When I found out that Les Mis was touring in Providence, I was excited to catch the show. It's one the longest running productions in both London and Broadway, and it was Tony Award winning production with a great story and fantastic pieces of music. I was fortunate enough to catch the opening night, and the performance was stellar.
To start, I believe PPAC is one of the finest venues I have ever been to, and it's a treat to have it in my backyard. Their staff is friendly and the consumer experience is top notch. In terms of production, there were a few minor audio issues at the beginning of the show that quickly were resolved and forgotten of. Hats off to the crew at PPAC.
With the performance as a whole, it was outstanding to say the least. When a musical has a well perceived movie adaption, it is hard for the casual viewer to not judge the show with the film. It's hard to emulate famous actors Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), and Aaron Tveit (Enjolras), but I felt that the performers made these characters their own, and told their stories gracefully.
Nick Cartell (Jean Valjean) was phenomenal. Vocally, his range was extraordinary. He made the perfect Jean Valjean. Hayden Tee (Inspector Javert) was incredible. He made the villain character likeable. His closing scene of his death was chilling. Hayley Dortch (Fantine) was a star, she performed "I Dreamed A Dream" to perfection. Devin Archer (Enjolras) provided energy and sold the revolution to the crowd. The acting from the young cast members like Gabriel Lafazan (Gavroche) and Cora Jane Messer (Young Cosette) were quite impressive as well. All in all, I felt everyone was casted to the t and they all did extremely well.
I thought the Company executed a lot of key scenes and themes perfectly. The cat and mouse chase between Inspect Javert and Prisoner 24601, the comedic relief of Thenardiers, the sacrifices that Eponine made, the buildup of the revolution were all memorable to me.
Similar with the songs that all of us know. "At The End Of The Day", "Master Of The House", "Empty Chairs And Empty Tables", "Bring Him Home", and "One Day More", were performed incredibly well. I've been stuck singing them all week, which is not a bad thing at all!
Visually, what I loved about the set was the accuracy. I remember seeing Les Mis on Broadway a few years back, and I felt like I was having a flashback. I also loved the depth perception created from the background screen with the waves, road, and sewer scenes.
With a timeless classic that has been adapted into a movie and well renown story, this was a fantastic adaption. If you have the chance, there are only a few more nights to catch the show, and I would highly recommend viewing the classic!
Cast of Les Misérables (Photo: MurphyMade, provided by PPAC)