Broadway musicals don't get much more bombastic than Les Misérables, the enormously popular adaptation of Victor Hugo's redemption epic. On the surface, the narrative follows petty criminal Jean Valjean's lifelong effort to lead a virtuous life, despite being incessantly pursued by Javert, a police inspector whose unshakeable faith in law and order brokers no room for moral interpretation. Branching out from that main narrative are scores of secondary plotlines, including the plight of a wayward woman, the destitution of her abandoned daughter, the wickedness of the girl's wretched guardians, and a sweeping love story leading to the French Revolution. Adapted by composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrists Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel (with an English translation by Herbert Kretzmer) Les Misérables has undoubtedly become an enduring favorite, even while the emotional core of the work has frequently been exchanged for spectacle. Thankfully, this modest production from Bloomington Civic Theatre promises to focus on the humanity at the heart of Jean Valjean's journey. Directed by Karen Weber, the ambitious undertaking offers a knockout ensemble led by Dieter Bierbrauer and William Gilness as, respectively, Valjean and Javert. Featuring choreography by the Ivey Award-winning Michael Matthew Ferrell, music direction by Anita Ruth, and a revered songbook performed by a live orchestra, Les Misérables looks to imbue a familiar epic with heartfelt intimacy. (Photo courtesy Vicki Madsen, with digital work by Nancy Lamberger)
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 17. Continues through Nov. 17, 2013
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