"One Day More" - The Company of the New 25th Anniversary of Les Misérables Photo: Deen van MeerSeattle audiences have reason to cheer for the return of Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Les Miserables. This tale echoes many themes relevant to today’s world: revolution, economic frustration, and political and social distress.

"One Day More" - The Company of the New 25th Anniversary of Les Misérables Photo: Deen van MeerSeattle audiences have reason to cheer for the return of Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Les Miserables. This tale echoes many themes relevant to today’s world: revolution, economic frustration, and political and social distress.

It is not surprising that this show is back in Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre for a two-week engagement (June 27-July 8) due to popular demand.

The musical, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, tells the story of a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean (Peter Lockyer) and his search for redemption in 19th century France. After breaking parole, Valjean assumes a new identity as Monsieur Madeleine and becomes a wealthy factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer. He befriends a factory-worker-turned-prostitute named Fantine (Betsy Morgan) and promises to care for her daughter, Cosette, (Lauren Wiley) after Fantine’s death.

As the rest of the musical unfolds through song and (occasional) dance numbers, Valjean looks after Cosette and encounters many characters, including student revolutionaries, con artists, and lawmen that shape the events in his life. Valjean ultimately redeems himself and finds the peace he seeks throughout the story.

From the moment the lights dim in the auditorium, images of small French villages and towering factories project off of a screen in the back of the stage; the changing scenery creates the effect of watercolors bleeding onto a canvas. This style in design is one of the highlights of the show, which also allows viewers to suspend disbelief during each scene transition.

In a video interview, actress Shawna M. Hamic, who plays Madame Thenardier, said that most of the designs are based on Hugo’s original paintings and drawings, a new addition to the show’s production.

In recent years, songs from the show have spread into popular culture. In 2009, singer Susan Boyle gave a show-stopping performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” on “Britain’s Got Talent” and actress Anne Hathaway sang a version of “On my Own” at the 83rd Academy Awards. While these songs might be more popular than other songs in the show, theatergoers should look forward to Lockyer’s rendition of “Bring Him Home.” His masterful performance of this song is controlled and demonstrates his superior skills as an actor.

This December, a film version of Les Miserables will be released in theaters, starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried will also star.

 

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