If anyone reading this lives near Harrisonburg, Virginia, let me encourage you, in the strongest possible terms, to check out the high school’s production of the musical Les Miserables. You have until Sunday. I’ve seen some good high school shows in my time, but this is really something special. The high school seems to have an exceptionally deep bench of very talented people this year.
I am something of a Les Miz aficionado. I regard it as quite simply the finest novel ever written. I haven’t decided what number two is, but it’s pretty far back. I even have a vague idea for a book (which I’ll probably never write), using Les Miz as a vehicle for discussing connections between literature and mathematics. At any rate, while nothing beats an unabridged version of Victor Hugo’s novel, I’ve long felt the musical does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the story. It certainly does a far better job than any of the movie adaptations I’ve seen, especially that dreadful 1998 version with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean. I’ve seen two professional productions of the show, and I have listened to the soundtrack so many times that I have most of it memorized.
My point is that when it comes to Les Miz, my standards are high. When I found out the high school was attempting it I was very skeptical, since it is a difficult show to pull off. In this case, my skepticism was misplaced. Badly misplaced. It was so good, I’m planning to see it again tomorrow.