Musical Theatre 101

Do You Hear the People Sing? No, But You Can in March, 2014!

Ah, Les Miserables. The epic, sprawling, all-singing, musical, extravaganza spanning twenty years and telling the story of both a noble, redeemed prisoner (and everyone he meets) and the 1832 Paris Student Uprising. It’s everyone’s favorite musical, despite being almost entirely joyless.

Neither the furst nor the last casualty this show has to offer.
Neither the first nor the last casualty this show has to offer.

I know it has its detractors (and by detractors, I mean those who wish to curse productions of it with plagues and boils), but it remains an incrediably beloved musical by those who do love it.

One of the show's happy moments. Treasure it. These moments are few and far between.
One of the show’s happy moments. Treasure it, for they are few and far between.

Despite the fact that it has only been five years since a Les Miserables revival was last seen on a Broadway stage, it has been announced that a Les Mis cast will be singing, and firing guns, and of course, dying on a Broadway stage  on March 1, 2014 (in previews) with an official opening of March 23, 2014.

Just want to point out, everyone behind those two people up front. Yeah, they're all dead.
Just want to point out, everyone behind those two people up front? Yeah, they’re all dead.

It will be returning to the Imperial Theatre, the same stage where the original Broadway production ran until it closed in 2003.

This new stage production will be produced by Cameron Mackintosh (who else?), Laurence Connor and James Powell (currently the brains behind the more stripped down, intimate version of the show currently touring) will serve as co-directors.

"Shhh. I'm taking you to a Broadway stage. They'll love this there."
“Shhh. I’m taking you to a Broadway stage. They’ll love this there.”

Cast is due to be announced later in the summer, and when it is, you’ll see it here first after real news sites have already posted it.

I’m certain it’s artistically-minded, noble intentions that bring the musical back to Broadway, rather than the critical and financial success of the 2012 film adaptation and the desire to squeeze every last penny out of the show before the general public sighs in indifference. Okay, I’m pretty sure what I just wrote is a lie, pure and simple.

We stand for freedom, the poor, and very expensive Broadway tickets.
We stand for freedom, the poor, and very expensive Broadway tickets.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I must admit the fact that I love this musical. I recognize it’s about as subtle as wooden bat to your right temple, and yet, I don’t mind that. It’s big and grand and overwrought, but it moves me every time. I first heard the score when I was eleven, watching the 10th Anniversary Concert on PBS. I read the novel (unabridged, thank you very much). At one point, I was reading the novel while I had the concert playing on my VCR. I was having dreams where Jean Valjean was trying to escape from Inspector Javert while running down my middle school hallway. It was a bit of an obsession.

Can't you feel how upbeat this show is? What eleven year-old wouldn't love it?!
Can’t you feel how upbeat this show is? What eleven year-old wouldn’t love it?!

I have 4 recordings of the musical, I bought the Blu-ray of the 25th Anniversary Concert from England, paying a whopping shipping fee in the process, because they released it a few months early, and I saw the 2012 film 6 times. I need a bit of therapy, I know, but I freely admit my love for the musical with only a modicum of reticence. Actually, if I had to confess everything (and after all that, I may as well), I’d love to act like I’m too jaded and cynical to be swept up by a musical that wouldn’t know irony if it walked up and unexpectedly introduced itself. However, when I hear “One day More,” “Bring Him Home,” or “Do You Hear the People Sing,” the cynical side of my brain tucks itself in for a three hour nap and the emotional, romantic part of my brain (which is small and naps a lot, but can be formidable when provoked) takes over and I am at the show’s mercy.

Heh. This show is so...nope. I can't mock it. It's too overpowering.
Heh. This show is so…nope. I can’t mock it. It’s too overpowering.

I don’t know if we need another Broadway revival of Les Miserables, less than ten years after it was last on Broadway, and yet, I can feel the cynical part of my brain shutting down, beaten into submission by the mental orchestra playing “Stars” in my head. Les Miserables will be back on Broadway for at least…wait for it…”One Day More.” You knew I’d have to make that joke, didn’t you?

Check out one of my favorite Les Mis songs as sung by John Owen-Jones, my favorite Jean Valjean below:

So, what do you think? Do you love the show? Hate it? Dreading this revival, ot eagerly anticipating it? Let us know in the comments!

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