Here is my taxicab confession: I have never liked Les Miserables.
I know, I know but it just seemed too big. Yes, the original story was epic and sweeping, but instead of telling an epic story, they focused on the epic production. Lots of people waving big flags on a giant RCA record player.
The stagecraft was ooh-aah, but it didn’t move me at all, and I really wanted it to.
There may be new life for it. Producer Cameron Mackintosh has opened Les Miz up for reinterpretation. From the Philadelphia Enquirer:
Other than school drama groups that used a cut-down version, no one has been permitted to mess with the look and feel of Les Miz – until now. Overnight, an iconic piece of theater is open to reinterpretation for the first time since its 1985 debut by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London.
Indeed, this is an impressively nuanced Les Miz — one which, while retaining the show’s grandeur, also seems incredibly intimate.
Words like “nuanced” and “intimate” are very encouraging for this piece. Although I’m happier to see new offerings than retreads, I am all for scaled down storytelling.