The story begins, being narrated my Michel York, and the timeless words of Dickens "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." First off let me say that I loved the narration, it helped keep the plot strait, and I just love how Michel was actually reading bits from the book. Secondly, the 'concert' is very much like the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts of Les Miserables. However, there is more acting in AToTC, which is a major deal breaker for me.
The concert's plot picks up in Paris, France with some of the most epic notes in the entire history of musicals. In those few measures you feel this spark lighting in your soul. This very spark is the very revolutionary ideas that the Defarges are kindling. Doctor Mannette has been rescued after 17 years in the Bastille, and Lucie Manette has just arrived to take her father home. Their reunion is one of the sweetest things I've ever listened to. The plot picks up rather quickly, moving through underhanded dealings, a trial, and of course the ever preset love 'triangle' that seems to be a must in good musicals like these. Let me just say the loves songs in AToTC are some of my most favorite love songs in the world.
"And while you're trying to forget her, she'll steal inside your head, and she'll be holding you so close
there'll be no place for you to hide"
"I can't recall, a night so clear, the heavens seem an inch away, not cold and empty like before a night as sweet as this...I can't recall"
"Lucie haunts my heart haunts my thoughts, my prayers, my dreams, my nights, nights, she is everywhere that I turn"
"How she haunts my heart can she see the way I look at her I wonder if it shows can she read my thoughts I wonder if she knows....here we go again every time I think this endless dance is done he turns away...round and round and round we go, but no one every moves...how on earth can he not know...can she not know I love her...how I love him.."
"I can't believe you're really here, I can't believe you're really mine, and all I ever want is you, my dreams came true today....if dreams came true I might have been a better man, if dreams came true you might have set me free, but God is kind, for you he had a better plan and saved you from the pain of loving me."
Okay, end of love song lyrics. There was a point to them, really there was, but now I can't remember. Oh, yes. It was the point that I wanted to make. AToTC is one of the greatest love stories to be told. The love of two men for the same woman and in turn the love of a woman for two different men. Charles loves Lucie with a pure heart, with an untainted soul and in turn Lucie loves Charles with every fiber of her being. On the other hand Sydney's dark and twisted heart is drawn to the light of Lucie. She is also drawn to him, but with a different love she feels for Charles. It is the love of friendship, and that love stays despite her marriage to Charles. Then the binding love of a parent and the innocent love of a child make their way to the stage. Towards the end of the musical you see all these different types of love coming together to create the greatest sacrifice of all, laying down one's life for a friend. Sydney knows he and Lucie will never hare the love she a Charles have. He knows if Charles is to die Little Lucie will loose the love her father showers down upon her. His selfless love drives him to give up his life for the very man who stole the love of his life. This is the greatest love of all. A Tale of Two Cities is story completely driven by love.
The cast is amazing. Which brings us to Charles Darnay. I know I've been saying how much I like him all week, but you have to realize how much I LOVE the guy. However, I will save the major fangirling for tomorrows post. For now I will just say that Simon Tomas was really amazing. He perfectly captured the idea of a gentleman in love. Not to mention that he and Brandi Burkhardt (Lucie Manette) fit together beautifully. James Barbour who plays Sydney Carton is probably one of the best fits for this character. The humor he brings out makes everyone laugh, but at the same time he is so consumed with this desire to be loved that your heart aches for him. One of my favorite moments with Sydney is when Lucie gives him this very short scarf and he's not sure of what it is. One of the best funny moments sprinkled throughout the musical of heartbreak to be sure. The Defarges played by Kevin Earley and Natalie Toro were also great choices. Their voices are so moving and powerful, something that's a must if you're leading the parts of Revolutionist! Out of all the rolls in the cast however, I think we can all agree that Catherine Missal, playing Little Lucie, was the sweetest and most darling thing ever.
Okay, well that's it for today...sorry it wasn't much of a review. I tend to ramble on and on when it comes to my favorite musicals I forget about the 'reviewing' part. Anyhow, I highly recommend the PBS version of AToTC. You can watch it on Youtube by clicking the link. Just be prepared to fall in love.