arts, les miserables, musical

Les Miserables!

Lily Chang © 2018

I am beside myself with excitement.

My creative muse is still teeming with exuberance.

Saturday, I experienced and enjoyed Les Misérables.

The music.

The lyrics.

The amazing voices.

The robust, complicated characters.

Stunning, revolving and moving sets.

The gifts and talents, brilliance, cooperation, and joint effort involved in making such a beautiful, breath-taking production possible.

I am giddy and ecstatic. Still.



26 thoughts on “Les Miserables!”

      1. Seeing Les Mis 5 times in a very limited time was really a timing thing.

        2013- my community college just happened to be doing a production of it. I was approved to be an usher for the 2013/2014 usher. So I saw it once with my family and twice as an usher. So that was production I saw three times.

        2015- seeing it in the West End wouldn’t have been possible if my family’s church choir wasn’t invited to be in residence at Bristol Cathedral. Due to that, a pilgrimage was planned around that, which began in London- the pilgrimage part only lasted 2 and 1/2 days. My family went up two days early to get well adjusted to England, and the 2nd day, my mom took me to see Les Mis- just seeing Queen’s Theatre all the way to buying souvenirs to noticing how close I was (9th row) to seeing the set (it all felt like a DREAM), not reality, but once I heard like the first note, I knew this dream was reality; the first note told me it was more than reality

        2017- The newest North American tour was launched. I was smart this time around to not compare the cast and staging to the West End cast or staging to get the most out of it. So timing played a big part.

        To really get an amazing idea of my love for Les Mis; check out my collection of Les Mis on my blog

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Indeed, you have quite the passion for Les Miserables. It’s a fantastic musical. It seems smart to set aside expectations from your experience at the West End, to enjoy other productions.

    Les Miserables is a close second or a tie with my first love (The Phantom of the Opera). I have three (or is it four?) different recordings for Les Miserables: the London cast recording, the 25th anniversary recording, the symphonic recording. I’m trying to remember the last one.

    I saw that you’ve read the unabridged English version of Les Miserables. That’s great and inspiring. I have a copy but haven’t made my way through. I saw the original French version in a used bookstore. It comes in five or six volumes and focuses on a character, such as Jean Valjean, in each volume. I’d like to read the unabridged version and hope to get to it at some point.


    1. About the unabridged: seeing that you saw the musical- tip- rely on the musical to help you understand what is going on: it helped me out a lot: even in scenes that were not in the musical. I wrote the names of the songs in the book. My interpretations of the characters is a combination of them from the book and musical plus the actors/actresses I have seen. Just some pointers. It really helped me- this will impress you even more: it took me less than one one summer: that was summer 2015 and had to finish it by the time 1st day of school started and what was special was I read the unabridged the same summer I saw the musical in the West End.

      Your 2nd paragraph: I can relate. I have a two-way tie for BEST musical- Wicked/Les Mis. I have loved Wicked for 12 years- 7 years longer than Les Mis. Les Mis wants to push past it for BEST musical; but what is stopping it from pushing past it is that Wicked has the spectacle/dance I want in a musical/ has a character I fully relate to. Wicked and Les Mis are apples and oranges so why on earth should I pick. Les Mis almost has everything I want in a musical except for the spectacle/dance element- but what makes up for that aspect is just how powerful, emotional, and epic it is.


      1. Did you like the unabridged version you read? I saw the cover of yours is red? I don’t remember the publisher or translation of my version. I just remember the cover is gray.

        When I went to see Les Miserables, I noticed that Wicked is coming to Colorado next year. I received the book, “Wicked,” as a gift. From what I understand, the book version and the musical are quite different. The former is darker and more disturbing.

        My problem is I don’t seem to have enough time to read. Right now, I’m dedicated to reading books closer to my writing genre, that will help me hone my writing craft. But, I love reading a wide variety of books.

        Do you have a favorite recording of Wicked? When did you first see Wicked?


      2. I actually did love the version. When I was reading Les Misérables- there were days when I wanted to give up- but I didn’t- the musical was the motivator to keep going. The musical was faithful to the book despite a few differences in characters.

        About Wicked, unlike the musical of Les Mis and book of Les Mis, the book of Wicked and musical of Wicked, they are strongly unfaithful of each other. Wicked’s musical has a more comical feeling compared to the book. The book on the other hand is so much darker and feels so much more like a tragedy and doesn’t even have a family friendly feeling one bit. So due to seeing the musical first, I disliked the book one bit.

        The musical, Les Mis, and the book, Les Mis are strongly more faithful to each other as opposed to Wicked.

        I listen to the Original Broadway Recording of Wicked. I first saw Wicked at the age of 12 on Broadway with my mom so in many ways seeing Les Mis in the West End with my mom things came full circle. Wicked sparked my love for musicals while Les Mis turned my love for musicals into a passion. In total, I have seen Wicked four times, but unlike Les Mis, seen Wicked in a more spread out pattern


      3. Wicked, Phantom, Pippin, Les Mis, and Oklahoma are the 5 dates mom and I been to the theatre.

        Even though I do not live near NYC, glad I live in Charlotte, a popular touring destination. Even saw musicals at Charlotte’s community college.


      4. That’s fantastic. It’s a privilege she provided such wonderful opportunities so early on. I didn’t see my first musical until the end of high school.

        North Carolina isn’t far from my old stomping grounds!


      5. I actually started going with my family- my first time with my mom was Wicked. The fact that my first time I saw Wicked w my mom is part of why it is so meaningful.

        I have seen musicals with my family, mom, dad, only my parents, and friends: only went one time alone.


  2. That’s encouraging and wonderful that going with family made the experience so much deeper and more meaningful. I’m a huge believer that community – and that can be defined any number of ways – makes life so much better and more amazing.

    I’d like to talk more about the importance of community – family, friends, and others, here as well as in my books. I’d love to hear more about your story and how the musical experience has been more meaningful, if you’re up for sharing. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail. You should be able to do that by clicking “contact” toward the top of the page.


    1. Plus went with Student Activities at Gardner Webb University (which is home to me)- I saw both Wicked and Les Mis on tour with my school (added meaning as well).

      Last year, I faced this major dilemma- when I started school Fall 2017, I knew Les Mis was going on tour, but I had to face with a choice: go with my school or go with my family- I wanted to do both, but I could only do one- but do you know why I choice school and went to Greenville with them- 1) Peace Center is such a gorgeous venue, 2) 2017/2018 was my last year with Gardner Webb since I was graduating May 2018, and 3) I was able to help those who barely understood Les Mis understand what was going on. I wanted to make the most of my last year with GW- that really was why I choose going with Gardner Webb.


      1. It was my 2nd time at the Peace Center. 1st time was Phantom of the Opera: 19th row in the orchestra.

        2nd time: Les Mis, due to being w school, had to watch it in the highest section. But going to the Peace Center and watching in the orchestra and balcony fully made me see the full scope of the Peace Center. This venue looks so gorgeous and has an incredible sound system


      2. The seating can make a huge difference. Here, “Les Miserables” was performed in the Denver Performing Arts Center’s Buell Theater, where there are two balconies. I don’t think the kiddos would have appreciated the musical performance quite as much way up there. We were most fortunate in having orchestra seats. We sat in the first third (closer to the stage) and were about 15ish rows back.


      3. Even though I was up there, at least I really knew Les Mis. I understood what was going on: so at least that helped. I was able to really appreciate just how incredible the cast was able to project their voices: I mean they were quiet in some scenes and I could still hear them. I had to focus so much more on their voices and look at acting in a very different way. I am a theatre minor- so I have a different kind of view when going to see a musical

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      4. Fantastic. It would be nice if everyone had some hands-on stage experience. So much goes into a production. Though I wasn’t a theater major or minor, I’ve done some backstage work, such as finding sounds for sound effects and running sound for shows (when I was in college).


      5. The only things I done was being usher at CPCC, Children’s Theater, and Gardner Webb.

        When I took applied theatre (requires 40 hrs of theatre volunteering), I was assigned house manager, sometimes I had to usher. I had to sell tickets and look after front of house. I was even allowed to watch one of the productions of each of the shows as long as one of the ushers was watching over front of house. This was at Gardner Webb.

        Due to being a theatre minor, I can respect actor and actresses and the crew so much more. I was in three classes where I had to memorize scenes and monologues and even that was a struggle due to keeping up with other classes. I learned to truly RESPECT the standbys and understudies and swings- they work the hardest- they have to go on at any given moment. I did not realize just how hard acting was before taking the classes were- it is harder to do. So I have a bigger appreciation of what I am seeing- not matter what level of talent I am seeing on stage


      6. I was gathering my Les Miserables stuff, with plans to blog about the recent performance when I take my next break from grading, and I was surprised by what I found.

        I’ve seen it at least three other times: once in St. Louis, once at the Peace Center, and once in NY. I’m pretty sure I saw it in Hong Kong as well.


      7. I think my 5 times- a big reason behind that comes from CPCC- after all I was an usher for that so ushering took up two productions plus went once with family. So three times= one productions.

        Then the other two times= just happened to fall in place at the right you know. The Bristol Pilgrimage just happened to happen in the year 2015, so the West End production was able to happen so quickly after that. Then the current North American production was launched in 2017. So the 5 times really was a timing thing of when all of these productions ended up being= like when I was a student at CPCC= 2012-2014, when the Bristol Pilgrimage was (2015) and the fact that North America launched a tour next year.

        My next biggest goal for Les Mis might take a while- a long while, but I am hoping to catch the show in Spanish. I have been told by several people: why see it in Spanish if it isn’t your native language: well those people don’t know how massive my knowledge in the show is


      8. I think seeing it in Spanish or any other language would be cool. I read an article about how difficult it was for Herbert Kretzmer to translate the musical score into English from French. There’s so much at stake, including the differences in French versus any English-speaking culture.


      9. In my latest part of my Les Mis collection, which is this book about the journey to the musical does talk how hard it is to translate the show into various languages: it does bring up how hard it was to translate it into Japanese. I love that added part of that collection: it explains many thing: it goes more into detail of Victor Hugo writing the book and goes all the way to the early years of the musical


      10. “The Complete Book of Les Misérables” by Edward Behr. It even has the completed Libretto in the back.


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