presented by Reagle Music Theatre
music by Claude-Michel Schönberg
original French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel
English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer
directed by David Hugo
Review by Kate Lew Idlebrook
(Waltham) What is it about this musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s epic masterpiece, Les Miserables, that has captivated us since it’s opening in 1985? Perhaps it’s Javert’s fall from grace or Valjean’s salvation? Maybe it’s the rescue of innocents, or the death of innocents? Maybe it’s the music? There are so many reasons to love this musical; no doubt you have your own. But whatever they are, if you love the show, you’re bound to enjoy the Reagle Music Theatre’s production.Here’s where I would typically pause and give you a plot summary. But, I’m guessing you know the musical, and if you don’t, you won’t thank me for spoiling it.
Ivan Rutherford’s Jean Valjean hits all the right notes, pun intended. He’s nuanced, demonstrating command as a mayor and compassion as a father. Eowyn Young, Young Cosette, steals hearts with her clear voice and charming smile. Eponine’s, Mara Wilson, love for Marius is palpable; her loneliness painful. And Kelly Naugler made this Les Mis veteran laugh aloud with her fresh interpretation of the Inkeeper’s Wife.
Yes, there is a tremendous amount of talent in this cast, but Director David Hugo, also deserves credit. Hugo trusts his audience and his actors. Under his tutelage the cast walks the balance between passion and spectacle. In accomplishing this, the Regal Music Theatre avoids the fatal Achilles heel that is the downfall of countless production.
The cast and Hugo are aided by Producing Artistic Director, Robert J. Eagle, and Scenic Designer, Robert Klingelhoefer. The set and scene changes were simple and unobtrusive. Large set changes often happened behind a black screen while the audience was distracted by the show’s more self-reflective numbers.
So the bottom line is that while Les Mis is admittedly not for everyone, if you’re a fan of the play, you’ll likely enjoy this production as it’s one of the strongest this side of Broadway.