MICHAEL GIOIA, Playbill.com Staff Writer
The only gifts I ever asked for at Christmastime were tickets to a Broadway show. It was my freshman year of college, and, although I knew all of the music to the iconic Les Misérables — and heard just about every classmate sing "On My Own" in my vocal performance class in high school — I had still never seen a fully-staged production.
My parents always raved about the original Broadway production of Les Miz, but the time had passed, and the show had closed, so when it was announced that a revival would open in 2006 (So soon? Phew!), I knew what show I wanted to see for the holidays.
I asked my grandmother to take me to Les Misérables after the holiday season. I had never been to the theatre with her — and, at this point, I had been to the theatre with just about everyone in New Jersey. We saw the show on a cold Sunday in January 2007 — just the two of us. I was completely engrossed in the work of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg from the moment the curtain went up at the Broadhurst Theatre. It was unlike any other theatrical experience — a classic, a staple to the world of musical theatre, but with such an epic score. My first discovery of the wondrous Norm Lewis, and Daphne Rubin-Vega live (no matter what the reviews were, it didn't matter because Rent was my favorite, and I had listened to her on that recording for years)! I couldn't thank my grandmother enough.
About two years ago, shortly after the holidays, my grandmother died from cancer. It will be my second Christmas without her, and this holiday season, Les Misérables has resurfaced in my life. As I sat through a recent screening of the film, I could not help but think of our special date six years back and how a musical, and the power of theatre, brought us that much closer.
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