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BWW Review: LES MISERABLES at Times Union Performing Arts Center

BWW Review: LES MISERABLES at Times Union Performing Arts Center

The Les Misérables National Tour has made its stop in Jacksonville and has audiences cheering. Les Miz, as it is known to many theatre goers, is based on Victor Hugo's novel of the same name. The story is set in France between 1815 and 1832, features iconic characters such as Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Eponine, Cosette, and so many more. Audiences are able to follow their stories through a show that is sung COMPLETELY through and feel all the emotions, triumphs, and excitement that is in front of them. I cannot say enough good things about Les Misérables, but let's try!

The entire cast is supremely talented. From the moment the show started I knew it was going to be something special from the emotion and intensity displayed in the "Prologue". Continuing on, Mary Kate Moore (Fantine) was breathtaking in her performance of the iconic "I Dreamed a Dream". As Jean Valjean, performed by Nick Cartell, goes to retrieve Fantine's daughter to raise as his own in "The Bargain", the audience meets the Thernardier (J Anthony Crane) and Madame Thernardier (Allison Guinn), who were some of the funniest characters I have ever seen! They left audiences laughing every single time they were on stage. When Enjolras (Matt Shingledecker) and Marius (Patrick Rooney) enter with their team, the audience feels a certain pride that all the characters conveyed. Specifically, "One Day More". If an audience member can sit and watch that and not feel a certain pride, excitement, and emotion, I'd be extremely surprised! I would have to say it was one of my favorite numbers in the whole production. A majority of the second act brought on tears and audible sniffling. Specifically, the popular Eponine number, performed by Paige Smallwood, "On My Own". As well as, "Bring Him Home" performed by Nick Cartell (Jean Valjean). The entire company was incredibly entertaining and talented. It must also be mentioned how absolutely talented the children of the production were. They were so professional, as well as having beautiful voices and great acting skills.

I must say, the stage design was breathtaking! I was in awe of how versatile and flawless everything moved and changed before our eyes. There were times I looked away for a moment and what was a door became a sewer drain. I have never seen a screen used like the one in this production. It gives the audience the sense the characters are moving through a sewer drain, or Javert has fallen off a bridge and into an abyss, or even on a ship in the sea. It was amazing.

"At The End Of The Day", everyone should go see Les Misérables! The musical phenomenon will be in Jacksonville now through January 27.

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From This Author Jordan Higginbotham

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