Les Miserables is not a subtle show, it is a grand epic. The novel by Victor Hugo, adapted for the stage by Alain Boublil and Claude Michel Schonberg tells the story of the life of Jean Valjean and culminates with the Paris Uprising of 1832 (not to be confused with the French Revolution). Les Miserables is a show that holds a special place in my heart. It was the very first Broadway show that I saw and is largely responsible for my current love of the theater. The current touring production showing at the Orpheum through December 30th has some differences from the original broadway production, largely in that the iconic turntable has been replaced by a backdrop of projections, but the show is still as lush and worth seeing as ever. What struck me the most in this viewing of the show, is just how well the show flows.
The story flows from song to song and across seventeen years seamlessly. The original production had projections to indicate the year when there is a jump in time, which this latest production has eliminated, but these changes are made obvious instead through the gorgeous music. The projections which serve as a backdrop are subtle for the most part, providing the backdrop of Paule Constable's gorgeous lighting design that makes every scene look like a renaissance painting. But the projections also provide cinematic like theater magic in certain scenes were it adds to movement, making the stage feel like it spans for miles.
The cast who bring this epic to life are all extremely talented. Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean goes through great change throughout the show, and vocally delivers a wonderful Bring Him Home. Josh Davis as Javert was a looming presence that won the audience's heart during the song Stars. And J Anthony Crane and Allison Guinn as the Thenardiers provided hilarious comedic relief.
Les Miserables is a gorgeous show told on a grand scale wonderfully at the Orpheum Theater. It is a show that makes you think about the justice system, redemption, legacy and love. It is a timeless story that is relevant across culture (if you don't believe me watch this video). It is playing until December 30th, and if you have a change I highly encourage you to go and see it. Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets.
Photo credit: Matthew Murphey