A Classic at the Playhouse

Truly, the secret to Les Misérables' stunning success is its target demographic. This is theater for people who do not like theater, a musical filled with characters you don't have to get to know, espousing a message you don't have to think about (indeed, which crumbles on contact with anything so formidable as "thought"). Jean Valjean is as tortured and noble in Scene 1 as he'll be in Scene 10,000, and none of the other, lesser characters are any more dynamic. The story is a parable of imperiled decency as facile and shallow as librettist Alain Boublil's tortured rhyme schemes (which, among other sins, frequently finds an actor singing the words "us all" when referring only to himself and one another, for no better reason than that "us all" is an easier rhyme than "us both"). At least the sets are pretty, and at least the singing is good. In fact, David Michael Felty, who plays Valjean, has one of the most awesome voices you'll ever hear. It just keeps going up and up, using a mixed chest-falsetto technique as sweet and creamy as mascarpone, and powerful enough to drown out the ridiculous words being sung by his costars.
Fri., April 3; Sat., April 4; Sun., April 5, 2009
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Brandon K. Thorp