Jillian Butler of MISERABLES at Bass Concert Hall
“Do you hear the people singing? Singing the song of angry men? It is the music of the people who will no longer be slaves.” Familiar words from the familiar show LES MISERABLES. The story tells of redemption and unity. He also shares the hope of so many for a better world. LES MISEÃRABLES continues to entertain audiences around the world and is currently touring North America with a stellar cast. Jillian Butler stars as young Cosette trying to find her own way in a world full of turmoil. BWW caught up with Butler as she and the cast prepare to perform in Austin, Texas, September 10-15, 2019.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started to play.
I started in college. I was convinced then to make my first musical and I caught the theater bug. I started singing then in high school, I was in the choir and the theater. I fell in love with it and never looked back. There is nothing else that I ever really wanted to do. I followed this passion.
You finished at the Boston Conservatory. How did this experience go?
It was unbelievable. It’s also such an artistic city, so just to be immersed in this world and also close to New York. But the whole school, the whole program, how it was; you are always so busy. It was also a good way to get a taste of the business. It was a great way to grow and cultivate my skills. I loved the program.
You’ve done a lot of shows over the years. You were also in WICKED and you were in CINDERELLA and many others. Is there a particular role that you found to be the role of your dreams?
WICKED was definitely a dream role. Just kidding because I didn’t know THE MIS so much that I think people know and love him. I was never someone who grew up singing LES MIS all the time. I think it helped me love her in a different way and now Cosette is definitely a dream role that I didn’t know I needed in my life. I feel like now, coming into Cosette and the show, I needed it in a different way, spiritually. It helped me those days, I don’t feel good. Cosette is so light and willful and I think she is a dream for me to play in my life.
There is so much to be said about Cosette’s character in the first place. Tell us a bit about how you became Cosette on the LES MISERABLES tour.
It was the standard hearing process. I was on tour with WICKED and sent a self-cassette. From there I had a series of three or four callbacks and then I had to have one last encore with our Marius, Josh Grosso. I sang with him a few times. I remember when they brought me in for that one, I thought it might be the real deal, maybe the last one since he was singing with me, since he already had the part. They paired it up with me to see how we sounded together. It was my last encore and it was an amazing experience just to be in front of this creative team as well. I got a call saying they wanted me to play Cosette and I couldn’t believe it. Our cast is quite spectacular and I’m lucky to be able to work on this production.
The last question I like to ask people is what advice would you give to someone who is considering getting into this business?
I would say, be nice. Know that you are your own individual and that you have something special and do not compare yourself to others. There are a lot of talented people out there, but people remember who’s nice. Bring this energy to whatever you do. Try to enjoy the process. It’s two years to do [LES MIS] and who flew by. I try to enjoy the process and the journey I am on.
I know people will love our version [of LES MIS]. I think this is a very important story to tell now. It is really about the survival of the human spirit.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see LES MISERABLES in Austin, Texas at Bass Concert Hall. The show will take place from September 10 to 15, 2019. Secure your tickets so you don’t miss this timeless spectacle.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Murphy