BWW Reviews: LES MISERABLES at Toby's Dinner Theater - You Should Hear These People Sing!
My history with this great musical goes way back to 1986 when I saw that Maryland Public Broadcasting was doing a fund-raiser at the Kennedy Center about a new musical coming from England based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo (we share a birthday by the way) "Les Miserables". They showed slides of the musical and it immediately caught my eye. I ended up hosting a surprise birthday party for my wife and our friends with lunch at the Kennedy Center and then we all saw this "new" unheard of musical which if translated into English is "The Miserables". Everyone just took my word for it that this "could" be really something special. Well, I guess I was very prescient.
No one knew about the musical or the music. But everyone came away quite impressed knowing this was a show that would do very well. And has it ever. Winning the Tony Award in 1987 it has been seen by over 65 million people in 42 countries. (I highly recommend "The Complete Book of LES MISERABLES" by Edward Behr with photos from various productions from around the world.).
So, if you chance to be one of the few people who have never seen the show live, or even if you've seen the show before (I've seen it four or five times), or seen the film, do not miss seeing this specatcular production co-directed by by Toby Orentstein and Steven Fleming.
The wonderful and talented team of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg have composed a masterful entertainment and Herbert Kretzmer translated the French lyrics into English. (You can see another Boublil-Schonberg musical at the Signature Theatre now, MISS SAIGON).
Christopher Youstra conducts a marvelous six piece orchestra and Sound Director Drew Dedrick somehow manages to get every single lyric heard in the small space of a theater in the round.
David A. Hopkins does a masteful job with the sets where the incredible barricade is somehow turned into the Paris sewer. David Gregory and Shannon M. Maddox have designed wonderful period costumes. And Lynn Joslin is responsbile for the wonderful moving lighting.
There are several outstanding performances here. Daniel Felton as Jean Valjean. Lawrence B. Munsey as Javert, Janine Sunday as Fantine, Mary Kate Brouillet as Eponine, and as the hysterical "bring down the house" Thereandiers (who do bring down the house in "Master of the House"), there are David James and Theresa Cunningham.
I cannot rave enough about the talented ensemble. Their voices are just plain incredible. Two stood out. One was my server and I wish she had more to sing, Dayna Marie Quincy. Remember that name. The other I remember from Toby's IN THE HEIGHTS, Tobias Young.
LES MISERABLES is a tour de force...non-stop singing for close to three hours. And Toby's has pulled it off. It continues through November 10. If you have never been to a dinner theatre, this could be a good show to start with.
For tickets, call 410-730-8311 or visit www.tobysdinnertheatre.com.
Toby's season continues with MIRACLE ON 34TH Street playing November 15 to January 5, 2014, SPAMALOT (wow!) January 10 to March 23, and SHREK, THE MUSICAL playing March 28 to June 8.