Review Roundup: LES MISERABLES Launches New National Tour

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By: Oct. 26, 2022
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Review Roundup: LES MISERABLES Launches New National Tour

The new National Tour of Les Miserables launched earlier this month in Cleveland.

The engagement plays through October 30 before embarking on a multi-city North American Tour.

Celebrated tour alums Nick Cartell and Preston Truman Boyd return to the barricades to portray the fugitive 'Jean Valjean' and 'Inspector Javert,' respectively. They are joined by Matt Crowle as 'Thénardier,' Christina Rose Hall as 'Madame Thénardier,' Haley Dortch as 'Fantine,' Devin Archer as 'Enjolras,' Christine Heesun Hwang as 'Éponine,' Gregory Lee Rodriguez as 'Marius' and Addie Morales as 'Cosette.' Cora Jane Messer and Hazel Vogel alternate in the role of 'Little Cosette/Young Éponine.' Harrison Fox and Gabriel Lafazan alternate in the role of 'Gavroche.'

Read the reviews so far below!

Playhouse Square- KeyBank State Theatre - Cleveland, Oh

Joey Morona, "Les Misérables" has always been an intimidating story to immerse yourself in, whether it's the novel or the musical. It's a lot of plot that if your attention is diverted for even a moment, it's easy to get lost. Readers of the book can just turn back a few pages. That's not an option when watching a musical, particularly one where every word is sung. That learning curve is made that much steeper when it's difficult at times to make out every word they're singing, whether it be an issue with the sound mix, the acoustics of the venue or the fact that multiple cast members are often singing, sometimes different lyrics, at the same time.

Roy Berko, BroadwayWorld: Both the solos and choral work is outstanding. Thankfully the cast interpreted the meaning of the lyrics rather than just singing words. This was obvious, for example, in "One Day More," the sure-thing show stopper, which was mesmerizing.

Sheri Gross, Jewish News: This particular production, with its articulate cast, its beautiful visuals (albeit a little dimly lit), and the near perfect sound balance makes for a show that is much easier to understand. And without the pressure of trying to hear a show, understand a show, and read about a show at the same time, suddenly audience members have the freedom to really digest and appreciate the timelessness and importance of the show's many themes.

Christine Howey, Scene: That's part of the magic of this show. The memories stay with you, along with the full complement of goose bumps. In this production, Preston Truman Boyd almost stops the show as Javert when he nails "Stars," especially when he shifts into a different gear in the last line, "This I swear by the stars." Although not imposing physically, Boyd creates a suitable villain all the way through his climactic plunge.

Providence Performing Arts Center - Providence, RI

Barb Burke, BroadwayWorld: Nick Cartell's Jean Valjean is phenomenal. He brings great range to Valjean, both theatrically and musically, showing us the many facets of the hero from his early rage and savagery to his selfless dedication to Cosette. Cartell's return to his pre-pandemic role is reason enough to see the show.

Ken Abrams, What's Up Newp: Needless to say, the music is timeless, a level or two above typical Broadway fare. The leads were robust, with Nick Cartell's Valjean and Hayden Tee's Javert standing out. The full ensemble pieces "Do You Hear the People Sing" and "At the End of the Day" were especially memorable.

Benedum Center for the Performing Arts - Pittsburgh, PA

Jordana Rosenfeld, Pittsburgh City Paper: Among the performers, who are all skilled and well-cast, Christine Heesun Hwang stands out as Éponine, one of the play's most tragic characters, in part because her more contemporary vocal style cuts through the sometimes monotonous, florid vibrato of many soloists. Hwang and Dortch deliver masterful and moving renditions of two of musical theater's most dramatic and ambitious ballads "On My Own," and "I Dreamed a Dream," respectively, that are at once lovely and wrenching.

Laura, Pgh Lesbian: Although the musical has as one of its major themes unrequited love, I think one of the main themes is how authoritarian regimes punish their citizen for minor offenses (19 years for stealing a slice of bread!) and keep their citizens in poverty and misery. The musical certainly shows various wealthy characters throughout who abuse and disregard "the lesser citizens." Les Miserables expounds upon how those in poverty feel about their treatment and place in society which invariably leads to a revolution.

Uihlein Hall at Marcus Center For The Performing Arts - Milwaukee, WI

Kelsey Lawler, BroadwayWorld: But avid Les Mis fans stomach the heartache of the story for the beauty of music and text by Boublil & Schönberg. Fans can rest assured that this touring production, like the one before it, fully delivers. How could it not? It's the same stirring songs, the same heart-rending tragedy, the same characters theatergoers have loved and loved to hate for over 35 years and counting. We go to Les Mis to be transported, to marvel at singers and staging, and to have a good cry (just me?).

Aly Prouty, Spectrum News 1: I do not have enough good things to say about this musical. It's perfectly cast, stunningly set, beautifully sung, provides the perfect combination of emotions and left me wanting to watch it again and again. Yes, even after three hours.

Orpheum Theatre - Minneapolis, MN

Jared Fessler, BroadwayWorld: It was wonderful to see this global phenomen production again. The whole set, production, and costumes, were magnificent. You felt like you were in 1900th century France. The set transitions and the lighting affects were effective in feeling like you were in the battle, on the ship, the scene with Javier was powerful as he is falling into the water.

Fox Theatre - St. Louis, MO

Rob Levy, BroadwayWorld: Leading the show is Nick Cartell as the angst-ridden Jean Valjean. Electrifying on stage, he gives the troubled protagonist a formidable pathos that underscores the tumult of 19th-century France. As a singer his voice is in top form, especially on At the End of the Day and for his solos on Who Am I? and Bring Him Home. Equally powerful is Preston Truman Boyd as Javert. Capturing the inspector's unyielding determination in a mesmeric performance, his dastardly, relentless, and cunning turn make Javert's unsavory and frightening foe.

Mark Bretz, LaDue News: "Les Miserables" is an epic musical based on an epic novel. Yet, at its core, it remains a defining tale of love rising above injustice, handsomely acted, beautifully sung and hauntingly etched in the hearts of its ever-growing legion of fans.

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center - Charlotte, NC

Amanda Harry, Livin' Charlotte: It was action-packed. The story takes place against the backdrop of 19th-century France as a rebellion builds. It follows a decades-long rivalry between the protagonist and antagonist, so there's a great deal of action throughout the play. The onstage battles are tense, well-choreographed, and even brutal at some points.

Hippodrome Theatre - Baltimore, MD

Sue Tilberry, MD Theatre Guide: The vocals are extraordinary. The solos by Valjean (Nick Cartell); Javert (Preston Truman Boyd); Cosette's mother, Fantine (Haley Dortch); the Thénardiers' daughter, Eponine (Christine Heesun Hwang); and the young student, Marius (Gregory Lee Rodriguez), with whom Cosette falls in love, are spine tingling and nearly perfect. The entire cast is equally talented in the ensemble numbers.

Orpheum Theater - Omaha, NE

Courtney Brummer-Clark, Omaha World-Herald: In the touring company production now at the Orpheum, actor Nick Cartell has this monumental task, and to say that he is successful at it is a vast understatement. From his first song in the "Prologue" to his final notes in the "Finale," Cartell has total ownership of who Valjean is supposed to be - a hero who never considers himself a hero. He is merely a man doing what he believes he is supposed to, even when it isn't easy to do so.

Clowes Hall - Indianapolis, IN

The Marriage Matinee, BroadwayWorld: Let's be honest. LES MISÉRABLES as a production will not succeed without a superb Jean Valjean. Everything hinges on him, and the wrong casting will set everything akimbo. So I was a little disheartened to hear we'd have an understudy. But I need to learn my lesson: understudies can bring it, and that was exactly the case with Randy Jeter. You could tell he brought a hunger to this role that gave it an extra boost of vitality and passion. He found a wonderful foil in his counterpart, Javert, played by Preston Truman Boyd. Boyd also brought hunger but reined in and compressed so it was cold and hard, just like his character.

Kennedy Center - Washington, D.C.

Olivia Murray, BroadwayWorld: Les Miz veteran, Nick Cartell, continues his reign as Jean Valjean and, as always, stuns everyone in the theater. Having seen Cartell in other runs of Les Miz, I was very excited to see his performance again. This time, he brought a deeper sense of maturity to the role that was very enjoyable to watch. You watch Jean Valjean's life unfurl with Cartell's storytelling as he shows how much he has endured as the years continue on in the story. Continuously having a stellar vocal performance, we do see Valjean age as he tires from avoiding his past, which indicates how much Cartell has been able to grow with this character and embody Jean Valjean to his fullest potential.

Jeannette Mulherin, MD Theatre Guide: The much-loved musical score demands vocal and dramatic gifts, which the cast has in spades. Jean Valjean (Nick Cartell) delivers unforgettable renditions of "Who am I?" and "Bring Him Home" and Fantine (Haley Dortch) sings a haunting "I Dreamed a Dream." Christine Heesun Hwang (Eponine) performs a mesmerizing "On My Own" and Javert (Preston Truman Boyd), Jean Valjean's uncompromising nemesis, reveals his true character in a searing "Stars." Thénardier (Matt Crowle) and Madame Thénardier (Christina Rose Hall) provide the story's comic relief with wit, charm, and superb renditions of "Master of the House," and "Beggars at the Feast." The company sings "Do You Hear the People Sing" and "One Day More" with commitment and power.

Kansas City Music Hall - Kansas City, MO

Ivy Anderegg, The Pitch: Nick Cartell (playing Jean Valjean) was perfectly cast as the driving force of the show, bringing power to the role with impressive tenor belts and an especially heart-melting performance of "Bring Him Home" that, despite the devastating scene at hand, was met with a roaring crowd in the middle of Act Two. Furthermore, Cartell's integrity with the character affirmed the humanity of each character, even the militant Javert (Preston Truman Boyd), embodying the theme of kindness and compassion for all.

The 5th Avenue Theatre - Seattle, WA

Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld: With music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, from the original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, this is not your standard fare of Musical Theater as people do not burst into song when the emotions are too high.  On the contrary, they start off singing and never cease, making it more of an Opera.  So don’t expect rousing dance numbers or dialog, instead just hang on for some of the most glorious voices, belting their emotions to the high heavens.  And that’s what makes this production so good, all that emotion.  I’ve seen uninspired productions where the talented singers come out and sing the pretty words well, but this show is more than just the pretty words.  It’s a complex story of love and loss and deserves to be told and that’s what this talented cast does, they tell the story. 

George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theatre - Salt Lake City, UT

Tyler Hinton, BroadwayWorldNick Cartell is an absolutely phenomenal Jean Valjean, heading up the strong cast with a gorgeous clear tenor voice and heartrending character performance.  Devin Archer as Enjolras brings a similar powerful singing voice and acting chops, as does Christine Heesun Hwang as Eponine.

Nancy Van Valkenburg, Gephardt Daily: Haley Dortch gives her role as Fantine a beautiful, soulful voice and a quiet dignity despite her worsening circumstances, and Addie Morales brings a beautiful lyricism and joy to adult Cosette, who falls for Marius, a young man with enough honor and vision to impress Valjean. Gregory Lee Rodriguez is perfect in the role.

Ryan Painter, KUTV: Last night’s performance at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater was a sublime experience. Culled from a pool of the world’s best actors, the touring cast is every bit as good as what you’d see in London or New York. They’ve updated some of the visual effects, stage design, and blocking. Javert’s fall worked particularly well. I liked Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean and Preston Truman Boyd is a strong Javert. I tend to favor Fantine and Eponine over the other characters. Haley Dortch’s Fantine was quite good. I miss the intimacy of Anne Hathaway’s performance in the film adaptation, but I’m happy to see Dortch give the character a different kind of flare. Christine Heesun Hwang’s Eponine provided the highlight of the night. Her version of “On My Own” was jaw-dropping amazing. Had it been appropriate, I would have given her a standing ovation immediately.

Orpheum Theatre - San Francisco, CA

Steve Murray, BroadwayWorldLes Miserables remains a crowd favorite as it delivers a multitude of satisfying theatre elements: new and unrequited love, obsessions with duty at any cost, justice, rebirth, the effects of battle, greed, and mercy. Combined with the 19th century period setting and its stunning costumes (Andreane Neofitou, additional costume designs by Christine Rowland and Paul Wills) and the famous barricade set design (Matt Kinley), Les Mis is the total package.

Saroyan Theatre - Fresno, CA

James Ward, Visalia Times Delta: While the version of “Les Miserables” that landed at the Saroyan has jettisoned the massive rotating stage in favor of nifty projected images and a scaled-down, if still impressive on-stage barricade, it features some “oh wow” stagecraft moments.

Pantages Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

Tracey Paleo, BroadwayWorld: While the new orchestrations by Stephen MetcalfeChristopher Jahnke and Stephen Booker, were stunning, the vocal interpretations were breathy rather than full bodied, often nearly spoken instead of sung, and far more percussive and violent than one might remember this now modern classic musical to be.  The singers seemed to be singing far ahead of the notes, creating a frantic delivery that did not begin to ease until Jean Valjean’s second act number, “Bring Him Home.”

Katcy Stephan, Variety: Valjean’s scenes with Javert, expertly played by Preston Truman Boyd, are among the most compelling moments in the production, with aching desperation from both men driving each confrontation further until the rivalry hits its boiling point in a devastating finale.

Victoria Munck, Daily Bruin: However, the solo numbers are what truly carry the drama’s impassioned beauty. In the tragic “I Dreamed a Dream,” the hopeless Fantine (Haley Dortch) commands attention with her smooth vocals and divinely held notes, leaving listeners broken-hearted while only four songs into the show. Cartell also brings an unrelenting power to Valjean’s numerous ballads, with the hard-hitting “Bring Him Home” serving as a clear standout. The prayerful song he sings to implore that he dies in place of Marius (Gregory Lee Rodriguez) after the musical’s climatic battle features an enchanting falsetto that pushes his desperation further. Even Cosette (Addie Morales) – whose soprano occasionally suggests a whine – effectively conveys her immense feelings for Marius in an elegant rendition of “In My Life.”

Segerstrom Center for the Arts - Costa Mesa, CA

Christopher Smith, The Orange County Register: Jean Valjean, of course, is the show’s compass, events tilting around his choices. It’s up to the actor to make his incredible journey seem credible and Cartell’s performance steers us well. As for the singing, his beautiful tenor clarity and its staggering staying power through his 11 o’clock number “Bring Him Home” is stunning.

Michael Quintos, BroadwayWorld: Whether you're a long-time or brand new fan of the show's memorable songs or the show's arresting stagecraft, this rather impressive, high-quality sung-through musical offers both dedicated fans and casual theatergoers something to love about it. There's an implied high-brow, intellectual quality about it that somehow also positions it as populist entertainment. 

Civic Theatre - San Diego, CA

Pam Kragen, The San Diego Union Tribune: Nick Cartell leads the 32-member cast as Jean Valjean. He’s a sensitive song interpreter and passionate actor, and he has an angelic singing voice that’s perfect for the role. Preston Truman Boyd impresses with his vocal power and sheer menace as Javert, the policeman who doggedly pursues Valjean for decades due to his parole violation.

SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center - Sacramento , CA

Courtney Symes, BroadwayWorld: Jean Valjean translates well to modern audiences, except his nineteen-year prison sentence for stealing a loaf of bread would equate to, at the most, a sideways glance in today’s court. His compassion for the downtrodden and his redemptive transformation from beggar to savior sits well with a populace that has seen massive strides in acceptance and inclusion in the past several years. Songs like “Look Down” seem particularly timely, especially in California, as homeless rates soar. I encountered a man lying on the sidewalk just tonight, so the words carried a unique poignancy. 

First Interstate Center for the Arts - Spokane, WA

Amanda Sullender, The Spokesman-Review: The standout member of the production’s cast is Preston Truman Boyd as the dogged Inspector Javert – who was able to menace the audience as well as Prisoner 24601 with his low baritone. As Javert’s mental state unravels near the end of the show, Boyd’s preening that had intimidated before melts into a shadow of a man realizing his life’s mission was a lie.

ASU Gammage - Tempe, AZ

Herbert Paine, BroadwayWorld: The flagship 1980s British import mega-musical has docked at Tempe’s Gammage Auditorium with a one-weekend run of its North American Tour. This production of LES MISÉRABLES, affectionately called LES MIZ by many, is a solid rendition of the epic musical and a talent showcase for performers and designers.

Music Hall at Fair Park - Dallas, TX

Abbey Bowling, CW33: Nick Cartell plays Valjean with strength and touching vulnerability, showing the character’s progression from a hardened convict to a reformed man — a transformation that is most evident in “Bring Him Home,” a moving ballad in which Valjean prays for Marius’ safety after the massacre at the barricade. Preston Truman Boyd commands the stage in the role of Javert. From his staunch loyalty of the law to a man haunted by an act of mercy, Boyd portrays the complexities of the character with surprising delicacy — most notably in “Soliloquy.”

Lied Center for Performing Arts - Lincoln, NE

Zach Hammack, Journal Star: All the theatrical fireworks aside, it's the sublimely beautiful vocal solos of love, longing and, at times, despair, that stick with a person long after the curtain drops.

Civic Center Music Hall - Oklahoma City, OK

Brett Fieldcamp, Oklahoma City Free Press

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts - Houston, TX

Sara Davidson, The Rice Thresher: Overall, the performance of “Les Misérables” proved to be one of the most spectacular shows the Hobby Center has seen in a while. The singers were amazing, complementing each other while still proving to be individual vocal powerhouses. From start to finish, they captivated the audience, even the large percent who snuck in after the opening number with their phone flashlights glaring for the world to see. Each number proved to be a dramatic affair, and the show received a standing ovation at the end. 

Orpheum Theatre Memphis - Memphis, TN

AniKatrina Fageol, BroadwayWorldNick Cartell is no stranger to the role of Valjean and it certainly shows. The musical notes flow efortlessly and I heard more than one sniffle during the iconic ballad "Bring Him Home". The same can be said for Haley Dortch, whose Fantine captivates the audience and manages to belt out "I Dreamed a Dream" (one of the most iconic songs in musical theatre history) with poise and fierceness before Fantine ultimately turns to her own demise in order to save her young child. Matt Crowle and Victoria Huston-Elem manage to bring comedy to the stage in moments where it is desprately needed! Their portrayal of the Thenardiers, a couple who perfect at swindling and thieving, brings refreshing laughter to the story. My other call outs are Delayney Guyer and Jake David Smith, who bring a fresh new side to Cosette and Marius and actually play them as love-struck teenagers, something I have not seen done many times in the past. "A Heart Full of Love" is not just a lovely ballad but a painfully awkward love-confession, which makes the song comedic as well as wholesome. I loved seeing these characters as socially inept at times, as we often ony see the ingenue and nothing else. Kudos to these two for bringing them to life in such a fun way and providing some well-needed comedy (it can't all fall to the Thenardiers, after all) 

Overture Center - Madison, WI

Anna Kleibner, The Daily Cardinal: Having seen this same tour in December 2022 in Milwaukee, it’s always thrilling to see what different performers will bring to these well-known roles. While Cartell remained impressive in both performances and was my personal favorite portrayal of Valjean to date, Preston Truman Boyd’s performance as Javert was unlike any other, standing out from prior actors I have seen in the same role. 

Allison Garfield, The Cap Times: Filled with powerhouse performances across the board from the leading actors, the show delivers on the songs audiences have come to love while offering modern twists through intricate lighting sequences and high-tech visual backdrops. 

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