Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Les Miserables" - My Experience

Yesterday (by the by, it was H.P. Lovecraft's death) I left to see the new production of Les Miserables on Broadway. I knew the music and had high expectations. It also starred Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean, and I know him as a great Enjolras (Les Miserables, 25th Anniversary), a wonderful Raoul (The Phantom of the Opera) and a FANTASTIC (or, rather, phantastic) Phantom in Love Never Dies and The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (the show's mindblowingly awesome 25th Anniversary).

I knew this was going to be wonderful, but it exceeded my expectations.

When the famous overture started up (excuse me, but it goes dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun!), I took a little gasp. The prisoners were rowing oars while being inspected by the police. Projected on the backdrop behind them, there was the image of a boat. A see-through screen was in front of the prisoners. Suddenly, water was projected on the screen in front of them. For five seconds, it looked really real - then I realized it was a projection, but it was still cool! Ramin Karimloo exceeded my expectations. Hey - they chose him for a reason. He's a good singer, people!

As my father and I later discussed, Les Miserables is a sung-through musical (no talking, just...SINGING!). So that means that the TWO HOUR-LONG first act (this was a two-hour and fifty minute show. The second act was fifty minutes!) was just following up one hit with another. The projections on the backdrop were realistic and amazing!

But everyone wants to know how "I Dreamed a Dream" (sung by Caissie Levy) went, 'cause that's the heart-render. My father and I agreed that while the singing was good and the music quality was good, the new orchestrations didn't really focus on the power of the strings and shed the spotlight on a harp.

Now listen here. "Madness is My Destiny" " (from Dreams in the Witch House - A Lovecraftian Rock Opera) is a  perfect example. When harps and strings are in equal measure (like in "Madness") it can strike a really powerful chord. And with the original orchestrations, "I Dreamed a Dream" really ripped a heartstring out and stamped on it. But with these new orchestrations, that compatibility doesn't hit - because compatibility doesn't work with only one.

But oh my Lord - the scenery is amazing. I got chills when I saw the barricade emerge from rows of houses. The sewer scene was really well done. We were on the barricade street, and suddenly we SUNK into the sewers (that's the magic of projection for you!). All the sewer scenes - while very difficult to describe - felt like a live movie - I mean, there was actual MOVING projections. And Javert's suicide...when he "jumped" off...the projections made it look like you were underwater! During "One Day More," the cast was on the barricade street projection. The students were marching in place, but it looked like they were moving, because of the projections. Those AMAZING PROJECTIONS!

I tweeted yesterday, and I'll talk about THAT experience soon - but I had tweeted the wrong Les Miserables, so I did another to the right place just now. My original tweet (I've only changed the colors)?

Saw show today. Everyone (particularly ) was amazing! Sets, direction, and everything was astounding!

I just changed "@lesmisofficial" to "@LesMizBway."

Anywho, I was delighted when I got a reply from Ramin Karimloo (he's an amazing singer and a Phantom of the Opera alumni of note). It read a very simple but nice message. I will close off with that tweet and notify you of two things - that a review of a Graphic Classics book (Halloween Classics, which I got for my birthday) and a St. Patrick's Day celebration are approaching.

very kind. Thank you.

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