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A French musical based on a novel by Victor Hugo.

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Les Miserables: The Show That Got Me Hooked

  • Feb 27, 2010
Rating:
+3
Les Miserables will forever hold a special place in my heart as it was the musical that first got me hooked.

Epic in proportion in accordance with Victor Hugo's grand novel of the same name, this musical was one of the first of the "mega-musical" genre - big budget productions that feature massive sets, moving parts, giant casts and huge orchestral sound. (Others in this genre include Phantom of the Opera with its crashing chandelier and Miss Saigon with its working helicopter. Les Miserables employed a giant rotating stage that cost producers a pretty penny to bring to life.) Some look down on these shows for their obvious showiness, but like it or not, when you walk away from a "mega-musical," it is not an experience you'll soon forget. And Les Miserables is no exception.

The musical follows Jean Valjean, an ex-con, who has transformed himself to become mayor and the owner of a factory. But when he is moved to help one of his former workers, Fantine, Valjean's past is brought to light, and he is forced to abandon everything to run from Javert, the chief of police, dead set on bringing him to justice. Nine years later, Cosette, Fantine's child, has been raised by Valjean and has fallen in love with Marius, a fighter in the French revolution (after whom another, named Eponine, also pines). With Javert on the hunt and a revolution tearing the city apart, in the end, everyone is forced to question what they're willing to sacrifice in pursuit of love and justice.

The book is pared down perfectly for the purposes of the musical - providing just enough information about each of the characters to make the story captivating and supplementing it with music where words alone can't express the height of these characters' emotions. Songs like "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own" and "Stars" threaten to tear your heart strings apart, while others, like "Do You Hear the People Sing?" simply carry you away.

If you don't like musical theater because you think it's cheezy, you probably will not appreciate this show. But if you're willing to give in to the world created by Boubil and Schonberg - you, like me, may leave Les Miserables and find that you too are now addicted to musical theater.
Les Miserables: The Show That Got Me Hooked Les Miserables: The Show That Got Me Hooked

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More Les Miserables (musical) reviews
review by . April 25, 2009
posted in City Lifestyle
I Dreamed A Dream
         It's one of the musicals which I've long forgotten. If not for Susan Boyle. I landed in London early morning 4 years ago or possibly even way back, very early, about 6 am after 12 hours in the air. Had the hotel concierge got me a ticket and that was the only night he managed to find a ticket to the show. Spent the day around London & by the time I got to the musical, I was not tip top. Ok, I'm owning it up here... I even dozed off half way …
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Valerie Rigsbee ()
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Valerie Rigsbee is an actor, designer and webmaster currently based out of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.      She owns and operates broadwaymusicalhome.com, a directory … more
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Les Misérables (translated variously from French as The Miserable Ones, The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims) (1862) is a novel by French author Victor Hugo and is widely considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a twenty-year period in the early 19th century, starting in 1815, the year of Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo.

The novel focuses on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. It examines the nature of law and grace, and expounds upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. The story is historical fiction because it contains factual, historic events, including the Paris Uprising of 1832 (often mistaken for the much earlier French Revolution).
Les Misérables is known to many through its numerous stage and screen adaptations, such as the stage musical of the same name, sometimes abbreviated "Les Mis".
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