Les Misérables at the Boston Opera House



Les Misérables wows audiences on the Boston Opera House stage before closing April 28

Michael Kozloski , Contributor

The barricade arrived on the Boston Opera House stage April 16 and wowed audiences before closing April 28. The production was part of the national tour of the Tony nominated production’s closing on Broadway in 2016. The original Broadway production ran for 6,680 performances, making it the fifth longest running show in Broadway history.

Les Misérables transports audience members to 1830’s France at the start of the revolution with Jean Valjean, an escaped convict who has to raise his adopted daughter, Cosette, while escaping police inspector, Javert. Among them are a group of young idealists attempting to overthrow the government, poor peasants struggling on the street, and larger-than-life innkeepers taking advantage of anyone that crosses their paths.

The cast was led by Nick Cartell, who’s portrayal of Jean Valjean was absolutely breathtaking. Cartell was always emotionally present, constantly showing the guilt and resentment that plague his character. His rendition of “Bring Him Home” provoked tear jerking silence throughout the house. Inspector Javert, played by Josh Davis, was relentless in his hunting down of Valjean. The culmination of his performance was his suicide, executed flawlessly by suspending him in the air in front of moving water animations, underscored by heavy orchestrations that play through the entire show.

Fantine, played by Mary Kate Moore, delivered a breathtaking version of “I Dreamed a Dream” before her tragic down spiral that includes selling her hair, involvement with prostitution, and ending in her death. She leaves her child to Jean Valjean, who raises her after retrieving the child from a corrupt innkeeper and his wife. The Thenardiers provide comic relief in an otherwise emotionally exhausting musical, with songs such as “Master of the House” and “Beggars at the Feast.” The children of the show; Young Cosette, Young Eponine, and Gavroche, each delivered amazing performances. Comedic Gavroche narrated a section of the story, until joining the battle himself.

After growing up, Cosette, played by Jillian Butler, and Marius, a student played by Joshua Grosso, meet in somewhat of a forced manner that comes across as cliched. The clear intent was to illustrate love at first sight, but the effort seemed slightly apathetic. This encounter, however, humanized the heartbroken Eponine, played by Paige Smallwood. Eponine is very clearly in love with Marius, although he is blind to this. In many productions, Eponine often is portrayed as whiny and self-centered, but Smallwood did an excellent job at bringing complex emotions to the character.