Fun In the City: Les Miserables at Drury Lane Theater

Some guy made me spill wine on my blouse, but I still had fun hanging out with the Les Mis cast at Drury Lane. That's Ivan Rutherford (aka Valjean) on the right and Quentin Earl Darrington (aka Javert) on the left.
Some guy made me spill wine on my blouse, but I still had fun hanging out with the Les Mis cast at Drury Lane. That’s Ivan Rutherford (aka Valjean) on the right and Quentin Earl Darrington (aka Javert) on the left.

 

Theater is one of my most favorite forms of entertainment. Concerts are good, but there’s nothing like live dramatic reenactment that invokes intense thought and strokes the pit of your emotions. Add a great score and vocal range and I am enraptured, captivated, enthralled…completely transported to the world of another! It’s so thrilling…really! 😀

Les Miserables was part of the required reading in my 8th grade English class. This blasted book had about 5 cajillion pages!!! There were 1,260 pages to be exact! That’s a lot of dadburn pages…especially for a 13 year old who’d rather devote her attention to what skirt she should wear with her new polka dot shoes or approximately how many chicken nuggets she could eat in the 15 minute train ride home or when her favorite guy would send her a love note. Let me be clear…that is, one thousand two hundred sixty pages! Do you hear me?!?!

Despite the fact the assigned reading made me plot the forced early retirement of my otherwise beloved 8th grade teacher (rest in peace Mr. Canepa), when I finally read the book, I was pleasantly surprised. It was fascinating!

Les Miserables is a story of despair, redemption, conviction, pursuit and, perhaps best of all, love. Don’t we all love a good love story? I mean even a good war story isn’t worth it’s weight unless there’s some passionate love interest involved. This story will take you on an emotional roller coaster delivered in melodic excellence. Absolutely phenomenal singing and dramatization!

Quentin Earl Darrington stars as “Javert” in the international musical sensation LES MISÉRABLES
Quentin Earl Darrington stars as “Javert” in the international musical sensation LES MISÉRABLES

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the supporting star of the show – Quentin Earl Darrington (playing the role of Javert). From the very start, his deep voice and precise diction captured me. My husband later realized his was a familiar voice. Darrington once captured us as the strong and wise, Mufasa, at a viewing of The Lion King in a prior year. His voice and presence is simply unforgettable!

Seriously, there’s not one disappointing scene in the whole play. There’s even quite a bit of comedic relief to be found in the characterization of the innkeepers, Mr. and Madame Thenadier (played by Mark David Kaplan and Sharon Sachs). Let me tell you, hubby and I couldn’t stop hooting and hollering. These guys were a riot!

Ok, one last thing I MUST mention. I was quite impressed with the diversity of the cast. I mean, this story is early 19th century France. Most depictions wouldn’t have a face of color in sight; Think Napoleon era and Thomas Jefferson US presidency time frame. It is quite a feat to pull off casting an African American as a main character portraying a high ranking officer with such an aged storyline and without distraction. Throughout the cast, there are interjections of people of color and it speaks volumes of the directorship and it’s ability to take risks that win in the end. To that I say, BRAVO!! 😀

Oh – one last thing after the last last thing. 🙂 This was my first time at Drury Lane. It will not, however, be my last! After years of crowding in the big name theaters to see this production or that, I think my husband and I

Mark David Kaplan and Sharon Sachs are hilarious as the greedy, grubby Thenardiers. Their humourous and enjoyable “Master of the House,” rendition incorporates little Eponine (Peyton Shaffer).
Mark David Kaplan and Sharon Sachs are hilarious as the greedy, grubby Thenardiers. Their humourous and enjoyable “Master of the House,” rendition incorporates little Eponine (Peyton Shaffer).

have found one of the best, hidden gems. The setting is small and intimate so much so you feel you’re a part of the cast – you’re THAT close! Once the production starts, the theater does not allow random walking and interruptions (hubby learned when trying to return to his seat after a bathroom break at the start of the play). As well, the seats were quite comfortable and the legroom was reminiscent of the exit row seats on a nice, long flight. That’s a BIG plus for my 6’3″ hubby who can never quite get comfortable in most theaters. I had enough room to stash my ever-bulky, oversized bag and actually forgot it was even there! 😉

The show runs through Sunday, June 8 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Ln. The performance schedule for Les Misérables is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. ($45), Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. ($45) and 8 p.m. ($50), Fridays at 8 p.m. ($60), Saturdays at 5 p.m. ($60), and 8:45 p.m. ($60), and Sundays at 2 p.m. ($60), and 6 p.m. ($55). Lunch and dinner theatre packages are available. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $40 for matinees and $55 for a matinee luncheon package. For reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, call TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visit www.drurylane.com.

 

DISCLOSURE:  I received 2 tickets to the play in exchange for my review. The thoughts expressed herein are mine alone and not influenced by gifts, donations or sponsors.

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