Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Les Miserables


Remember when Les Miserables was thrilling? Remember when the opening swells of the orchestra sent chills down your spine, and "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Bring Him Home" left a lump in your throat? Those days are long gone, dear readers. They've been replaced by screaming synthesizers and screeching singers, all of whom practically surge through the show as if they have a train to catch. You couldn't find two people more miscast than Alexander Gemignani and Norm Lewis; the former couldn't find the right key to sing in with both hands and a flashlight, and the latter is just too damn friendly as the evil Javert. I half expected him to sing "Stars" cradling a puppy. Even Lea Salonga, the one person I'd have counted on to be a sure thing before the performance, is all wrong as Fantine. Say what you will about Daphne Rubin-Vega, but at least she had the character's grittiness and broken spirit down, which is something that Salonga just cannot grasp. After "One Day More," the thought of one minute more left me pulverized, so my friend and I fled at intermission.

6 comments:

Mike said...

The sad thing is -- I don't disagree with much of what you say. I just can't bring myself to bad-mouth the show. It's like when your elderly grandmother gets to the age where she starts to say really inappropriate things out loud in public. You just smile and let her do it, because she's still your granny. :-)

Cameron said...

It was hard for me to write this review. I just kept thinking back to the first dozen times I saw Les Miz, when the original was still up and running, and how magical it was. I don't even want to call this lifeless, abridged Les Miserables.

Les Miz WILL always be my granny, though. ;)

Cameron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Hawkins said...

personally I think someone in Lea's management needs to get off their
butt. She says she wants to do Wicked or Evita. I mean they were
looking for an Elphie in LA not too long ago, she was living
here...how does *THAT* not happen with her drawing power/concert tour
that was sold out.

If I read that in 2005, I have calls once a week to the producers with a DVD of the Carnegie "Defying Gravity" to follow once a week.

Or even a far east Evita tour (not trashing Cinderella..just saying)

Between this Les Miz and Flower Drum Song, which I didn't care for, but was a long time coming...I'm a bit perplexed. She can headline a long run in musical theatre in the US (if she chooses to be here) and this is the best we can get?

Mike said...

The review is too far back for me to comment on it now, but I should also add that you were dead on about "Dying City." I should have listened, but I saw it yesterday. It's nice to know the way to differentiate between playing a gay twin and a straight twin is that you smile a lot more when you're gay.

Cameron said...

I love it, Mike. Smile=gay. Frowny/brooding=straight. Gay really does mean happy! :-)

And let's not even discuss the Rebecca Brooksher school of emotions: pouting like a puppy smacked with a newspaper no matter what emotion you're trying to convey...