"Les Miserables" is a Gift That Keeps on Giving

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Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones says "Les Miserables" at the Cadillac Palace Theatre thru December 2 is not to be missed. My wife and I can vouch for that. We attended the Sunday matinee and were bewitched by its power and beauty.

The orchestra seats were  a gift from our children. Actually a gift  to my wife on her birthday. What a spectacular gift it was!

I have to admit it took me a long time to become a devotee of 'Les Miz'. Somehow for over two decades I've been  myopic about this  glorious dramatic  spectacle. Shame on me. I can only thank Susan Boyle for bringing this monumental adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel  to a clear  focus in my  visual field of musical drama. Her rendition of the haunting "I Dreamed a Dream" piqued my curiosity about its source.  And eventually led to  our unforgettable experience in row O.

When I found out we were going, I decided to read the novel for the first time. The unabridged version. All 1432 pages! 

On Sunday you might say I came prepared. For the story that is.  But not in the least for the towering performances by the outstanding cast.  Peter Lockyer as Jean Valjean. Andrew Varela as Javert. Max Quinlan as Marius.  Betsy Morgan as Fantine. Briana Carlson-Goodman as Eponine. Lauren Wiley as Cosette.  Remarkable, ravishing performances by all.

Perhaps the song with the greatest emotional impact on me was "Bring Him Home" sung by Valjean in Act II.   It wrung my heart.

Victor Hugo would surely have been proud of the performance.

And maybe others have been moved to read the book.  For those who haven't yet read it, let me give you a  few tidbits from it in the form of memorable quotes.

"Come, let us search our consciences and take counsel in our hearts."

"And he[Gavroche]looked straight at Marius with his epic effrontery."

"The amount of civilization is measured by the amount of imagination."

"A man without a woman is a pistol without a hammer; it is the woman who makes the  man go off."

"Nothing is so dismal as the brightness of deserted streets."

"To be near death makes us see the truth."

"To breathe the air of Paris preserves the soul."

"Are not revolutions transfigurations?"

"Progress is not accomplished at a bound."

"Not seeing people permits us to imagine in them every perfection."

"He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two."

"To read aloud, is to assure yourself of what you are reading."

"Man is not a circle with a single center; he is an ellipse with two foci. Facts are one, ideas are the other."

"To learn to read is to kindle a fire."

"He who votes reigns."

"All the crimes of man begin with the vagrancy of childhood."

"Races petrified in dogma or demoralised by lucre are unfit to lead civilizations."

"The best way to worship God is to love your wife."

You might say yesterday afternoon I attended church at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

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    Jerry, now you need to come full circle and listen to Susan Boyle singing Bring Him Home on her latest album-Standing Ovations. Goosebumps and tears:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bbBCybHIHY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkmVnJiXK0o

  • I saw Les Miz in Montreal when I was about 14 years old back in 1991 and was completely captivated. I still get chills when I listen to the Broadway cast recording or the Complete Symphonic Recording.

    I've read that the novel was originally published in serial form in Paris newspapers which is why it's so long. Hugo kept it going to keep a steady paycheck coming in.

  • In reply to Perplexio:

    Like his contemporary Dickens in England.

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