What’s loved in one country isn’t always well received in another. Talk show host James Corden learned that the hard way during a musical performance of Les Misérables in a Paris crosswalk.
The street performance is part of a reoccurring segment on Corden’s show, The Late Late Show, called “Crosswalk Musical.” Along with a cast of ten to twenty, and often a celebrity or two, Corden preforms numbers from a musical in a crosswalk while the light is red, then rushes back to the safety of the sidewalk when the light turns green.
When Corden performed Broadway tunes in New York and songs from “Aladdin” in Los Angeles for “Crosswalk Musical” segments, he attracted crowds and garnered laughs from onlookers. Though London didn’t have quite the same warm welcome, people stopped to watch and smiled occasionally at Corden’s “Mary Poppins” choreography.
Paris is another story. From the opening notes of “Master of the House” to the final harmony of “One Day More,” Parisians shook their heads in confusion, impatience and perhaps disgust at the spectacle before them. Only two people almost smiled.
The Arc de Triomphe was in the background, but the chosen crosswalk was on avenue Carnot, to the west of the Arc de Triomphe (“the beating heart of the French capital,” according to Corden) where tourists tend not to go unless they’re staying in one of the area’s hotels. In the center of the city, Corden and crew may have had a warmer welcome from the many tourists swarming the city, but in their chosen corner of Paris, they faced an audience of mostly disinterested Parisians.
Though the locals may not have enjoyed “Crosswalk Musical,” we’re sure that you’ll smile and laugh at Corden’s (mis)understanding and parodying of French culture, and the fantastic crosswalk Les Mis performance.