Major Spoiler Alert
“Les Mis” has played such a huge impact on my life. My journey with this musical started when I had my first experience with it. It was December of 2012 and my parents took me to see the movie. I already knew one of the songs, which was “I Dreamed a Dream”. I did not know anything about the plot or what the title meant. I saw a preview before going to the movie, but i still was unsure whether I would like it or not. But I soon was discover it was going to play an important part in my musical journey.
The first time was quite shocking. I had no clue it was a tragedy to begin with. After the first character died, I figured it out. For the rest of the movie, I watched the movie in shock. I could not see past the sad world and I mainly paid attention to the happier moments. Shock covered up all the emotions and my mind was half awake because of that. However my soul was wide awake and after the movie ended, I was thinking “did I just like a tragedy”.
The only reason why I knew that my soul was wide awake because I automatically went straight to researching the musical. I added the songs to my Pandora broadway station. I only remembered hearing three songs when I saw the movie. They were “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Master of the House”, and “Do you Hear the People Sing”. I left the theatre with “Do You Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. I researched all sorts of things about the musical such as the time period and Victor Hugo. I researched information about the musical as well. I soon decided to watch the movie a second time and watching it this time was easier on me. The emotions were much more real this time because I finally was able to appreciate the musical for what it is. I cried this time around, but only twice. I still wanted to know why this musical makes me feel uplifted.
I decided to dig deep in the show and figure out why this extremely tragic musical is also uplifting. I soon learned it is a story of sacrifice, love, faith, humanity, hope, compassion, forgiveness, and redemption. Now things started to make more sense. I developed an obsession over this musical and it was the only thing I could think about. I knew I had to see the stage show eventually and luckily my community college did it.
When seeing it on stage for the first time, things were completely different. The songs were in a different order and some plot points were different. It still was the same show, but just different. Because it was live, I felt the sadness even more. Because I signed up to be an usher that year, I got to see the show three times. Once was with my family and the other two was being an usher. The things that surprised me about this performance was how phenomenal it was even though I could see where there would be room for improvement, but glad I got the opportunity to finally see the musical on stage.
My journey with “Les Mis” would not end there. I soon knew I had to see the stage show professionally and also had a dream of seeing it in the “West End”. I eventually read the abridged version of the book and it made me appreciate the musical even more.I knew it would be special to see it in London because it is the only original show and it is where the show opened. When I found out my family was going to London in 2015, I started to convince my family to take me to “Les Mis” because my dream would come true.
Finally in the summer of 2015, I got to live my dream of seeing “Les Mis” in London. After I found out I was going to be seeing the show, I was speechless and in tears. Coincidentally in the summer of the same year, I decided to read the unabridged version of the book, which made me love the musical even more and it shows how emotional the show is. That is due to the book being covered with so many emotions, which explains why the musical is as powerful, uplifting, and emotional as it is. I actually got to watch the show when it was in the middle of its 30th year. When I first saw the theatre, I could not believe what I was seeing. My dream became a reality right when the show started. The moment the lights went off and the music began, I knew my dream was becoming reality and that it was more than I excepted.I knew my emotions will be stronger this time around.
When the action began, I automatically felt the power of the storyline. I ended up having an understudy as Valjean (Adam Bayjou) and he was brilliant. I could easily see his transformation from a harsh man full of hate and anger to a man filled with compassion, and love. I could feel desperation of Fantine during her journey and it broke my heart. In fact, Rachelle Ann Go only played Fantine for a month when I saw it impressed me how she was able to play Fantine so well. Carrie Hope Fletcher was one of the best Eponine’s I ever saw and my heart broke for Eponine. I could also feel the student’s passion for their cause and I could feel how hopeless they felt after Eponine died.
I finally cared for Javert because Jeremy Secomb did a wonderful job expressing the character’s emotion during his soliloquy. The Thenardiers’ gave me a much needed laugh and in my eyes, those characters are those you love to hate and hate to love, because I loved how they provide the comic relief, but I cannot appreciate their greedy, cruel abusive side, but the side is shown once in a while through their humor. I do not like how they mistreat their kids.
I cried the moment Valjean was released from prison and I did not see that coming. The emotions were spot on that night and I felt way more than fifteen emotions.Mom and I were nine rows back from the stage and I loved those seats. They did not block the barricade at all. The set was incredible and the best set piece was the barriacade. Overall, the London production was epic. I ended up meeting the guy who played Jean Valjean when I went to the stage show. Gong to the stage door made me nervous but I got to have a picture with him and he signed my playbill.
I am still obsessed with the musical. I own the movie, the 25th anniversary concert, two playbills, tickets, a poster, two versions of the book, and a stage to screen book. I watch the movie as much as I can. I also own the piano book and know how to play the songs. Because of my strong knowledge of the songs and characters, I was able to add emotion to the songs when I play. So overall, this show taught me that tragedies can be enjoyed and that they do have a positive nature.
Before this musical, I fully believed I would not like tragedies at all. Tragedies were also unheard of for a musical, but they play a big part in musical theatre. This musical helped me get though a rough time that I experienced in the fall of 2014. I was able to experience the emotions in a new light and it also touches my soul in a way that I cannot describe. In my opinion, “Les Mis” is kind of the holy grail of emotions because it has so many. Some are harder to work with while some are easier to work with. I had to learn to tolerate uncomfortable, but I understand the importance of that emotion. I am so thankful it is part of my life because of what I learned from it. I now want to eventually see the show in another language especially because I am a Spanish minor and wonder if seeing the show in another language will still have the same emotional impact.