Last week, I had the distinct privilege of seeing Les Miserables live for the first time. I was not raised on Broadway tunes, but my brief show choir career introduced me to the wonderful world of musicals — and I was hooked. I got to see my first show as a senior in high school when we took a trip to New York to perform — Phantom of the Opera — and I have looked forward to every other opportunity since.
I love to sing, I love the plots, and I love the way a stage can transform your imagination such that you nearly forget you are seated in an amphitheatre viewing one space that is somehow able to tell an amazing story.
I think the first time Les Mis was on my radar beyond seeing its famous image inscribed on t-shirts and the like was when Susan Boyle sang “I Dreamed a Dream” on the X Factor. While some people were amazed at her talent, I was amazed by this beautiful song I had never heard before. I immediately downloaded the soundtrack on iTunes and listened to the Broadway version, with tears in my eyes that I didn’t even understand, knowing nothing of the plot.
And a few years later, after Glee picked up the trademark song in an episode, Dixon told me the whole story of the plot while we listened to the soundtrack on a journey from Maine to South Carolina. I could not wait to see the play.
Being in Greenville certainly has its perks, and the world is starting to notice our fair city, but I am sometimes most delighted that we have the Peace Center in Greenville. This theatre has brought Wicked and Spring Awakening — and will bring The Lion King and Jersey Boys in the next year. And now it brought Les Mis to my back door.
The play was phenomenal — just as wonderful as I had hoped, and my only comment was that everything was happening so fast! I wanted it all to slow down so I could absorb it. The vocal talent was earth shattering and the story alluring. I loved it.
But the greatest surprise of that night was the backstage tour and introduction to the stars that Dixon had arranged without my knowing. We were able to travel through the land of Les Mis and learn the inner workings of the production from the 30,000 feet level from one of the audio directors. We even met Jean Valjean! Though I was mildly (ok…severely) starstruck, it was just awe-inspiring to be in the midst of such talent. I was frozen in admiration for their abilities and for their ability to convey the story so beautifully and energetically, as if they were performing it for the first time.
Needless to say, I loved it and would recommend it if it comes to your city!