View Full Version : Garoche in 'Les Miz'
09-20-2000, 08:04 AM
10 years ago, I saw the musical Les Miserables in San Francisco and distinctly remember a song featuring the little kid Garoche. It's a cute song about Little People and pups growing up and such, and he sings it center stage. This song is later briefly reprised when he singles out Javert as traitor, and later croaks it out as his dying words.
Earlier this year, I saw the play again, this time in London, which has been running it continuously since it first opened. Now, although this song is featured on the London Original Cast Recording Soundtrack (but not the Broadway, btw), it did not appear in the production I saw!
IMHO, this had a dramatic impact on our attitude toward the little guy. Without the song, he stays on the periphery, scrambling around but not really amounting to much once the play enters Paris. Though it looks like he's positioned to act as a Greek Chorus of sorts (this from his role as "host" in the "Look Down"/Paris song), he doesn't do too much until he sacrifices himself. I remember a certain poignancy when the little guy bites it the first time, but felt total indifference the second--largely, I think, because this Little People song was missing, thus depriving him of much of his appeal and exposure as a real character.
Anyone seen the play more than once and found this, or other, discrepancies in the versions (especially if, as in my case, the road show seemed more "original" than the Original)?
08-09-2001, 01:33 AM
Don't look at me, ArchiveGuy told me to do it.
08-09-2001, 02:48 AM
Thanks ITR Champion. :)
Now, a little request for the mods--can you add "Les Miz" to the title (didn't know I couldn't put quotes in the title 10 months ago). Merci.
08-09-2001, 02:53 AM
I'm pretty sure the character's name is Gavroche. I've seen the musical three times, first in Houston (were it included the song Little People), later on Broadway and later again in Dallas. The Houston production was my favorite, although I was thrilled with getting to see it on Broadway so the idea that I was there contributed to my enjoyment. I really don't have much to add except that I agree with your assessment that the song Little People, impacted the production in the manner you outlined. On Broadway the Playbill had an insert indicating that Gavroche was supposed to be played by Taylor John. At curtain calls when "he" came out and removed "his" cap his long brown hair tumbled down and revealed that the same actress that played young Cosette, had played Gavroche as well. It was a delightful surprise.
08-09-2001, 02:56 AM
Sorry for the additional post. I meant to include that her name was Melissa. I regret not remembering her last name.
08-09-2001, 06:37 AM
Les Mis without "Little People"?
Everytime I've seen it or listened to it, which is many times, the song has been included - it has to be! As you point out, it's reprised a couple of times during the show.
I have noticed very few differences between the productions that I have seen.
When Gavroche yells out "Liar!" (or, usually, "Loyer!") to unmask that snake in the grass Inspector Javert, the first reprise follows immediately. What did the show you saw do at this point?
08-09-2001, 08:04 AM
While I think the "Little People" song does put Gavroche in context, I also think it's a bit... uh.... silly. The lyrics are stilted and the instrumentation sounds like something a kindergarden class would sing.
And little people know
When little people fight
We may be easy pickings but we've got some bite
So never kick a dog
Because he's just a pup
We'll fight like twenty armies and we won't give up
So you better run for cover when the pup grows up.
Sorry, but it just sounds a little trite compared to the majesty of such choruses as...
Do you hear the people sing?
Lost in the valley of the night
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the Light
For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
They will live again in freedom
in the Garden of the Lord....
Long-story short: maybe they just removed it because they think it's too silly to fit in with the rest of the show.
Also, I read somewhere that the show was originally supposed to include a song by Gavroche with, oh, rather darker lyrics. Something like...
Ten little bullets in my hand,
Ten little chances to be free....
Did they have that song in the production you saw in London?
08-09-2001, 09:26 AM
The song was a number of excerpts cut from the show recently. Cameron Macintosh, the producer, was having to pay every single person working on the show 12 minutes overtime every night because the show was so long. He didn't see the point to this, so they shaved 12 minutes off the show. I have not seen a recent production so I'm not sure what other little parts have been taken out.
08-09-2001, 11:00 AM
Marcus says: When Gavroche yells out "Liar!" (or, usually, "Loyer!") to unmask that snake in the grass Inspector Javert, the first reprise follows immediately. What did the show you saw do at this point?
The reprise would play, but it really wasn't a reprise since that's the first we heard the "Little People" song.
rastahomie says:[/i] While I think the "Little People" song does put Gavroche in context, I also think it's a bit... uh.... silly. The lyrics are stilted and the instrumentation sounds like something a kindergarden class would sing.
Agreed. I was no big fan of the song--it's so obviously designed as a "show-stopper" and doesn't advance the story the way most of the other songs do. Still, when the little tyke dies, you're like "Huh" :shrugs shoulders: since the song is the only real window into what he's all about. And no, they didn't have any replacement song for Gavroche.
DooWahDiddy says: The song was a number of excerpts cut from the show recently. Cameron Macintosh, the producer, was having to pay every single person working on the show 12 minutes overtime every night because the show was so long. He didn't see the point to this, so they shaved 12 minutes off the show. I have not seen a recent production so I'm not sure what other little parts have been taken out.
A-ha! That explains it (not that I noticed it was 12 minutes shorter since it's still pretty damn long :) ) Since that song's a good 3 minutes at least, I'd be hard-pressed to notice where the other nine minutes went.
08-09-2001, 12:21 PM
I think what Archive Guy is talking about is the long version of "Little People," not the one sung when he unmasks Javert, correct? As far as I know, that one was officially cut during the original London run, both for time and for sentimentality -- but the two other instances of the song stayed, and I'm fairly certain they survived the recent Broadway cuts (http://thebarricades.com/features/revisions_bway2000.htm) as well.
The lyric quoted by rastahomie (and written by James Fenton) have never been used in production, which is a shame, since I think they're terrific.
Incidentally, in the original French version of the musical, Gavroche (who's something of a national icon in France) has considerably more material, including a song called "La Faute a Voltaire." The tune for that number eventually became "Little People," but the lyrics are better (especially if you speak French). The chorus is actually a song sung by Gavroche in the novel.
If you're interested, here's a translation (http://www.angelfire.com/mb2/mmebahorel/ofc_index.html) of the original French libretto.
I attended a production of Les Miz in Singapore this afternoon (20 years since I last saw Les Miz on stage, 15 years since the last post to this thread). I only recall one instance of 'Little People' (just before Gavroche takes a bullet and dies), and no reprise. Even the scene where Gavroche unmasks Inspector Javert lacks the song 'Little People', which is where I'd expect it based on the Broadway cast recording that I've been listening to for 30 years.
06-19-2016, 04:00 PM
Yes, I know this is a revived zombie, but in case anybody is interested:
The current version of "Les Mis" is the revised version, which has numerous cuts from the original.
06-19-2016, 04:06 PM
Let's move this over to Cafe Society, which didn't exist when this thread was started over 15 years ago.
General Questions Moderator
06-21-2016, 04:29 AM
Gavroche in the original book was the reincarnation of a revolutionary boy in a Delacroix painting. Hugo used him to introduce some much needed humour into what was a pretty grim tale. His role, not huge in the book, has been much reduced in the musicals.
despite his relatively small role in the novel, [he] "brings a breath of happiness and humanity a love of life, wit, goodness, and courage in the face of adversity. His purity of spirit is strengthened rather than diminished by poverty, homelessness, and injustice." Where other characters are hardened by experience, Gavroche lives by his wits and shows kindness to everyone he encounters. In his view, as Javert embodies rigor and order, Gavroche represents the unruly, eccentric, and imaginative.
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