if you know me at all, you know that i love musical theater. call me _____, (go ahead-- you fill in the blank) but you might say i'm a sucker for a good chorus. and i was moved on saturday night, as i took in the 8th annual summer youth musical production of les miserables. les mis was featured as the first annual summer musical production, which i also attended. the first time i saw les mis was a touring production down in lubbock at the municipal auditorium. i remember having had doubts as to whether a bunch of high school and younger kids could do justice to such a momentous piece. eight years ago i wondered how this youth musical production would measure up against the touring production and on saturday i wondered how this latest edition of the youth musical would compare to the youth production from eight years ago.
i'm here to tell you that the first youth musical version held up quite well against the touring production and the eighth summer youth musical version was as good as or, in some ways, better than the first.
the comparison is blurred somewhat by the intervening years but it seems to me the leads for javert and valjean may have been stronger in the first and some of the minor characters-- marius, thenardier and gavroche come to mind-- were stronger in the latest version. i was moved to tears as i watched gavroche at the barricade taking a shot to his shoulder. continuing to sing, he turned to the audience and was shot again, in the back. bravely singing on, in fits and starts, he is carried to "safety". it was as good a piece of acting as i've ever witnessed, hearing, feeling and seeing his small life slip away as signalled by his suddenly limp arm falling at his side. i'm tearing up now with the remembering of it.
the magic of a les miserables production is embodied in the music and the lyrics. the story is there to loosely carry you along. still the talent level has to be there if music, lyrics and story are to be brought to believable life. the 8th annual summer youth musical version had the talent needed to bring the monstrous production into being and to a lengthy, much deserved standing o. bravo summer youth musical cast, crew and orchestra. . aio