Les Miserables National Tour 2011

A Musical by Alain Boublilles miserables national tour 2011

& Claude-Michel Schonberg

Based on the Victor Hugo novel

Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg

Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer

Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell

Musical Direction by Robert Billig

Produced by Broadway in Chicago

At the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Chicago

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

–Victor Hugo from Les Miserables

After 25 years the new National Tour of Les Miz is still fresh and heartfelt

When you mount a National Tour of a show such as Les Miserables with some fresh new elements and orchestrations, you best not alienate those of us who adore the original show. Thankfully, Cameron Mackintosh’s  2011 National Tour keeps the essence of show that has pleased over 60 million people from 42 countries and in 21 languages over a 25 year span! This National Tour, now at the Cadillac Palace Theatre until February 27, has a few new twists, some new rich orchestrations with ample use of video projections in key scenes. Gone is the large revolving barricade that is hardly missed.  With a cast of energetic singers and two African-Americans playing Jean Valjean (the wonderful Lawrence Clayton) and Eponine (the velvet voiced Chasten Harmon), this fresh production moves swiftly never missing a beat.

les miserables national tour 2011

This classic opera contains a great score, wonderful songs and an uplifting story of the power of the human spirit and unconditional love. Full of romance, passion, suspense and humanity, it is the story of one man, the fugitive Jean Valjean who is pitted against the self-righteous police office, Javert (powerfully sung by Andrew Varela) in a lifelong struggle to avoid capture. Les Miz is the story of the oppressed poor in 1815-1830’s France. Victor Hugo was a reform minded socialist bent on dramatizing the plight of the oppressed.

les miserables national tour 2011les miserables national tour 2011

The sweeping tale covering three decades in France begins with a haunting Prologue that sets the dark tone. We hear Lawrence Clayton as Valjean in his Soliloquay. We quickly empathize with Valjean. The plight of the poor in vividly depicted in “Factory Workers” where we meet Fontine (Betsy Morgan) who sells her hair and body to sustain her child Cosette (Katherine Forrester). Fontine becomes ill and Valjean, now the mayor and prosperous factory owner promises Fontine that he’ll raise Cosette as his own.  We hear two fabulous songs in this section: “I Dreamed a Dream” (nailed richly by Morgan) and “Who Am I?” Valjean’s conscious speaking to himself. He is deciding what kind of man he is going to be. The hauntingly beautiful “Come To Me” duet has Fontine and Valjean singing to her death.

les miserables national tour 2011

Young Cosette sings her dream in “Castle On A Cloud” and her guardians, the thieving Thenardiers sing their innkeeper practices in the rousing comic “Master of the House.”

les miserables national tour 2011les miserables national tour 2011

Its 1832 and the students see the deprivation of the poor in Paris as the beggars and young Gavroche (Josh Caggiano) lament in “Look Down.” Javert sings his ode to his commitment to righteousness in the terrific anthem “Stars” sung in a movingly heart wrenching turn by Andrew Varela.  The students are moved to action with the anthems “Red and Black” and “Do You Hear The People Sing?” Theses calls to action are thrilling moments. Marius (Justin Scott Brown), Cosette (Jenny Latimer) and the beggar girl Eponine (Chasten Harmon) sing “In My Life” as they search for love that explodes into “A Heart Full of Love” as Eponine sings to Marius who sings to Cosette. Act one ends with the ode to life in “One Day More.”

les miserables national tour 2011

Act two finds Eponine singing to her loneliness in “On My Own,” a stirring song to love. Eponine gets shot entering the barricade the student erect to fight the French Army. “A Little Fall of Rain” is Eponine’s dying song to Marius who is moved by her love and loyalty. “Drink With Me to Days Gone By” has Grantaire (Joesph Speildenner) saying good-by to his fellow students who may all die in the coming battle. Valjean joins the student fighters and sings the shows best song in the mesmerizing sad “Bring Him Home.” Lawrence Clayton reaches the falsetto notes easily as he nails the pray for Marius to live.. The battle erupts and Valjean saves the wounded Marius. Javert meets Valjean as he takes Marius to the hospital. Javert pays his debt to Valjean for his life and then realizes that Valjean is, indeed, a righteous man, not himself. The women and Marius sing a sad song to their fallen comrades in “Empty Chairs At Empty Tables.”

les miserables national tour 2011

Les Miserables ends with the hope for life as it emotionally pays homage to the power of the human spirit. The opera ends as with a dying Valjean giving his life lesson to Cosette and Marius: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

les miserables national tour 2011les miserables national tour 2011

This 2011 National Tour of Les Miz is a wonderful production that sings nicely with some exquisite moments; it also stirs the emotions. It is an epic story of oppression that finds one good man, one zealot and a group of idealistic students each trying to make a difference in a harsh and cruel world. We see how eventually, goodness and humanity contained in resilient folks wins for a bright future. This is a richly emotional show filled with big anthems, rousing marches and tender love songs and sad laments that will leave you in tears. The power of the live stage and haunting music rings so true. See Les Miserables once again and rekindle your spirits. This beautiful show is artful that teens will enjoy. It is one of my all-time favorite shows.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago

Date Reviewed: February 4, 2011

For full show information, check out  the Les Miserables page at Theatre In Chicago.

Schedule and prices at

To see some samples for the 25th  Anniversary National Tour:

7 thoughts on “Les Miserables National Tour 2011

  • Barry Moze

    Could not disagree more. Viewed last night and Mr. Clayton, Ms. Morgan and Harmon were a disruption to the rest of the cast. Poor delivery and not quite sure who they were screaming to? Mr. Varela was outstanding along with the rest of the cast. Viewed on Broadway and last nights performance was a big disappointment.

  • Sierra

    Barry, I agree with you. I attended the show Saturday night (5th). Valjean was a huge disappointment to me compared to others I’ve seen. The voices were just not there and were very weak. In these main roles strong voices are required. I also though the rest of the cast was awesome, especially Andrew Varela and Jeremy Hays.

  • Michelle

    I concur. Saw this production in Cols. Ohio.and it did not even come close to other productions I have seen. Cosette and Fontine totally overacted their parts which took away from the singing. The tempos were so fast that I felt like they were just in a rush to get the whole thing over with. At the end of Who Am I they did not even end together. Eponine was good, although her “death” scene got a little cheesy. Her voice was clear and strong. Thenardier I feel was so hum drum that I ceased to watch him although his wife was entertaining.
    All in all, I was most disappointed. I liked the new staging, however in the first act it felt like some characters were ambling about on stage without much direction.

  • Oh good….I am not the only one. I was so disappointed in this production. Saw last night in Cleveland and Jean Valjean was Ron Sharpe. Although he was good – not of the caliber Randal Keith was who I have seen 5-6 times. Did not like the overacting of Fantine and I didn’t mind leaving some things to the imagination like in the previous production. I didn’t need to see her get kicked by “the rat” when she wouldn’t sleep with him and didn’t need the blood dripping out of her mouth or on his face. And what’s with the “lovers” in Master of the House doing explicit things up in the bedroom – totally unnecessary and trashes the show. The lighting was too dark – the orchestra was too loud and I totally agree the tempos seemed fast and rushed. Give me the farewell tour – best production I had ever seen. I miss the turntable and I liked the old revolving barricade. When they turned it in the old production to show the dead – including Gavroche – that was a powerful moment. This one left alot to be desired!

  • Just saw at TPAC in Nashville last night. Overall the show was good. But Fantine and Eponine were possibly the worst 2 women I’ve seen in 5 years of shows. Well, besides the Happy Days show. But I digress…

    I mean On My Own and I Dreamed a Dream are two of possibly the top 10 theater songs ever? Butchered.

    I want to go see it in another city, but I assume these ladies will be on for the whole tour. Disappointing.

  • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! Just saw it in Arizona. Fontine had this incredibly strange lisp thing going on, and Eponine kept scream-singing. So many of them did! And the dying scene, way over-acted. I almost laughed at one point. It was just uncomfortable. And yes, the tempo was WAY too fast. I have every word memorized and I could barely understand what they were saying in some parts.

    I did like the projected images. But missed the turnstile. And where was Gavroche’s song?!

    LOVED Marius. And the rest of the encore men! Powerful voices. I did however, like Thenardier and his wife. They were so funny! (especially the wife!)

  • saw it in Hartford last night. Loved all of the production, but didn’t care for the Eponine part. Too much yelling and riffing or something. Didn’t work for me, but what do I know! Saw a different Val Jean who was marvelous. Loved the rest of it.

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