Thursday, August 21, 2008

LES MIZ - C'EST MAGNIFIQUE -- I never knew that the mystique and appeal of the musical Les Miserables had such staying power. I attended the 3rd and last night of a staging of the musical at the Hollywood Bowl 2 weekends ago. I had expected that there would be a bunch of open bench seats and I could pick the best one. But, no way... the Bowl was packed to the nose bleed seats! I shouldn't have been surprised at the love the audience showed. I saw Les Miz about 20-some years ago when it played the Schubert Theatre in Century City when it was still there. I was so hooked that I had a friend make a tape of the original Broadway cast album and I played it non-stop whenever I drove around town. I would sing at the top of my lungs in my car (..."when tomorrow comes! ...Red, the blood of angry men...") much to the amusement of puzzled fellow motorists passing me.

Rosie O'Donnell was a scheduled cast member (no doubt in the Madame Thenardier role) but had to bow out in order to care for her son who had broken his wrist. Brian Stokes Mitchell was a wonderful Javert with a rich and commanding baritone. I loved J. Mark McVey as Jean Valjean. I teared up when he sang Bring Him Home. The biggest surprise for me was Melora Hardin as Fantine. I did not know that she had a singing background since I've only known her from her acting. She's so great as the tragicomical Jan in The Office.

Broadway may be a continent away, but the musical tradition was alive and well in LA.

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