Review Roundup: The National Tour of LES MISERABLES
The national tour of LES MISÉRABLES is currently making its way across the country with stops in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Omaha and more!
Patrick Dunn portrays the fugitive 'Jean Valjean.' He is joined by Preston Truman Boyd as 'Javert,' Jimmy Smagula as 'Thénardier,' Michelle Dowdy as 'Madame Thénardier,' Mary Kate Moore as 'Fantine,' Matt Shingledecker as 'Enjolras,' Phoenix Best as 'Éponine,' Joshua Grosso as 'Marius' and Jillian Butler as 'Cosette.' Emily Jewel Hoder and Kayla Teruel alternate in the role of 'Little Cosette/Young Éponine.' Parker Dzuba and Patrick Scott McDermott alternate in the role of 'Gavroche.'
The ensemble includes John Ambrosino, Felipe Barbosa Bombonato, Sarah Cetrulo, Olivia Dei Cicchi, Brent Comer, Kelsey DeNae, Jillian Gray, Matt Hill, Monté J. Howell, Stavros Koumbaros, Andrew Love, Andrew Maughan, Maggie Elizabeth May, Darrell Morris, Jr., Bree Murphy, Domonique Paton, Tim Quartier, Erin Ramirez, Julia Ellen Richardson, Patrick Rooney, Brett Stoelker, Quinn Titcomb, Kyle Timson and Christopher Viljoen.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, LES MISÉRABLES tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption - a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Featuring one of the greatest scores of all time, with thrilling and beloved songs including "I Dreamed A Dream," "On My Own," "Stars," "Bring Him Home," "One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing" and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. Along with the Oscar-winning movie version, it has now been seen by more than 130 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe. LES MISÉRABLES is still the world's most popular musical, breaking box office records everywhere in its 35th year.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
David Edward Perry, BroadwayWorld: This new revival of "Les Misérables" is playing at the BJCC for a limited time. It is alive and bellows with the rising voice of the people. The creative presentation delivers high production value, memorable talent, and striking video projections incorporating Victor Hugo's amazing paintings. The end result created an unexpected experience as if I was viewing "Les Misérables" for the first time with fresh eyes. Directors Laurence Connor and James Powell successfully structured this performance a theater experience that will make theater kids of all ages sing in bold unison, "Do you hear the people sing!' This musical is sans spoken dialogue. Right from the start the music and dynamic performances captures the audience and does not let go. Music director Brian Eads delivering a tight orchestra and cast vocals of the iconic songs including "I Dreamed A Dream," "On My Own," "Stars," "Bring Him Home," and "One Day More."
Christine Swerczek, BroadwayWorld: Those who shine most brightly are Jillian Butler as Cosette who exudes an innocence and a delicate pitch-perfect soprano that oozes honey. Joshua Grosso inserts a playfulness into his interpretation of Marius. On his serious side, he brings me closest to tears in my favorite songs, A Little Fall or Rain (with Phoenix Best) and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, both mourning the passing of friends. Preston Truman Boyd presents Javert effortlessly with solid vocals and no hint of overplaying his part. His confrontation with Valjean (Patrick Dunn) at Fantine's bedside is the most fully charged number in the show. Dunn's impressive vocal range and the depth of his performance develops throughout the show from an overly passionate demonstration of anger in Soliloquy to tender fatherly concern for Cosette and Marius.
Betsie Freeman, Omaha World-Herald: Many of the actor-singers on the tour deserve to be called phenomenal. Patrick Dunn, who recently joined it in the beyond-demanding role of Jean Valjean, has the incredible vocal control to sustain clear notes in falsetto and the emotional range to bring me to tears as he prays for Marius, his adopted daughter's suitor, before the ultimate struggle in a revolution against Parisian authorities in 1832. Others with equal vocal abilities include Preston Truman Boyd as Javert, Valjean's nemesis; Phoenix Best as Éponine; and Joshua Grosso as Marius.
Larry T. Collins, Springfield News-Leader: Dunn's resonant tenor brings life to all his numbers, from the ardent "Soliloquy" and "Who Am I?" to a tender account of "Bring Him Home." Gently touching the highest notes of the score's most famous song, Dunn imbues the prayer-like plea with rapt sincerity rather than vocal bravura. Preston Truman Boyd makes a virile adversary as Javert, lending soaring conviction to "Stars" and a hint of psychological desperation to his own "Soliloquy." Javert's monomaniacal drive can be perplexing on stage. Born in prison as the son of an inmate, his deep-seated self-loathing is more understandable in the novel.
Marin Heinritz, REVUE: Patrick Dunn is an exquisite Jean Valjean, his huge voice rich, alive, and bright. His "Let Him Live" is the show's highlight. Though very nearly matched by Preston Truman Boyd's powerful Javert, who's truly wonderful as both an actor and a singer, and his vibrato is miraculous. Joshua Grosso is also a marvelous Marius, and his "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" is a tear jerker. What he creates on stage with Pheonix Best as Éponine is a truly moving relationship, and Best's rousing "On My Own" is a wonderful vehicle for her powerful voice.
Anne Simendinger, BroadwayWorld: Patrick Dunn is a supernova as Jean Valjean. The role of Jean Valjean is arguably one of the most demanding roles in all of musical theatre. He is in nearly every scene, has one of the largest vocal ranges, and has an intensely rich character arc. Dunn navigates it all flawlessly. Every acting choice made pairs perfectly with the vocal dynamics, as it's all sung through. Every time he was on the stage, I couldn't help but be drawn to watch him. Dunn brought the house down (even a bit too early) with the famous act 2 ballad, "Bring Him Home." His voice seems to soar above the heavens and float on the clouds of melodic and tonal perfection. Also, a major kudos to Dunn for not breaking when half the audience decided that the song was finished right before the last word of the song, and began applauding, then giggling from embarrassment. Dunn did not flinch, plowed through and ended the song beautifully.