Les Miserables 25th anniversary on DVD was the first experience I had with the musical. The first time that I watched the DVD was in March of 2012 and I have been hooked on this musical ever since then. This concert on DVD came to the states and was in theaters in 2010, and it has also been on PBS as well.
The casting for this performance was very well done, and the props, although little, were well used. While watching one cannot help but to pay attention to the lighting that was used, as well as the fog, and the screens, which were used to help tell the story better and give close ups of the actors and actresses.
The casting included some very well known London and American singers and theater performers, such as Earl Carpenter, Lea Salonga , Alfie Boe, Norm Lewis, Ramin Karimloo, Hadley Fraser, Jenny Galloway, and Nick Jonas. Also in this performance Samantha Barks portrayed the role of Eponine.
In this performance Alfie Boe portrayed the role of Jean Valjean, and it was not until he sang “Bring Him Home” that I realized what a powerful singer one has to be to portray this character. Boe’s voice during that song blew me away. Boe’s acting was flawless, and there was so much emotion in his eyes from start to finish. Earl Carpenter as the Bishop, though a very small part, he did a great job, beautiful singing voice. Norm Lewis portrayed the role of Javert, and is a great baritone. His acting skills were amazing, from his movements to his facial expressions. Lea Salonga as Fantine, portrayed the role beautifully, along with the way she sung “I Dreamed a Dream”. Matt Lucas portrayed Thenardier, with Jenny Galloway as Madame Thenardier. Lucas singing “Master of the House” was hilarious, he just looked like he was having so much fun, and when it came down to being the evil character Thenardier is, Lucas did a great job with that as well. The only thing that bothered me was his teeth, because of all of the makeup that was on them. Jenny Galloway was a great and hilarious Madame Thenardier, specifically during “The Wedding Chorale-Beggars at the Feast”. Nick Jonas as Marius was fairly good vocal wise, but he kept getting drowned out by all of the other performers, who are professionals. Also Jonas’ facial expressions were not that great, but he did a great job with his facial expressions in “A Little Fall of Rain”. His best song was “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”. Katie Hall as Cosette was REALLY good. She sets the bar really high singing wise on the role for Cosette, because she is such a high soprano. Samantha Barks as Eponine was amazing, and she sang “On My Own” beautifully and had very good facial expressions. Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras was flawless, when he sang, he really lost himself in what he was singing, a true theater actor. He also sang very beautifully and powerfully. Hadley Fraser as Grantaire was HILARIOUS! Not only was he just down right funny, but during “Drink With Me” he really shows that there is more to the character that meets the eye than just a drunk, he shows just how deep the character really is.
The orchestra was amazing, as well as the conductor. From the close ups given on the DVD, one can really see how the instruments are being played. The conductor was great, and seemed to love his job. The choir was amazing as well.
The finale for the performance was fantastic, with the original cast, minus the original Enjorlas, David Burt, singing “One Day More”, Karimloo took the place of Burt in this. Before “One Day More” 4 Jean Valjeans, Com Wilkinson (original West End and Broadway), John Owen-Jones (25th anniversary UK tour), Simon Bowman, and Alfie Boe all sang “Bring Him Home”.
My only issue with this anniversary concert was the casting of Nick Jonas. His facial expressions were to serious, and during “Red and Black”he looked more embarrassed than in love. And it sounded/looked like he was trying to hard while singing, also he kept leaning toward the mic. Not to mention he sounded somewhat British when he is actually an American. However I am willing to cut him some slack because he had been on broadway when he 8 (?) playing the role of Gavroche in Les Mis, then he went to be in a big time band with his brothers some years later. As someone who has been out of the singing element for a while, I can honestly say that once someone has been out of a certain element for quite a while, the tendency to pick right back up is very difficult. But Jonas being a broadway performer now, he might be better if he were to go back having more experience than he did then in the year 2010.