Costumes, Pictures

Les Mis in pictures: Attack on Rue Plumet/One Day More

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The Thenardier gang’s back!
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William, Quinton, Joshua, Josh and Michael really seem to enjoy playing the scheming villains.
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Even without audio, we just know that Thenardier’s saying, “Here’s the plan!”
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Michael’s portrayal of the dumb brute with the man-bun is hilarious. The spade accentuates his fierce determination.
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The hierarchy within the gang is apparent: they’re all making fun of dumb Brujon with the man-bun. ‘Cause that rhymes.
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The social order is highlighted by their clothing as well: all wear overcoats except Brujon. He’s the only one in a raggedy shirt and pants that fit him well when he was 12.
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When they hear a noise, the lowest man on the totem pole is sent on a reconnaissance mission.
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He produces Eponine. She tries to dissuade the gang from attacking Valjean’s home. Since they are convinced of substantial booty at the Rue Plumet residence, they won’t give up.

So Eponine screams, warding off the attack. The gang flees underground to the sewers, and Marius, who is also alarmed, congratulates Eponine on saving the day. Then he takes his leave, too. Cosette will have to face her alarmed father all alone.

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Her whole stance (head bowed, shoulders hunched forward) betrays a girl who’s been caught in something dangerously clandestine.
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But Cosette is a quick-on-her-feet-thinker (a.k.a. any woman in love) and offers a believable excuse
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Poor girl. She’s still so distraught.
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She saw three scary men, running away. Hmmm… define scary. Valjean is processing the info but doesn’t look totally convinced.
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Cosette demonstrates once more how they took off on their space ship and were really, really, really scary. Luckily for her, daddy is an ex-con who violated his parole, so that makes him a little paranoid.
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And he concludes that Javert must be on his tail again. His polished appearance starts to crack, letting a feral anger seep. (Translation: ‘Nuff with the nicies, he’s getting mad, yo.)
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He orders his daughter to pack because he wants to take the boat to escape to England.
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He tells her to hurry. And that so sweet, since he doesn’t seem to know that NO woman ever has made a drastic time improvement because some man told her to hurry.
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His anger mixes with concern…
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…and finally with resignation, as Valjean ponders the fate of being a fugitive once again. One day more.
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Cosette is helpless and lonely cradling her flowers,  Marius grapples with the dilemma of following his beloved versus joining his revolution buddies, while Eponine can only dryly observe, “What else is new?”
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Enjolras and his posse join in, using One Day More as their war cry
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The Thenardiers join in, and share their excitement about making a fortune robbing the unaware students once the revolution starts
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…more people marching…
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Marius finally makes the decision to join his fellow students, while Javert, now undercover to infiltrate the student body, has dressed as a French Bruce Springsteen
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Here come the French Freedom Flags…
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…while Enjolras is busy cleaning his gun….
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…everyone’s secretly hopes he’s not going to shoot himself in the face…
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…and the gun keeps putting up a fight…
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…random pic of supercute girl waving a Freedom Flag.

 

 

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Costumes, Pictures

Les Mis in pictures: In my Life/A Heart Full of Love

In earlier Les Mis versions, the grown-up Cosette is almost consistently portrayed as a black tablecloth with cheer curls, one leg already safely planted in the convent. She’s bland, bromidic, and as dull as the water in her chamber pot.

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See? Here, Cosette’s just a face with floating hands (and a bad dye job to boot.)

But NOT this Cosette!

Right from the moment when we see her meeting Marius and immediately bond over books, we know Olivia’s approach to portray Cosette is entirely different.

1a
Giddy in anticipation
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Look at that smile: she’s the antithesis of dullness
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She’s determined to take her life into her own hands. She wants excitement and she wants it now!

More of Cosette in various stages of anticipation and excitement.

In walks trouble: a father is always the notorious killjoy of any kind of fun.

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What’s with all this excited giggling I hear?
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“So what?” her defiantly pointed chin says.
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Valjean’s relationship with his daughter strongly contrasts the abusive one she had with the Thenardiers. His smile is warm, and his hand on her should says, “You’re daddy’s hunnee.”
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Yes, but Hunnee’s lonely….
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On top of that, she has questions….
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“Do you remember when I was young and barefoot and you came with a doll and a wallet…what was that all about?”
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What? Tender topic?
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“I’ll tell you, soon. But not now. Be patient.” Three common phrases that have as much of a soothing effect on a woman as a square yard of red cloth on a bull.
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Ah, the fatherly kiss we all recognize. “Babe, you’re nagging as hell with your questions, and I must’ve been really drunk thinking of ever adopting. But… you’re still my girl.”

Then Marius enters, with shredded nerves.

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Coat and tie in coordinating colors, flowers, breath mint. Check, check, check.
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Eponine wonders if it’s really a smart decision to lead him to Cosette.
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“Damn! Must I always fly the flag of the brokenhearted?”
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“What-if’s?” behind the Ficus. It happens to the best of us.

 

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“Damn that little sprig of cowlick!”
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Truth be told, the lyrics here don’t really give Marius much to work with.
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What kind of a doofus introduces himself with “a heart full of love?”
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The flowers can only make up a little for a freaky introduction.

 

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Eponine realizes that in her case, a potted plant is a girl’s best friend.
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Cosette’s lyrics aren’t any less stereotypical. To his anguished outcry of “Cosette, I don’t know what to say!” her pragmatic answer is “Then don’t make a sound.” But her radiance and lovely voice make any spectator forget about bad lyrics instantly. 
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Hunnee’s no longer lonely.
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“Are these okay? I mean I bought them fresh. But compliance with environmental standards hasn’t been invented yet. These flowers may have been ripped from the sewers, you just don’t know.” He looks that worried.
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She looks thrilled. No worries, Marius.
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There’s that half girl/half giggle machine look again. So cute.
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Against all of Eponine’s hopes, the couple in blue (they match!) really get along well.
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Even the roman soldier in the back discreetly averts his gaze.
Costumes, Pictures

Les Mis in pictures: ABC Café/The People’s Song

As we’re watching the Revolution of 1832 being carefully orchestrated by Enjolras and the other students in the ABC Café scene, we cannot help but feel an impending sense of doom. We know that these driven, idealistic young men are planning, in essence, their own death. Grantaire, then, becomes the embodiment of the saying, “A little humor goes a long way.”  When depicted as the sarcastic drunkard who just hangs about, Grantaire’s character is a little difficult to justify. As the observant quasi-drunk with the hilarious facial expressions, however, Ricky readily became the audience’s darling.

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At the ABC Cafe, students are busy planning their Revolutionary strategies
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Enjolras barks some last minute instructions..

 

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Grantaire won’t have any of it. He mocks Enjolras behind his back, finding a superb side-kick in Lesgles
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“That guy,” his body language is saying, “is so focused…”
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“…he can only see the very narrow path he’s walking on…”
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…and he doesn’t put his beloved flask down for one second…
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…and in walks his next victim, Marius. He’s late because he’s met “the love of his life.”
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Grantaire doesn’t miss a beat, and starts to mock Marius relentlessly.
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He makes fun of Marius feeling amorous right at this particular moment….
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…while Enjolras is planning a governamental overthrow.
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The contrast is so big and so unbelievable between the two, that it’s better than an opera.
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He retires into his corner to observe who else he can easily joke about.
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So when Enjolras jumps up on the table to inspire his fellow revolutionaries about “Red” (duty and suffering for a cause,) and Marius recounts with the Black (of his despair because he’s not with the girl), he sees an opportunity…
4aaaaaaaaaaa
As the rest of the students watches in anticipation…

 

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“I’m gonna cry now…”
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“No, really!”
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“Wait, I got it!”
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“There it is….”

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…and continues to make fun of him….
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…and raises his arm up when the “Black” is song to highlight his adolescent angst.
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Enjolras sets everyone straight
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…and unites them all in a continuing Red & Black song
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they’re ready to fight now…
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Even Grantaire joins in…
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The sudden arrival of Gavroche announcing the death of General Lamarque…
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…kills the mood a little…
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But a true leader inspires in any situation…
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…and joined by the people, they give a rousing rendition of “Do you hear the people sing”

16-and-we-march-again

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Costumes, Pictures

Les Mis in pictures: The Beggars/Stars

Also known as the Look Down song, this scene can be very confusing. People in rags inundate the stage as well as a whirlwind of new characters. If this is your first time watching Les Mis, you might not immediately realize that the story has jumped in time by 10 years. You may feel lost. Wait! Who’s the guy handing out the pamphlets? What is the girl with the books doing among the beggars? Who’s the fellow with the blue coat? Why are there guys beating the beggars? Who is the girl with the grimy face? Who’s the kid dangling from the wooden scaffolding?

The last question’s easy. That’s Gavroche. He leads a posse of street urchins, and is kind of the neighborhood watch. He knows everything that’s happening in the slums of St. Michel and is notoriously portrayed with a Cockney accent. Why? He lives in Paris. Supposedly.

In the “Look Down” song, he introduces us to several characters. Because of his Cockney accent, he’s generally hard to understand. Which leaves you even more confused. But Will wasn’t difficult to comprehend. He clearly informed us about the “who’s who” in 1832 Parisian Slum Society.

He introduces us to the “old Thenardier.” The lyrics never mention that this is his father. But he is.

3a thenardier Eponine
Mr. and Mrs. Thenardier operate from the tough-love principle when it comes to their daughter Eponine.

Thenardier has his own gang who beg and rob and do anything else that violates the common decency.

001 thenardier and his gang
Thenardier and his gang: Josh, Quinton, Joshua, Michael, and William.
7 marius, Eponine, Valjean in background
Eponine, Gavroche’s sister, is infatuated with Marius, a student (in the blue coat.)
5 Marius enjolras and troupe
The guy with the tricolor sash is Enjolras. He’s the macho leader of the Friends of the ABC (literally translated as “friends of the suppressed.”) Women love him, but he only loves France. And Revolution.
6 beggars and marius
Fellow with the suede vest is Grantaire. (Hint: pretty much anyone who wears a vest is part of the student body.) He’s the thinker and drinker of the group and only supports the Revolution only because Enjolras wants a Revolution.
6a Marius
Back to Marius. He’s usually typified as a one-sided pretty boy with the emotional depth of frozen yogurt. Thom portrays Marius as a compassionate intellectual, a reader, who falls in love with Cosette because she loves books, too. This makes a lot of nerdy bookish girls fall in love with Marius instantly.
7 marius, Eponine, Valjean in background
Like Eponine. She pretends to be a great bibliophile as well.
8 marius, Eponine, Valjean in background
She cannot read, however. But she’s street smart. This doesn’t impress Marius much.
9 marius, eponine, Valjean, Cosette in background
Sorry, Eponine. Now move aside, because…smart girl alert: Cosette’s looming in the back.
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While Michael in the back demonstrates knockdown power with the baton, Marius picks up the books Cosette dropped when he bumped into her.
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He’s so sorry and she’s all giggles. Michael (with man bun hiding behind her cape) senses trouble.
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The adorable couple bonding over books. Really. They’re so cute.
12 valjean being attacked by Thenardier
No bonding for her poor adoptive father (in the brown tail coat.) Thenardier harasses him for money…
13 valjean being attacked by tehnarier
….then suddenly recognizes Valjean and not even by his superhuman strength…
14 Valjean attacked again
…but because he’s a con just like him (and has a number on his chest.)

Before Thenardier and his gang can do some real baton damage to Cosette’s dad, Eponine warns everyone that Javert’s about to enter. All the beggars run off, and Valjean whisks Cosette away stealthily.

Javert isn’t hard to recognize. He’s still a police officer, but now sports a fancy cape. (Looks like he’s moving up in the Justice Department!) He voices his disgust about bums on the street. (That includes you, Thenardier!)

15 javert enters
“What’s going on here?”
16 javert questions the gang
“I immediately know you’re guilty. I don’t like your face.”
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Hey, where did the guy with the brown tail coat go? The one you tormented?
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Oh, now Javert’s peeved. Because he might have let Valjean escape. Again.

And that makes us wonder: are there REALLY no other criminals for Javert to obsess over?

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No.

 

Javerts scares everyone off the street. Alone in the dark night, he details his longing for order and justice in Stars.

Javert 4javert stars 21 Fred's pic

 

 

Costumes, Pictures

Les Mis in pictures: Master of the House/The Bargain

The slapstick humor and overall tone of drunken debauchery in Master of the House serve to break up the sadness and dread characterizing the first 40 minutes of the show. The scene provides us with much needed comedic relief. But it also provides a sharp contrast to the cruelty and dispassionate bargaining over Cosette which follows directly after.

I didn’t nearly get as many pictures of Thenardier as I liked to, mainly because my camera couldn’t capture his excited movements fast enough. He leaped on staged like a manic squirrel on steroids, showing off the unrelentingly nasty side of his character very clearly as well. With a mustache that could best be described as the love child of Salvador Dali and Little Richard, he easily captivated his audience. Both Josh and Lauren are hilariously grotesque as the cruel and greedy innkeepers.

 

The overdose of cheer and exuberance in this scene easily overwhelms, so we’re almost welcoming the sobering heartache of The Bargain.

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Thenardier tries to fake emotional upset over Fantine’s death.

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Still the stern stepfather…
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…but when a wallet is in sight, how quickly he becomes a doting dad….

 

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…nowhere near enough!

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The Thenardiers cannot believe how little he’s willing to shell out for their free labor…
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Gimme gimme gimme
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Valjean’s final sneer to the Thenardiers comes close to swallowing his mustache…
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We love this image. Sigh. A little barefoot orphan who’s being carried off to a happy home. Against the pink backdrop of a rising sun. Double sigh.
Costumes, Pictures

Les Mis in pictures: Runaway Cart/Fantine’s Death

A terrified horse bolts, severing the reins tying it to its cart, and the cart rolls over some poor sap, pinning him down by the axle. People gather about, nervously looking around for someone to DO SOMETHING. We’ve all been there. Not necessarily with bolting horses and runaway carts, but when it comes down to offering help in desperate situations, most folks tend to take a passive attitude. Or, as my grandmother used to say, “No woman considers herself a feminist when the Titanic is sinking.”

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While the other men stand about to gauge the severity of the situation with the fortitude of construction workers around a manhole, we know we can count on one person to save the day: Valjean, superhero
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He quickly surveys the situation…
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…takes off his coat (too nice velvet to soil)…
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…because he knows this is another muscle job to get out of the way.
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Everyone looks on in suspense
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While the poor, broken man is fished from underneath the axles, Javert appears befuddled.
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Valjean checks vitals. “Rapid pulse? Yes. Labored breathing? Yes. Good. The man’s still alive and excited to see my exquisitely embroidered taffeta vest from up close.”
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While Valjean further checks the man’s health, Emmett does his own examining of  the coat’s label. “OMG, is this washable velvet? I got to get myself to that tailor.”
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Barely recovered from the great exertion, Valjean is faced  with another challenge. Javert has recognized him by this superhuman strength. 

This is one of the rare moments in the show where we really sigh, “You recognize someone because of his strength? Oh, hunnee, no! How is that even possible?”

We recognize someone by their eyes, their Dumbo ears, or even their unibrow. We may recognize someone because he’s a bad joke teller or a moocher. The neighbor who always takes the last beer out of our fridge? Yes, we’ll remember him. Same for the fellow who laughs like a hyena. Unforgettable. But to nail a guy because of his bench press stats? Highly unlikely.

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Javert disagrees. He saw what he saw. He calls a spade a spade and a con a con.
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See what you did there, Javert? Triggered an identity crisis in our beloved mayor!

Valjean realizes that he can only live with himself if he’s truthful. So there we have it: the baring of the chest again to reveal his prison number:

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Fantine, meanwhile, has been hospitalized in a nunnery.

 

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And given the ethereal look in Elise’s eyes, poor Fantine’s not doing too well.
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She’s still comforted by Death Bed Visions when Valjean visits her.

They share some intimate moments. We then definitely can envision them growing old together, sitting in matching rockers watching the sunset, sipping absinthe, hugging nuns: indulging their crazy a little. After all, if you have to grow old together, doesn’t it make sense to grow slightly nuts together as well? But Fantine has more DBVs with her daughter, and Valjean promises her to take care of Cosette.

So our little fantasy won’t be fulfilled. Fantine dies.

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Valjean has barely time to grieve: Javert has tracked him down.
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Overlit picture, but it shows off Sam’s mutton chops so nicely. Also, contrast between good and evil….Yeah, no. Bad picture, for sure.
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Javert is angry. He’s there to take Valjean where that superhero mayor belongs: in prison.
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So not happening.
Costumes

Les Mis in pictures: I Dreamed a Dream/The Docks

Fantine is left to her own devices, which, luckily for us, still include a gorgeous voice. Kira’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” outclasses with ease Hathaway’s sob-sung rendition (the one with all the flying snot and tears.)

Now what is a poor girl to do without work? That’s right. She wonders off to the docks, where a lot of intense people are um…socializing.

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Sailors Joshua and Michael are excited to feel dry land under their feet….
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….and to go window shopping at the docks.

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Lovely lady Nina sprawled out on the stairs….
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and taking on an alluring pose with her colleague Christy…
02 onlooking lovely ladies
while lovelies Juliana and Olivia keep an eye out for potential customers.
02 a pimp
William plays a very spirited pimp
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who likes to use his cane as a pool cue sometimes
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…and doles out free sales tips to his ladies.
02 pimp with two lovely ladies
He’s always on the lookout for “new bodies”
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…while maintaining a thorough interest in his own ladies.
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Lovely ladies Nina, Alysse, Hannah, Sarah and Christy show off their flexibility and other talents while the customers….yeah, have seen it all before.
3a Fantine looking on
As Nina is hauled off to work, Kira weighs her chances.
3b hair hog accosts fantine
A woman with problem hair is after Fantine’s locks, while Sarah, Hannah, Christy and Nina are earning a difficult living

 

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Juliana tries to persuade a hesitant Kira (who sold her curls) to join the National Association of Lovely Ladies, because, hey! it’s money-making in your sleep. It makes Emmett want to sleep, too.
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Fantine buys the company line, signs up and gets to channel Marilyn Monroe in Diamonds Are Forever. Nina looks on in disbelief. Damn the competition!
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Not as glamorous a job as they said it would be.
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Creepy guy in velvet wants to try something new…
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…but Fantine won’t be had by a rat…
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…and shows him who’s boss
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The commotion attracts Javert (the guy with the chops from the opening scene)
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Sam doesn’t believe in the “honest business” of the lovely ladies nor in their “it’s a free country” pandering
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He shows off his massive chops…
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…and notable profile
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Then who pops up again? That’s right. Valjean, the mayor.
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He acts like he knows Javert. From zoning committees? Anti-violence marches? We wonder.
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But at least he seems to appreciate a hot blonde in a pretty corset. Really, what’s not to like?
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But Fantine accuses him of being Mr. Two-Face. “Remember how you had me fired?”
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…then swoons? faints? while he catches her, thus earning himself the nickname “The Muscles from Brussels” which is wrong because this isn’t Brussels. But close enough. It’s somewhere in Europe.