photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade
Okay…I’ve actually never seen Les Miserables before. And if you haven’t either, and if you live in Philly, what are you waiting for? Theatre fans, I’m ashamed that this was my first go. Cameron Mackintosh (I loved his presentation of Miss Saigon) brings the 19th century France to life with Les Mis, which has been seen by millions of people worldwide and considered one of the greatest musicals ever. It really does check all of the boxes for an outstanding show- an amazing cast, incredible and iconic Broadway songs, gorgeous sets that truly transport you to 1800s France, and a timeless story that will stick with you. It’s here at the Kimmel Cultural Campus Academy of Music through November 13th.
Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean, a newly free prisoner who breaks his parole to start a new and better life. He is constantly chased by inspector Javert who wants to bring him back to prison. Through the years, we see Valjean care for and raise Cosette (her mother Fantine, a factory worker, has died of an illness) as the Paris Uprising is occurring. This tour features the return of Nick Cartell as Valjean and Preston Truman Boyd as Javert. I was blown away by the power of their voices, most especially during Cartell’s “Bring Him Home” after a heartstopping battle scene and Boyd’s “Stars”.
This is a fully sung-through show with minimal dialog between each song. It’s non-stop and the cast is so impressive with their vocal ranges. If you are familiar with the music, this production will give you chills as each number is performed on stage. The Act 1 finale of “One Day More”, of course, is spectacular to watch on stage. Haley Dortch is lovely and heartbreaking as Fantine, and her “I Dreamed A Dream” is gorgeous. “On My Own” is another jaw-dropper, performed by Christine Heesun Hwang as Eponine.
I wouldn’t sleep on the opportunity to experience this epic musical, which returns to Philadelphia for the 12th time! Les Miserables is serious business- the show starts promptly! Be sure to make a plan- have your tickets ready, know where you’re parking, if you’re taking public transportation consider the routes and schedules ahead of time. You do not want to miss a second of this beautiful show. Tickets are available here.
Yep- Nick Cartell does have an impressive “Bring Him Home” (know this because I had seen him in Les Mis back when the US tour did their 2017 tour; I saw the production in Greenville with my university and Cartell was Valjean and one of the biggest reasons why he stood out was because of “Bring Him Home”)
Going to see this particular tour in 2023- that will mark my 10th year of loving Les Mis; always an emotional wreck each time I see the stage show. In case you are wondering, the uprising in the show is aka “The June Rebellion of 1832”