Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Les Miz - take WhatEVER

I went to see this show again tonight. I have seen it several times over the years and I always, always love it. Tonight was no exception. Let's see - highlights. Of course, "The Song of Angry Men" (or whatever it is they really call it - I sometimes make up my own titles) is always an anthem and very, very catchy.

Tonya Dixon, who played Fantine, was good, not a show stopper but she was good. The woman who played Eponine was probably the strongest female vocalist in the cast and she did a good job of "On My Own" except that at one high, emphatic note, she cracked (and I, picky bitch that I am, cringed). In my opinion, the woman who played Cosette was not a great casting choice. Cosette's material is higher register soprano and this woman flubbed it big time, reminding me of Rebecca Lukker and all those clunker notes she hit in HARMONY (sorry, Danny Burstein, I know you love her and all, but really) (and for that matter, when I saw and heard her in other things, she was very good). The little boy who played Gavroche was good and he died valiantly after being shot three times. The young Cosette was very, very good - she could act very well and was an excellent singer. The actor who played Marius kind of irritated me - he was sort of a Nelson Eddy as Dudley Do-right. At least he sang very well. Jean Valjean was very good, too. Jauvert was, well, a sonofab, but isn't he always? And toward the end of the play, when Jauvert cannot handle the truth about Valjean and kills himself, he jumps off of a bridge. Fine. Go right ahead. Only in this production, to give the impression of a long fall, he climbs over the side and jumps 2 feet to the floor where he does a stop drop and roll thing while the bridge is hoisted high above. Perhaps that is effective from the balcony but from the second row, it was cheese-whiz. Monsieur and Madame Thernardier were pretty good but I liked the villains better in the last production I saw. (I actually think this was the same Jauvert and Valjean).

To be fair, I was slightly distracted. There are several sets of chords played during scene changes, etc., that sound just like the chords in "The King and I" when the king is about to enter the temple. I wanted to shout "praise to Buddha" but I kept my mouth shut. Also, the conductor was one high and mighty guy - literally. The orchestra (a full orchestra - well, touring full anyway) was low down in the pit, covered by a cargo net (I haven't the foggiest notion as to why) but the conductor rose above the occasion, shall we say, and was audience height the entire time. Again, reminded me of The King and I but this guy was no Kevin Farrell and at least Kevin went back in the pit after that cheering session with Hayley Mills.

And that was that.

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