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The beauty of Les Misérables returns to The Kennedy Center


The year was 1986, and Tom Cruise had taught audiences the "need for speed" Bobby Brown released his first solo album. In December, the Kennedy Center hosted the pre-Broadway run of what has become one of the world's most popular musicals. To the delight of fans in the DMV, Les Misérables is back home. Cameron Mackintosh presents an acclaimed new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon.


An adaptation of the same-titled Victor Hugo novel, Les Miserables travels with prisoner-on-parole, 24601, Jean Valjean (Nick Cartell), as he runs from the ruthless Inspector Javert (Preston Truman Boyd) on a journey beyond the barricades at the center of the June Rebellion. Meanwhile, the life of working-class girl Fantine (Haley Dortch) with a child is at a turning point as she turns to prostitution to pay money to the evil innkeeper and his wife, who look after her child, Cosette (Addie Morales).





Valjean promises to take care of the child, which eventually leads to a love triangle between Cosette, Marius(Lee Rodriguez), a student of the rebellion, and Eponine (Christine Heesun Hwang ), a girl on the streets. The people sing of their anger, and Enjolras leads the students to fight upon the barricades.


I had seen the b&w cover image of Les Miserables for years but never saw the production until 2012 when my wife and I saw Tom Hopper's film adaptation. Despite Russell Crowe's terrible singing, I was on a wave of emotions. Naturally, I looked forward to seeing the play.


The performances of everyone in this play are powerful and emotional. Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean gives us a sense of life on the run. Preston Truman Boyd is the unforgiving Javert and quickly eschews away any memories of Russel Crowe's horrendous crooning. Haley

is a revelation as Fantine, a loving mother who would do anything to give her daughter. Her performance of I Dreamed a Dream brought the house down and is almost a religious experience.


The stunning performance of Christine Heesun Hwang as Eponine kept a smile on my face. Not to mention the cast performing well-received renditions of the classic songs On My Own," "Bring Him Home," "One Day More," "Master of the House," and many more. Kudos to the stage crew for keeping the excitement going once the revolution happens. The duels between the establishment and the rebellious highly entertained me


Les Misérables's story has been told and retold countless times. While this residency is sold out, hopefully, it will return soon.


Final Grade: A-

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