The “musical phenomenon” Les Misérables, is coming to Chrysler Hall this week from Tuesday, January 23 to Sunday, January 28.
Les Misérables is the world’s “most popular musical,” seen by more than 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages for the past 32 years. People return to see Les Miz again and again, bringing their children and then grandchildren. Why do people love this show so much?
I asked Allison Guinn, who plays Madame Thénardier, the innkeeper you “love to hate,” why Les Miz has been so popular for so long. First, she said, “Thank goodness it’s so popular.” This company has been touring since September, with no end in sight. Based on one of the greatest (and longest) novels of all times by Victor Hugo, Les Misérable is a story of survival, redemption, unrequited love, and sacrifice. It is a universal story with tragic characters.
Set against the backdrop of 19th century France and the revolution, the scenery is “dazzling,” the cast is huge and the production numbers are “fantastic.” Ms. Guinn saw Les Miz for the first time in fourth grade, in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is the show that steered her towards New York City and musical theater.
Madame Thénardier is her “dream role.” Victor Hugo described the innkeeper who loses everything as a “devil” and an “ogress.” Ms. Guinn says that Madame provides some much needed comic relief in Les Misérable.
“She is so depraved,” said Guinn. “She has no pride and no shame. She will do anything to get what she wants by any means and sometimes those means are funny.”
Les Misérable is memorable for the music. The fans know and love the songs. It’s guaranteed that you will leave the theater humming one of the songs. Ms. Guinn reminded me of the classic Seinfeld episode where George could not stop singing “Master of the House.”
It is one of Madame Thénardier’s big numbers with her husband, Monsieur Thénardier, played by J. Anthony Crane. There are so many huge songs in Les Miz. “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” and “One Day More” are just a few of the hummable possibilities.
Allison Guinn did not really understand the history of the French revolution and all the heartbreak of the story when she was in fourth grade, but she understood that she was watching something grand, something beautiful, and something “unforgettable.”
For more information and to purchase tickets for Les Misérable at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk go to here.