Friday, September 18, 2015

A Timeless Classic Lives On: Les Misérables

Last week my husband and I braved downpours and Times Square (one of my least favorite combinations) to go see Les Misérables on Broadway.


What is Broadway Week?

Each year, following the high traffic, high capacity summer tourist season and before the high traffic, high capacity Christmas season in New York, many Broadway shows participate in Broadway Week. This year from September 7 through September 20 (I know it's longer than a week and yes, it annoys me too) theater fans had a chance to purchase two for one Broadway show tickets to some of the most popular productions. View the full list of participating shows here.

Each year, my husband and I pick one or more shows to attend during this time. And while we have our favorites, we normally pick new shows. However, when he proposed Les Mis to me I immediately said yes.

Why Les Mis Again?

The last time I saw Les Mis on Broadway was in May 2003 in the final week of the original Broadway production. I was in my first year of college and I finally had interest in my father's favorite show so he got the two of us tickets. At the time it was the second longest running Broadway show, but I was young and stupid and didn't have an interest in a musical about the French Revolution. How naive I was! 

I loved every second of it. I cried from the beginning of the second act through the end of the show and during the car ride home. (My father may have thought I was crazy)

Fast forward a few years to when I got married. My husband loves Les Mis too, and through the years we've seen a couple of regional productions including one by In the Wings at Snug Harbor in Staten Island and one at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey where we have a season subscription. Both were phenomenal, high-quality performances. But there's just something about Broadway...

What really spurred us to buy tickets though was the announcement that Alfie Boe would be joining the cast as Jean Valjean. One of the ways we've kept ourselves occupied through the years is by watching and rewatching Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, and in that concert Alfie Boe was an amazing Jean Valjean.

My Thoughts on the Revival

I've never enjoyed a revival as much as an original, but I swear, this was an incredibly powerful and moving production. The cast was unbelievable across the board, from the amazingly talented children to the moving adult performances. You could hear a pin drop in the theater outside of the thunderous applause after each song. They had an audience, who likely saw the show many times before, on the edge of their seats.

View from our seats - first row of the balcony

Alfie Boe did not disappoint for one second as Jean Valjean and lived up to my incredibly high expectations. However, he was just one person in a truly spectacular cast. Some other standouts included: 
  • Montego Glover, who I previously saw in the vastly underrated Memphis, as Fantine
  • Earl Carpenter, who gave the best Javert performance I have ever witnessed
  • Gavin Lee, who I saw as Bert in Mary Poppins a few years ago, as Thénardier

What's the Point? 

Even if you've seen Les Misérables before, go see it again. It's worth every penny and I'm glad we decided to "love it again" during Broadway week. Some tips:
  • Every seat at Broadway's Imperial Theater is a good one, so if you don't want to break the bank, the view from the balcony is perfect. You can get rear mezzanine for $47, which is quite frankly, amazing.
  • Interested in taking your kids, a class, or teaching Les Mis as a part of a home school curriculum? Les Mis offers this great Education Study Guide on their website. 
  • Student tickets are available for purchase online in advance for members of TIX4STUDENTS.
  • Want to make sure Alfie Boe is performing? Visit this page where his days off are listed. 

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