Last Saturday afternoon I was lucky enough to catch a matinee performance of Les Miserables. I admit I'm a bit of a Les Miz fan girl, the musical and the novel. This was my third time seeing a tour of it, I made a point to visit Victor Hugo's house when I was in Paris, and I may or may not be wearing a shirt I bought at the show as I type this. Still, you don't have to be a superfan to see that the current touring cast is phenomenal. Every performance was a knockout, but here were a few standouts to me:
1. Patrick Dunn as Jean Valjean. I'm a Colm Wilkinson devotee, but Dunn was magnetic in the role. Valjean is always a bit angry when you first meet him (understandably so), but Dunn brought even more intensity to the moment. He simply bubbled over with rage, made you feel everything that Valjean would have been feeling. His voice was impeccable to boot; capable of belting it in "Who am I?" then taking on the operatic tenderness required for "Bring Him Home". Dunn not only did the amazing character of Valjean justice, he uplifted him.
2. Joshua Grosso as Marius. In the play, Marius as a character has always been a bit 'meh' to me. Pleasant, but unremarkable. However, Joshua Grosso made me see him in a new light. He injected some humor in the role that I've never seen, which made Marius seem a bit awkward and all the more lovable for it. (Quite frankly, Grosso is just adorable as well.) He also handles the emotional shift required for Marius in the latter half--his rendition of "Empty Chairs and Empty Tables" had me crying some rather undignified tears.
3. Matt Shingledecker as Enjolras. Thank you Matt Shingledecker, for reminding me why Enjolras is usually my favorite of the students. (This time he was tied with Marius.) The conviction! The gravitas! That commanding singing voice! Swoon. It may be silly, but I also have to mention Shingledecker's hair, which is beautiful. Seriously! It was very much putting me in mind of Brad Pitt in the 90s. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, to some things up: if you can, go see the Les Miz tour! You won't regret it.