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Just saw the revival on Broadway 
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Young Hoofer
Young Hoofer

Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 6:59 pm
Posts: 23
Post Just saw the revival on Broadway
I honestly LOVED it!

I unfortunately saw the understudy for Valjean, Aaron Walpole. He definitely did a great job, though I was disappointed I didn't see Ramin. Still, Walpole's Bring Him Home was truly special. I thought he overacted the beginning of the show, and seemed too "large" for the part, but towards the second act he really was amazing.

The new changes to the show I thought were refreshing and great. The ending to One Day More is better than ever. I didn't miss the revolving set. The way the set closes in for Look Down after the time skip is awesome. They manage to do a great job with things like Gavroche's death even without the revolving (He dies on top of the barricade after climbing back...when the gunshot rings, the lights go down onto crossing spotlights on him...very jarring and cool effect as he falls forward into a student's arms.) The iconic shot of Enjolras hanging from the barricade is managed by him lying with the flag hanging off of a cart while Javert looks for Valjean. I liked some of the inclusion of a couple movie changes, such as Éponine saving Marius at the barricade when she gets shot like in the book rather than just showing up, and Gavroche's verse in Look Down about liberty and equality replacing the "this is my school" verse. Also Javert having a bit of a moment when he looks at Gavroche's fallen body.

Thenardiers are hilarious, and the wedding scene is the best I've ever seen. There seems to be more character building through small interactions than when I've seen it in the past. They flesh out Éponine and Marius just a bit more it feels like through interactions, and Gavroche is the biggest focus I've seen on him, with him and Grantaire's relationship given tons of screentime and being pretty adorable. I know it's always there but I don't remember it ever being so prevalent. When Éponine dies, Gavroche watches center stage as Grantaire hugs and comforts him. Really is a great scene, because Joshua Colley who played Gavroche is the best Gavroche I've personally ever seen. Tons of spunk, great voice, seems totally confident, and also gets to do a bit more emotional acting with showing his vulnerability with Grantaire like I mentioned above. (He also comforts Grantaire after Grantaire's verse in Drink with Me...really awesome stuff, and of course after Gavroche's death Grantaire is a focus, holding Gavroche in his arms and despairing.) That was my favorite change of the show, because Colley was just so good as Gavroche. Also he literally flipped off Javert rather than just pumping the fist which was hilarious even if I dunno if it was accurate to the time period.

I thought Will Swenson was strange as Javert. His cadence in his voice is just...distracting at times, as it just seems very random and like he's trying to speak while singing and...I dunno. I can't explain it but his inflections were just weird. Like a strange bizarro version of Terrence mann's performance. But he plays a very very unhinged Javert who's actually very animated and he nails it as he gets to show more emotion (Stars in the end while it wasn't sung as well as Quast he has this great moment where he swings around to the back of the stage and goes to one knee that is so fast and desperate. His reactions to Valjean at the barricade are just so great as he tries to approach him angrily even while tied up, and in the Confrontation there actually is a LOT more physicality now...Javert gets strangled by Valjean's chain and knocked down with a punch.) BY the end of the show he won me over, though it's like I said a more unhinged and desperate Javert than I'm used to seeing. It works so well in his suicide. Cool effect on that in my opinion using the back screens to zoom into the water. The back screens were used effectively in general, when it plunges into the sewers and that music kicks in...ugh so good.

As I said, Thenardiers were great. Tons of great physical comedy. Cliff Saunders is a riot and SOOOO physical. Crawling and stepping all over Marius in the sewer scene and amazing at the wedding scene. The wedding scene is again, the best rendition I've seen in my limited viewings. Tons of off the wall stuff, and it is so full of life. Really well done here.

Andy Mietus looks the part of Marius, and sings well but doesn't really reach any GREAT levels. Same with Levy as Fantine. I thought it was very strange having a black Éponine and black Enjolras, especially Enjolras because of how dark-skinned he was. Don't get me wrong, Kyle Scatliffe has a VERY strong voice, but....I couldn't get over how strange it was for that time period. But he really was great. Nikki James was the weak spot of the cast. Strong voice, but very grating and honestly annoying. On My Own was good but I felt no real emotion. If you like Lea Salonga though you'll probably like her I guess since I had similar problems with Salonga. But honestly James just has a grating quality in her voice that I couldn't recover from. Little Fall of Rain was very good though...I liked the focus on Gavroche and the other students.

Anyways, a great show, and by the end, despite some of my problems with it I thought that it was amazing and would love to see it again. Highly recommend it. It feels fresh to me in a lot of ways and I was very impressed by the staging/choreography and little character moments that I didn't see as much in the previous versions.


Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:09 pm
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Fresh Face
Fresh Face

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:56 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Current Obsession: Les Mis, Phantom
Main Role: Director
Post Re: Just saw the revival on Broadway
Thank you for that excellent review of the Broadway revival. I am hyping myself up for the show returning to Australia next month. I have been unable to get across to see the new Broadway production, so your review gave me a great insight to what I may expect. I have seen the show around 400 times worldwide but not in its revived form. I'm ready with my first night, front row, tickets


Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:44 pm
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Fresh Face
Fresh Face

Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:57 am
Posts: 3
Location: UK
Main Role: Fan
Post Re: Just saw the revival on Broadway
I agree with all the points. I saw it over christmas. Ramin was spectacular. Bring Him Home was just beautiful. It was, as you said, a very physical production. Valjean got the tar beat out of him a number of times in the prologue, and Javert brought a literal chain to The Confrontation. I always assumed chain was merely a pun. Also, in a wierd addition, Javert sung the 'there is no place for you to hide' bit face down on the floor. In conclusion, a very good production, although I found the french flag projected onto stage a bit much.

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Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:58 pm
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