So, I saw the 25th Anniversary concert for Les Miserable (as in, watched it on TV, not in person!). As a fan of musicals in general, and Les Mis in particular, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Here’s my view:
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
- The staging was good. It really gave you a feel for the time period.
- The chorus and ensemble were fantastic!
- The emotion is what I consider the defining element for Les Mis. It’s an emotional story. I just didn’t feel like this cast delivered that emotion.
I have mixed views on the casting. Let’s start with the good.
Lea Salonga did an excellent job as Fantine, although it was a little strange, since I’m so used to seeing her as Eponine. However her replacement in that role, Samantha Barks, did a fantastic job. She was the driving force behind what little emotion was portrayed in the show. After Lea, she is my all-time favorite Eponine. Katie Hall played Cosette. She was more naive and cute than her predecessors, but it works! Overall, she gave a charming performance. Norm Lewis as Javert was an excellent choice. His voice is solid and strong, like steel, perfect for his part
I’m in the minority here, but I didn’t like Alfie Boe as Valjean. He has a great voice, but it lacked the power and (once again…) the emotion. I have the same complaint about Ramon Karminloo as Enroljas. He is supposed to be a fiery revolutionary!
And for those of you who are wondering about my take of Nick Jonas as Marius, here it is. He wasn’t bad, and gave a solid performance. At times you heard whispers of brilliance. However, those whispers were few and far between. He showed emotion in his face and action, but it didn’t really carry over into his singing. Potential is there. It has yet to fully blossom.
It was not bad, but it was dry until the final scene. Then the stage all but exploded in a stupendous display of talent and passion! If the entire performance had been that good, it would have been an easy 5 stars.
The best moment for me was when the original cast from 1985 came onstage and performed “One Day More!” That is what this musical is supposed to sound like! Oooh, or when two current and two past Valjeans sang “Bring Him Home”…. shivers of joy!
Here are my two favorite Eponines: Lea Salonga from the 10th Anniversary and Samantha Barks from the 25th