Les Misérables is a musical masterpiece that seamlessly blends operatic-sounding voices into a harmonious symphony, creating moments of euphoria that are both well-executed and pleasant to the ear. The ensemble cast shines, particularly in the opening number "Prologue/Look Down" and the iconic "Do You Hear the People Sing?" where the musical genius truly unfolds. Solo songs provide each talented cast member with their individual moments to showcase their vocal prowess.
Set in 19th-century France, Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean's (Nick Cartell) enduring pursuit by the relentless Javert (Preston Truman Boyd). The narrative takes a turn when Valjean, breaking parole, commits to caring for a factory worker's daughter, Cosette (Delaney Guyer). This decision becomes pivotal, intertwining their fates and creating a gripping tale of redemption and sacrifice against the backdrop of social injustice.
The sets in Les Misérables are nothing short of immaculate, with a barricade during a war standing out as a memorable highlight. The production doesn't shy away from practical sets, featuring moving buildings, a giant gate, a chandelier, and more! The integration of technological elements, such as moving backgrounds, adds depth to the visual spectacle. Notably, there's a drowning scene where wires are attached to an actor and a slow-motion fall against dark moving backgrounds adds a captivating memorable moment. A standout transition occurs as the story moves from above ground to the sewer, showcasing a seamless tilt transition in the video background. This clever use of technology gives the impression that the characters are truly traveling down the sewer, enhancing the overall immersive experience.
However, it's essential to acknowledge that Les Misérables is an incredibly long musical, with a three-hour runtime that includes an 18-minute intermission at the hour-and-a-half mark. While the dynamic between characters remains intriguing, the lengthy war scenes in Act 2 can test the audience's patience. Some may find the runtime challenging to endure, and there's a sense that trimming down certain segments could enhance the overall impact.
In summary, Les Misérables offers a captivating blend of operatic voices, well-executed production design, and impressive set designs. While the length may be a consideration for some, the musical's strengths in character dynamics and visual effects provide a rich and memorable broadway experience.