The Tony-Award-winning musical Les Misérables made its way to Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts this week with a cast of full of unmatched talent and grit. The Cameron Mackintosh production of the Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg musical took the audience on a journey of tears, laughs, romance and pride with the sounds of the music directed by Brian Eads to the visually unparalleled set designed by David Harris and Christine Peters.
Set in 19th century France, Les Misérables, or Les Miz as it is affectionately called, pulled at the heart strings and revolutionary spirit of all those who entered Overture Hall. Widely known songs such as “I Dreamed a Dream” and “One Day More” were performed with power and purpose. Each actor beautifully revived each character with their refreshing vocals and enthusiasm. The ballad “Bring Him Home,” sung by Jean Valjean (Nick Cartell), even moved some to their feet.
The musical, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, follows a slave turned freeman named Jean Valjean, whose pursuit of freedom sets the pace for the entire plot. Valjean’s efforts to escape Javert (Josh Davis), an overzealous inspector and antagonist of the plot, and his desire to protect Cosette (Jillian Butler), the daughter of the late Fantine (Mary Kate Moore), takes him on an expedition of trials and heartbreak.
Along the way, two characters that stood out and brought the crowd to laughter were the scheming innkeepers, the Thenardiers, who housed Cosette during her childhood. Played by Allison Guinn and J Anthony Crane, the cunning duo’s performance kept the musical upbeat and funny in the midst of all the show’s drama.
Les Misérables is the fifth longest running Broadway production of all time, according to an Overture Center press release. This timeless story of tribulations and triumph filled the auditorium nearly to capacity, evidence that the journey of Valjean and his comrades still hits home as our country enters a time when many refuse to be chained to the ways of the past.
The musical phenomenon will runs at Overture Center through Sunday, with performances tonight and tomorrow night, and two performances each on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $30 – $99.