Last Wednesday, Robin and I attended the showing of Les Miserables at Pioneer Memorial Theater in Salt Lake City. I bought the tickets a couple of months ago with a 50% off student discount, so we saw this fabulous production (albeit from the balcony) for $14 each ticket. What a great deal! Of course, I am very interested in getting good deals and in the theater, so this was a dream come true for me! 🙂
I have always loved the story in Les Miserables. Jean Valjean is a person we can all relate to. His story of redemption and forgiveness is powerful. The symbols of mercy (Valjean and priest) and justice (Javert) are excellent reminders of the core of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I LOVE the movie with Liam Nisson (Valjean), Fantine (Uma Therman) and Geoffry Rush (Javert) — that’s right, Captain Barbosa of “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame is an amazing Javert. I get emotional every time I watch that movie, especially when Valjean admits his identity to save another man from being punished in his place.
Anyway, the production was very well done. The staging was amazing, the set was impressive, the costumes, acting, singing, lighting and sound were very good — but for some reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. I’m not sure why.
I had seen the Broadway touring company at the Capitol Theater back in 1992 and was blow away by it at that time. And, while the production at Pioneer was every bit as impressive as that one, I just couldn’t get into it like I had in the past. I’m guessing part of it was that I was so familiar with the music and lyrics, I was almost bored — kind of a “been there, done that” situation. I found that most songs I was singing along in my head, comparing the actors voices to those on the CD. I think, in general, I prefer fresh and new music, rather than the stale music I’ve become so used to.
The other part is that I think I am somewhat desensitized to the staging and special effects. When I first saw the rotating stage of Les Mis 15 years ago, I was blown away. Now that I’ve seen many such productions, the staging wasn’t nearly as novel or impressive. Again, it was a yawner… in fact, I fell asleep in the first half for a little while (but that’s because I only get 5.5 hours of sleep every night).
In the end, I would definitely recommend the show to anyone who hasn’t seen it before. It was impressive and very enjoyable. However, next time I want to see something like “Miss Saigon” or “Wicked” — shows that I’m unfamiliar with that will bring something new to my mind.