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Thursday, July 26, 2012

25th Anniversary of Les Misérables Is Not to Be Les Missed

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Ladies of the Night
  • Ladies of the Night

I love it when theater companies take a classic and really re-vamp the hell out of it. If you think you have seen Les Misérables, I assure you, you have not seen it like this. Inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, Cameron Mackintosh presents a 25th anniversary production of the timeless musical. Using the imagination of Hugo's art, and bringing it to life on the stage, you are transported to Hugo's vision of 19th-century France. The sets were dazzling, one even taking the form of a boat on the rough seas.  

This production, part of a national tour, is an intense ride, filled with the sadness, anger, hilarity, and love. For those who've never seen Boublil and Schönberg's legendary musical, Les Misérables, which loosely translates to "the poor" or "the wretched," it's not exactly a pick-me-up. Indeed, part of what transfixes us to the stage from the beginning to the end is the heart-wrenching sadness and wickedness of its characters.
The stand out scoundrels in this production were the Thénardiers, (Timothy Gulan and Shawna M. Hamic). They stole the show on more than one occasion with their devilish and criminal ways, especially Hamic, whose comedic facial expressions provided a welcome relief to the play's overt themes of sadness. Their daughter, Eponine, (Briana Carlson-Goodman) delivered a stunning performance as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who yearns for a different life with the one she loves, and moving you to tears with her rendition of "On My Own." The law-abiding Javert (Andrew Varela) uses his powerhouse of a voice to deliver a complex, tortured character flawlessly. 

  • Eponine

This play's themes of discrimination based on class, sex, and social status are sadly not so different from the problems many face today, which is perhaps a testament to Les Miz's timeliness.

However, throughout all these serious topics, there is a current of love and redemption. The play did not seem to have a weak link to it, and I sat for a little under the musical's three-hour duration absolutely content.

Les Misérables plays through Aug. 26 at the Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market (at Eighth St.). Admission is $31-$200.

Watch a teaser trailer of the musical below:

Vanessa L. Pinto (aka Fleur De Lis SF) documented a year of her sex life on her blog Whatever You Desire. She also blogs for the Huffington Post and is a contributing writer with Whore! Magazine. She has a degree in political science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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Vanessa L. Pinto


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