“Les Miserables” is one of the all-time great musical theater shows and I have been lucky enough to see it several times throughout the years.
Great music and epic themes are baked into the DNA of the show, while tremendous production values are almost always to be found not far behind (with a few technological tweaks as time marches on to make the proceedings splashier).
What elevates a production of “Les Miserables” into the next level are great performances by the leads, which the current touring production of the show, now playing at the Fox Theatre through Jan. 22, has in spades.
The plotline spans decades across 19th century France.
The hero of our story is Jean Valjean (Nick Cartell), a prisoner who breaks his parole but turns his life around to become a noble and wealthy man. Cartell is very good as Valjean, boasting a stellar vocal range and has really grown into the role as he also played Valjean in the 2018 tour of the show and was still a little green at the time.
Pursuing Valjean throughout the years is police captain Javert (Preston Truman Boyd). Boyd is an excellent counterbalance for the show and brings an impressive vocal and physical presence to the stage as Javert.
Another important role, although with limited stage time, is Fantine (Haley Dortch), an unfortunate factory worker who becomes destitute and before her death entrusts Valjean with the care of her daughter Cosette (played as a child by both Cora Jane Messer and Hazel Vogel on alternate nights, and as all grown up by Addie Morales).
Dortch makes the most of her time on stage and delivers one of the production’s best performances during the signature song “I Dreamed a Dream.”
Other notables include Gregory Lee Rodriguez as Marius, a revolutionary-minded student who falls for Cosette. Christine Heesun Hwang is also very good as Eponine, a peasant girl who longs for Marius’ affections and absolutely crushes her signature song, “On My Own.”
When it comes to musical theater “Les Miserables” is about as must-see as it gets, and this production certainly lives up to that title.
“Les Miserables” is now playing at the Fox Theatre through Jan. 22. For tickets call 314-534-1111 or go to metrotix.com.