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  • Don Ford

Don Reviews "Les Miserables"

I am going to be upfront here: I have seen “Les Misérables” multiple times, in multiple formats from the film starring Hugh Jackman in 2012 and Liam Neeson in 1998 to the live stage production in Dallas with an updated feel. Recently, I got to see the national touring company based on the Broadway show at Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas, so would seeing the same thing from multiple angles be too much for me?

Based on the classic novel novel by Victor Hugo with music was composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg, this cast includes Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean, Josh Davis as Javert, Robert Ariza as Marius, Jillian Butler as Cosette, Emily Bautista as Eponine, and Mary Kate Moore as Fantine. Taking place in early to mid-1800s France, Valjean is a criminal who gets released on parole after nineteen years, but is treated like an outcast. After an act of kindness from a bishop, he breaks his parole by going into hiding and starts a new identity as a factory owner and mayor. After judging mercy on a street woman and single mother, Fantine, she asks him to care for her daughter, Cosette, as she passes away. Valjean buys the freedom of Cosette from the Thenardiers (who are not treating her well) and starts to raise her, and as the years go on, he joins a rebellion that causes old secrets and enemies to re-enter his life.

This production is such high quality visually that it can equal any high-dollar Broadway production, featuring multiple scene sets whose transitions are done very efficiently. I also have to note the lighting really enhanced the production for me, keeping its dark mood going, including actual fire in some sections. For those that are unaware, this production is basically an opera more than a musical as very little spoken lines and it worked. The cast is able to act and move while singing and done well, especially with such a large cast. The leads in Davis and Cartell do great, and I was truly moved when Davis sang “Stars”, whose tone and sound level was incredible. I also have to give a shout out to Allison Guinn who had a spunky side and great comical characteristics with her role. Her style and personality really added to her role.

The story itself moved and flowed well, keeping me interested. There are a lot of twists and turns, but it does not get too confusing. I have seen some shows where songs are added but have nothing to do with the plot, but not in this production. I will definitely recommend this production and recommend it as the best price available, AKA “The Riverdance Spot”.

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