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Academy of Music's 'Les Miserables' Still Bringing It Home!

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Les Miserables“25 years after Les Miserables ("Les Miz") originally opened in London the audience for this marvelous show is bigger and younger than ever before,” said producer Cameron Mackintosh... it has been exciting to draw inspiration from the brilliant drawings and paintings of Victor Hugo himself, integrated with spectacular projections. The new Les Miz is a magnificent mix of dazzling images and epic staging, driving one of the greatest musical stories ever told.”

Check out Aileen Bannon EXCLUSIVE after party photos. 

Impressive projections take you on a journey from the backstreets of France, the cavernous sewers, the dark woods, the starry skies and murky waters of Javert’s suicide. 

Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, this is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. The magnificent score features classic songs such as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “Master Of The House."

Lawrence Clayton’s Jean Valjean is technically and vocally all that it should be ‘almost’ convincing us of the vast emotions of the character. Andrew Varela’s Javert is militant, resolute and richly sung.

Michael Kostroff as Thénardier, Shawna Hamic as Madame Thénardier are delightfully despicable and never play for the laughs, though they get them.

Betsy Morgan’s Fantine is heartbreaking and innocent. Not since Philly’s own Laurie Beechman has the role been so sadly and sweetly sung.

Jeremy Hays imposing baritone as Enjolras add to the richness of one of the most glorious vocal companies to ever join their voices on a stage! Chasten Harmon’s Eponine is spunky, and her money song is worth the wait.

Justin Scott Brown, a young looking Marius with a surprisingly strong voice. Jenny Latimer as Cosette while lovely seems to struggle with some of the vocals.

“The entire production has been reconceived and I think people are going to fall in love with the show all over again,” says Clayton. “I begin the show as a broken man; a man whose lost his faith. After being saved by the Bishop, I realize there is another hope, another possibility. He gives me my hope, my humanity, I am reborn. I take his gift and turn it into a gift to all I come into contact with. I try to show his struggle to always do the right thing, regardless of how it affects me. I want to prove that the Bishop was right in saving me.”

Clayton is the first black American to play this iconic role. Lawrence has this to say on the subject:

“I don't believe they set out to cast the role specifically African American, but I did get the impression, this role could be mine…….So I guess I was simply the best guy to walk in the room on that final day...I won the role because they felt I could bring something new and fresh to the show. However, we have not set out to bring focus to my ethnicity. However It does bring a different resonance to small bits of the show. Audiences should have no fear, this is the Jean Valjean they have come to know and love. But, what I love is that they've allowed me to bring a bit of my musical influences into the role.”

Clearly this is a younger, fresher take on a show enjoyed worldwide by millions.

Les Miserables will play at the Academy of Music through January 15th. For Tickets and information: www.kimmelcenter.org/broadway