Monday, August 14, 2006

I Dreamed a Dream...

Rick Miramontez would like you all to know that "when" (his word) Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave are on Broadway at the same time, there will be no feuding between them. I keep forgetting to share that important bit of info.

Now onto my actual posting...

It was recently announced that Lea Michele would be dropping out of the Les Miz revival to appear in the Broadway transfer of Spring Awakening. This got me thinking about why people choose the projects they do.... What kinds of things factor into these decisions? And Les Miz is a good show to focus on for a discussion of this topic.

Before casting was announced, Eden Espinosa opted not to appear in Lez Miz because it would conflict with the Los Angeles mounting of Wicked. Shortly after this, I heard Daphne Rubin-Vega for Fantine. Then I heard Daphne Rubin-Vega for High Fidelity. Would she dream a dream or sing some rock songs with lyrics by Amanda Green? Well, we now know she did choose Les Miz, but let us pretend we are back during the decision making process. Les Miz is something that will at least be bringing in a pay check for six months; this show also offers her the opportunity to put a new spin on a well-known character. Fantine is not however going to be the focus of the reviews, which will probably largely concentrate on the viability of Les Miz today. On the other hand, High Fidelity offered an opportunity to possibly receive real stand-out reviews, as there was talk of bulking up the role of Liz (I think that is the right name) had Rubin-Vega signed on. But High Fidelity does not have as much emotional resonance and also has a shelf life that is currently hard to judge. Definite pros and cons to both. A possible swaying factor was that she has a young child and Fidelity is trying out away from her NYC home. But I believe, in this particular case, the thing that tipped the scales was something I have yet to mention: Les Miz is letting her out in the winter to appear in Jack Goes Boating with Philip Seymour Hoffman at the Public and I heard that High Fidelity would not guarantee such an out. Though decide for yourself why you believe she chose what she did.

Michele was in many ways in a more difficult position. Rubin-Vega is established in the theater world--she is a two-time Tony nominee who always works. No matter which project she chose, her long-run would likely not be effected. Michele is at a pivotal place in her career--she is waiting for the role that will establish her. She hasn't had her Mimi yet. Who knows if it is Wendla or Eponine? (Who knew those names would sound so stupid when I listed them one after the other?)

We already know Michele likely won't receive "a star is born" reviews for her performance in Spring Awakening on Broadway, she didn't receive those off-Broadway. She received positive mentions. She likely would have gotten positive mentions for her work in Les Miz as well. (Though they probably would have been very, very short--Rubin-Vega at least will reinvent Fantine a little, Michele is the standard Eponine type and thus less worthy of examination.) So I don't think pull quotes factored into the decision really.

What were the real pros and cons for Michele? As noted above, Les Miz will run and tons of people would have seen her up on that stage. That said, I really don't know how many people are going to be focusing on Eponine in 2006 when they've already seen so many people of the same ilk do it. Spring Awakening is offering Michele the chance to be a real Broadway leading lady. It is also a project she has been with for years, thus it likely carries tremendous emotional importance to her. But it's probably not as safe a bet if she needs a steady check or desires mass exposure. It is a risk--one that I understand why she took. Hopefully it will work out for her.

Oh my god (you guys)--which you'll soon know what is referencing if you don't already--this was a super long post. Sorry.... I want to give you a scoop if you're still reading... Ummm... Tony winner Jane Krakowski has been cast in the new Tina Fey sitcom. Is that a good bit of info?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Any insight as to who will replace Daphne on her leave from Les Miz?