I became obsessed with the musical, Les Miserables, in middle school. Like, really obsessed. Most people were jamming out to 'NSync, but I was choreographing dances to On My Own. My dad always reminds me that on the way to see the show, I asked him to stop by the store so I could get some tissues because I just knew I was going to cry. I was probably 12. I love the show so much, I've seen in twice in one week.
Noel and I went to see it this past Friday. And.....they changed some of the staging and some of the sets. I was basically devastated. Yes, I am dramatic by saying that, but it's the truth. Why would they even try to restage something that was absolutely perfect?
I still LOVED it, of course. It just wasn't the same. Some of the changes that they should have left alone:
- The opening scene is Valjean's chain gang. In the original version, all the prisoners are completely downstage (at the front of the stage) in chains, in a straight line, at different levels (one man is standing, the other is kneeling, etc). In the new version, they are upstage (towards the back of the stage) rowing a boat. It took away the powerful effect of an opening scene for me.
- The turning stage was gone! I could not believe it. This is what Les Mis is known for. So disappointing.
- The barricade didn't rotate. I have seen this in New York and while touring, and that barricade always rotates. The scene where Enjolras is hanging upside down on the barricade, in the spotlight, with the red flag is insane and they took that from me!!
- Javert's death scene. Originally it what so simple. He pretends to fall while the bridge is lifted up. Now, they have Javert strapped to some sort of device while he floats his arms and legs. It was weird and cheesy. So not Les Mis.
There were a few more, but I think I've already made myself sound a little too obsessed as it is.
There were a few changes that I actually liked:
- Fantine's voice. Fantine usually has a strong, but sweet and classic voice. When Fantine on Friday night started singing, I thought I was going to hate it because she has a "newer" voice. I hate change and like for the characters to be how they were played originally. (I was basically furious when I saw a production of Grease with a brunette Sandy.) The girl who played Fantine was RIDICULOUS. I almost stood up. out of my seat. to say "WERRRKKK". But, instead just said it very loudly to Noel, who then pretended not to know me.
- Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. They brought in candles, they had Marius sing to the ghosts of his friends, and made it super dramatic when the friends left. LOVED it. When Marius first came out on stage I thought, "Wow, he's really cute", and then realized that he looked EXACTLY like Noel.
All in all, I really did enjoy it. The voices of the actors were incredible. Beyond incredible. I love that they said they were going to start at 730pm and that's exactly what they did. At EXACTLY 730, they turned off the lights, locked the doors, started the music, and didn't let late comers in until 745. That's exactly how it should be.
I love the last line Jean Valjean sings, "To love another person is to see the face of God." So incredible. So beautiful.