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March 23, 2012

Vive Les Miserables!

25th anniversary production still a tour-de-force

There is a moment in “Les Misérables” when Jean Valjean eases into song and all spiritual boundaries in the theater melt away. No matter if an audience member is a Buddhist, Christian, Jew or atheist, the prayer he expresses evokes the universal need for faith in something larger than ourselves to provide salvation in the darkest of hours.

"Bring Him Home" embodies the spirit of sacrificial love. And in the 25th anniversary production of the show in Boston, J. Mark McVey delivers the message with unforgettably evocative power.

On the show's second night, the audience was riveted — and had been for more than two hours before this number was performed.

It gave a standing ovation for Broadway in Boston's production of "Les Misé©rables." Featuring a cast gifted with a deep well of talent, this now classic production based on the novel by Victor Hugo, with music and lyrics by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer respectively, should not be missed at the historic Opera House.

Now billed as "Forever Young," "Les Misé©rables" opened at London's Barbican Theatre on Oct. 8, 1985. It came to New York City's Broadway Theatre on March 12, 1987. It has garnered countless awards, including eight Tonys, becoming the third longest running musical in Broadway history, behind "Phantom of the Opera" and "Cats."

Given its popularity, few people are unfamiliar with the storyline and score which takes place in 1815 to 1823 France. It focuses on the life of Jean Valjean, a convict who is released after 19 years of imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread. Unable to secure work, in desperation he is taken in by a kind bishop, Myriel, who feeds him and gives him a bed to sleep in, only to be robbed.

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