Village Theatre’s ‘Les Misérables’ a hit
“Les Misérables” is one of the most beautiful and sad musicals ever written. It is also the Village Theatre’s production to launch the New Year. Adapted from Victor Hugo’s 1862 book, the musical made its Broadway debut in 1987.
About 97 percent of it is told in song instead of dialogue. For the most part, the approach works, just as it did for “Evita.”
The story begins in pre-revolution France. In 1815, a prisoner named Jean Valjean is released from prison by police Inspector Javert. Valjean was never really a criminal and has finally paid for the mistakes he made. But Valjean discovers that anyone knowing his history won’t allow him a fresh start – except for a priest who gives him an opening to a better life. So Valjean breaks parole, adopts a new identity and remakes his life.
Eight years later, Valjean has become mayor of a town where he is helping many downtrodden people. But one person he failed to help is Fantine, a single mother who loses her job, then her life, while trying to provide for her daughter Cosette.
Cosette is in need of a guardian after Fantine’s death, so Valjean decides to take her away from the horrible couple that she’s been living with. Unfortunately, Inspector Javert has recently come to town and, recognizing Valjean, wants to send him back to prison for breaking parole.
Again, Valjean escapes, this time with his beloved Cosette. Another nine years pass, and Javert and Valjean’s paths cross yet again. This time, if the inspector doesn’t kill Valjean, the French Revolution just might.
The songs, the sets, and the costumes are dazzling. The Village Theatre has a uniformly excellent cast, beginning with Greg Stone who is amazing as Jean Valjean.
He’s been embodying this sad character for 16 years, on Broadway. Now he returns home to Washington and demonstrates how far he’s come as a performer.
Inspector Javert is passionately played by Eric Polani Jensen. He’s been Tevye and the Beast in the past and shows again the duality of the role. Javert is a man a conviction who makes Valjean’s incarceration his mission in life.
Beth Devries plays the desperate Fantine who does everything and then some for her daughter. Ms. Devries has been in several Village Theatre productions including “The King and I.”
Nick DeSantis and Kate Jaeger play the Thenardiers, a pair of cons who start out as Cosette’s guardians and stick around to make more trouble for her family.
Their moral daughter Eponine is played by Kirsten Delohr Helland. Next to Fantine, she has the most tragic part as she pines for a boy and battles soldiers and her darker instincts.
Making her Village Theatre debut, Alexandra Zorn plays the grownup Cosette.
Her character provides confidence and devotion for the men in her life. You may remember her as Laurie in Seattle’s production of “Oklahoma.”
Matthew Kacergis plays the idealistic Marius who pines for Cosette while remaining blind to Eponine’s affection. He’s been in a number of Village Theatre plays such as “Chasing Nicolette.”
This is a masterful production filled with inspiration and tragedy in equal measure.
“Les Misérables” is playing at the Everett Performing Arts Center now through Feb. 9.
For ticket information call: (425) 257-8600.