“Les Misérables”

| Theater Editor


“Ladies and gentlemen, please be patient while we have a technical hold.”

This is the beauty of live theater, believe it or not. Accidents happen. Someone drops a hat, misses a step, gets a little off the beat. They happen every performance. Not too often does a mobile set get stuck in place, but when it does happen, you notice. It’s disconcerting to notice the flaws on stage because the audience is often unused to seeing them.

Imagine how disconcerted actors must feel when a set transition stops mid-performance during opening night.

Fortunately, it was opening night, and technical glitches, while not expected, are not too surprising. Regardless of how the actors actually did feel, they performed as if the show hadn’t stopped at all.

“Les Misérables” is one of the classic musicals of our generation. Expectations are high. This is a show, however, that is easy to mess up. There are multiple leading characters, all of which demand voices with a multiple-octave range and acting skills to boot, not to mention the fact that the entire cast must blend together.

With such a large cast, it was pleasing to see that each ensemble member was engaging and always in character. The leads were, as expected, also very compelling, especially Jean Valjean (Peter Lockyer), Javert (Andrew Varela), Madame Thénardier (Shawna M. Hamic) and Éponine (Briana Carlson-Goodman). Expectations are high for these classic roles, and they do them justice (thank God Nick Jonas wasn’t playing Marius as he did on the West End).

For fans of the musical, you might be disappointed that it’s not a turntable production (the barricade doesn’t turn), and the set has been updated in this revival. The projections on the stage are too obtrusive, and the moving scenery borders on obnoxious. Regardless, however, the fact is that “Les Miz” is still a classic of our time and, even with mediocre production, is still better than many shows.

For those of you who have never seen “Les Miz,” this is a must see. The score is stunning, and Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” (the book which the musical was based on) is highly referenced. Besides, it’s about time that you watch the show that brought you “I Dreamed a Dream” and “On My Own.” A lot of storylines are playing out against the backdrop of the French revolution. If you haven’t read the book or already seen the musical, read the synopsis provided in the Playbill. Trust me.

“Les Misérables” is playing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre through Oct. 28.

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