“Les Miserables” opened on Broadway in 1987 winning 8 Tonys including best musical and score. It has had 2 successful revivals in New York and has been touring all over the USA for years while, opening in London in 1985, it has become the second longest running musical in the world.
The touring company opened at the Arsht Center in Miami last night and showed why this sung through musical soars with the right cast and they were on stage singing the emotional and beautiful score with such songs as “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Who Am I” and “A Heart Full of Love”.
“Les Miserables” is the story of Jean Valjean (Nick Cartell) who we meet being released from prison after 19 years having been arrested for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving daughter and then 14 more years for trying to escape. He has been paroled under the watchful eye of Inspector Javert (Josh Davis) who he eventually eludes and we follow the paths of these two men and the people who they meet and become involved with.
When Fantine (Mary Kate Moore) sings the previously mentioned “I Dreamed A Dream” you won’t hear a sound in the theatre while you will hear sobs here and there as (Cartell) touches hearts with “Bring Him Home”. “Soliloquy: Javert’s Suicide” and “Stars” are sung with such power and feeling by (Davis) you see a completely different man on stage in each song. “Master of the House” a duet by Thenardier (J. Anthony Crane) and his wife (Allison Guinn) are way over the top very funny performers while Marius’s (Joshua Grosso) rendition of “Empty Chairs At Empty Tables” is definitely a tear jerker!
Both the young Cosette (Vivi Howard) and the Older Cosette (Jillian Butler) shine in their own songs while Eponine (Paige Smallwood) not only soars and stops the show singing “On My Owns” but adds her voice to 7 other songs whether duets, trios or group numbers. In addition, Matt Shingledecker as Enjolras, a student leader of the revolution, leads the ensemble in a rousing “The People’s Song”.
The songs mentioned, and the rest of the score, by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer need and get the singers and cast their music needs and deserves.
There are a few scenery aspects in the touring show that are different from the original Broadway production but they take nothing away from the show. The costumes, makeup, lighting and sound all add to the 1815-1832 France we see on stage. The show is directed by Laurence Connor & James Powell and the orchestra is conducted by Brian Eads.
As you walk up the aisle of the theatre don’t be surprised to hear yourself humming, or even singing out loud, the anthem of the show, “Do You Hear The People Sing”.
Running time Act 1: 1 hour and 30 minutes Intermission: 20 minutes Act 2: 1 hour and 5 minutes
“Les Miserables” will be returning to South Florida at the Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale October 8-20, 2019. Go to BroadwayinFortLauderdale.com or call 1-800-764-0700