Les Miserables: Analysis

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The longest running and arguably the most powerful musical production to have ever hit the stage, Les Miserables has been seen by over 60 million people in 42 different countries across the globe. Since its opening night at the Barbican Theatre on October 8, 1985, it has captured the hearts of many as it continues to break box-office records even in its 28th year.

The story revolves around an ex-convict named Jean Valjean who broke his parole and is from then on pursued by a constabulary named Inspector Javert. Valjean then dedicates his life to becoming an honest man who tries to show love for people around him who are in need. Les Miserables embodies a primarily historical performance, yet certain modern elements are present as well. Historical elements are manifested through its setting of 19th Century France. The use of language, the culture of the characters, as well as the costumes and outfits are also key indicators of the historical background of the production. Yet hints of modern ideas also turn up in the form of hierarchies, authorities, and causality within the story. Such a fusion of a historical setting and modern concepts helped spur the complexity and aesthetics of the entire production.

Directed by Tom Hooper and produced by Cameron Mackintosh, Les Miserables the film starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway was released in 2012. It was a revolutionary production of film fused with musical theatre as it evoked tears from audiences all around the world. However, as a film, it deviated from certain norms of musical theatre and such is evident upon comparison with the 10th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables starring Colm Wilkinson, Lea Salonga, and Michael Ball among others.

A glaring difference between the two productions lies in the spectacle. While the costumes of both productions were vibrant and candy to the eyes, the 10th Anniversary Concert provided a powerful and striking display of ensemble and orchestra that was absent in the...
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