I’ve been wandering around the house humming the tunes from the musical “Les Miserables.”
Yes, they’re quite commercial. But I like them and make no apology.
This began even before we went to see the show at Proctors the other evening. I’m not going to get into a long discussion of Victor Hugo’s famous novel in musical form because you can’t get tickets to the current show in Schenectady.
But I will say that my opinion of the musical — this is the 25th year it has been staged — is that it’s well worth hearing if you get a chance.
Over the years, much of Claude-Michel Schonberg’s music and Herbert Kretzmer’s lyrics have become familiar. (Remember Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream”? It’s sung in “Les Miserables” by the character Fantine. And there is also “The People’s Song” — “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and Jean Valjean’s hauntingly beautiful “Bring Him Home.”)
The production is a lusty closeup of life in Paris in the restive early 19th century. It includes the bawdy “Master of the House” by the corrupt innkeepers the Thenardiers, a pack of petty grifters whose moral compass has been displaced — or perhaps never existed.
Still the music with its strong bass drive sets me to humming:
* * *
Master of the house, doling out the charm
Ready with a handshake and an open palm
Tells a saucy tale, makes a little stir
Customers appreciate a bon-viveur
Glad to do a friend a favor
Doesn’t cost me to be nice
But nothing gets you nothing
Everything has got a little price!
* * *
I loved Peter Lockyer in the role of Jean Valjean, and Andew Varela as the driven Javert was first rate. One of the unusual requirements of “Les Miserables” is its need for many good actors and singers, and the current road show certainly has found them, starting off with the scheming Thenardiers. Lauren Wiley as Cosette and Devin Ilaw had shared some delightful duets.
Wife Beverly and I have been on the disabled list in recent weeks but we were still able to see the show with the help of Proctors staff — CEO Philip Morris, along with the house manager, office manager and two volunteer guides arranged for unobscured seats for us that were easy to access with cane and wheelchair.
All in all, a memorable evening downtown which we’re finding more enticing every time we visit.