A long while back, I wrote about how the musical Les Miserables originated not only as a French production, but nothing more than a "concept album." (A double-album, actually, when they had LPs.) I posted a few songs from it, and then moved on. It's time to go back and have some more.
This is one of the showstopping songs from the show -- and perhaps the only comic number -- "La Devise du Cabaretier," which is better known in English as "Master of the House."
The original French version comes across as a bit more dark, not quite menacing, though it's there on the edges. When it eventually hit the stage (in London, at least -- I don't know about the first French staging), the coming overtones predominated.
I thought it would also be nice to do something I didn't do earlier -- include the English version for comparison purposes. This is from the wonderful 10th anniversary "dream cast" production that aired on PBS, done in 1995, I believe, putting together actors who had been in the show in London and Broadway over the decade. Performing as the Thenardiers are the original actors from the first London production, the wonderful Alun Armstrong -- who's had a long and respected career, and Jenny Galloway. This is what's called chewing up the scenery.
(Notable too is that, because this was a concert version, you can see the entire cast sitting behind, and having a great time singing along as the chorus. I could make out Colm Wilkinson, who was the original Jean Valjean, as well as Michael Ball, Ruthie Henshall and Lea Salonga sitting next to each other to Wikinson's right,and Judy Kuhn, among others.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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