Young and old alike are falling in love again with the classic Les Miserables. Many may remember the musical from its days on Broadway or the 25 anniversary revival cast. For the youngest generation, the film version introduced the story to all last year and was nominated for eight Oscars. Now, the Zach Theatre production reinvigorates the timeless quality of the messages and adds new elements of its own, to create an original and engaging piece.
Les Mis, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, was first created in France with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by
Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. It was then adapted for an English audience by Herbert Kretzmer and opened in London in 1985. As director Matt Lenz pointed out, this show is not about the French Revolution (1789-1799) as many people seem to believe. Instead, it portrays events that occur after that period during the early 19th century.
One of the things that makes this particular musical especially challenging for any theatre is the timeline. Our opening scene begins in 1815 and by the close of the show, it is 1832. Zach took this on by introducing each new time period with a short title, and therefore easing the audience into each successive time and place.
The set itself is minimal and provides a backdrop for the expressive characters. The buildings line the stage and are never removed or changed. However, additional pieces are added as needed and actors enter and exit from every level, including the floor. The barricade especially makes an impression and allows audience and characters to visualize the situation but keeps the focus on the action.
What makes this musical so beloved, however, is not the scenic backdrop
but the songs and story. Every actor in Zach’s production held their own vocally and performed spectacularly. Jean Valjean (Pat McRoberts) and Javert (Nicholas Rodriguez) give everything you would expect and more. Additionally, others like Marius (Andrew Cannata), Enjolras (Joshua Denning), and Gavroche (Will Sendera) outdid themselves and took their smaller parts to the next level. All the cast and the ensemble allowed the true messages of love and truth to come through to the audiences.
Most people have seen or at least know the story of Les Miserables, but that does not prevent the performance from bringing tears to many eyes during the conclusion. The show continues through October and so there are plenty more chances to witness this timeless classic come to life.
WHEN: Through November 3, 2013
Zach’s Topfer Theatre
1510 Toomey Rd
TICKETS: Please click here to purchase tickets.