BWW Review: LES MISÉRABLES at Morrison Center
As part of their national tour, Les Miserables comes to The Morrison Center in their 2018-2019 season. The Morrison Center provides a home stage for local productions and groups, plus acts as a venue for Broadway company tour casts to share their expertly prepared productions. Since their silver anniversary in 2009, Broadway in Boise keeps the beat going with show-stopping productions. Promising the best of the best to ticket holders, Les Miserables included.
Les Miserables, adapted from a book of the same name by Victor Hugo has become a smash hit since its American premiere in 1987. The show is the fifth longest running show on Broadway, running from 1987 to 2003, with two revivals following. The production also had a popular movie adaption in 2012. This production brought to life different aspects from the show we all know and love, plus added elements for this tour.
Let me begin by saying this show is one that will make you think. Some questions which circled through my mind were "Like the students with the revolution, what would I be willing to give up?" but also "what brings audiences to continue seeing the show?" In this production it is obvious what brings them back, and what keeps them wanting more. From the beautiful direction of Laurence Connor and James Powell to the timeless score by Claude-Michel Schönberg everything was simply stunning. The set design by Matt Kinley mixed with Paule Constable's lighting design really made it feel like you were being transported to the streets of Paris; Whisked into the world of these characters. It felt like I was present for the intimate moment of Cosette and Marius meeting to the devastating times of battle and loss.
Moving onto the cast, each person brought something absolutely amazing to the show. Each ensemble member perfectly sang, from the opening song "Prologue" to the closing number "Finale" it all came together. Highlighting a few members of the cast; I had the pleasure of hearing Christopher Viljoen as Valjean. His rendition of Bring Him Home was stunning and sounded like a prayer. Josh Davis played Javert perfectly, from Stars to Soliloquy his voice was firm and had me wanting to hear more. Mary Kate Moore's Fantine was heartbreaking, honest and true. Her version of I Dreamed a Dream left me breathless and stunned. Jillian Butler's Cosette partnered perfectly with Joshua Grosso's Marius, the pair both had gorgeous vocals and truly brought the love at first sight story to life. A Heart Full of Love was sincere and heartwarming, all of it felt very real and true. Paige Smallwood's Eponine was everything and more, from her representation I can see why so many young girls relate to her as a character. There is so much to this character, from her endless devotion to make Marius happy to the slight recklessness which ends up getting her killed. Her On My Own was stunning and A Little Fall of Rain with Grosso was heartbreaking. Matt Shingledecker's Enjolras was fiery and passionate, his devotion for France and for the people was what made the rebellion come to life. Everyone was absolute perfection in this cast.
Overall this show had something for everyone. I had the pleasure of accompanying someone who had never seen a live musical performance. She was so enamored by the show she was only able to offer a single concern, how to continue living without Broadway shows in her immediate future. The show touched everyone in the audience, moving all attendees to their feet at the end of the production. Opening night may have been July 30th but you can see it until August 4th here in Boise.