The film version of Les Miserables hit theaters Christmas Day and so the plight of Fantine, Cosette and Jean Valjean are once again in the public realm. And yes, I look forward to seeing the film adaptation.
But I can tell you. Nothing replaces seeing Les Miserables live on stage. Nothing.
It’s the type of musical that draws you in slowly and leaves you with goosebumps with each and every song performed. The 25th Anniversary production of Les Miserables in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music is no exception.
The talented actors and actresses transform themselves and lead the audience back to 1800s France with ease.
Worth noting is the innovative use of technology in the set design to provide depth and a changing sense of perspective during a select few scenes. At the risk of making this production of Les Miserables sound like a modernist version of 1800s France (which it’s most certainly not), the CGI used in the background allows the audience to really see the movement of Jean Valjean as he’s running through the cobblestone streets, for instance. Technology here is used sparingly and perfectly so.
Highlights for me were the lively innkeeper and wife and their signature song, “Master of the House”, along with “On My Own” and, of course, Fantine’s “I Dreamed a Dream”.
*If you’re not familiar with the story of Les Miserables, this is a story with adult themes. I first saw this with my own family on Broadway when I was in high school, but it’s not one I’ll take my own kids to quite yet.
Les Miserables runs through January 13 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
Disclosure: I received two tickets to Les Miserables to facilitate this review.