stunning Les Miz' loaded with talent, pathos
October 15, 2003
loss is Flint's gain this week as Alain Boublil and
phenomenal operatic version of Victor Hugo's novel of
determination, "Les Miserables," settled in
Tuesday for a six-day, eight performance
run at Whiting Auditorium. It is a totally stunning
in the underworld of 19th century France, the story
simmers with injustice, righteous
anger, greed, crass indifference, love, loyalty and
concerns Jean Valjean, a convict released from 19 years of
hard labor who escapes
his enforced public parole to become a successful factory
owner and mayor
of his town.
when he mercifully helps a dying young woman does he
expose his identity.
Keith is incredible in this role. His vocal range is
breathtaking and is enhanced
further by his superb portrayal of this complex character.
nemesis is his pursuer, Inspector Javert, played by James Clow.
a complicated character, Clow
brings strength and regal bearing
enormous vocal power to this righteously arrogant role.
these two, this is a show with many stars. There are no
weak links, but
there were some truly shining moments.
and destitute, Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream" was
plaintive and poignant
as sung by Tonya Dixon, while Michael Kostroff and Cindy
the Thenardiers were a hit with the rousing and bawdy
"Master of the House."
Keith's "Bring Him Home," Valjean's second act
prayer to save Marius from
harm in the coming battle, nearly stopped the show
this production is far grander than anything we've seen
here to date. It travels
with an enormous revolving stage, 17 orchestra members, at
least a truckload
of costumes and wigs, five fog machines, hundreds of
special lighting effect
lamps, two behemoth barricades and 36 cast members.
effects abound and are abetted by the constantly moving
stage, but the really intriguing
one involves Javert's suicidal leap from a high bridge.
course, the battle on the barricade is amazing with its
view of both sides and even can
one of the most inspiring moments in theater is always the
students here urging
themselves toward revolution with "Do You Hear the
People Sing?," and it was again
a brash and stirring experience.
- Perhaps the singularity different thing about "Les
Miz" is that it breaks all the stereotypes
surrounding musical theater. It is sung, never
spoken, yet it is richly pure theater. The
theme is serious, often distressing, and even the comic
relief is dark. Still, it strikes a chord
deep inside to which audiences everywhere seem to respond.
near-capacity house didn't just stand to applaud at the
finale; they erupted to their
you plan to attend only one theatrical event this year,
let it be this one. Everything else pales
a bit in comparison.