Friday, March 6, 2015

Les Miserables Australia | Interview with Emily Langridge (Cosette)

So long as ignorance and misery remain on this earth, the story of Les Miserables will continue to resonate in the hearts and minds of a contemporary audience.

The musical which played in Perth and Melbourne, is now coming to Sydney at the Capitol Theatre in March. The performance is based on the Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables, which literally translates to The Poor Ones or The Wretched, was first published in 1862.

Victor Hugo explains the architecture of his work as “a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty; from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.”

The main thread is the story of an ex-convict Jean Valjean, who becomes a force for good in the world but cannot escape his criminal past, for the crime of stealing bread for his starving sister and her family and numerous escape attempts. Some years later, fate will lead him to crossing paths with Fantine and her daughter Cosette, the other leading characters in this production.

Making her professional debut, Emily Langridge will play the beloved role of ‘Cosette’. Emily graduated WAAPA in 2012, with a Bachelor of Music Theatre. While at WAAPA, she played Kira in Xanadu and featured in Into the Woods, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and more. Soon after graduating, Emily made her professional debut in 2013 in Gypsy and Pirates of Penzance with The Production Company.

I caught up with Emily Langridge for a chat.

#1 How did your love of music theatre begin?

My love of music theatre began at a pretty young age. I grew up watching the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins on repeat, as well as being obsessed with Disney! I was always putting on shows at home too where I would dress up in funny clothes and make up song and dances, so I think a love of theatre was imminent! I also sang in a choir when I was younger and we learnt a lot of songs from musicals and I just fell in love with them, and it grew from there.

#2 What is it about Les Miserables that continues to draw an audience?

I think the show is constantly so popular going on 30 years later because everything about it is timeless. It’s that kind of classic literature that despite being set in a different era is so accessible and you are completely engrossed in the world, the characters and their relationships and struggles. Victor Hugo with the novel and then Schonberg and Boublil with the musical really create these incredible characters that people can relate to and empathise with, and what isn’t there to love about the music? It captures the heart. Les Mis is a show that people can really connect to. It’s so moving and powerful, it’s a show about the people, for the people. I think this production leaves people with a real sense of community and that they are really a part of something special.

#3 Why is playing Cosette your dream role?

Cosette has always been a role I’ve wanted to play and I’m so lucky to get the chance to do it so early in my career. She is so full of life and heart, she is like a beacon of hope in many ways and is so much more complex than people might think. The songs I get to sing are vibrant and beautiful, and it’s amazing to have the opportunity to bring all of that to life every night.

#4 What have you learnt from the tour so far?

A shorter list would probably be what haven’t I learnt! I’ve learnt how to maintain my vocal, physical and mental stamina in a long run, how to be ready and happy to perform no matter what is going on in your life - how to leave any baggage at the door and be completely present and focussed on the stage, how to acclimatise to a new theatre and new city and be ready to perform in a matter of days. I’ve learnt how to feel comfortable in interviews and photo shoots, how to manage lots of flying back and forth, how to be away from family, and I’m so happy that I get to really learn something new every day, the people I work with and this job in general is so inspiring.

#5 Where do you hope to see your next role?

It’s hard to think past where I am right now! I have goals and aspirations of course, I’d love to play Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, or any of the female ingenues in any Rodgers and Hammerstein shows really! But the industry here is unpredictable, you never know what show is going to turn up so I just focus on what I’m doing now and just say to the universe I’m up for whatever you’ve got for me, and I’ll embrace that fully when it comes around!

Tickets on sale now
Capitol Theatre Sydney
Arrives 19 March 2015

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