After a drought of Broadway shows of more than two years, the last being Wicked, the hit Broadway musical Les Miserables has finally reached our shores and I was lucky enough to watch it with Tricia and her family. Watching Les Miserables’ Hollywood version was a moving experience for me, the songs on revolution and love on a lot of levels were inspiring. But it was the performances of Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks, and Hugh Jackman that really blew the whole movie away. Knowing what a great movie it was I psyched myself to hear our very own Rachelle Ann Go take center stage and bring in a new level of viewing experience for me.
When I first watched Wicked I only knew a few songs and I wasn’t even confident belting it out with Tricia beside me. Because of Les Mis’ movie adaptation and the music high I got from watching it, I confidently (quietly) sang along with the cast. My favorites: I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Master of the House, Stars, and One Day More were really moving. Hearing the actors singing it live and onstage was quite an emotional experience, especially when Valjean gave that final One Day More with power, my hair stood up and my whole body tingled with joy and excitement. The music and the voices were really powerful.
Apart from the really moving performances the other star of the show were the effects and the sets. These were really grand and complicated, moving sets like Parisian houses, barricades, carriages and the added video backdrop-screen was visually arresting. The use of traditional and the new really made the watching experience worthwhile, key scenes like Javert’s suicide or Valjean and Marius’ escape through the sewers were amazing. The screen really gave off the effect of falling or the massiveness of a structure.
Les Miserables is long, clocking at 3 hours with a 15 minute intermission, and I would like to caution future viewers to take in some caffeine because some parts will indeed get boring, especially when the songs start sounding the same. On the other hand I would have to commend the organizers for bringing Les Miserables to The Theater in Solaire, despite not seated in the center I still saw a lot of the play, I was far but not too far I needed binoculars. This was a far cry from my Wicked experience where Tricia and I were in the balcony and passed our binoculars to get a better view.
Right now I am suffering from LSS and I don’t mind, I can still hear the voices singing and recalling the action, the sorrow, the tragedy, the love from the story. It really is a superb musical and I am glad that I was once again given the opportunity to watch a really great Broadway musical in the Philippines.