As any true Les Mis fan know, the plot is filled with coincidences. Those coincidences do help connect the characters and storylines together. It seems at the same time that the different times I have actually seen the stage show are filled with coincidences as well. What exactly are they?
- Well, I gave the musical film a second chance in 2013. That was when I actually become a massive fan of the musical. It just so happened in that year that I still was a student at Central Piedmont Community College. I discovered that CPCC was doing Les Mis. So, in the exact same year I become a true fan of Les Mis was the same year I saw the stage show for the first time. This was when I actually saw the stage show three times because I went once with family and saw it twice as an usher. Little did I know that 2013 would start this interesting pattern with the ever other productions. CPCC’s production was truly the motor for developing my dream of seeing it in London.
Unabridged Book and West End:
What is the connection between the Les Mis book and the West End? To back things up, I knew I was going to England in 2015 (I believe) in 2013, but did not think of going to Les Mis. That was only because there was no talk of going up early. My family went to England for a pilgrimage to Bristol, which began in London. So, in November 2014, I was told my family would go to London two days early- that is when I started nagging my parents to take me to Les Mis. Then December 2014 comes, and that was when I was finally told I would see a show in London, but was not told what musical that was. That was not easy having to wait an entire semester- I discovered it was Les Mis June 2015. My mom had texted me French Flag and Musical Note Emojis- I was confused so I was told to check my email. The moment I saw Les Misérables, I ran up to my mom crying. Over summer break of 2015, I ended up reading the unabridged book of Les Mis.
June 30th, 2015- that was the exact date I saw Les Mis in London. Seeing the Queen’s Theater was surreal. I thought I was imagining- it still felt that way when I bought souvenirs to seeing how close I was to seeing the set. I had already discovered I had an understudy for Jean Valjean (there would be a bit of a coincidence there with the next two casts). Then I heard it: the first notes of the orchestra- those notes told me, it will be more than expected, and they did not lie; it was actually 110% worth it. Usually at curtain call, I am not the first one up, but this time, I was. I ended up going to stage door and ended up getting the Valjean to sign my playbill and had my picture taken with him. I will never forget the day that “I Dreamed a Dream”. So an every other year pattern was starting to form.
Greenville and US Tour
Well, the US launched a tour in 2017. I had a decision to make- either see the tour in Charlotte or see it in Greenville. Going in Greenville meant being able to see it with my university. Well, so now we have 2013, 2015, and 2017. Do you know how I said getting an understudy as Valjean in the West End would somehow be a bit of coincidence- well in the 2017 cast, I had an understudy as Eponine. I went into this cast with a fresh eye and was not going to compare them to those in the West End especially when it comes to Eponine due to having an understudy.
This cast did live up to the West End cast in their own way because it was a different staging and because I came in with a fresh eye. There were a few surprises with the principals most notably with Joshua Grosso (Marius). While Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle, in the trio I saw, Marius was the strongest. As a result, I was able to explore Marius and Cosette a bit further. I thought that every other year pattern was over, but that wouldn’t be the case.
Charlotte US Tour
I just so happened to be seeing the stage show again in the same year I saw the PBS Masterpiece Series.
Well, the sixth time I saw Les Mis was November 3rd of this year. I finally was able to see the tour on stage in my hometown. So I literally saw Les Mis in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. Just like I saw an understudy for Valjean in the West End, an understudy for Eponine in Greenville, I ended up with an understudy in Charlotte for Valjean. I was hoping to get Nick Cartell as Valjean (one of the US Tour’s standouts), but I got an understudy.
So, I literally saw Les Mis every other year. I ended up with three understudies during that amount of time. I have seen four incredibly talented casts. Yes, two of my casts are kind of similar, but they still are extremely different: the main difference only comes from just four actors/actresses.When I saw Les Mis yesterday, I was an emotional wreck- which I was in both Greenville and the West End. It appears I almost seem to be in the right place at the right time. So in a book full of coincidences, my journey seems to have them as well.