Sunday, June 2, 2013

Applause! Applause! Review of Les Miserables at Cultural Arts Playhouse by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Les Miserables performed at the Cultural Arts Playhouse was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 3 (2013) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Les Miserables
Cultural Arts Playhouse (625 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY)
Reviewed 6/1/13

Les Miserables is a musical based on the novel of the same name by French poet and playwright Victor Hugo. The book was first published in 1862 and is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. The musical has music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, book by Alain Bouhlil and Claude-Michel Schonberg with an English language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer. The original Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987 and ran until May 18, 2003, closing after 6,680 performances. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. 

This crowd-pleasing production of Les Miserables features a very talented cast and gives you more than your money's worth. I highly recommend it. Mike Newman's strong performance as Javert was the anchor of this production for the Law & Order side while Jordan Korgood did an extraordinary job playing Gavroche, the streetwise urchin who speaks for the poor and dies on the barricade helping the revolutionaries.  A fun fact is that in the novel, Gavroche is actually the abandoned son of the Thenardiers though this is not mentioned in the musical.  Monsieur & Madam Thenardier are thieves who run a small inn. They were bringing up Cosette until Jean Valjean rescues her. I was blown away with the performance of Madelin Dezego as Madam Thenardier. She has a powerful stage presence and is very charismatic. Both Ms. Dezego and Dan Ferrante, who played Jean Valjean, were understudies but you couldn't tell that watching them perform.

Michael Marmann and Ashley Nicasto, the King & Queen of the Cultural Arts Playhouse, play Marius Pontmercy and Cosette, respectively. Both live up to their reputation as highly talented rising stars. Jesse Pimpanella was stronger than I remember him in the role of Enjolras. Hilary Weinerman as Eponine and Sarah Berger as Fantine both put in solid performances. Jared Grossman, who usually plays bit parts, was able to shine in the role of Feuilly.  Similarly, Joseph "Jojo" Minasi made a significant contribution to the show as Joly. All the remaining actors were talented and impressive. None disappoint.

In explaining his ambitions for Les Miserables to his Italian publisher, Victor Hugo said, in part: "Social problems go beyond frontiers. Humankind's wounds, those huge sores that litter the world, do not stop at the blue and red lines drawn on maps. Wherever men go in ignorance or despair, wherever women sell themselves for bread, wherever children lack a book to learn from or a warm hearth, Les Miserables knocks at the door and says: 'open up, I am here for you'."

Don't miss this production of Les Miserables at the Cultural Arts Playhouse. You can find out more information at 

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