My Fondness for Les Miserables

To love another person is to see the face of God.

When I moved to the United States, I took a few months of high school to finish off my senior year and to take the SATs for university. I started in the beginning of the second quarter and choir was one of my electives.

The Music teacher was working at the school for four years, so he started with my class – then freshmen – and they all had a very close bond. I was the new comer and I definitely felt it.

He had us do a lot of Broadway music and a lot of latin songs, so in our final concert, he wanted the seniors in the choir to do One Day More from Les Miserables and he held auditions for solo parts. I remembered hesitating, after all I’d only been a senior for a few months, but, I liked the song so I tried out for a part. He was definitely hesitant about me being in it, I could tell by the way he treated me compared to the others. I had this stern faced man, waiting for me to riot, while all the others had this jovial, kind-looking man. Finally, he let me be a part of his senior choir’s solo piece, I sang a few lines of Cosette’s part as he wanted to “make sure everyone got a part.” Despite his hesitance, I fell in love with One Day More, the song stuck with me and even though the Broadway show closed while I was in college, I always held out the hope that it would play again.

One Day More stuck with me for a long time! I downloaded the song via iTunes  for my iPod, I listened to it often and sometimes on repeat. I started listening to more songs from Les Miserables and after a while I decided to just buy the entire album. By this time, I’d already seen a number of Broadway shows, but last year, for some strange reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling that had to see this show. So, I googled.

I knew the show was no longer on Broadway, so I decided to see if and where it was still showing – London. I didn’t think I could validate flying to London just to see a show, so I decided to look into the US Touring show. Fortunately, there was a show in DC and Connecticut. I looked up both venues and decided that the DC show would have been the better venue. After convincing a few friends to go with me (I would have gone solo if no one wanted to go), I took the MegaBus down to DC to see Les Miserables for the first time.

It was mesmerizing.

I might have shed a tear or two, though I cannot tell you if it was because of the play, the story or the fact that, after all these years, I was finally seeing Les Mis! Probably a bit of each.

The touring group did a great job, Jean Valjean’s character was wonderful. The singing was great (though Jean Valjean and Eponine were my favourites) and the story itself; I can never get enough of it, I could probably write pages and pages on the topic of Les Miserables, but I won’t.

This was in October 2011. Jump forward to August 2012. A full year hadn’t passed since I first saw the play, but I found myself outside of the Queen’s Theater in London, with a ticket in hand, ready to see the London production of Les Miserables.

The theater had the rotating circle on stage – which the touring show lacked – and this added another layer to the show. The set was dark – lots of greys and blacks – very fitting to the subject. The actors were great – again, Jean Valjean did a wonderful job, his voice was amazing and I loved Fantine and Cosette’s voices.

I definitely teared up a bit, but this time I knew it was because I was realizing a dream (that I dreamed heh), I was seeing Les Miserables in London, the place where the original English version of the play begun.

I love theater and going to shows, however, Les Miserables definitely has a special place in my heart, not just the show and the fantastic soundtrack, but the story. I think perhaps, that the story itself is what makes the show great. It’s relatable, it’s something that’s familiar to everyone – a story of redemption and hope. I’m looking forward to seeing it again. 😉

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