In 1862, Victor Hugo's novel "Les Miserables" became one of the fastest selling books not only in his native Paris, but also around the world. The book has been praised by critics and loved by all audiences since its first printing. Many throughout the years have been thrilled by the timeless truth, "There is scarcely anything else in the world but that: to love one another."
When the theater world was first introduced to the musical adaptation in 1985, it took the globe by storm. "Les Miserables" has won eight Tony Awards (like the Oscars or the Grammys, but for theater) and five Drama Desk Awards (like the Tony Awards, but for Broadway and off-Broadway productions).
The third longest running production ever for Broadway, only out-played by "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Cats," "Les Miserables" is a play everyone should consider seeing.
Here in Utah, there is an abundance of professional and amateur theater and three venues will be performing "Les Miz" through this summer and the coming year. The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Top of Utah Entertainment and the Pioneer Theatre
Company all have "Les Miserables" slated for their current or coming performing seasons.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City is presenting "Les Miz" from now through Oct. 8. This production of the life of Jean Valjean is one that anyone interested in theater needs to attend.
The musical is simple and elegantly done. Instead of big scenery pieces telling the audience exactly what is going on, smaller stage and hand props tell the story of one-time convict Valjean and one of the revolutions following the end of the French monarchy. The beautiful and skillful performance by the cast brought tears to many eyes as the fates of Eponine, Fantine and Valjean were played out on the stage.
The stellar cast had the entire audience convinced of every word they sang, whether it was about revolution, the sorrow of losing a loved one, or the joy of falling in love for the first time. For newcomers and old hats alike, the Utah Shakespeare Festival's presentation of "Les Miserables" is a must-see.
Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City performed "Les Miserables" back in 2007 and did a splendid job presenting one of Broadway's favorite plays. The Salt Lake Tribune acclaimed the 2007 production as "a fresher story than the tired revival now playing on Broadway." Now set to appear May 3 through June 1 of next year, this new production is a little way out in the future, but definitely worth marking on your calendar now.
Top of Utah Entertainment, a Logan area performing arts group, will be presenting "Les Miserables" with an interesting twist -- the cast is made up entirely of local high school students. Teens from every high school between Preston and Box Elder are involved in this much-anticipated performance running Sept. 6-15 at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in Logan. To find out more about show times or tickets, visit www.topofutahentertainment.com.
This student production of the Hugo tale is the perfect opportunity for family and friends to experience the magic of "Les Miz" that has captivated thousands of audiences for more than 25 years.
For thespians and non-thespians alike, the Broadway hit musical "Les Miserables" is a must-see. No matter what the audience walks away from the production with, one timeless truth always rings true: "To love another person is to see the face of God."
Abby Payne recently graduated from Bear River High School. When she's not singing, writing or talking a million miles an hour, you can always find her reading. Email her at email@example.com.