In 1862 Victor Hugo's epic novel "Les Miserables" was published and though I never read it I did see a movie version in 1952 so the first time I saw the musical stage version in 2000 I was familiar with the story. I didn't expect to be so emotionally involved but here it is 19 years later and it still moves me.
In addition to seeing the stage version I also saw the 2012 movie based on the musical a few times and can't recall how many times I have listened to the 25th anniversary concert album and still the songs like "On My Own", "Who Am I", "I Dreamed A Dream", "Bring Him Home" and "Soliloquy", among others, seem as fresh as the first time I heard them and still can bring tears to the eyes.
Production values are very important to a story but in a show that is sung through such as "Les Miserables" the voices are more important than the costumes, lighting and/or set designs and this show has all that but, more important, it has a cast that gives it their best and they are excellent.
Briefly the story is about Jean Valjean, whom we meet just as he is being released from prison after serving 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread and trying to escape, who now starts a journey to redeem himself while being hounded by Inspector Javert who he is paroled to but eventually eludes.
Valjean makes the lives better of those he meets along the way and we become involved in all their stories just as we become involved with the upcoming French Revolution and the young people caught up in it.
Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean gets sustained applause for his moving "Bring Him Home" and "Who Am I?" while Josh Davis as Inspector Javert takes charge of the stage in both "Stars" and "Soliloquy". Matt Shinghledecker as Enjolras leads the company in the rousing first act curtain "One Day More" just as Marius, played by Joshua Grosso, gets across the sadness of "Empty Chairs, Empty Tables". Paige Smallwood as Eponine stops the show singing the haunting "On My Own" and Mary Kate Moore as Fantine makes "I Dreamed A Dream" sounds as fresh as if it was being sung for the first time by anyone. The ensemble makes the songs "Do You Hear The People Sing", "The People's Song" and the finale of "One Day More" the anthems of a revolution as strong and meaningful as they should be.
The music by Claude Schonberg with a French language libretto by Alain Boublil translated into English with the lyrics of Herbert Kretzmer is moving, funny, soaring when it has to and becomes quiet sometimes at moments when you least expect it but the music at all times serves the story of "Les Miserables" as does the cast and the production.
The cast numbering more than 30, including 5 children, earned the well-deserved ovation the audience gives them when they take their curtain calls.
Whether you are seeing for the first time or the fifth time I suggest you get tickets now for this production!
Act 1 1 hour and 30 minutes 20 minute intermission Act 2 1 hour and 5 minutes Total 2 hours and 55 minutes Gun shots, strobe lights, smoke