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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Les Miserables – Opening Night

Three weeks ago, I entered a video into the Les Miserables Obsessed video contest hosted by Center Theater Group. The grand prize was two front row tickets to the show. Unfortunately, I did not win (got 3rd place). But guess what? They decided to give every contestant a pair of front orchestra tickets anyway. Consolation prizes just don’t get any better than that! So here we were on opening night:

We were told to pick up our tickets at the press table. I was thinking that I would need to tell them that there were two tickets under my name, show them my ID and all that, but instead, the person there at the table (Andrew) asked whether I am Kelvin before I even said anything. I found it really amusing that he did this for every single contestant picking up his or her tickets. I guess this is what happens when you enter a video contest. No mystery about what you look like! Way to make us feel special, Andrew. 😀

We went in and sat down. And man, those were some awesome seats. I have never sat so close to the stage for a show like this. Lots of excitement and anticipation for me. And the house lights went down. The orchestra started playing the overture. I already had tears in my eyes at this point, even though nothing was visible on stage yet except a screen that said “1815, Toulon”. And then I probably spent a good part of the first 20 minutes in tears, not because the story was sad, but because the production simply looked absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t believe I was watching it up close. I have always loved theater but I had no idea that it would have that kind of impact on me.

After watching the 25th Anniversary Concert many times and singing to the soundtrack for several months straight in the car, I knew exactly which line was coming up, and I could notice it when the minor adjustments were made (there weren’t many). Having the entire thing practically memorized was great, because it allowed me to soak in all the visual details, all those beautiful set pieces, lighting design, and man, I did not remember all those things flying around during “Master of the House”. The show was three hours long but never felt that long at all.

Although I didn’t win the front row tickets, I still considered myself the biggest winner. Somehow Matt Lucas, who played Thenardier in the 25th Anniversary Concert and is currently reprising the role at West End, tweeted about the video, which subsequently led to 60+ more people tweeting about it and 3000+ view on Youtube. Knowing that an actual Les Miserables cast member watched my video made me giddy and being able to entertain 3000+ people was very satisfying for the entertainer in me. For me, that’s the big win. I wouldn’t trade that for front row tickets (which money can buy, theoretically).

At the end of the day (yes, pun intended), I simply enjoy making videos that entertain people, especially my friends. Hearing “Kelvin, your weird ass video made my day” is very rewarding for me. I didn’t even bother telling people that they can vote once every 24 hours. I really want to share a video with you more than I care about the vote. Of course, if you did vote, you are even more awesome in my book. I want to thank everyone who voted, left me comments, and/or shared the video with your friends. Thank you all for your support, friendship, and kind words! :-)

Les Miserables – One Day More (One Man, Many Puppets)

I made a video of me singing the song One Day More from the hit musical Les Miserables. It’s entertaining. You should watch it. 😀

I fell in love with the music when my summer school English teacher played it in class as a listening practice. The music was just so… epic! I had the pleasure of seeing it live back in 2003 (while it was still on a revolving stage!) and although my comprehension for English at that time wasn’t good enough yet to catch all the words, it was still a moving experience. It was also my first time seeing a live musical by a professional company (rather than my high school classmates) and what a great introduction!

Recently I watched the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert (multiple times) on PBS. What a massive production and many great singers in it (Alfie Boe, especially). And then when we started rehearsing for Puppet Jukebox, which required me to sing, I ended up using the Les Miserables soundtrack in my car as vocal warm-up (which is great for that purpose, by the way). For many weeks, every time I am driving, I am singing Les Miserables. I got almost the entire thing memorized by now.

So when Center Theatre Group announced that they were having a Les Miz Obsessed video contest for Les Miserables tickets, I thought, “Obsessed? That’s me! I should totally make a video! With puppets!” So that’s how the video came to be.

What surprised me was that the video reached 1000 views within the first day. That left me a little puzzled. I was wondering whether it got digged or stumbled. And people started mentioning Matt Lucas in the comments, which left me scratching my head. Finally I figured it out. It turned out that Matt Lucas, who was Thenardier for the 25th anniversary concert and will reprise the role at West End from June 23 to September 10, actually tweeted my video!

Whoa, definitely didn’t see that one coming! Matt Lucas approves. That made me really happy! 😀

Oh yeah, before I forget, if you enjoyed the video, please take a few seconds to vote for my video to win those tickets! You can vote for it once every 24 hours on Facebook:

Or if you prefer not to sign into Facebook for these things, you can just use this link:

Puppet Jukebox: Behind the Scenes

This video is made by fellow cast member Herman Gonzales. This gives you a glance of what the rehearsals are like and also let you take a peek backstage.

Thank you, Herman, for documenting this! 😀