Les Miserables – It’s the 5th longest-running show in Broadway history. Since its debut in London’s West End back in 1985, “Les Miserables” (or “Les Miz” for short) has been seen on stages in 45 countries and 350 cities around the world by over 130 million people in 22 languages, and has won eight Tony Awards.
And now, the national touring company of “Les Miz” – fresh from a two-and-a-half-year run on Broadway – will be making a stop in Montreal for a brief run at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier of Place des Arts from February 7 to 11.
Based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, “Les Miserables” takes place in post-Napoleonic France of the early 19th century. Its protagonist Jean Valjean is sentenced to 19 years of hard labour just for stealing a loaf of bread so that he could feed his hungry family. Somehow, Valjean breaks his parole so that he could start a new life a new France, yet he is constantly pursued by Inspector Javert, a righteous, determined policeman who wants to see Valjean back in prison.
“What I like about Les Miserables is that the story is beautifully told, and that the heart of the story touches on the human connection in the face of incredible suffering and tragic circumstances,” said actress Melissa Mitchell – who portrays Fantine – during a recent phone interview. “People who see this show for the very first time will find it a very uplifting, poignant and life-changing experience, because they can easily identify with its timeless message of continuing to have hope and the survival of the human spirit with dignity, which is just as compelling today as it was more than 30 years ago.”
Ms. Mitchell, a native of Southern California who has been acting on the stage since the age of eight, really enjoys doing the role of Fantine – who sings “Les Miz”’s showstopper tune “I Dreamed a Dream” – mainly because of her selfless nature.
“Fantine is an incredible, interesting character because no matter how tragic her journey is, she always has a reason to keep living,” she said. “She is ultimately living for the sake of her daughter, which makes her a character of immense dignity. And how she plays into Jean Valjean’s life is quite crucial to the story.”
As well, Ms. Mitchell noted that audiences, whether they have seen “Les Miz” for the first time or the 101st time, will marvel at the new aesthetic touches to the production, including the scenic design by Matt Kinley which integrates Victor Hugo’s original artwork from over 150 years ago with advanced prjection technology, which will give “Les Miz”’s scenery a cinematic quality to it.
For more information, or to purchase tickets for the Montreal run of “Les Miserables”, go to www.evenko.ca