I am always weary when I find out I’m going to see Les Mis. It takes a decent amount of mental preparation to sit and watch this tragic, fourteen hour, often too-dramatic story. I was pleasantly surprised at the show that was put on at the Music Hall. Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, Les Misérables takes the audience through tragic stories of people who expect too little and receive even less. Themes of honor, justice, loss and love pop up throughout.
Though the story produces much tragedy, it is never milked. Well-paced and properly emoted scenes turn out empathetic and hopeful – which is unfortunate for the too invested. Excellent lighting and set design present stunning images that highlight the scenes, and interesting projections are perfect for the needs of this travelling show. As advertised throughout the theatre, Les Mis is a music phenomenon, and this accomplished cast lives up to that praise with their memorable performance.
Nick Cartell (Jean Valjean), Sarah Cetrulo (Innkeeper’s Wife) and Sophie Knapp (Little Cosette) stand out particularly. While Cetrulo provides the audience with some much-needed comic relief, Knapp and Cartell sing directly into the hearts of the audience. Cartell sings perhaps the best rendition of “Bring Him Home” I’ve ever seen.
My expectation was to see an amazing cast put on a headache-y show. What I got instead was investment in many moving stories presented by intelligent direction and talent. Though I’m unsure of whether I’ll ever remember all two-thousand characters, I am happy to have experienced a change of heart to this show. Those who don’t have your tickets, grab them while you can – this production only runs until the 10th of December in Kansas City. And if you have the same reservations to Les Mis that I do, grab them anyway. You won’t be disappointed.
Les Mis plays through Sunday December 10th. For tickets go to https://theaterleague.com/kansascity/lesmis/