Bon soir and buenas noches, "Monty Cristo" here.
Guess what? I'm beginning my epic battle with Harry as the site's resident muscial theatre nut with this post. I will handly destroy him in this regard. En garde, Ginger One.
It was rumored that Taylor Swift had not only been cast as Eponine in the upcoming big-budget screen musical LES MISERABLES, but that she had already begun rehearsals.
BroadwayWorld.com is reporting that at the curtain call of tonight's UK tour performance of OLIVER! in Manchester, LES MIS film producer and theater impresario extraordinaire Cameron Mackintosh announced that Eponine would be played by none other than Samantha Barks. This seemed to surprise Ms. Barks as much as everyone in the audience.
Barks currently plays Nancy in OLIVER!, but recently played Eponine in the 25th Anniversary Concert that also featured Lea Salonga, a Jonas brother, and loads of other talented folk. It's available on Blu-ray ($16 at the moment), and I highly recommend it for fans of the show.
I took notice of Ms. Barks when she appeared as a contestant on I'D DO ANYTHING, a BBC singing competition show that was judged by Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber among others. The winner got the part of Nancy. Barks didn't win, but one can see she eventually got in there. The show itself was leagues better than the vast majority of singin' shows we get here in the States.
Here are some highlights:
DOCTOR WHO/TORCHWOOD fans will recognize John "Captain Jack" Barrowman in the post-performance comments of this next one. Dame Edna Everage fans will recognize her male...companion Barry Humphries.
Tutored by Idina Menzel on "Defying Gravity":
Tutored by Liza Minelli alongside the other finalists and then performing "Maybe This Time" from CABARET:
I have a feeling that the rumored initial casting of Swift was an effort to attract some sort of audience by the studio, and Mackintosh's camp preferred a real music theatre performer.
As big a deal as being on that show and being a West End star has been for Barks, this is an enormous boost for her career. Barks is very popular in Britain. In fact, the Isle of Man native's home island renamed itself the "Isle of Sam" during the run of I'D DO ANYTHING.
LES MISERABLES is due to arrive before end of year, directed by Tom Hooper (THE KING'S SPEECH) and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, and loads of other super-talented singer-actors.
What do you think? Any indignant Swifties think that the co-star of VALENTINE'S DAY would have been better?