Playing Cosette in Les Miserables is a dream role for soprano Emily Langridge

Emily Langridge says she is inquisitive and excitable like Cosette, the character she plays in Les Miserables.
Emily Langridge says she is inquisitive and excitable like Cosette, the character she plays in Les Miserables.PHOTO: CAMERON MACKINTOSH AUSTRALIA

For Australian actress Emily Langridge, playing Cosette in Les Miserables allows her to bring a message of love and hope to the audience

8Q

The sweet-faced actress Emily Langridge, 26, plays Cosette in a new touring production of the popular musical Les Miserables, which premieres in Singapore this month.

The rousing musical by British producer Cameron Mackintosh is based on the 1862 novel by French writer Victor Hugo.

Its staging at the Esplanade Theatre from May 31 to July 17 marks the musical's return to Singapore after 20 years.

The performance by Brisbane- born Langridge, who is single, will see her reprise her role as the daughter of former inmate Jean Valjean. She had played the character in the Australian run of the musical from 2014 to earlier this year.

A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, she grew up loving musicals and comes from a musically talented family. Her parents, both teachers, can play various musical instruments and her two siblings are talented singers, but she is the only one in her family who has pursued music professionally.

The new touring production was launched at the end of 2009 in the United Kingdom by Mackintosh to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the musical, which debuted in 1985 in London's West End.

  • BOOK IT / CAMERON MACKINTOSH'S LES MISERABLES

  • WHERE: Esplanade Theatre

    WHEN: May 31 to July 17, Tuesday to Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2 and 8pm; Sunday 1.30 and 7pm. No show on Monday

    ADMISSION: $58 to $228 (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

    INFO: www.lesmis.com/singapore

It features a fresh stage set and a re-orchestrated score.

The musical travels to Singapore from Manila, where it recently ended its run.

1 Are you a fan of Les Miserables?

Absolutely. It's been one of my favourite shows for as long as I can remember and I love listening to the soundtrack.

I never got a chance to see the musical when I was younger, but I did watch the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts, which featured original cast members performing songs from the musical.

2 Do you have a favourite character?

I'm not sure if I have a favourite character, though I love Jean Valjean. He has such an amazing journey.

Australian actor Simon Gleeson plays him in this show and he's been amazing.

3 What is it like to play Cosette?

It's so wonderful. It's one of those dream roles that a young soprano would love to tick off.

It's been incredibly special to get to create this character and bring a message of love and hope to the audience.

4 Are you similar to her in any way?

I think I'm similar to her in many ways. We are similar in that she is so excitable, wants to learn more about the world and is inquisitive.

I do try to play her as quite a strong person and to give her an opinion, to shake up that sheltered world that Valjean has built for her that she is trying to break away from.

5 What is the most challenging thing about this job?

It can be challenging, after doing it for so many months, to keep it fresh.

Gleeson always says that there's someone in the audience that needs to hear this story tonight. You can make such an impact to people who are coming to see it.

So even if I'm tired, or if I'm having a bad day, I remind myself: "Think about the show that you're doing and the messages that you're sharing."

6 How many costumes do you have in the musical?

I have eight costumes. Besides playing Cosette, I am also a member of the ensemble.

It was confusing at first to remember which shirt I should wear under which, and when I have to take a shirt off and put on a skirt. But it's second nature to me now. It's all muscle memory.

7 What goes on backstage during a show?

A lot. There are many manic quick changes - the minute we come off stage, especially in the first act of the show, we are running to get changed and then running to get back on stage and then running to the dressing room again.

That's pretty crazy. You don't realise how much running there is.

There is a lot of technical stuff that goes on.

When I'm singing the song A Heart Full Of Love with Paul Wilkins who plays Cosette's love interest, Marius, and Kerrie Anne Greenland, who plays the street- smart Eponine, the team is building the barricades in the wings for the next scene.

There's also a scene where I change onstage into my wedding dress while Valjean is singing. But there's a black screen onstage so no one can see that happening.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

I'd like to be remembered as being good at what I do, a good friend, a good daughter and a good sister.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2016, with the headline 'Dream role for a soprano'. Print Edition | Subscribe