The 25th Anniversary Production of "Les Miserables" was so much more than I was expecting. I was truly moved on so many levels. I was captivated from beginning to end. The plot is rich with suspense, humor and the bite of bitter and harsh realities in a cruel, cruel world.
The story, though, is at once heart wrenching and heart-warming. Love, hope, courage, camaraderie, friendship and joy counter the misery exhibited. What I enjoyed the most is that it is told from so many perspectives so that you develop empathy for even the cruelest and most pathetic characters. If increased understanding and empathy for others is one of its goals, it has excelled. This is a spectacular story about the survival of the human spirit.
But besides the triumphant storyline, the performances are by far the best I've seen. The score is wonderful and the voices are truly magnificent! Every single performer, including the child performers, is a superstar on his or her own accord.
Apparently, this is an all-new production with new staging and re-imagined scenery inspired by the art of Victor Hugo. Each scene if unbelievably lavish, thanks to the vivid integrated projections that take the audience from frightening Parisian sewers, raunchy pub parties, a bloody barricade and even a wedding with much fluidity.
Where technology meets art and the expertise of directors Laurence Connor and James Powell, genius results occur. They have produced stunning scenes that will literally cause one to gasp.
"Les Miserables" is the world's longest running musical, surpassing "Cats" in 2006. Over 60 million people have seen it worldwide in 42 countries and 21 languages. I recommend it for ages 13 and above.
"Les Miserables" runs through Jan. 13 at the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia. For info or tickets, call 215-893-1999 or visit http://www.academyofmusic.org.