expressive than his face.¹  The close-ups certainly didn’t help Nick Jonas (Marius).  I’m quite fond of the Jonas brothers, and I really wanted Nick to be a good Marius.  He seemed to be struggling with the vocal range, and his facial expressions often made him look constipated.  The song A Little Fall of Rain didn’t quite work with the actors standing up at microphones, instead of Éponine collapsing to die in Marius’s arms.  Still, I found the whole concert very moving, and it was so fun to see many of the original cast members come out at the end.  (Once again, Patti LuPone was missing!)   This concert confirms that Les Mis is still my favorite musical.

Robert Madge as Gavroche, Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert

Robert Madge as Gavroche

If you want to check out more of Robert Madge, watch this video from Oliver! where he plays The Artful Dodger.

¹Note: My opinion of Alfie Boe’s expressiveness has altered since seeing videos of him singing with Matt Lucas and joking around in Lucas’ kitchen [recently removed from YouTube, unfortunately].   Maybe it was the beard.

Related posts:  Gavroche   Please Sir, I Want Some More   To the Barricade!   Ramin Karimloo   Grantaire   Enjolras & Grantaire   Thénardier Waltz   Gavroche: Liar!   Bring Him Home   Enjolras   Les Mis: The Originals   24601    Fantine   Cosette & Madame Thénardier   Les Mis: The Streets of Paris   First Look: Hadley Fraser’s Javert

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