Les Miserables in Pittsburgh January 15 – 27

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Photo by Deen van Meer, courtesy of pgharts.com

PNC Broadway Across America presents Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th Anniversary production of Les Miserables at the Benedum Center January 15 – 27, 2013.  The all new production of Les Misérables features glorious new staging and spectacular reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. The performance schedule is Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets for Les Misérables begin at $26.00. Tickets are on sale at www.TrustArts.org, in person at the Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue) and by calling 412-456-4800. Groups 10+ are available by calling 412-471-6930. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

Peter Lockyer portrays the fugitive Jean Valjean. He is joined by Andrew Varela as Javert, Timothy Gulan as Thénardier, Shawna M. Hamic as Madame Thénardier, Genevieve Leclerc as Fantine, Jason Forbach as Enjolras, Briana Carlson-Goodman as Éponine, Devin Ilaw as Marius and Lauren Wiley as Cosette. Erin Cearlock and Ava Della Pietra alternate in the role of Little Cosette/Young Éponine. Joshua Colley and Hayden Wall alternate in the role of Gavroche.

About The Show

I had never seen Les Mis before I went to go see the film last month and after seeing the film I was very excited for the chance to see it live on stage as it was ment to be.  After seeing the movie I did a pretty detailed summary of the plot, I am not going to repeat that here, if you are interested in what the story is about please read my Les Miserables movie post.

As I’m sure many people would agree, you can’t possibly compare a stage production to a massive hollywood production of the same story because they have different resources available to them, but I almost feel like I can’t avoid comparing the two so here goes.

I am always moved by the excitement and emotion of a live performance, and Les Miserables was no exception, it gave me the same chills, provoked the same emotions and captivated me by taking me to a different place for few hours like most shows I see do.  The cast was fantastic, the only character I was not impressed with was Cosette, she sounded a little too much like a Disney princess, her voice was good but seemed a bit out of place to me.  I enjoyed Andrew Varela as Javert much more than I enjoyed Russel Crowe in the movie.

Photo by Deen van Meer courtesy of pgharts.org

Genevieve Leclerc delivered a beautiful rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” as Fantine, but I was a little disappointed by its placement in the timeline and her placement on the stage.  In this production, she performed this song after she loses her job in the factory, before she sells her hair and becomes a prostitute.  Maybe this is how it was originally written and the movie producers took the liberty of changing the order, in my opinion it has much more of an emotional affect after she is has been beaten down as low as she can go.  As far as the stage, her performance took place on a dark empty stage, which of course forces you to focus on her singing rather than what is going on around her but again it seemed to strip the scene of emotion.

I was delighted by the comedic antics of Timothy Gulan as Thénardier and Shawna M. Hamic as Madame Thénardier (the innkeeper and his wife) and I couldn’t help but enjoy the performances of the young actors portraying Cossette and Gavroche, I can only imagine the excitement of preforming on stage like that at such a young age, not that I ever wanted to, but whenever I see kids on stage I think of my kids and their dreams and hope that as children they will experience that same feeling of doing what they love and having others enjoy their talents.

Photo Deen van Meer, courtesy of pgharts.com

One of the big scenes from the movie that I was curious about how they were going to pull off on stage was Javert’s suicide.  As I see more and more shows, I am constantly amazed by what they are able to pull of and depict on stage, but I couldn’t imagine how Javert’s demise could possibly be as powerful as it was in the movie.  I was wrong! I was extremely impressed and every bit as emotionally moved.  The barricade fight scenes were also very impressive and although they were depicting a large area on a small stage, it didn’t seem like it at all.

Photo by Deen van Meer, courtesy of pgharts.org

My emotional roller coaster during the show of course hit it’s highest point when Fantine’s spirit comes to take Valjean to Heaven.  I haven’t been able to get the song out of my head since I saw the movie (doesn’t help that I am obsessed with the soundtrack and listen to it all day as I work lol) and just think the final line wraps up the whole story so well  ”And remember the truth that once was spoken, to love another person is to see the face of God”.  Chills on top of chills.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area and are thinking about going to see Les Miserables, stop thinking and just go, don’t be sorry later that you missed your chance to see this epic musical.  This performance is part of a nationwide tour, so check your local theater to see if it is coming your way so you don’t miss out!  Tickets in Pittsburgh are as low as $26 and there are no bad seats in the house, hurry before it disappears on January 27.

Disclosure – I am a member of the Cultural Trust Press list and receive complementary tickets to performances, all opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by the Trust.



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