We chatted to Chanice about being part of Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre.
Hi Chanice – first of all how does it feel to be part of Les Miserables? Honestly, the only word I could use to describe how it feels to be a part of Les Mis is: incredible. I saw the show for the first time in 2016 and I instantly knew it was something I would absolutely love to be a part of. I just feel incredibly grateful and blessed to be here, because never in a million years did I think I would be given the opportunity to appear in the show, let alone play Fantine, and work with so many talented performers. I’m having a really wonderful time.
What do you think the enduring appeal of the show is? I think the show is so successful because it has a huge amount of heart, and that’s because the story is so touching. I also think everyone can relate to some aspect of all the characters, and that’s a sign of a truly great show, because it makes it accessible to people from all walks of life. And of course, I have to talk about the music, which is surely the ultimate selling point of the show! It’s just so beautifully written and the lyrics are both thought provoking and evocative. It’s just a timeless show in my opinion and I’m sure it will keep on running for many more years to come!
Have you a favourite moment in the show? I absolutely love listening to Jean Valjean singing ‘Bring Him Home’ every night. It’s a wonderful piece of music which is always sung absolutely beautifully by our boys who play Valjean. The audience is always completely silent too so you can tell they feel the same.
In terms of moments that I am actually involved in, I absolutely love singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. It’s just such an iconic song and it’s also a very emotional piece to perform, so I love having that raw, story-telling moment with the audience. I also love Fantine’s arrest as it gives me the chance to really sink my teeth into the role, convey Fantine’s trauma and display some emotional range. I love just totally going for it in this moment and giving it my all.
Are there any other characters in the musical who you would love to play? I’d also love to play Eponine. I love that we get to see her entire journey throughout the show, from her childhood with the Thenardiers to her relationship with Marius. And, of course, she gets to sing ‘On My Own’, which is just an amazing song! When I originally watched the show, Eponine is actually the character I thought I might be able to play if I ever got the chance to be in the show.
For those yet to experience the show for themselves – what can they expect? I’d say be prepared for a LOT of drama but also a lot of heart. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry; it really takes an audience member on an emotional journey! It’s also a very honest and thought-provoking piece of theatre, which I think is part of its appeal.
What gives you the most joy in performing this story for audiences? Being able to tell Fantine’s story is a real privilege for me. It’s a very painful journey but I think that it’s important for that very reason. As a mother myself, I can also identify with Fantine’s fiercely maternal instincts.
By Emma Clarendon
Les Miserables continues to play at the Sondheim Theatre.