It's been 25 years since "Les Miserables" first took the theater world by storm.
To celebrate the occasion, the world's longest-running musical has undergone an overhaul that leaves the theatrical tour de force looking (and sounding) better than ever. One might even argue that the reimagined "Les Miz" is better than the original.
Gone is the rotating stage and much of the over-the-top theatrics that earned both raves and snares, depending on your perspective. This leaner "Les Miz" focuses more on the story whereas the original felt more like a vehicle for the amazing score.
With the help of modern technology, the show's backdrop, inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, sets the perfect scene for the action.
But the staging isn't the only thing that's changed. Hugo's magnificent tale feels more focused and is much easier to follow. The characters are more fully developed and, as a result, the audience connects with them on an entirely different level.
Most importantly, the music is more integrated into the story, so classic songs like "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" feel like a part of the show rather than the show itself.
The supremely talented ensemble mines every bit of passion from the material and the result is an incredibly emotional roller coaster ride for the audience.
If you don't feel a lump in your throat from the stunning vocals of Betsy Morgan's Fantine during "On My Own" or J. Mark McVey's (Jean Valjean) brilliant "Bring Him Home," you might want to check for a pulse. There weren't a lot of dry eyes in the house at the opening night performance.
Upon his release from prison, Jean Valjean has a life-changing encounter with an elderly bishop that fuels his desire to be a good and honest man. As he rises to the top of society, his past is constantly threatening to catch up with him.
If you go
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston