Sunday, March 6, 2011
Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert on PBS
Have you ever had a spiritual experience at a live musical? If not...you probably haven't seen Les Miserables. In 1985, our nephew took us to the Barbican Theatre in London's West End to see a new musical that was a remake of Victor Hugo's long (and frankly boring) novel called Les Miserables. In the cast was Colm Wilkinson and Lia Salonaga. We were seated in "The Gods", another words, an upper balcony. I think I cried through most of the show. It was incredible!!!
Since then, it became a tradition for us to see it in London every year on our annual buying trip and saw it at several theatres with wonderful cast changes. We know it by heart now. We have also seen it in San Francisco, Reno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Vancouver and Seattle. Not to mention almost worn out the CD. Why? Because the music is fab, the staging was revolutionary, but the message was IT for us...a story of grace versus law, forgiveness and redemption. When Javert say "Can a man such as you ever change?" I want to yell YES!!! Through the grace of God, Grace always defeats the Law. It moves me every time I hear it.
The 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables by Cameron MacIntosh's production from the O2 arena in London last year was televised tonight on PBS. A different format but wonderful.
The new tour is not using the fabulous rolling and rotating behemoth of a 2 part framework on a round table...the first time anything like that was ever done. It was incredible...we called it another star of the show. Because I was a professional musical comedy actress for several years I could really appreciate everything about the production.
When we first saw the production in 1985 & 1986, Lia Salonaga (Miss Saigon) played Eponine. Tonight she was Fontine. We just realized tonight too, that the actor Alun Armstrong from the BBC series airing on PBS called New Tricks was the original Thenardier. We knew we had seen him when New Tricks started on our PBS series, but couldn't remember where we had seen him until he walked onstage for the special anniversary curtain call with the original 1985 cast that that's where we knew him from. How fun!
Okay...I've rambled enough. All I can say is if you haven;t seen the musical yet, if it comes to a theatre close to you...make the effort! It's grace!!!