A few thoughts from my friend Rachel over at The Backstage at the industry screening in NY last night:
Hathaway's is a performance that will never ever ever be forgotten. It's that good. There are some changes, most of which open up the scenes more, and one song cut that I thought deserved to be cut all along ( ). All of the things you wish for are there, everything is expanded and it's expansive and natural and beautiful, and the live singing was a miracle idea. Jackman will get in. He carries it, he sings it, you go on this journey with him. Crowe will not get in and I was not the biggest fan of his but the audience around me seemed to be pleasantly surprised. Redmayne is the best of the supporting men and tears the place down with "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." Barks is good but I am not sure she will hold up as memorable stacked against Anne and also . I was not the biggest fan of her in the concert and was torn on her casting because at least it wasn't Taylor Swift but it also felt slightly lazy to go with the person who did it most recently in the stage show. Eponine is a standout role and Barks does sing it well but I don't know if it's enough to make a dent. The Gavroche is terrific and I have seen so many hammy kids do it on stage. Seyfried has that weird vibrato but that doe-eyed thing she does so well works as a character choice for Cosette, who is always somewhat of a dishrag.