It was Sunday, July 23, 2006. I was waching the 7061st performance of Les Miserables by the Marius Company, accompanied by a friend from my writer’s group. There have been three US national tours, overlapping each other, named after three of the main characters: Valjean, Fantine, and Marius. Combined, there have been performances nationwide from November 1987 until Sunday night.
One trivial fact the playbill gives is that the turntable upon which the stage for Les Miserables is built revolves 63 times each performance, and if you stood still, you would travel half a mile during the course of a show. Over 7061 performances, that would have been 3530.5 miles.
The actors who played Thenardier (the innkeeper), and Madame Thenardier (the innkeeper’s wife) were from the original Broadway Cast. Jennifer Butt was reprising the role she originated on Broadway. I remember relishing her performance in 1988, and she was as good Sunday night. However, Norman Large was originally the Bishop. The Bishop and Thenardier are very different roles, and while I can’t say I remember him very well as the Bishop, he was a great Thenardier.
I’m no expert, but the best voice may have been Melissa Lyons, who played Eponine. Eponine is one of the characters who undergo a significant change from the novel. She is a much more sympathetic character in the musical.
I was disappointed with the kid they had playing Gavroche. I know it’s difficult enough to find a kid who can sing, and Anthony Skillman (who also played Chris Partridge in the shortlived The New Partridge Family) did an admirable job. However, he just wasn’t believable as a young Thenardier. He’d be a good Oliver Twist, but he wasn’t Puckish enough for Gavroche.
I purchased a new shirt last night, as the one I got almost 18 years ago is feeling its age.