Your independent guide to the best shows in Chicago
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The most fantastic musical ever. I hope to see it again and again.
Bob-O from Cleveland, Ohio
After having attended 5 different performances of Les Miz over the
years, I have got to say that Nick Cartell’s perormance as Jean valJean,
was by far the best ever! Never before have I been moved to tears!
His ability to be point on with his voice, AND draw you in with the
emotions of the song was astonishing!
Robb from Cleveland, Ohio
This was the 5th performance I have seen-from London to Chicago and this was the best version. Great
voices, wonderful staging on a limited stage area.
Don't miss it.
Susan Cohen from New Haven, Connecticut
Cast better than the Broadway show I saw. seating
perfectly aligned so everyone could clearly see show. The
Actors voices were strong, perfect choice of actors Actors
for parts taken. The orchestra was in perfect timing.
Jon Val John has the richest powerful enchanting voice as
did most of the leads!!!! Needless to say, I loved this
Eileen from New Haven, Connecticut
THE BEST LES MIS OF ALL! PLEASE RECORD THIS COMPANY.
I’ve seen this wonderful play many
times (on Broadway), but last nights
experience topped them all!
This is the pinnacle of acting, singing,
sets, and music (the orchestra below
is another vital character here)
coming together to created a
You know you are experiencing great
acting when the actors make you
FEEL so deeply! This is truly an
The singing voices of the major and
minor roles are extraordinary - such a
thrilling experience to hear talented
people who are well-coached and
directed! Please record this
I have never seen an audience so in
tuned with a performance - it was
beautiful! The applause and standing
ovations were so enthusiastic and
Cindy from Houston, Texas
This was one of the most amazing productions we have seen at the Hobby Center in
about 15 years as a season ticket holder. Across the board the talent was incredible.
H. Adler from San Francisco, California
ACROSS THE BOARD EXCELLENCE, BUT KNOW THE STORY BEFORE
Every voice excellent, ensemble best of four prior experiences. Some of the vocal presentations at six star level. Loved every minute. But, a word of warning, if this is a first Les Mis experience, learn the story well before attending. The staging is excellent, but a bit of the love/responsibility story is not sold to the audience. For me, that was a "who cares" as I knew the story, but if it was a first time, I think following the story would have been quite difficult. ------ We saw a matinee and I wanted to attend again in the evening.
Lisa kilrow from Denver, Colorado
My third time seeing this play and this was the
best!! The performers brought such depth to
their roles and voices were incredible.
Spellbinding! I would highly recommend this
Aaron from Denver, Colorado
One of the most powerful, and all inspiring shows I've ever seen.
Sherry Gomes from Boulder, Colorado
This was the 3rd time I've attended a performance of Les Mis. I also have five different cast albums. but this was the most amazing performance of them all. Nick Cartell as Valjean was so passionate with such a pure tone to his singing, I could listen to him over and over. all the other cast members were wonderful too. I cried several times, and during the finale, I had to hold on to my seat, because I wanted to jump up and join them on the barricades. I only wish I could go back and see it again and again and again. Thank you to all the cast for such a memorable evening and for moving my heart and soul so deeply in three short hours.
I have seen this play on Broadway and now here in Denver. I thought the Denver show was
magnificent, the sets were very much the same, even the voices seem to match up with what I
saw on Broadway. I went with my wife in NY, we enjoyed it so much we brought our three kids
this time… Everyone loved it! my one critique would be that with traffic, lines etc. they could’ve
been a little more graceful with the opening act... we waited about 10 minutes to get in and
missed the first couple of songs.
D from Three Hills, Alberta
PHENOMENAL LES MISERABLES!
This was a PHENOMENAL show! If you are at all able...go! Go now! See it! We were
very familiar with the story (novel and movie and songs) but had never seen it live
on stage. The male leads especially stood out-- Javert, Jean val Jean, and Mariusz--
WOW! Those VOICES! My only regret is that we hadn't splurged a little bit more for
closer seats (we were at the back of the first balcony, RC1, row N. I think Row A of
first balacony center would be a dreamy spot!) I also wished we had known we could
bring our drink in with us as I wouldn't have rushed it before being seated.
'Bring him home' was breath taking. The interaction in the garden with Mariusz and
Cossette was SO tender and fresh. The Finale was heartbreaking and perfect. And
the SET--- wow! Amazing!
I just want to re-read, re-listen, and experience it again and again. I am so very
thankful we spent the money, booked the sitter, pushed through the storm weather,
and made it for this exceptional evening!
from Vancouver, British Columbia
The best musical I have been to. Great story, outstanding actors/singers and great
scenery. The unforgettable experience was the song "I Dreamed a Dream", it was
absolutelly the best performance.
Greg Metcalf from Vancouver, British Columbia
AMONG THE BEST WE’VE SEEN
My wife and I are Les Mis nuts. We have seen the show seven times in
London over the years. We were really impressed by the Vancouver
version we were able to see today. The cast was fantastic. There were
some interpretations we haven’t seen before but they worked well. I
wasn’t convinced by Steve Czarnecki as Valjean in the opening
sequence, but he grew into the role beautifully. And - this is worth
noting - his rendition of Bring Him Home is easily the best we have
seen, and that’s saying something as we have seen some stars.
The rest of the cast were all great as well. We didn’t find any
Some clever use of backdrop projections were innovative and worked
Well done Queen Elizabeth and the whole production. Vancouver can
Jonathan from Vancouver, British Columbia
The audience gave an extra length ovation for On My Own.
I loved every minute of it.
I just added "See the Broadway version of Les Mis a second time" to my Bucket List.
Mary Dean from Portland, Oregon
I am overwhelmed with such emotion after seeing the performance of Les Miserables today in
Portland Oregon. Everyone was majestic in their performance from the top star to the
children. Thank you for giving it 100% of your artistry
Mike Griffith! from Portland, Oregon
This production was by far and away the best musical production I have ever
seen. The cast was spectacular the set was amazing. Thank you to everyone
involved for such an amazing evening! I would. Highly recommend going.
Sharon Greenberg from Seattle, Washington
LES MIZ SMOKIN’
Wonderful singing, fantastic set design. Thoroughly enjoyable except
for the smelly, choking smoke affecting the first 7-10 rows.
Jules W from San Diego, California
MY 5TH LES MISERABLES BUT THIS AMAZING CAST WAS NUMBER ONE.
Nine months ago I bought seven tickets to tonight's show, I always invite my young adult
children and a friend or two who has yet to be transformed by this amazing play.
Instead it was me that was blown away by an amazing stand out cast. Better than any
of my past five performances. The sheer volume of talent took tonight's audiences
breath away over and over. After certain numbers there was no applause, instead it
was a thunder of approval with whoops and cheers and deserved recognition.
Marnie Barnhorst from San Diego, California
I first saw Les Mis on Broadway 20+ years ago and was spell-bound. I
don’t usually have high expectations of touring casts compared to the
OBC (original Broadway cast), but this cast was fantastic. Huge voices,
great acting, and the staging, lighting and special effects transported
us back to Victor Hugo’s Paris. Next to the OBC in Hamilton, this is my
favorite performance of all time!
Lana McClure from Dallas, Texas
FANTASTIC FROM BEGINNING TO END
Not disappointed one bit !! Beautiful voices
singing memorable songs makes this my
favorite musical. Good production in Dallas.
Kyle from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Outstanding - The first act left me in awe. The voices were fantastic. A bit of an issue with sound as every once and a while I couldn't understand what the singers were saying. Overall, I strongly recommend.
Jack Gurey from Detroit, Michigan
5 Stars are not enough to describe this fantastic musical. You learn something about
yourself after seeing it: Joy, Happiness, Sadness, Complete Entertainment and the
most POWERFUL music you will ever hear - Not a dry eye in the theater for many
Simply the BEST
Joanna Hoyt from Schenectady, New York (performance) Orwell, New York (home)
WELL PACED, BEAUTIFULLY SUNG--A WONDERFUL EXEPRIENCE.
I drove three hours each way to see Les Miserables at Proctors Theatre in
Schenectady, and it was well worth it.
I love this story--I've reread the book repeatedly and watched every film version
YouTube offered, but this was the first live performance I've experienced. The pacing
was quick, but they didn't cut enough to damage the story. The singing was moving
and beautiful.(I've seen some complaints on this tour that lyrics were hard to
understand, but I found everything quite clear.) The set design was arresting--the
backgrounds based on Hugo's paintings gave a vivid sense of atmosphere.
Most important, the core of the story shone clear-- the vivid awareness of injustice
and man-made misery, and of the fact that sometimes people are sincerely trying to
stop that misery, working at cross-purposes and making each other worse; the
difficulty of breaking down economic/ social systems that crush people; the abiding
possibility of love and courage in the face of all that's wrong.
Yvonne from Durham, North Carolina
My daughters and I saw Les Mis... for my oldest daughters 18th birthday. She loves the story. The show at the DPAC in Durham was fabulous. It went off with out any glitches and the singers were great. The intensity of the show was emotionally moving and it showed like a movie. Wonderful voices and wonderful acting.
Catherine Souder from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
My husband and I saw it on January
18. It was one of the best
performances ever. We've seen it a
half dozen times in Philadelphia. The
actors and actresses are so talented.
Their voices were incredible.
Congratulations to one of
Philadelphia's local artists, Phoenix
Best. She did an outstanding job and
has a gorgeous voice.
We saw many children under the age
of 10. We don't think it's appropriate
for children that young.
We had dinner at Abe Fisher. Dinner
Paul Simpson from Chicago, Illinois
I loved the 2012 movie release so
much, I wasn’t sure this new live
production would be worth seeing.
Yet somehow this new theatrical
version found a way to build on the
achievements of the previous live
versions and the movie release, to
create an incredibly awesome new
Of course seeing this new production
in the beautiful Cadillac Palace
theater in Chicago was an added
bonus. Though I can’t imagine being
disappointed watching a DVD of this
performance in my home, and I am
hoping this release will be soon.
Carol Meyer Schaap from Chicago, Illinois
The plot, the songs, the sets, the costumes- all great! One of my
favorite shows ever! Some risqué bits in it - be aware if you are taking
Jeannette Levinsohn from Syracuse, New York
This performance was one of the best I've ever seen....and I've seen it at least a dozen times. The voices just kept on "giving" and the acting was wonderful. Kudos!
Casey from Syracuse, New York
I have seen Les Mis many times. I’m always just excited to go see it. This performance topped all. I was expecting a pleasant evening with my favorite musical and, instead, I experienced a rush of emotions and pure spontaneous glee in watching this cast. The visuals and special effects were amazing and the talent riviled Broadway. If one has a chance, go see! You won’t be disappointed!
Barbara Cosette Green from West Unity, Ohio
I have viewed this musical many times, my grandfather named my aunt
Frances Cosette when she was born and I was named Barbara Cosette also when my grandfather was reading this book many years ago, I am 80 years old and I did not like the name when I was young, but I loved the name as I grew older. My grandsons were in this musical and had the leads at their high school in Kentucky. I saw this many times when they performed. It is the best show ever and it is fantastic, I can't wait to see it in Toledo. I have this book named "Cosette" and am very proud of it.
Tara from Boston, Massachusetts
ONE OF THE BEST
Saw Les Mis last night in Boston. It was simply fantastic. I was in tears with the last scene. The music, the staging, the acting and singing were spot on. One of the best performances I have seen on stage, and I have seen quite a bit! Wish I could see it again! We were in the balcony and nothing was lost to us...I prefer closer seating in general, but with this powerful show, it did not matter.
Karen Brown from Boston, Massachusetts
Just amazing performances from Jillian Butler, Nick Cartell and Joshua Grosso. Honestly have seen this show many times and I believe this cast to be the best. So much talent.
Jeannie Perry from Colorado Springs, Colorado
This is the fourth time I have seen Les Miserables including the Broadway production . This was by far the best cast and production I have seen. The cast was outstanding. Most shows have strong and weak members, but not this production. All the members were equally strong in their characters. The vocals were stunning. I thought I was cold but realized I had goosebumps because of the beautiful soul feeling performances of the cast. Phenomenal performances by all. Thank you all for an amazing afternoon. Bravo!
Martin g.Matsil from Brooklyn,NY
i saw the 25th Anniversary,on PBS,from the O2 arena,fell in love,with the show.Channel 13.WNET
Dennis Pauly from Evanston, IL
This was the 3rd time I have seen it and it is still superb. Maybe a bit long but the sets and the cast were outstanding. I never heard of Nick Cartell but his Jean Valjean will be hard to beat. The entire cast was outstanding and you could hear every word they were singing. Matt Shingledecker (what a great name) is outstanding as Enjolras. This does not seem like a touring edition but a version equal to anything I have seen in New York.
Congratulations to this great cast and I am so glad I got to see this production.
Gail A Klingensmith from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
My first libe les mix. Staging singing everything top notch. Loved it mote than I can put into words.
Lynnea from San Jose, California
SEEN IT TWICE. LOVED IT BOTH TIMES
I'm a theater junkie. I rate Les Miserables as one of my top 2 favorites. The story is powerful, the songs and performances unforgettable. ( Read what it's about before you see it so you don't get left behind.) I've seen it twice on stage plus the film, and still am deeply moved by the story, characters and music.
RTR from Birmingham, Alabama
Love this musical so much! The singing, acting, and sets were fantastic. Just an awesome show!
I saw this in Birmingham at the BJCC and 3 technical things could improve an already fantastic performance.
First, the sound could have been louder. I was in the third row of the middle tier and heard all the movements around me over the music. My church has louder music than this show did. Secondly, the sets were rather dark. Where I was seated, the actors faces could not be discerned due to the distance, so good lighting was more imperative to see all movements. Some night scenes were just too dark.
And third, a big screen to show the actors faces would add a lot to appreciating the drama, as probably half the audience couldn't see the faces due to the distance and relied on their voices and body movements to convey this.
Otherwise, fantastic performance. The flow from set to set was ingenious. I'd love to see Javert's fall again and figure out how it was done. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
Kris Morris from Parrish, Florida
WAS I DREAMING ?
Today, March 1st, I was at the matinee performance of Les Mis in Sarasota After reading all these negative comments I’m wondering what everyone was watching !! ?? Maybe I was in a dream ..... if I was, please don’t wake me up After seeing this production twice before, I have to say it was fabulous. The voices were unbelievable....costumes, sets, music...all magnificent.. Kudos to everyone involved . Thank you ... I thoroughly enjoyed your production
Roy Hoagland from Richmond, Virginia
GREAT PERFORMANCES, LOUSY ACOUSTICS
I have seen many a Broadway show and this was one among
equals. The directing was superb, the voices incredible, the sets
amazing, the pit orchestra excellent, he acting as good as it comes
... The acoustics were terrible. We had great seats (front row in the
mezzanine, or Grand Tier as they call it at the Altria theater) and
50% of the words were mush, especially the choral numbers. This
has happened before at the Altria. While the sound was amazing,
the language was indecipherable. I should have asked for a refund
as all four of us in attendance could not understand the sung
dialogue more often than not. But hats off to the performers and
the production company, especially the two leads. Their
performances were stunning.
Dawn from Richmond, Virginia
LES MIS IN THE DARK?
I saw the truly grand production of Les Miserables years ago so I am probably very spoiled. The biggest problem of this version when I saw it Oct. 23 was lighting. Everything was so dark you could not see the actors very well at all! I understand that this was done in a style which depended on lighting and darkness, but it was WAY too dark. I had trouble telling who was singing as there was not always a spot light on them. I had to search for the singer several times. The sound balance was off for whatever reason. The actors and their singing was truly superb, although I found Javert a trifle jolting in his timing. He also needs to slow down just a bit. Grand voice though.
from San Francisco, California
Wonderful but they need to turn the sound
down a few decibels...too loud st times
Margie from Denver, Colorado
WHAT DID YOU SAY
I really love this story. I loved the singing but
i have to agree with fellow reviewers. The
first part of the play seemed rushed and the
words to the songs were unintelligible. My
son asked if they were singing in English. He
did not know the story and had no idea what
was going on. After the Bishop sang it was
better. I also wondered why Fantine sang
her song BEFORE she was a prostitute.
Misplaced there.And Valjean sang his song
to God BEFORE Marius was shot. Misplaced
there...4 stars because the songs were
better understood as the play went on the
singing was amazing...as the story played
Joan from Denver, Colorado
LES MIS IN DENVER AT DCPA
The good: Number one it is "Les Mis", a beautiful, raw human story of redemption
and loss with amazing words, acting and songs! The recognition of our common
tragedies, longings in the plot is always timeless and valuable! This specific
production- the voices and singing was awesome! The set changes and visual effects
were well done- the acting was passionate, energetic! The bad: - while the set is
supposed to be dark to reflect some of the darkness of the plot- it was so dark that
at times it made it difficult to see what was happening. The songs - unveiling of the
plot seemed so rushed and breathless (especially in the first part) that I almost felt
as if I were listening to a favorite record (vinyl) on the wrong speed. I did not find
the "rude gestures out of line with the rawness of the plot.
Overall: It is totally worth it- the story and music never fails to move me since I saw
it first back in the 80's . .. It is "Les Mis" !
Marcia from Denver, Colorado
It was way too loud and was hard to understand the words. Went a bit long.
One of my all-time favorites so somewhat disappointed, but the story was
strong. This is second time in the Buell that the music seemed too loud and
Dribble from Portland, Oregon
ORCHESTRA AND SINGERS FABULOUS; STAGE LIGHTING HORRENDOUS
The music was fabulous but the stage lighting was so dark it was like watching sepia toned shadows moving around on stage. In the first scene I thought it was dark in order to represent the grimness of Jean Valjean's prison, but it continued throughout the show. It is possible to portray mood while still allowing the audience to see the stage set and actors. In this case I might as well have kept my eyes closed because it would have been less frustrating.
from Indianapolis, Indiana
i loved the play. Although it's almost 3 hours, the time went by quickly. The sets and
special effects were quite good as well. Not for young children.
Sherry from Detroit, Michigan
LOVED ALMOST EVERYTHING ABOUT IT!
The music, the singing, the acting were fabulous and the sets were amazing as well. If
you know the story line, it is filled with a wonderful message of hope and redemption,
but the reason I wouldn't give it 5 stars is because I could really do without seeing some
of the obscene gestures in a few of the acts. (ex: at least 3 times when different objects
are used as a male body part) It is not needed at all. Makes it a little less family friendly,
but everything else was great!
Ruth from Ottawa, Ontario
The show was amazing - I have never seen a
production of Les Mis I didn't love. If you have never
seen this I highly recommend the show. In this
production at the NAC 2018 however there were a
couple casting problems with Fantineand Cosette -
both actresses had wonderful voices but their acting
lacked the rawness required of the Characters. They
both seemed better suited to play Dorothy in OZ and
lacked the ability to play a character with raw emotion
pain and absolute love . Other than that the show
was great. I would see it again!
Inez kraus from Charlotte, North Carolina
I’ve seen this show 4 times, two in NYC and
two here in Charlotte. In this production the
voices were wonderful as was the acting. My
disappointment was that much of the words
were unintelligible so if you didn’t know the
show you might not understand the story. The
orchestra seemed to be too loud at times. Also
the staging was extremely dark. However, with
that said, this is one of the best shows ever
from Los Angeles, California
SOLID AS A WHOLE WITH SOME WEAKNESSES
Thankfully, Javert and Valjean shine. "Bring Him Home" was stellar. Marius and Cosette likewise were fantastic. Thénardiers were ok, though he was quite hard to understand half the time. The only low point was Fantine. Applause for "I Dreamed A Dream" was tepid at best, and understandably so. Very pitchy, unfortunately. Perhaps it was an off performance for Mary Kate Moore? I saw the original B'way production a few months into its run, and I have to admit I miss the circular, rotating stage. I also don't recall the lighting design being so DARK! But perhaps it was, and my memory has faded.
Theatrepro from St. Louis, Missouri
LES MIS FIRE
Les Mis is one of my all time favorite shows. I saw it on Broadway for the first time as a child in 1988. I have worked on the show multiple times in my professional career as a technician. This production has issues. It also has some great performances. Val Jean, Fantine, Javier, Madame Thenardier, Marius were all up to the task if you could find them on stage in the "artistic theatrical lighting". Give me a tech rehearsal so I can please fix your lights. The lack of a turn-table ruins the staging of the show. Uninspiring battle at the barricade. Thenardier often my favorite was rather stiff and don't get me started on Epinine, though she did redeem some of her signing in Act II. Empty chairs and empty stage would be a better title for the song. The use of the projection was a welcomed addition and wasn't overused. Why do people try to recreate perfection only to destroy the heart of what made it so true?
Dorothy from Cleveland, Ohio
LES MISERABLES, CLEVELAND, OH
Very dim set lighting. I was distracted how dark everything was. I kept waiting for the set to lighten up, but it never did. I thought it felt a little rushed. I knew the story and songs so I understood what was going on, but someone unfamiliar may have trouble following it. Not sure if it was the sound clarity. Female singers were excellent and children too. I thought the male singing not as strong at times. My first experience of seeing this was via the movie so I think it ruined my theatre viewing of this production.
Dan from Richmond, Virginia
GREAT CAST BAD LIGHTING
Saw Les Miserables yesterday (2 pm) sitting in the E section orchestra area. Loved the voices but whomever choreographed the lighting was way off. Having paid over $200 for tickets for my wife and I I spent half the show watching darken shapes on stage. To me, the lighting or lack of lighting was a big distraction. I wanna see whats going on on stage. Other than that fantastic production. Went to The Answer Brewpub afterwards...highly recommend it.
Deb from New Haven, Connecticut
ENJOYED SHOW BUT NOT THE BEST PERFORMANCE
I love Les Miserables and have seen it many times. Hartford a few years ago and usually New Haven. This time, the sound was awful, I knew most of the lyrics but couldn't understand many of the words being sung. The stage was dark throughout the show and a lot of the staging from previous shows seemed to be gone.
The voices were strong and some songs were excellent and the finale was wonderful, it always brings goosebumps. The sound issues though made it the least enjoyable of all the shows I've seen. Reading some other reviews, I guess it wasn't just ours.
C Castro from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
GREAT PERFORMERS AND ORCHESTRA...TERRIBLE SOUND BALANCE!
I couldn't understand the performers most of the time. I first thought they were just
being too expressive, but then I could tell the audio wasn't balanced that their
booming voices made it difficult to understand them. If it wasn't because i have
seen the movie and heard the soundtrack many a times before that I would know
what was happening. I lost focused of who was singing because the lighting wasn't
always on the main person. So I my eyes would wander off looking for who is singing
as the costumers were similar for every character and couldn't distinguish some
from others. I believe lighting and sound where the problem here. The acting was
wonderful and musicians as well. I hope this won't be how the rest of the seasons
turns out to be.
Kim from San Francisco, California
FIRST TIME... GOOD AND BAD
Sound was bad.. I couldn't believe a professional, reputed theater could have this bad
sound. Especially in the beginning, it was like listing to low bitrate mp3 I pirated from the
internet. This contributed to making songs / especially group singing often unintelligible.
Especially singers with sharp voices like Eponine and Thenardiers were very hard to
As for actors... I was bit caught off guard when I saw a different person than Nick Cartell,
but Steve Czarnecki was an amazing Jean Valjean. I couldn't believe he is an understudy,
I almost thought it was a double cast. His singing, acting, emotions—everything was on
Javert, his voice and emotion was good, but his diction was a bit strange.
Female characters...I absolutely loved loved Cosette. Gorgeous clear voice, just as I
expected Cosette to have. Fantine(Mary Kate Moore) and Eponine(Paige Smallwood), on
the other hand, ruined the experience for me, as much as it hurts me to say. Singing
was not good at all
P. Dover from Denver, Colorado
ALMOST GREAT 8/5 - FINAL SHOW
All of the main characters were fantastic EXCEPT Javert and Epinine. Javert was in his
own key when he sang, but most of the time he was speak-singing. He was kind of
awful and made me dread the many scenes with him, by the way. He seemed to be
trying too hard to be bad guy. Eponine was played by an understudy for this show.
That has never been an issue for nay other show I've seen at DCPA. However,
Eponine's voice was so shrill it did not fit the texture of the rest of the cast. Her voice
kept "One Day More" from being an otherwise awesome, show-stopping
performance. Even Javert's poor singing was not enough to hurt this number.
Remove these two actors, and this was an amazing performance.
Elly Harper from Denver, Colorado
LES MIX DENVER
Okay, first of all, was about the 10th time seeing this play. We brought our two
grandsons to enjoy this spectacular musical. Too bad the lyrics were rushed and the
lighting was very poor. They knew the plot, etc, but couldn't understand a word,
especially in the first act. I would have the pacing of the lyrics more defined, the actors
facing the audience so we could at least see, if lighted enough, what they were trying to
sing. Emphasis of lyrics in many of the songs was misplaced and the spotlight words
were garbled. Cast was good, but they are only as good as directed. It hurts to write
this note, but that's the way I feel.
Lynne from Denver, Colorado
It was ok. We were in 7 th row.
Center. But it was too loud and you
really couldn’t understand lyrics. So
that made it distracting. Solos were
great since you could understand
them. The smoke smell was bad in
the second half We ate at the
limelight and it was absolutely
horrible. For 100 dollars it was a total
waste. All in all not a great
experience. We will try another play
this holiday season.
Andie Ptak from Seattle, Washington
POOR SOUND DESIGN SPOILED THE SHOW
To start, I last saw this show from G-center with the original Broadway cast, so this
production had a tough act to follow, but I knew that going in. As with many other
reviewers, I found this production to be marred by poor sound design—specifically for
numbers that were backed by full, loud orchestration. That meant that the large chorus
numbers and most of the men's numbers were nearly unintelligable. Thankfully, the
wonderful solo ballads by the highly skilled performers accompanied by softer
orchestration were wonderful. Eponine's "On My On" and Fontine's "I Dreamed a
Dream" were, of course, particular stand-outs, as was "Bring Him Home." It's a shame
that so much of the show was so hard to hear. I highly recommend that anyone who
has tickets listen to the cast album in its entirity BEFORE you go. I wish I had pulled my
vintage vinyl out of the stacks and done so.
D. Bissonnette from Madison, Wisconsin
GREAT VOICES ...LIGHTING, TOO DARK!
This was my third time seeing Les Mis. I know that nothing will ever compare with
the first time in Chicago in the late 80's. I cannot fault the singing. the voices were
terrific but if I had not already known the story, I would not have gleaned it from the
words and actions I observed. The stage was very dark without good spotlighting of
those who were singing or where the action was actually taking place. The songs
seemed rushed and the words frequently garbled. And where was Gavroche's "little
We ate at the downtown Eno Vino. It was great!
Loyal Proctors Patron from Valley Falls, New York
IT WAS OKAY BUT NOT AS GOOD AS I EXPECTED
I saw Les Miserables Saturday night at Proctors in Schenectady NY. It
was good but disappointing. I had seen it a few years ago at Proctors
and it was fantastic. This time around it was only okay. The music
seemed off tempo. Some of the actors were lackluster. I agree with
another reviewer who said they had a hard time understanding the
songs even though I’ve listened to them many times. It just felt that the
whole performance was off. Sad because it is one of my favorite
shows. I won’t see again if this is the kind of performance it will be.
from Little Rock, Arkansas
I've never had such trouble understanding the words in a musical at Robinson. I've heard from several friends who have said the same thing.
The problems were not isolated to the performance in Little Rock. Here's a quote from an October review of the Hartford, CT performance by the same touring company: "I also had some issues with the sound designed by Mick Potter. I know the lyrics of much of the show, but I had a lot of trouble understanding much of what I did not remember from the recording....I would expect flawless sound overall for a national tour."
The lights, staging, and singing were outstanding. But we did not fully experience the performance because of the poor quality sound. With this tour's ongoing problems, they should have found a solution or projected the text.
Liz from Boston, Massachusetts
HARD TO FOLLOW THE STORY
I have seen Les Mis twice in London, and I found this show very hard to follow. Several of the actors seemed to overplay the dramatics and breathlessness of parts of the story and the lyrics were lost. I don't think it was because it was too loud, as other reviewers have indicated, although a fellow theatre goer did make exactly that comment as we were leaving. I am listening to the original cast right now, and it is SO much easier to hear the words.
Overall, it's a good show, and I liked the staging and lighting. Other people in the audience seemed to love it, so maybe it's just me!
Nunzio Gregorio from Boston, Massachusetts
The story is the same but the words and music were not accompanied by the same production touches to make it enjoyable to new viewers. I went with 3 couples that have not seen it before and the word "confusing" was used by most. The production did not use the typical town and years on thee screen to show when 10 years pass. The lighting was very poor and the stage was always dark. You could not see colors of costumes or who was singing. The producers made changes to the sets that were not for the better. Maybe it was the narrow stage of the Opera house.
The orchestra was right on and true to the original score. The singers were a mixed bag. Valjean's voice did not have the range to match his age always sounding youthful. Eponine had an unusual voice and I did not feel the emotion her songs typically yield., Marius was fantastic as was Fantine.
Les Mis is a classic i'll always enjoy but when asked by my friend where it ranked amongst all i've seen my response was it was last.
Elizabeth from Boston, Massachusetts
ENTERTAINING BUT NOT WOWED
I might be biased having seen it performed 5+ times in London. The actors, especially Jean Valjean and Javert, were wonderful. The stage direction and some of the songs felt so rushed and the lighting was so dark. You’d think France only knew nighttime.
D. Whelen from Boston, Massachusetts
This version lacked the excitement of the older shows. I’ve seen it about 7 times. The sets were sparse, the sound very loud, the comical aspects downplayed, and it felt rushed. As others mentioned it was hard to follow if it was your first time seeing it, which was the case for my friend. Actors voices were very good, and the crowd gave an ovation. Overall it was good, but lacked the wow power of previous version. The lighting is dark at all times, even during less emotional moments and although the story is gritty and bleak, having it all sort of one note in color/lighting/tone doesn’t give the character’s evolutions a way to shine. The story has ebb and flow, but in this version it was like they punched you with every song. Like watching a singing competition rather than a developing plot. And the skimpy barricade was just a shame.
Melissa from Boston, Massachusetts
SONGS WERE TALKED IN PARTS
I’ve seen Les Miserables at least ten times. It’s my absolute favorite. Although I thought the men leads were great, I wasn’t a fan of the way the women sang. I think it was directorial, but I felt like they were talking parts of the best songs in the show. I left disappointed.
A. Catalano from Colorado Springs, Colorado
If I didn't know the story, I would not have understood what was going on. Both my husband and I were often frustrated by garbled lyrics and wondered if we chose the wrong seats. Based on other reviews, it looks like seats didn't matter.
Eric from Chicago, Illinois
BE GONE HAMILTON, THIS IS LES MIS!
The actors voices were strong, the staging was good, the pace of act 1 was slightly rushed (I've come to expect this from Les Mis productions since the early 2000's.) My issue with the production was the "Hamilton" influence of adding modern phrases into the classic book. I don't need to hear Marius say "what's up" when he meets Cosette for the first time. Further the same was done to at least three other numbers where the lyrics were "updated." I also felt that the actor playing Grantaire was directed to play it "like Jefferson from Hamilton only more crude."
Look, I get that I'm one of the only humans to have seen Hamilton and not thought it was the greatest thing that had ever hit the board. However I can't be alone in thinking that we don't need every production to copy their style am I?
Ava from Spokane, Washington
GREAT PRODUCTION MUFFLED SOUND
I know the show - new choreography- loved it! Hard to understand voices at different times, missed quite a bit of the lines which was disappointing.
Devorah McIntosh from Spokane, Washington
CAN NEVER MISS THE CHANCE TO SEE IT LIVE
This was my fifth live theater experience of "Les Miserables" and took a friend who had never seen it who fully enjoyed it. I, however, missed the fluidity of the staging from previous productions e.g.: the original curtain screen and the visually tragic tableau of the barricade when the set revolved to show the defeated and the red swath of the doomed flag - to name a few. I missed much of the previous stage sets and the choreographed moves of the cast. Both actors portraying Valjean and Javert were strong, and Valjean's"Bring Him Home" was exquisite.
Susan D from San Antonio, Texas
We have seen Les Mis 4 times; 3 at this location. This production was so dark that it was difficult to see any characters even from Mezzanie levele seats. The singing was fine but watching this was like watching an old B & W movie with everyone in shadows.
Moises T from San Antonio, Texas
Although I have only seen the show live twice, i have seen the movie and the 10th +25th anniversary shows many times. I have also heard the songs a lot, but this show was a bit of a letdown as far as the musical parts go. At the beginning the actors were caught off guard and for the first two minutes they were entering a second or two late, which is quite a lot in my opinion. I also didn't like the voices of Eponine and Fantine, they seemed squicky, even though their acting was great.
John T from Kalamazoo, Michigan
A GOOD SHOW, BUT NOT GREAT
I will preface this by saying that I have seen so many iterations of this show. I have seen really amazing performances and relatively poor performances. For me, this particular show falls somewhere in between.
-The actors that play Valjean, Javert, and Madame Thernardier carried the show.
-Sounding: It was VERY difficult to understand a lot of the words being sung, and the orchestra was far too loud. I feel my girlfriend (a Les Miz first-timer) missed a lot because of this.
-Lighting: WAY too dark. Hard to watch at times.
-Singing: Everyone had great voices, but the singing all lacked emotion. When Fantine feels hopeless, I want to hear it in her voice. I did not. Thernardier was pretty inanimate. Marius did not sound sad in "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables."
-A personal peeve: Gavroche without the accent. I never understood that.
When I go to see Les Miz, I expect to be on an emotional rollercoaster ride. I didn't quite get there with this cast.
RKL from Cleveland, Ohio
My wife and I have seen like 15 different performances over 25 years
and this was the most disappointing. The person playing Cosette was
probably on par of all past performances but on the final show on
11/18 in Cleveland, we got the understudy for Javert who was ok, and
and the understudy for Eponine, whose vocal range was limited and
she wound up screaming vs singing. Fantine was lifeless and the
singing was not up to par for this performance. Jean Valjean was
decent but he had strong competition compared to the various actors
we have seen over the years. In addition the staging without the
revolving stage looks cheap as they only displayed one side of the
barricade compared to past performances with the revolving stage
which made it more dramatic. It also seems like there a lot fewer
members in the ensemble. The ensemble group numbers were the
best numbers of the show as the overall quality was comparable to
Mimi from Baltimore, Maryland
THIS ‘LES MIS’ MISSES!
This is one of our favorite musicals of all time,
so we were so excited to be able to see it at the
Hippodrome! But unfortunately we left very
disappointed with this production. The staging
of the show was terrible. The lighting was so
poor that most of the time the performers
could not be clearly seen - and we had
orchestra seats! The sound quality was often
muffled & distracted from the song quality. I
also did not like the ‘echo’ sound effects
included in some of the songs. Some of the
costumes lacked historical accuracy. Les Mis is
a show that fills me with emotion. But
unfortunately I never felt any of that from
these performers - especially from the most
tragic character - Fontine!
Don Amon from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
LES IS NOT MORE!!
This was the 6th or 7th time I've seen Les Miserables dating back to London in 1990.
I always see the touring productions and have never been disappointed until
Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Everything seemed cramped on stage. The reveals
during the battle sequence weren't reveals and lost their emotional connection for
me. The actors were wonderful singers, but wanted to "act" there way through the
numbers to where sometimes they were inaudible. Empty Chairs and Empty Tables
on a bare stage makes no sense!! I love this musical and the music that tells the
story, however, this minimalistic production is at the bottom of my list.
Ms. Cactuswrenz from Marana, Arizona
The sound and acoustics were so bad, most of the songs were just noise. I had an awfully
difficult time understanding most of them, even after the show was stopped so the sound
system could be adjusted. I actually fell asleep for a few minutes. Being that it w
as such hard work, I left at the intermission and headed home to watch the movie version.
Very disheartening since the voices were so lovely sounding, the costumes and scenery were
outstanding, and the cast energy was brilliant. Something needs to be done with the horrible
sound system in that theater!
CC from San Francisco, California
I WAS MISERABLE!
This is my fourth time watching Les Miserable as its one of my favorite shows. 2nd time at the Orpheum. This was by far the worst version I have seen. I do not know if the play was revised. Sound was bad. Especially in the beginning, the singing was rushed and garbled. This contributed to making songs / especially group singing often unintelligible. Singers with sharp voices like Eponine and Fantine were very hard to understand. Javert was totally mumbling to himself. If you do not know the story, your SOL because you will never understand the plot based on this show run. The set and lighting was definitely changed from the original version, it is much darker and does not do the play justice. I'm hoping these latest reviews are seen and they bring the original version back. I did not even finish the play as it did not get better. A waste of money!
I wanted to like it from Denver, Colorado
The set design changes give the over production quality a cheaper look. Bring back the spinning stage! While every performer brings his own take to the characters Javier's was particularly distracting and caused tempo changes thus throwing performances like the confrontation off. Still loved the actors voice however. Valjean was a true to the classic production while giving a fresh look at the character. If this was my first time seeing Les Miserable I would call it an ok show but would not have fallen in love with it enough to see it over again. They are bringing a beloved classic musical back to life, okay is not good enough. Still worth it if this is your first time, if this not your first, skip this performance.
John R Patterson from Jacksonville, Florida
I'VE HEARD BETTER
First, let me say that the sets were very impressive. From there it went down hill. It wasn't so much the singers themselves but the sound in the theater. Maybe if the place was empty and they were only singing to me, it might have been different but with a full theater and everyone making noises around me, the voices were not clear at all. Perhaps if the theater had speakers like at a movie theater, it might have been different.
Sharie Webber from Dunstable, Massachusetts
LES MIS BOSTON 2019
I rarely make any negative public reviews of shows having been part of the theater world myself in the past, but I must say I was so VERY disappointed overall. Other than Jean Valjean, (who gave one of the VERY best theatrical performances I've EVER seen) , there were a number of issues & production choices that truly effected the show the biggest being the pace at which the performers acted. For most of the production it was impossible to understand what was being due to speed. Even with it being my 5th time seeing this live (my daughters first, knows the plot very well from the movie) we found ourselves reaching to find what was being said. Actors who were dying on stage seemed more focused on gasps of breath to show they were dying vs being immersed in the moment Lighting was also terrible (we were only 18 rows back & couldn't see most of the show believe it was a production choice not tech). Very little emotion, connection from actors elicited no emotion from the audience.
Mike from Boston, Massachusetts
GOOD, NOT GREAT
This is my 4th performance, Toronto (1989), London (2012, 2014). Not the best of the 4. The performers are all talented, sadly they sung almost every song at a pace a beat or two faster than any of the previous performances I've seen as if they had someplace else to be and needed to get this done. So whomever is coaching/directing these very talented performers didn't slow them down, and maybe felt like an up tempo rendition was overdue. Many of the songs lyrics weren't even clear or understandable and I've listened to many renditions literally hundreds of times. Too bad, I hope these performers get better direction as they hone their careers.
Susanna from Knoxville, Tennessee
I have seen many other plays in various locations, including New York and London, but this was the first time I have been to Les Miserables. While I knew a little of the story line and music prior to the performance, I was unfamiliar with the plot. The music was beautiful, but I found it very difficult to follow because I could not understand the words the performers were singing. I wanted to leave at intermission, but we had paid top dollar. We were sitting close to the front, but I still could not see the singers at times because they some of them crawled on the floor as they sang, which I found very unusual. I would recommend anyone seeing this play for the first time watch the movie ahead of time.
Mark R. from Austin, Texas
TECHNICAL SHORTCOMINGS UNDERMINE THE PERFORMANCE
Les Miserables is my favorite musical and I had high expectations for this production at Bass Concert Hall in Austin on 9/10/19. While it was opening night and some things may not have been "dialed in" and worked out, the production value was not on par with any Broadway Across America show I've seen here. Scenery and lighting were so dark that the cast might as well have been performing on an empty stage. Many wonderful effects lost and wasted. The live music was wonderfully performed but was drowning out all of the song lyrics. Every number was rushed, with the words quite difficult to hear and understand (and these are songs I know and love). Had I not seen the musical live, or seen the motion picture version of the musical, I am quite certain that I would not have a clue about the story line or anything going on with any of the characters. I was very disappointed, so disappointed in fact, that I wrote this review during the intermission. Finally, despite the house policies, Bass Concert Hall was allowing a significant number of people to enter and exit the theater throughout the performance. It was completely distracting, especially given the compromised lighting and sound. And the ushers and their flashlights were a significant part of the problem. If you see this show on another night I hope it is improved. It was truly as though there had been no pre-show run through at all. Missed spotlights and terrible sound reinforcement. Standout performances from little Cosette, Cosette, and Marius. A let down from the other leading roles. This production of Les Miserables was WAY MISERABLE and unfortunately a good deal of the let down seems to be from the venue.
Pete Masters from Austin, Texas
DON’T UNDERSTAND THE HYPE
Having never seen this show before I had let the hype falsely set expectations. The music was good, the actors were difficult to understand, and what I could make out of the story was uninteresting. If you already know the ropes to this musical I suppose it would be enjoyable (the woman next to me hummed the whole thing). Disappointed in it, but maybe it’s a shortcoming if mine. Wouldn’t recommend
Debbie Brink from Austin, Texas
I’ve seen Les Mis in NYC, London, and here in Austin years ago previously. I didn’t expect this performance to be as good as the others, and I was still disappointed. The two main male characters rushed their lyrics to the point of not being understandable or on the beat. The actress playing Fontaine sang what should have been the most beautiful song of the show so softly that it fell flat. Frequently the orchestra drowned out the singers’ voices. That being said, the talent of all of the performers certainly seemed ample. It was the direction that was lacking.
Frustrated from Austin, Texas
TERRIBLE SOUND & LIGHTING
Impossible to understand the singers bc orchestra was too loud and singers were not enunciating. Lighting was much too dark. I knew what was happening bc I've seen it many times on Broadway, but my poor husband was lost. Solos were mostly excellent. Also tempo was sometimes off in non-solo singing, and sometimes notes were changed or not hit. Very disappointing especially for the cost of the tickets. Javert and JVJ were excellent but often unintelligible. Eponine's solo was magnificent, but much of her singing before then was off and her voice was all wrong.
Barb from Orlando, Florida
We were so disappointed in this production here in Orlando. The set was dark and made it difficult to see very well. The singing was very hard to understand. We heard about one-fourth of the words. Gave up after intermission.
Would not recommend.
TrackSuit from Birmingham, Alabama
I’ve saw Les Mis in New York 25 years ago. I was awe struck with the production and pure vocal quality of the cast. From top to bottom it went high on my “best of” list.
Having the opportunity to see the touring cast in Birmingham on 1/9/2020 was going to be the first time for my significant other. She lived in New York for a time and saw many original cast productions but never got to Les Mis. I was excited and pumped about letting her experience what I did many years ago.
Unfortunately this show was a major let down. I’m not going to highlight (or in this case lowlight) all the disappointments but as high on my list the first experience was, this one now occupies the bottom end of my “worst of”.
It gets 2 stars because there were a few bright spots vocally but the entire production was sub par. Valjean was particularly bad, the lighting and sound stage was awful. I’ve never been so disappointed and we left at the first intermission. Bad night? No, it was plain terrible.
Adam Patterson from Birmingham, Alabama
I went to to Birmingham, Alabama show on January 10th. This was my 8th time seeing Les Miserables in person and was by far the worst. While the set was impressive, the dark lighting made it difficult to see what was happening. I know the show pretty intimately, so I could forgive that. The pacing and voices of certain characters is what was most disappointing. The whole production was rushed and the tempo was much faster than it’s supposed to be. This led to the more emotional key moments falling very flat. It became quite boring, so I found myself distracted and looking around the the theatre quite a bit where I noticed quite a number of people leaving early. By the end of the final battle, I was considering joining them. My date had never been and walking out she said, “I don’t understand why everyone loves that so much”. I could only apologize and explain that that production did it no justice.
Kyle Y from Kalamazoo, Michigan
POOR SOUND, UNDER-LIT ACTORS AND SET
This adaptation’s run at Miller Auditorium has an excellent cast with amazing voices. However, the technical aspects (sound, staging, and lighting) leave much to be desired:
Thin, weak sound by an underpowered PA system at times literally makes lines unintelligible, and an awkwardly quiet mix of the pit orchestra shuns away the detail and nuance the musicians work hard to produce. From the middle of the orchestra section, I’m pretty sure we were hearing most of the show from 1 or 2 small front fill speakers way down at the front of the stage.
Shadowy, spotty lighting inconsistently illuminates lead actors and leaves extras in total darkness throughout the show, while overbearingly-bright TV confidence monitors for the actors on the balcony literally light up the theater more than the dim, murky stage. SO much set and costume texture was unseen due to the lack of accent lighting and basic backlighting fundamentals... not to mention a digitally projected backdrop so dim it was nearly invisible and added no aesthetic value to scene changes.
The Miller’s grand stage is choked by a claustrophobia-inducing set design, limiting stage blocking to only a small area in the middle for any and every scene. This greatly limited the audience immersion of the show and created an impression, overall, that the show is better played to a crowd of no more than 300-400 tops.
Betsy from Bloomington, Indiana
I WAS MISERABLE!
My daughter and I had first row balcony seats and were so excited for the show. The first scene was dark and the men had great voices but right away I felt a lack of connection to the characters. None of them were singing to me. The tempo felt rushed and the actors seemed to be going through the motions. It was hard to understand the lyrics sometimes. The solos lacked passion, at least for us. It is too long a show for me. We left at intermission. The sets were fantastic! Just disappointed.
Mary Droder from Cincinnati, Ohio
I was so very disappointed. The performers had NO passion. NONE. I was expecting to be pulled in and crying by the end, just as the movie had me. But these singers were just showing up and not feeling the part. Jean ValJean was terrible. Absolutely NO passion. How did Cosette have dark hair and was Asian as a young girl and then become a blonde as an adult? This had to be the worst performance out of all my seasons being at the Aronoff..
Oberon from Sarasota, Florida
WAS THIS THEIR FIRST DRESS REHEARSAL?
Let's put it this way, 1/3 of the way through the first act I wanted to leave. The entire 1st act seemed to be on 1.5 fast forward speed. Songs were all rushed. Valjean would be a good JC in JC superstar. He seems to have PTSD with jerking movements the entire first act and kept sliding on his notes. Fantine seemed to be breathless all the time. The Thenardier's WERE HORRIBLE. WHO CAST THEM?? could barley understand the husband, the wife kept ending her notes in growls. Enjorlas seemed like a starved Fabio who kept reaching for his notes. The stage was too dark and the music was not loud enough (and I'm 36). Eponine tried so hard to sing...but just failed miserably. The only scene she did good on was the "I'm gonna scream, I'm gonna warn them here" - but constantly out of harmony with Marius and Cosette.
Javert was excellent
Cosette was 8 out of 10
Marius - a baritone did actually well. Pulled at some note but enjoyable.
There were some cast members who sang better than the leads.
Anita from Atlanta, Georgia
Saw it at Peace Center SC 8 March. I have seen Les Mis 4 times, and this was probably the most disappointing. I actually really liked the singing/voices, particularly Valjean & Javert, but the lyrics were unintelligible for many characters. Having read the book and seen the production I could infer my own understanding, but my family did not fare as well, I spent a lot of intermission trying to catch them up on the story so far, but it did not help and they did not attend the second half. In my view the orchestra was too loud and at times drowned out the more softer singers, it was only Valjean and Javert that were singing louder than the orchestra. The second issue was diction, specifically I am going to call out Thendadier and most of the students. It is also true that the really dark lighting exacerbated the issue, making it really hard to follow, if you were not familiar with the story. It is baffling to me that having seen so many similar reviews that the production has not made any tweaks??
Tim C from Richmond, Virginia
THIRD TIME IS THE WORST.
I’ve seen Les Mis three times over the years.
The show is one of my favorites. Unfortunately
the sound quality and pitchy tone of the
performers easily makes this the worst
rendition I’ve seen. I’m not sure if the poor
performance was due to it being the second
show of the day, but this was definitely not
Broadway quality. The best singers were the
children. I feel cheated.
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