Written by Jessica LaPage. Media by Courtney Murphy.
If you are walking down Broadway looking for a show, there are many great options. “The Lion King,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Something Rotten” are among many others. It can be hard to decide what to see. I would suggest “Les Misérables.” This timeless production started off as a book originally published in French by Victor Hugo in 1862. The story was made into a French concept album and musical, and both the book and the play were translated into English. There have also been multiple movies made in both French and English.
I was able to see the Broadway production of “Les Misérables” last January. The show made its debut on Broadway in 1987 and has been a hit ever since. Currently showing in the Imperial Theater, the cast is led by Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean. The actors and actresses at the performance I saw were marvelous. Their stage presence was almost overwhelming. As my father put it, “They seemed larger than life. They looked like they were seven feet tall when they were standing at the front of the stage to sing.”
The music in the production was remarkable. Cameron Mackintosh was in charge of creating an English adaptation of the French production. The way the music flowed throughout the story was indescribable. The songs “What Have I Done?” sung by Jean Valjean and “Javert’s Suicide” sung by Javert used the same melody and some of the same lyrics, but the message of the overall song was very different in each of the songs.
My favorite part of the entire show was the emotion that you could tell the actors and actresses were putting into each part of every roll that they played. They made you feel as if you were one of the characters in the story. When something good would happen, I was genuinely happy for the character. If something not so good happened, a sadness spread across the room.
Where I enjoyed the emotion of the production, my father and sister told me that they preferred the theatrical side of the show. The “larger than life” style of the production was very evident throughout the show. There was one part where they used a swing to add to the effects of the show. It was very unexpected and made it that much more of an amazement. The set was so intricate and they could do so much with it that every time there was a new scene, there would be some new part of the set to take in.
Some people will say that this production is boring or too long or depressing. They will tell you that it is not worth watching the movie, listening to the songs, or reading the book. I disagree with that. It is a long story, but it is worth the time to have an appreciation for the work. As for the depressing part, well, it is. But that is part of what makes the story so good. It is realistic in the end.
Overall, “Les Misérables” is my favorite production. The intricacy of the plot, the emotion involved, everything that has gone into this, has made this one of the longest running musicals in the world. 154 years in the making, “Les Misérables” has captured the hearts of many people of many ages around the globe.