So, if you're anything like me, you watched Les Miserables last night. Maybe it was your first time or maybe you've seen it several times in theater [Like me*wink*]. Still, I'm pretty sure each and every one of you had your heartbroken. Oh, it's so sad. I watched it last night with my Mom and my Grandma. My grandma had seen it before but my mom had not. I think she really liked it. Except for one thing: she didn't like Javert. I know, I know. She told me that he was the villain of the movie. *GASP!!!!!!* I know, I tried to tell her 'NO! He is not!' but she just wouldn't listen... *Sigh* I might have to have her read The Brick.
Okay, on to our other HUGE news!
I know a lot of you follow my pinterest boards so I'm sure you've already heard....But, I'll just fill you in. Eva Schon and Sierra Bailey [Two really big Les Miserables fans] wrote a new musical! Barricade Boys: The Musical focuses on the Les Amis before, during, and after the June Rebellion. It focuses on the Boys instead of Marius & Cosette, Jean Valjean, and Javert. It also has a bit of Enjonine shipping in it. It's absolutely beautiful and a major tearjerker.
But I was honored with the opportunity to interview the authors of this amazing musical. So without further ado, An interview with Sierra Bailey and Eva Schon!
So how did you come up with the idea for this musical?
Eva: Sierra and I both share a mutual love of Les Mis and an obsession with the barricade boys and we've been exchanging emails on the subject of Les Mis for several weeks. Anyway, we were lamenting the fact that the boys hardly get any attention (unlike Valjean, Javert and the Marius/Cosette/Eponine love triangle) and Sierra mentioned that someone should write a musical centred around the barricade boys. At the time I didn't think much of it, but the project soon took off.
Sierra: Well, obviously most of it was from the Les Miserables musical but a lot of the idea’s that inspired Barricade Boys: The Musical came from the book itself. I think Hugo really wanted us to pay attention to the boys and the things they could teach us about friendship and standing up for whatever we believe in. To me the Les Amis are at the heart of the story since everything seems to come together at the barricades. If you look at Les Miserable in that light you begin to realize that the musical really doesn’t touch the personal lives of the boys. That’s what I had always wanted to see and so that’s where the idea of writing another musical began to take root.
How was the writing process? Was it difficult or easy?
Eva: It was fun and some of it was difficult and some of it was easy. For instance, the idea for Enjolras' solo which is based off of 'Bring Him Home' had been sitting in my brain for a long time – even before Sierra mentioned a barricade boys musical – because I often wished that Enjolras has gotten a solo in the original musical. So it wasn't very hard to re-write that song (under the new title 'Bring Them Home'). And re-writing 'One Day More' was pretty straightforward. But, on the other hand, Jehan's solo – 'We Dreamed A Dream' – took more than three re-writes and Sierra had to help me with Combeferre's solo – 'Light'.
Sierra: Personally I thought it was pretty difficult although it was also a lot of fun. There were so many nights I just sat there with a blank page in front of me and questioned the sanity of what we were doing. However, I would have to say Eva had a harder time of it than I did. It was my job to re-write the songs and get the ball rolling. After the first or second draft my songs were still pretty rough around the edges so I’d send them to Eva, which is where she stepped in and worked her magic.
Give us a brief summary of your musical.
Eva: I'm going to leave this one up to Sierra...
Sierra: Barricades Boys: The Musical, is a story based off of Les Miserables which is a famous novel written by Victor Hugo. Instead of focusing on the entire plot of the book, Barricade Boys: The Musical focuses on the story of a group of young students living in 1832 Paris, France. They are known as the Les Amis or The Friends of The ABC and are fighting for higher education and equality within France. During the musical we follow the lives of these brave young men and their fight upon the barricade. From passionate Enjolras to the steady Combeferre, the cynic Grantaire to the poet Jehan, and the courageous Eponine with her little brother, Gavroche, you will once again see the characters created by Hugo in a more personal and in-depth light.
How was rewriting all the songs [from Les Mis] to fit into the musical?
Eva: Sierra and I worked out a system for re-writing most the songs. She wrote the rough draft, sent it off to me and then, since I'm very sensitive to what would fit the music and rhythm (and make sense at the same time) I would refine it (although, seriously, I didn't have to do that much – she really is a brilliant songwriter). We did that with the re-writes for 'Stars', 'Come To Me', and 'Confrontation' (I'm just using the original song titles – the new ones are 'Light', 'Come With Me' and 'Enjolras/Grantaire Confrontation'). Some of the songs we kept the same. The most unchanged one was 'Look Down' which wasn't changed at all. The same with 'Drink With Me' and the finale. We cut Marius' verses in R&B because we don't have Cosette in the musical and we changed where 'Suddenly' is used.
Sierra: It was inspiring as well as exciting. In order to really get the points and ideas across we had to make sure that we got the emotions, events, and ideas surrounding the boys just right. Having to do that brought me closer to Les Miserables as a whole but also a lot closer to the boys. We explored a lot but also made sure to keep it close to the book. With that we added a lot of little phrases that people will be able to recognize if they have gotten a chance to read Hugo’s work. Little things like Combeferre’s reply of “To Be Free” when arguing with Marius was able to be brought out and put into light through the songs. Also the placement of the songs is really unique because we didn’t follow the exact pattern of Les Miserable so it was fun trying different placing of the songs.
How long did it take you to write the musical?
Eva: Ok...I reviewed all our emails and such to be able to answer this question and I'm really surprised that it only took a couple of weeks. But we crammed so much work into those two weeks, that it seemed much longer. It basically took over both of our lives...I made countless notes and lists in my notebooks, dozens of emails flew between us and Sierra really worked hard re-writing many of the songs – as I've already mentioned.
Sierra: Well the thought first struck me around the middle of January and so I had attempted to re-write some of the songs one of which is the confrontation but at the time none of it was really fitting together. Then one day Eva and I were emailing back and forth having one of our usual conversations about how brilliant the boys are when I made the offhand comment about how cool it would be they made a movie or musical specifically about the boys. From there it just snowballed and I’m pretty sure it was only the first week of March that we really started working on putting everything together. All together from start to when we released it on March 22nd less than three week had passed.
Who is your favorite Barricade Boy?
Eva: Enjolras is my favorite (an 'of course' moment if there ever was one) but Combeferre and Jehan are tied for close second place and I also love Courfeyrac and Grantaire. I just love them all, pretty much and I think it shows in our musical because we gave Enjolras, Combeferre and Jehan solos.
Sierra: Well, I did try, really I did. Still I couldn’t choose one over the other. It’s a tie between Enjolras and Combeferre. You can’t have one without the other. Enjolras was always my favorite but there’s a side to Combeferre that speaks to me and because of that he’s also a lot closer to me than any of the other boys.
Which Barricade Boy’s death affected you the most?
Eva: This is really, really hard because they all affected me a lot...emotionally and mentally (or are those the same things...never mind...). In both the book and the [original] musical/movie it would have to be Enjolras but Jehan and Combeferre's really hurt me as well. I just can't think of any of my boys dying...
Sierra: In the book I would have to say that Jehan’s death actually affected me the most. Something about the sweet young man who was in love stepping up to shout one last “Vive La France!” just broke my heart. I believe that was the first time I really sobbed while reading Les Miserables. As for the movie/ musical it would be the death of Enjolras with Grantaire. I believe it really goes to show the little boy inside of Enjolras that was scared to die alone.
Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to expirence the songs as never before!
Over and Out!