Several Playbill On-Line readers were among winners of a free-ticket contest to attend the 10th anniversary performance of Les Miserables on Broadway March 12. If you were among them, please share your emotions and opinions of the show with other Les Miz fans.
Please send your account to Playbill On-Line Managing Editor Robert Viagas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the results so far. Playbill thanks those who took the time to write:
From Ragtime216 (Ragtime216@aol.com):
I was lucky enough to have one a pair of tickets to Les Miz's anniversary show held on March 12th. My tickets were for seats located in the orchestra, which I thought was great, Row P to be exact.
I couldn't even imagine who I would meet or see at the performance, so I arrived at the theatre rather early, just in case someone tried to sneek in without being seen. I didn't see anyone remotely familiar until I entered the auditorium.
I got to my seat, which was right on the aisle, and to my surprise Cameron Mackintosh, was coming down the aisle. I knew I had to say something to him, so I approached him and thanked him for giving loyal fans of the show an opportunity to attend this celebration for the show. He then thanked me for supporting the show, and he shook my hand, and congratulated me on winning the contest, and told me that he hoped that I would enjoy the show. I assured him I most definitely would.
Well, that was the only person I actually met before the show, but I was spotting former cast members all around the theatre. I saw Randy Graff, Judy Kuhn, & Gina Ferrall. I wanted to go chat with all of them, but they were occupied having reunions with their former co-stars.
The show was amazing, I seriously would say this was the best cast I have seen of the show, except for the cast compiled for the 10th anniversary concert in London. The only person who I had trouble excepting in the role was Sarah Uriarte-Berry as Eponine. During the show she seemed like she was trying too hard, it seemed that her actions were un-natural. She made ammends for it, after the show when she sang Eponine's part in "One Day More." She was great just belting the song out instead of trying to act it out.
The show ended remarkably, and the balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling and of course I grabbed my share of the balloons. They are great collectors items. May I also add the new souvenirs for the show are great. I love the florescent neon colors used, it livens up the design.
Well, after the show I managed to meet a few more people involved in the show. The first person I met was Michael Maguire, he was extremely nice and he allowed me to take his picture. I left the theatre and here was where I met John Caird & Trevor Nunn. I got their autographs and chatted with them for a brief moment, then I even managed to take their pictures.
I had an amazing time at the show, it was the best! I acquired quite a few pictures of the finale, and of people involved in the show. I couldn't of asked for anything more!
From Erin Hogan:
Les Miserables has always been a tale of the struggle of the human spirit, a tale that unites all people. Not too mention the absolutely fantastic music and- not simply lyrics, but language. And what I witnessed last night was the same love, but it had been intensified and heightened. I found tears falling swift and fast during the new scene, in which Valjean finds Cosette in the woods. It reminded me of the same scene in the novel, in which Cosette thinks that Valjean is God.
The other changes as well, especially in "A Little Fall of Rain" were wonderful. During "Who Am I?" I'm not sure if the the lines "If I speak- I am condemned" were changed to "they are condemned, or if it was a tiny slip of the tongue. Either way, I liked it! Valjean was debating his confession not for his own selfish reasons, but for the well-being of his townspeople.
As a fifteen-year- who has been in love with Les Mis for six years, seen it four times (once in London), and who skipped a day of skiing to mail out ten entry forms for the tenth anniversary from a tiny village in northern Vermont (so they would be postmarked in time.) I can only describe last night's performance as "miserable." Just kidding. (I know, bad joke) PHENOMENAL is more like it!
From Sue Schneider:
The March 12th anniversary performance was the perfect night. There was such an air of anticipation in the theatre, and every expectation and wish was fulfilled.
The new production isn't vastly different, but the extra work and attention that everyone has given the show in the last few months really shows. The scene with Valjean and Cosette at the well is touching and sweet, and shows off Robert Marien's breathtaking way of BEING Jean Valjean. His interactions with Cosette, as a child and older, are always so genuine and heartfelt.
The interactions between the students on the barricade are also much better than usual, especially between Enjolras and Grantaire. At the end of 'Drink with Me', when Enjolras embraced Grantaire and kissed his hair (as opposed to the usual way the scene is played, staring each other down coldly), it made me cry.
This was the most moving performance of Les Mis that I have ever seen, and the fireworks, balloons, and speeches by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg were icing on an already-perfect cake.
I wish that Cameron Mackintosh had spoken as well, but the sight of him onstage, singing along with 'One Day More', with one of the biggest, happiest smiles I have ever seen, will always be one of my fondest Les Mis memories.
Thank you so much to Mr. Mackintosh and his whole organization for thinking to include so many fans, 'little people' who were allowed to be part of such a very special night (and thank you for the champagne).
At the stage door I met a man who's seen the show over 50 times, and he said that when the balloons dropped he thought to himself that if he died right then, he would have seen everything he wanted to see. I felt exactly the same.
I was one of the lucky 300 winners who got to see the 10th Anniversary Performance of Les Miz. And what a show it was!!!
It was truly a memorable night for everyone there. Prior to the show starting, I ran into Cameron Mackintosh who was kind enough to talk to me and hoped that I would enjoy the new changes in the show. I knew I would and by intermission, I was hooked with the new cast and changes.
During intermission I met Trevor Nunn and Debbie Gibson. Both were very nice. During the second act I kept thinking how lucky I am to be there! History in the making. At the end of the show, the place was nuts! Short speeches were made and balloons fell. Robert Marien sang "One Day More" in French as the rest of the cast joined in English. It was incredible!
I waited at the stage door and the cast members were kind enough to sign my program for me. I waited for Robert Marien, who didn't come out until 11:20 pm or so. He gave autographs and took pictures with everyone. Very sweet person. He also had a bandage on his forehead. He ran into a lantern when the barricade was turing in one of the scenes!
I truly enjoyed the whole cast that night. Fushia was great!!! I like Christeena in the role of Cosette even more than in the role of Eponine. And Sarah's voice was so powerful. The new staging worked well. The cast and crew of Les Miz should be VERY proud. It's a wonderful show!!
I'm looking forward to going back and seeing it again. THANKS LES MIZ FOR A GREAT NIGHT
From B.P. (email@example.com) Bensalem,PA:
The March 12th performance of Les Miserables certainly was a special experience. It was the fifth time I saw Les Mis, all within the past year after being introduced to the show through the London 10th anniversary concert. Unlike any other performance, it was special because everyone in the audience was either a fan, former performer, or connected to the show in some other capacity, creating a special bond. The applause and laughter flowed more, and made the night more enjoyable.
I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the changes, but I thought all of them were effective, and I didn't mind them at all. The new lighting, sound, and costumes really enhanced the production, and the show looked and sounded better than ever. Some of the changes were as subtle as an added lyric, while some were as major as moving the runaway cart to the other side of the stage or adding the well scene. The well scene was a nice addition, making the transition more fluid.
The cast was solid, and some parts, especially at the barricade, were really strong vocally. This cast will get even better with time. I thought Robert Marien and Christopher Innvar were a good Valjean Javert combination. The performer that impressed me the most was probably Stephen R. Buntrock. He was really forceful as Enjolras.
I couldn't believe it when the show came to an end. The line "How soon they fly, on and on..." came to mind. It didn't seem like three hours. The speeches and celebration at the end were great, especially "Le Grand Jour/One Day More" led by Robert Marien.
At the stage door after the show, the performers,and even the composers were obliging, even though they had a party to go to. I think that bond between the cast and fans, and the love that both have for the show is part of what makes Les Mis so special. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it was a night I'll never forget. Thanks to Cameron Mackintosh for the ticket contest. Hopefully, I'll be able to go back and see this cast again.
I was one of the winners of tickets to the Les Miz 10th Annniversary performance.
I have to thank Playbill On-Line because that is how I heard about the contest. I saw the show 10 years ago but now that I'm older, I must admit I enjoyed the show much more now. The new cast is outstanding and bring excitement to their roles. Standouts for me were Robert Marien, Christopher Innvar, Peter Lockyer, Nick Wyman, Fuschia Walker and Juliet Lambert. All the actors playing the students have great voices. I found Marien's French version of "One Day More" at the curtain calls very moving. I was sitting close to the heavens in the rear mezzanine but brought binoculars (I read with envy that some winners sat in the orchestra.) I still had a great time, though, and hope I'll be able to see this cast again a little closer.
From Ellen Jacobs:
Heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Cameron Mackintosh and co. for sharing the fun and excitement of the 10th anniversary celebration of "Les Miz" opening on Broadway with this POL reader and friends.
It was a truly fabulous evening; entering the theatre we were shoulder to shoulder with members of earlier Broadway casts, including Michael Macguire. There was excitement in the air in anticipation of the opening production; our seats were center orchestra, just behind the members of the first production including Michael Macguire, Randy Graff and within view of other early cast members.
The production is absolutely grand and truly at the start of another decade of greatness. The new cast is absolutely first rate: I especially enjoyed the intensity and talent of Robert Marien [Jean Valjean] - he conveyed the physicality of Valjean's strength, both physical and moral, with great passion and excellent vocal presentation [I thought the occasional breaks in his voice were intentional as they came at moments of great passion.]
Other great performances: Christopher Innvar as Javert; Peter Lockyer as Marius, Stephen Bunterock as Enjolras and Sarah Uriarte Berry as Eponine. Juliet Lambert's Fantine very moving, tho vocally I couldn't help but think of Patti Lupone's earlier version of the role. Lambert's ghostly return was absolutely liminal-- well suited to Hugo's original version of misery turned to redemption.
Staging, costumes, lighting all at the top of Broadway standards; the new costumes especially attractive [ball-gowns esp.]
This renewed production merits another 10 years! It was a special treat to share in the [audience] excitement of the evening with prior cast members, one of whom , after generously signing my Playbill commented that it "brought back many memories" and his hope the production would go on and on!
Having enjoyed one of my most exciting and fun evenings in Bwy theatre, and a great seat in the orchestra, with friends, I think Mr. Mackintosh and his colleagues did the right thing, after all, in renewing this production. Bonne fete! Bon anniversaire! and many thanks to all those in the cast, production and at POL for keeping us so well informed!
From PSUGrover (PSUGrover@aol.com):
I was one of 300 contest winners in the recent Les Miserables 10th Anniversary giveaway, and was honored to be in attendance on March 12th, opening night for the new cast.
From the opening scene, it was evident that things were going to be different. Fortunately, the show had just as much power as the opening night 10 years prior. In the first act, there were some significant scene "alterations" and some of the lyrics for the smaller, less popular songs were changed. Also, there was a new scene added, which was absolutely WONDERFUL!
All of the songs were sung with the same heart-felt emotion as before. I still laughed with the Thenardier's, got chills at the barricade, and cried basically the whole second act. The performance was BRILLIANT!
The individual actors did a wonderful job. Most notably, Christopher Innvar and Sarah Uriarte gave such stunning performances that I get the chills just thinking about it. Valjean, played by Robert Marien, was good. My only criticism is that he had several voice cracks and I wish he would have spoken some of the dialogue instead of holding every word. Juliet Lambert also gave a spectacular performance as Fantine.
It was evident that the creators of the show wanted the characters to look younger. Some of the characters looked considerably younger than the cast members prior to the mass firing. Valjean sported much longer hair in the opening scene, giving him a more youthful appearance. For the most part, it worked.
The only negative part of the whole night dealt with Cameron Mackintosh and his contest winners. He tucked them all the way in the back of the theatre. We were so high up we had to turn our clocks back an hour when we got to our seats. To put it in another perspective, the show took place in France, well, the contest winners were sitting in China! Mr. Mackintosh, that is no way to treat the beloved fans who kept this musical going.
For all you Les Miserables junkies out there, there is a part early in the second act that will knock your socks off! You think you cried when Eponine died? Go see the show again!
All in all, the show was an absolute 10! I'm going back in a few weeks to relive the magic. If you loved the show, you'll fall back in love with it. If you have never seen it, your in for a treat. Either way, bring tissues!
From Aquarius79 (Aquarius79@aol.com) :
I was one of the 300 contest winners to attend last night's wonderful performance.
I saw the show a year ago, but it did not come close to wonderful production that was put on last night. I thought Christopher Innvar, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Stephen Buntrock, and Fuschia Walker led the way with their stunning portrayals of their characters. I think the casting changes have helped revive this masterpiece.
Being a part of the tenth anniversary concert was really exciting and I hope that in five or ten years I will be able to attend another anniversary and re-live the magic of one of my all-time favorite Broadway shows.
From Kevin Hussey:
As several of PBOLers, I was fortunate to have one tickets for the 10th anniversary as was my mother.
The show was great we all loved the new scene with Cosette walking to get the water and Jean Valjean finding her. And were all forecasting whoever is right for the role regardless of skin color. More power to Mr Mackintosh and company. It was a night that none of us will forget for quite some time.
In reading some of the responses back I guess we were fortunate with our seats. We were in Row U in the Orchestra dead center. Two rows in front of us were quite a few members from the 1987 company (Judy Kuhn, Randy Graff) to name a couple.
one of the responses from one of the people floors me!! Way back when they announced the 10 anniversary I was willing to pay anything to go. When I saw that they were doing the giveaway I ended up sending in quite a few entries. At that point they could have put us in the worst possible seats in the theatre, who cares, it was more important to be there.
So when people get bent out of shape because Mr. Mackintosh put them in "China" I would think the response should be more like "Thank you Mr. Macintosh for giving away 600 tickets." This man owed no one anything. There are people involved with the show that "deserved" the better seats as far as I am concerned. We knew where are tickets were before the show. If someone was upset that they were sitting in China, they should have stayed home. I know I'm not alone in thanking Mr. Mackintosh for letting me attend the evening.
From Stephen Gurey:
My wife and I attended last night's performance as winners of the contest -- A Thrilling Theatrical Experience--one of the most exciting evenings in the theatre. The performance level of the excellent cast was wonderful with particular applause to Robert Marien as Jean Valjean, and Christopher Innver, Nick Wyman, Sarah Uriarte, Christeena Riggs, Peter Lockyer, Fuschia Walker and Stephen Buntrock.
All were as good as the originals we saw 10 years ago. Julie Lambert was also good, but not as memorable as Randy Graff, who was in last night's audience, and to whom we spoke as we entered the theatre.
I don't know if my memory is playing tricks, but I seem to recollect in the original production that when Javert jumps from the bridge, he fell through a trap door in the stage disappearing from view, creating a truly impressive moment. In this production, Javert lies on the rotating stage that is lighted to give the impression of a swirling whirlpool. If my memory serves me correctly, I wonder why they restaged this moment as it is now and how long it has been staged this way. Has it been staged this way since the show moved to the Imperial from the Broadway??
All serious theatre-goers should make their way to the Imperial Theatre to see Les Mis, no matter how many times they have seen it in the past, for a fresh and unforgettable experience.