BWW Review: LES MISERABLES at Saenger Theater
New Orleans, it is time to hear the people sing. And oh how the cast of Les Miserables can sing. For a legendary show, this touring company brings a fresh new life to the story.
To start, the show looks stunning. With a new focus on the set and lighting, this tour has brought Victor Hugo's paintings to life on stage. Lighting designer Paule Constable and set designer Matt Kinley have created a masterpiece of a production that cannot be missed. Most notable was the capturing of "Look Down," set on a makeshift ship.
For a show that tugs on heartstrings from generation to generation, this company knows how to dive into the emotional heart of this story. When Mary Kate Moore takes the stage to deliver "I Dreamed a Dream," the whole theater seemed to hold its breath. Her talent and incredible depth set her apart as one of my favorite Fantine's to date.
This monumental story could not be told without the cat-and-mouse chase between Javert and Valjean. Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean and with Josh Davis as Javert step into these roles with grit and even a bit of grace. Every time these two are on stage together, it's dynamic. From their flawless vocals to their authentic acting, they carved out real characters with real emotions, without going over-the-top. They are the ones to watch here.
When it comes to the schoolboys, credit is due to Joshua Grosso, who leans into Marius' love-at-first-sight trope with fresh new humor and almost modern tongue-tied boy. He made the moment believable, rather than a stale plot point. Of course, he could not do it without the beautiful Jillian Butler, playing Cosette.
Paige Smallwood brings down the house with her spunky and sympathetic Eponine. Paige brings new layers of heartache to the role and her rendition of "On My Own" leads us into the second act in a tremendous way. Her moment with Marius in "A Little Fall of Rain" is another triumph, and I actually believed their relationship and his heartbreak in a way that I had not previously seen from the number.
No matter how many times you may have seen this show, do not skip out on this production. The company performs this timeless play as if it is the first time and the powerhouse voices will leave you speechless. The show runs through January 13th at the Saenger Theater.