I cried at least seven times.
For those of you, like me before, who know nothing about Les Miserables, let me enlighten you a bit. At the core of the story is Jean Valjean, a man who is just freed from serving 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread. He finds God, thanks to the generosity of a bishop, and becomes a wealthy and respectable man. 8 years later he promises to take care of Cosette, the daughter of one of his now dead factory workers, Fantine, and is being hunted by Javert to be put back in jail. 9 years later unrest is growing in France, the revolution is upon them. Here Cosette meets Marius and they fall in love but Marius already has a secret admirer, Eponine. Soon the unrest has become to much and the politically active students are bound and determined to support the revolution-they build a barricade and prepare to fight. There is fighting and dying and a bittersweet ending but I’ll leave you to find that part out.
The show was breathtaking. Visually and emotionally stunning. The back drop was a projection of paintings of places in France this took place that moved with the people as if it were real. The set was huge and could turn into anything imaginable; slums, floozy house, inn, town square, everything! The costumes were lovely and the lighting and special effects were fantastic. On the emotional end was the singing and the actors and the ambiance of the whole production. I have never once seen another theatre production, movie, or tv show that created such real and over whelming emotions. Seeing the emotion is one thing but hearing the emotion drip from every note sung is an experience I’ve never had before. Even the instruments seemed to be alive with emotion. It was indescribable.
As I mentioned, the singing was phenomenal. The two, hands down, best voices of the night belonged to J. Mark McVey (Jean Valjean) and Chasten Harmon (Eponine). Their voices were strong and full and could portray every emotion under the sun. Each of these voices could move you to tears with ease. However, if you barely tolerate musicals this would not be a show for you. There was not a single spoken word. To some this could be very irritating, but I personally found it to be fantastic. Another thing some may find irritating is the love at first sight deal with Cosette and Marius. I honestly face palmed when they were instantly “in love” as soon as they saw each other. It may seem nit-picky, but it honestly was annoying. Also, if you are easily confused you may have a hard time following this play. There are about six different story lines that all coexist and it can be slightly confusing.
It doesn’t end happily, but it doesn’t end sadly either. You walk away feeling a little raw but still fulfilled. From the rich story line to the sheer unadulterated emotion and beautiful voices this show is definitely one to see. After 25 years, it still has it