1. Melissa and I were blessed to go and see Les Miserables at the Academy of Music this week. Courtesy of my husband who has been an usher there for 30 years. It was my third time seeing the show, and it is my favorite. The story is beautiful. After I saw it the first time, I went and got the book, by Victor Hugo, and read it--all 475,294,505 pages. (It was one thick book). And liberally peppered with French italics. Fortunately, I took three years of high school French. If you think that helped you would be wrong. But I did get the gist occasionally. The story was worth it, though. I am still amazed that anyone could fit all that into a musical (all dialogue is sung) and convey it well. I was a little distracted by thinking that the actor who played Jean Valjean looked a lot like Juan Williams, from my vantage point, anyway. It made me think I may be watching too much Fox News.
<--this is Lawrence Clayton, who did an excellent portrayal of Jean Valjean, above, with Andrew Varela, who played Inspector Javert.
Well, however many clones he may have, he was good.
I found out that this newer staging of the play used backdrops painted by the author. I did notice a few other updates. Some were really good, like the sewer tunnels, and the suicide scene, both used moving graphics that were very well done. The Thenardier's Inn scene got a little TOO bawdy, though,and had tasteless elements. Seems every show is throwing in stuff like this. It's like that movie you love, always having to have that one gratuitous scene. Well, folks, this musical was doing fine..it didn't need the help, really.
Here is the famous chandelier in the Academy. It's HUGE. It was kind of right in front of us, and gets raised and lowered during intermissions. Bob knows a bunch of facts about it, from giving tours there. All I remember is that it got all taken apart and shipped overseas, I think France? to be cleaned. Wow, more France today. It made Melissa a little nervous. But then again, so does crossing streets.
Looking up from where we sat, there is the guy holding up the ceiling. I wanted to get a zoomed in pic, but my camera wasn't cooperating. If you squint just right you can see him. He's gold.
Somewhere between the giant chandelier on a rope and the roof being supported by a big gold guy, yeah I guess the Academy can seem a bit chancey.
But all the wonderful singing and acting helped distract us.
oh and the Thenardier character looked a lot like a happy version of Sweeney Todd....uh oh, here I go again...