Last month, I paid my third visit to Notre Dame de Paris, the musical hit by Cocciante and Plamondon. I can’t say I would have killed someone to get a comp, but, still, I was very excited to go, plus, the Palais des Congrès is not far from where I live so it’s very convenient. And, how could I turn down an invitation to a press night where I would be sure to meet a few friends and a few stars? Herbert Léonard? I have always been curious of seeing him up close.
The first time I saw Notre Dame, I was seated at the very back of the house, which means I could have used a motorcycle to get to the stage if I ever had the desire to give a rose to the cast, for example. The second time was in another venue (Mogador) and I was seated in the first balcony. Better. This time, I was very well seated and I couldn’t help but think: Hey, I’m climbing up the musical theatre ladder. I hope it’s not because of my looks. It’s certainly not because I’m nice.
One thing about Notre Dame is that they always have the bulkiest dancers around, since the choreography requires lots of acrobatics. So even in the last row you get to see the muscles, but I was glad to be so close. I could count the abs if I got bored with the songs.
Seriously, the songs are so rangy that at the end of the show, you are kind of exhausted for the singers and you feel like going home and playing your Carla Bruni CD, but, yeah, OK, I have to admit the cast delivers quite a performance.
My favourite part of the show is a duet between two ladies who love the same man. They deliver a song about how handsome he is and at that point, he comes up on stage with his shirt wide open on a tanned and ripped torso. A torso that belongs to Laurent Ban (who also happens to have a beautiful voice by the way). Seeing that glistening chest, I couldn’t help but remembering the many times I saw Laurent Ban shirtless in a musical. Chance… Paradisco… Notre Dame… Little Prince… Well maybe not Little Prince. I might have dreamed that up. Anyway, in the end, Fleur de Lys wants Esmeralda to be hung so she can enjoy this torso all for herself. Selfish little girl (she’s only 15 by the way), didn’t you mother teach you to share with your friends?
At intermission, my colleague from Regard en Coulisse had a pass to go backstage for a glass of champagne. Free champagne? Count me in. I took the opportunity to steal a couple of souvenir brochures for my unfortunate friends who didn’t have a pass. I gulped down two glasses in ten minutes but there were no yummy snacks unless you count the dancers.
Going backstage at Notre Dame was like a mix between Prison Break and Temptation Island: Prison Break because all the dancers look like inmates with their shaved heads and rough looks, Temptation Island because they are very tempting but you are not allowed to touch. That would be so unprofessional to have an affair while interviewing someone in the costumes storage room for example. And my green-with-envy colleagues would just kill me.
I went back to my seat for the second part and it was very nice to be slightly drunk.
The limited run of Notre Dame is now over and it’s really a shame because I wish I could have recommended it. The lightings are just amazing.
Now, I’m skipping to something completely different but have you seen the Dreamgirls trailer? Isn’t it wonderful to have a trailer when the shooting hasn’t even started? Next month I’ll try to write a column about shows I haven’t seen.