Friday, August 12, 2011

Les Mis

When Campaign Guy and I honeymooned in London, we saw two theatrical productions. Somehow, we chose Andrew Lloyd Weber's Starlight Express rather than Les Miserables, which had opened at the Barbican and was still in full production while we were there.

Seriously. Starlight Express.  Actors singing disco while wearing roller skates.

Through the years, I shrugged off the thought that the French Revolution could be interesting enough to warrant theater tickets.  And, because I'm somewhat plebian when it comes to live theater, I couldn't reconcile the high cost of the tickets.

I was wrong.

I have enjoyed the PBS' airings of the 25th anniversary celebration of Les Miserables in Concert at the 02 ... repeatedly. Fortunately, it's the darling of the fundraising campaigns, so I've been able to catch it four different times. Since I'm rarely sitting long enough to see an entire movie, let alone the multi-hour Les Mis, that means I've now seen it from start to finish. Alfie Boe is mesmerizing as Valjean, Nick Jonas surprisingly effective as Marius (it's sweet the way Katie Hall, the actress playing Cosette, keeps patting him on the arm reassuringly after one of their duets). And I love Norm Lewis as Javert.

I wonder if the Fox version next April will be as good? There's a lot to be said for being close enough to see the actors' expressions ... the Knitternall budget-friendly cheap seats in the Fox provide a panoramic view of the stage, but not the nuances of the emotions within the songs.

The lovely, silver lining to my late discovery of Les Miserables is that it's a fresh experience that I can appreciate much better now than when we were honeymooning. Thanks to advancements in filming, staging, sound, and today's digital media, I get to enjoy it at home ... repeatedly.

If you haven't seen it, catch it next time PBS airs it during a fundraising campaign. It's a splendid incentive to support the arts via public television.

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I also celebrated our honeymoon in London. We took in Les Miz and Miss Saigon. I, also, have taken in the 25th Anniversay Show on PBS - it's fabulous.


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