Tuesday, November 3, 2015

[Book-to-Musical] AVM Blog Party -- Day Nine.

Wow, I am late. November guys. NOVEMBER. NaNo!! I was supposed to be done before this!

Day Nine: Favorite Book-to-Musical adaptation.

I have two.

First, Jane Eyre. They did such a good job with that musical! They didn't get fancy or try to make it better - they just told the story of Jane Eyre and that was that. Mr. Rochester was perfect,  I love the actor who played him in the OBC. He was fabulous.The best Rochester ever. Jane was exactly like Jane should be, quiet and solemn, but fiery underneath it all. Overall, the angle that the musical took with the characters and the story was just like how it was in the book, it made me very happy. They even used whole scenes and direct quotes, especially in the songs. I really liked that. The only thing they changed a little bit was the timeline, but I didn't mind because you can be more free with your time in a book, where as in a musical (or a movie for that matter) things have to cut out to keep the story going. I really liked the fact that they didn't change Mr. Rochester. They didn't try to make him sexy or handsome, or the 'tragic hero,' which so often happens to characters like him. They just told his story. They showed that he wasn't a bad man but he had done a lot of wrong and he had to redeem himself. I loved the bits from his point of view, like when Jane runs away and he flies into despair. You don't see that in the book, at least not in the same way, and it really showed what a broken man Mr. Rochester was.

In fact, the only thing I like better in the musical was some of the ending. In the book Mr. Rochester sends most of his friends away after he is blinded, and he puts Adele in school.  In the musical, his friends stay with him, and Mrs. Fairfax takes care of Adele. (at least, I think that is what happened. Anyway, Adele is there with him at the end, and it is adorable.) Beside this minor detail, the endings are practically the same, and I love both.

If you listen to this, listen to the OBC. It is de best.

My second favorite Book-to-Musical adaptation is A Tale of Two Cities.

A Tale of Two Cities did have more changes made to it than Jane Eyre, but I personally liked the changes. I think ATOTC did a really good job with balancing the story so it wasn't too extreme or overwhelming. I love the book, but I do think Charles Dickons got a little bit carried away. Everything about that book was a little bit too emotional, a little bit too much. The musical did a good job finding the core of what Dickons wanted to show and letting it shine out. My favorite example is Lucy, a character who had potential but ended up being kind of annoying. I only liked her in the book because she was nice to Sydney. The musical saw what Lucy could be if she was just filled out a little more, so they gave her some quirks and colored her in with some interest, and then she was complete. They did that with everything in the book, the characters, the setting, the villains... They knew what Dickons was going for, and they did a little coloring to help make that a reality. In the musical, I actually felt bad for Madamne Defarge. She was crazy and weird, but you did have a certain sympathy for her that doesn't really come through in the book. And Mr. Defarge was a very cool character. I don't care if he was in the wrong, he made an excellent antagonist. Kevin Early played him in the Original Cast and he was amazing. I love watching that guy perform. He's sooooo good. As for Charles ... Charles was Charles. I think if I had the whole Broadway Performance I could judge him better. In the PBS Concert he doesn't get much screen-time. That being said, what you see of him is good and I think the actor portrayed him pretty well. I really like him on the soundtrack, so there is that. I've always liked Charles, he just wasn't my favorite. I don't think he is a bad character. He might be a little flat, but he was likable, and he was a good guy. (I was surprised by how much I liked him in the book. He was a sweetheart.)

Then there is Carton. Let me just say, the musical did such a good job with Carton! He is that character I will always be picky with, because he has to be done a certain way. I'm a little afraid if ATOTC ever comes back to Broadway and they get a new cast, because James Barbour played him so perfectly. It is hard for me to see anyone else as Carton... and I've been trying to recast it!

I just really love how everyone, even Defarge, are all proper and polite,
 and then there is Carton. Slouching. With his boots on the furniture.

I just realized both these musicals have the same guy as the lead. Hehe.


Besides the story and characters, the music in both musicals is phenomenal. After The Phantom of the Opera, I probably listen to these two the most. Usually it's a toss-up between Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden.

What is your favorite book-to-musical adaptation? Do you have one where the changes are a good thing? A bad thing? Do you know either of the musicals I just talked about? What do you think of them?


*swings around cape and leaps off stage*



  1. The Secret Garden is mine. It's so beautifully musical, and... Rebecca Luker. That's really all I have to say. "Oh my gosh, they found a female lead who sings like an opera star!" Cries tears of joy. "Oh my gosh, she doesn't belt like every other singer!" Cries tears of joy. "Oh my gosh, it's as musical as the Phantom!" Cries tears of joy.

    I wish musicals these days cast singers who didn't go in so much for the full-belly lung-scarring belting sound. I love Sarah Brightman and Rebecca Luker, who have no problem getting powerful, but don't sacrifice quality for quantity. Louder does NOT equal better, ladies.

    1. I Know right?? It isn't just female leads either, it's everyone on Broadway. They're like "No, me. No, me!! NO, ME!!!!!"

      I have to let you listen to a Christine I recently found. She is beautiful, I love her.

  2. Jane Eyre is also my favorite book-to-musical adaptation, because (as you said) no one tried to embellish the story and so much of the song lyrics were lines from the book itself. Always a good thing. :-) And the melodies of the songs matched the tone of each scene: "Children of God" is staccato at first and then loud and harsh when everybody starts singing over each other; "Secret Soul" is reflective and evokes tenderness and longing while "Sirens" is quicker, more direct and emphatic.
    I wonder if the reason the book TTC comes across as too emotional is because it was written during a time when cultural expectations in general were just different. By the Victorian Era, women were perceived (and treated) as delicate flowers rather than the able helpmeets God created them to be. Just a thought. Still, I also like the spunk the musical added to Lucie's character. :-)

  3. I liked a Tale of Two Cities as a book too, just sometimes it was overwhelming :-D Buuuuuuuuuuuut Carton. I have a ridiculous liking for that man.


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