The Les Miserables 10th anniversary was my second experience with this musical. The first time that I had watched it was on YouTube in the summer of 2012, and then I had gotten the DVD for my birthday that same year. This has been a very well known Les Mis anniversary concert, because it is older, 1995 to be specific, and it has a majority of well know original London and Broadway cast members revising their roles.
This concert production took place in the Royal Albert Hall in London, and because it is a concert, there was very little of any of the actors and actresses moving around, because they were singing in front of microphones and the actors and actresses that were not on for their cue were all sitting in chairs onstage in front of the orchestra. There is a screen, which was used for certain parts that could not be acted out, such as “The Final Battle”. It was also used for better close ups of the actors and actresses faces.
Colm Wilkinson (original West End and Broadway) portrayed the role of Jean Valjean and did a marvelous job, and he did a great job with his expressions. His last “home” in the song “Bring Him Home” was held for a period of time and done very beautifully. Phillip Quast (original Australian) portrayed the role of Javert and is honestly the best that I have heard. His facial expressions were fantastic, his voice was perfect, especially during the last note in “Javert’s Suicide”. Ruthie Henshall played the role of Fantine and wow. I am usually not very impressed with alto voices, but she sang “I Dreamed a Dream” so beautifully that it made me highly impressed. Alun Armstrong (original West End) portrayed Thenardier and did a great job during “Master of the House” and behind him the rest of the cast, who were all sitting down, were having fun as well. Jenny Galloway played Madame Thenardier and did a fantastic job. She did an especially good job while portraying a rather mean Madame Thenardier, but she was also funny as well. Michael Ball (original West End) portrayed the role of Marius and what a voice. During “One Day More” Ball and Wilkinson just sing over the other cast members there was that much power in their voices. Ball’s acting was fantastic, with these little movements he was able to make and he nailed his facial expressions. During “Red and Black” and “A Heart Full of Love” he did such a great job acting like a lovestruck puppy that he was just so adorable. His song “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was very well done, and his facial expressions were fantastic during that song. Judy Kuhn (original Broadway) portrayed the role of Cosette and she had a great voice and great facial expressions. Lea Salonga played Eponine and she was fantastic. During “A Little Fall of Rain”, I was nearly in tears Salonga and Ball were that amazing. Michael Maguire (original Broadway) portrayed the role of Enjolras and while he has a great voice his rapid blinking was SUPER distracting, that it made it hard to focus on his acting and voice.
Overall it was, and still is, a great performance, and at the end of it 17 Valjean’s from different countries went on stage to sing “Do You Hear the People Sing” in their languages. By watching this performance one can see and hear for themselves why Maguire won a Tony when Les Mis came to broadway, why no one but Ball is a great stage Marius (though few have come close on West End), why Quast has become the one of the best Javerts, and why this cast has become so well known in musical theater.