From the moment the overture began, I sat fully captivated as the magic of the 25th anniversary Les Miserables production filled the Orpheum Theatre. Tuesday’s opening night was a nearly flawless performance that I continue to relive two days later. At the Orpheum from December 6th to the 18th, Les Miz is a must see show that will leave you with tears in your eyes, a smile on your face, and a heart yearning for more.
Les Miz is one of the most well known musical productions in recent history. The story follows the life of Jean Valjean – a reformed and loving thief, constantly on the run from police who wish to punish him for his past deeds. Leading this manhunt is Javert, a conflicted and confused man bent on finding Valjean who has escaped his grasp time after time. After hiding under Javert’s nose as the mayor of his old hometown for many years, Valjean flees for Paris to start again. Accompanying him is young Cosette, the daughter of the deceased Fantine whom Valjean promised to protect. When revolution breaks out in Paris, these characters are both torn apart and brought together in a fantastic story of love and anguish.
Overflowing with emotion, the performance was truly breathtaking. Though news of a changing set has angered old fans of the production, the anniversary production’s new approach created a seamless and mind blowing piece of art. The new projections used to transition between scenes and add dimension to the stage are genius. More than once I wasn’t sure if I was watching a live play or a movie because the transitions were so flawless. Also creating a truly perfect aura on stage was the lighting, headed by Paulie Constable. In scenes such as the Fantine’s death, Javert’s suicide, and the revolution, the lighting brought the action on stage to life throughout the theatre.
It goes without saying that any actor cast in a Broadway production of Les Miz is very good at what they do. Even with this being my expectation for the cast, I was blown away by several characters. J. Mark McVey played a brilliant Jean Valjean, truly diving into every stage of his character’s life. It was incredible to watch how McVey aged himself throughout the play. From his posture to his tone of voice, McVey continuously made slight changes to remind the audience of the passage of time. However, the real key to the production was the chemistry the cast shared. Every ensemble number was believable, enthralling, and powerful. Every member had wonderful chemistry together, which contributed to the show’s seamless feeling.
Overall, Les Miz was one of the best productions I have ever seen. Every aspect of the show worked in tandem to present one vision. Though different and modern in many aspects, it was an emotional, moving performance that I would see again and again.