Wednesday, March 14, 2007
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 They've been replaced by screaming synthesizers and screeching singers, all of whom practically surge through the show as if they have a train to catch.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.