Les Misérables

Any work hyped as the "world's longest-running" anything can make for a dubious proposition, especially to those who prefer the energetically unexpected to the exhaustedly familiar. Compelling stories, of course, have been known to defy expectations through imaginative reinterpretations. But while such adaptability is frequently extended to the canonized likes of Shakespeare, "innovative" is far less synonymous with Broadway chestnuts like Les Misérables, which makes the 25th- anniversary tour such a gratifying surprise. Overseen by British über-producer Cameron Mackintosh, the restored Les Misérables has been widely acclaimed for reinvigorating the work's narrative without sacrificing its core humanitarian themes. As in Victor Hugo's source novel, Les Misérables still recounts the moral travails of Jean Valjean, whose impulsive decision to steal a loaf of bread results in a lifetime of being hounded by the relentless Javert, a police authority whose absolute fidelity to the law allows no leniency for escaped prisoners, regardless of how petty their crime or how compelling their redemption. Furthermore, the musical still features the innocent Cosette, her beloved Marius, and a revolution that tears their world apart. It's epic stuff, delivered with an updated score and lyrics, thoroughly revised production designs, and a commitment to transforming archetypes back into characters. So while Les Misérables might boast of being the "world's longest-running musical," it's the work's reanimated vitality that truly justifies excitement. (Photo by Deen van Meer)
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: Dec. 6. Continues through Dec. 18, 2011

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Orpheum Theatre

910 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403



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