Monday, December 31, 2012

News & History: Les Mis Tries for a Successful Revival in 2014

2006 Revival
Undoubtedly, everyone is now tired of all of the Les Miserables headlines, not to mention Facebook statues, Tweets, and numerous mentions about Les Mis in whatever other new-fangled social media through which the masses are communicating these days. In any case, since its release, Les Mis has been dominating all of those. Not with movie news, just reviews, quotes, comments, etc. Now producer Cameron Mackintosh has finally brought some totally new news to the table.

According to the BroadwayWorld.com newsdesk, the Les Mis producer has said that this 1987 Broadway musical will be revived on Broadway for the second time in 2014. It may stem from the currently touring production, which is slated to run through June of next year, but no official word on casting or exact dates have been announced. Read the full news item here.

But yes, this will be the second Broadway revival for Les Miserables. I'd forgotten it was revived, but indeed it was. It ran for two years, which is respectable for a show, but seems short considering that the first installment lasted from the '80s to 2003. But the problem may lie there: the original show closed on May 18, 2003 after almost 700 performances, and previews started for the revival in October 2006, just three years later. In this journalist's humble opinion, that is way too early to revive anything. Good gravy.

The cast included Alexander Gemingnani as Jean Valjean (must be a Sondheim favorite, because he's been in 3 different of Steve's revivals), Norm Lewis of the 2012 The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess as Javert, Daphne Rubin-Vega- yes, Mimi in Rent OBC- as Fantine (ok... Why?), Beauty and the Beast's original Lumiere, Gary Beach as Thenardier, Peter and the Starcatcher's Celia Keenan-Bolger as Eponine, and of course little Carly Rose Sonenclar (on X-Factor this season) as Young Cosette. It was nominated for no Tony Awards, one Drama League Award, and a measly three Drama Desk Awards, compared to the original which won eight of the twelve Tonys for which it was nominated, all five Outer Critics Circle Awards, and eight of the eleven Drama Desks for which it was nominated. No wonder, though. This revival was up against the successful revival of A Chorus Line; but really, this was a bit of a lame season for Broadway (yes, Spring Awakening won all the awards that year but then again, it closed only a year after this Les Mis dud).

Ben Brantley of the New York Times concurred with the notion that this one was revived too soon in his review from opening night. He also suggested that the revival tried to be the original, but fell short in almost every way, lacking the original passion, and miscasting lots of talented and experienced actors. Overall it was lackluster, with the minor characters stealing the show. Read the whole review here! It's great!

Here's a highlights reel of the revival. Beware: when you hear "I Dreamed a Dream" you might scream and throw things at the screen. It's awful. Get past that, and the rest of it is pretty good. Do you concur with Brantley that it's just not quite there?


So there's your tidbit on Broadway News and History for the day. Learn more about both Broadway installments of Les Mis on PlaybillVault.com.

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