There’s a reason 70 million people have seen the new production of Les Mis in 52 countries – it is wonderful.
First brought to life 34 years ago, the Boublil and Schonberg musical masterpiece has undergone brand new staging and dazzling reimagined scenery, inspired by Victor Hugo’s iconic paintings.
The US tour comes directly from the acclaimed show that returned to Broadway for two-and-a-half-years, and is visiting Buffalo Shea’s Theatre this week. For those lucky enough to be going, bring your tissues – you are in for a treat.
This production has had a revamp, with some new ideas, lyrics, and staging elements that give it a modern feel. This may appeal to some audience members; however, I believe that you shouldn’t change what isn’t broken. It’s a classic musical that speaks for itself. I felt that some of the added extras, like some cheap gags, were unnecessary.
Nevertheless, the vocals and performance from all the cast are outstanding from start to finish. For a musical that lasts three hours (including the interval), every second, there is something to admire and engross you into the world of the French revolution.
Starring in the lead, iconic role of Jean Valjean is Patrick Dunn. Valjean is a tough part to play, as the actor needs to convince the audience that he is getting older over the time. Dunn’s performs the role well, however I felt that he could have done so much more with this role. There always seemed to be something missing – the spark and something special about Valjean that makes the audience adore him.
However, the star of the show is Preston Truman Boyd‘s performance as Javert. Within minutes he has the audience in the palm of his hands. His performance of Stars does not leave a single dry eye in the house.
The use of projection and lighting takes the audience back to the 19th century. The use of spotlights in the barricade is overwhelming and beautifully executed.
Joshua Grosso makes for a captivating Marius, with haunting vocals in the heart-wrenching number Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. The use of candles and the minimalistic staging really adds to Marius’ loss.
Bringing the comedy element to the somewhat-heavy musical is the outrageously funny duo Jimmy Smagula and Michelle Dowdy as the dodgy innkeepers Monsieur and Madame Thenardier.
A final shoutout goes to Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garratt for their musical staging, which leaves the audience in awe for their remarkable work on the anthemic number One Day More.
It’s easy to see why Les Misérables has become a firm favorite for decades – it is a heroic story that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. You will be left drained after what you have just witnessed.
The score is brilliant. The singing is outstanding. It is a show not to be missed this December.