Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary (2010) Poster

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10/10
gorgeous
blanche-220 March 2011
I'm not an expert on "Les Miserables," but as a former opera singer, I am an expert on singing. The 25th concert celebration is very memorable.

Led by the rapturously voiced Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, the cast includes Broadway singer Norm Lewis as Javert, Lea Solanga as Fantine, Nick Jonas as Marius, Ramin Karimloo as Enjoras, Samantha Barks as Eponine, Katie Hall as Cosette, Jenny Galloway as Mme. Thenardier and Matt Lucas as Monsieur Thenardier.

The performances were filled with excitement, emotion, and beauty, with only a couple of weak links, one being Nick Jonas as Marius. He worked very hard, but his voice didn't fare well in comparison with the others. Since he's a member of the Jonas Brothers, it's obvious that the producers wanted to bring the youngsters to the theater. Judging by his applause, they succeeded. The other weak link was Matt Lucas as Monsieur Thenardier, whom I had trouble understanding.

The rest of the cast is terrific, with Alfie Boe passionate and sensational as Valjean, Norm Lewis, an intense, formidable Javert, Lea Solanga, a glorious Fantine, the beautiful, lyrically voiced Katie Hall as Cossette, and the British version of Lea Michele, Samantha Barks, a powerful Eponine. All of these singers knocked it out of the park with not only their vocal beauty but the emotion of their performances.

At the end of the concert, we were introduced to the original 1985 cast, the international tour cast, and the current cast, and we were able to hear Colm Wilkinson, John Owen-Jones, Simon Bowman and Alfie Boe sang "Bring Him Home." There was also an appearance by Michael Ball, the original London Marius, and several others, as well as the composers, the lyricist, and the producer, Cameron Mackintosh, all very rich men.

The audience went crazy, and with good reason. The music of "Les Miserables" is very stirring and thrilling, and when sung and acted well, as it is here, it's a real treat.
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10/10
Absolutely magnificent!
Mr_PCM13 January 2011
Les Miserables is, quite simply, the finest musical ever made, and this special anniversary performance encapsulates exactly why.

It had been many years since I saw 'Les Mis' on stage in London, and other than listening to it on CD semi-regularly, I hadn't had much experience of the show until receiving the 25th anniversary concert on Blu-Ray. Prior to then, 'Phantom' was by a mile my favourite musical, with no others close. Les Miserables blows them all out of the water.

The story is simple enough. A paroled man tries to rebuild his life with adopted daughter Cosette, against the backdrop of student rebellions in France. Meanwhile Marius, one of the students, and Cosette fall in love. Yet the plot is little more than something to drape the music around, and for that it serves its purpose admirably, giving depth, context and emotion to the magnificent music. Much has been written about the plot's simplicity, which needs little more than a couple of captions and video clips to drive it on, and the similarly simple staging also needs little analysis. Both serve to focus all attention on the music, adding to the raw power of the show.

The music ranges from the comedic (Master of the House) to the tragic (On My Own) to the operatic (Bring Him Home) and the simply spine-tingling (One Day More). No other musical has the power to raise hairs and bring goosebumps throughout, and at the same time bring entire audiences to tears – look out during the standing ovation (one of many) towards the end for a lady with mascara streaming down her face from tears, demonstrating the emotional power of the music. In any other musical, ask fans to name their favourite song, and they will usually all pick from the same few. But with Les Miserables, fans would be hard-pressed to limit their choices to a top 10, with 'I Dreamed a Dream', 'Stars', 'Do You Hear The People Sing', 'One Day More', 'On My Own', 'Bring Him Home' and 'Empty Chairs' not even half the regular list of favourites! The casting is near-perfect. Having seen much of the original cast in the 10th anniversary production way back in my school days, and all but worn out the CD of the original cast recording, I never thought anybody could surpass Colm Wilkinson's definitive performance as the hero Valjean. Yet Alfie Boe does that superbly. His vocal range and emotion invested into the music equals that of his legendary predecessor, but he is also able to bring a power and resonance that gives operatic scale and strength to his performance. His dramatic renditions of solos such as 'What Have I Done?' and 'Who Am I?' are spine-chilling, thanks to the strength with which he is able to hit and hold the big notes, while his 'Bring Him Home' is quite simply awesome. Yet he is not alone. Norm Lewis's Javert is virtually his equal in emotional range, and Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras and Katie Hall as Cosette are also excellent. Matt Lucas, in a slightly leftfield casting choice, is surprisingly entertaining as the roguish Thernadier. While never claiming to be a first-rate singer, Lucas makes up for this by enjoying what obviously is a long leash given to him to put his own spin on the character, really hamming up the comical villainy and providing some genuine hilarity amongst all the weepies. Special mention must be made of the performance of Samantha Barks as the feisty Eponine. While Frances Ruffelle was excellent as the original, Samantha Barks sets a new benchmark, bringing a genuine heart-wrenching pitiable quality, leading audiences to virtually want to beat Marius over the head for not seeing her true feelings, and her haunting solo in one of the show's signature songs – On My Own – becomes a real tear-jerker.

Which brings us to Marius. The casting of Nick Jonas, of Jonas Brothers fame, is little more than a casting publicity stunt, and one which almost backfires catastrophically. Quite simply, Jonas is leagues out of his depth, and his voice has not the power nor range to do justice to the role, and he comes across as a typical boy band singer, and a barely adequate one at that. His voice seems small and tinny next to the emotion of Barks or the raw power of Boe. Even his facial expressions come straight from Backstreet Boys 101! He is clearly there as a blatant stunt to draw in younger fans who would buy this just on seeing his name in the cast, a move which comes across as cynical and could cost the performance a star on its own. To be fair to Jonas however, by the time Marius's signature number of 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' arrives, he seems to have grown into the part somewhat and sings it reasonably well. Yet when Michael Ball comes onstage for the encore with the rest of the original cast to belt out 'One Day More', you cannot help but feel 'now that is how it should be done!' But even Jonas' potentially disastrous performance cannot prevent this spectacular production of the world's longest running musical from achieving full marks. The music is out of this world, the singing is almost universally phenomenal and the setting of the O2 is suitably grand. It is impossible to fully articulate the raw power of the emotions stirred by the spectacular songs of Les Miserables, but I defy anybody not to be moved to near tears, left breathless and feel a chill throughout the show, and if you are not moved, then you are either lying or dead inside, particularly given the extra treat of seeing the original cast reunite for 'One Day More' and the four Valjeans singing 'Bring Him Home' – a wonderful bonus.

Many musicals encompass a range of emotions, but none run the whole gamut with quite the same power as Les Miserables. Awe-inspiring. Perfect.
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10/10
A fantastic celebration of a great show
KRican18 November 2010
Every performance was impeccable. Many of the performers rival and in some cases surpass those of the 10th Anniversary Dreamcast. Seeing the show on the big screen with a bigger sound system really make the nuances of the genius score come to life. What is so great is the way they made use of soft split screens to be able to watch multiple performers' reactions and "dialog."

Norm Lewis, whose subtle facial expressions and genuine passion commanded the stage/screen, sang Javert with such power and depth that I actually, for the first time, empathized with his character. Alife Boe's Val Jean was brilliant, with an operatic quality. Samantha Barks shined as Eponine with a stunning vocal performance. Ramin Karimloo was a standout with his brilliant portrayal of Enjolras. I didn't quite understand the decision of casting Nick Jonas as Marius. He really gave it his all and had some nice moments in the sweeter songs, but lacked the vocal fullness and attack for the more powerful songs. It was adequate but uncomfortably contrasted by his much stronger, seasoned cast mates.

The occasional cut to various instrumental highlights was a wonderful addition and seamlessly included the orchestra as an important part of the ensemble. The encores with the original cast, backed by a chorus of hundreds was breathtaking. If you're a Les Mis fan, this movie is a must.
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10/10
Absolutely breathtaking and fantastic
Mary Anderson30 November 2010
I saw this at the cinema three times and I am counting the hours until I get the DVD.

If you are a fan of Les Miserables, this is not to be missed.

I believe it is even better than the 10th Anniversary Concert. More of the actual musical is included, such as The Robbery. Lovely Ladies is in a more complete form. A lot of the little verses between songs is included, for example, Garvoche's introduction of the Thenardiers and the conversations between Maruis and Eponine. It isn't complete, however, some verses have been cut, most noticeably, Dog eat Dog, which in my opinion is no great loss as it is my least favorite song anyway.

The performances are all fantastic, although, Marius is a little weak. The little urchin who plays Garvoche is very impressive. The look of contempt on his face when he exposes Javert is priceless. Matt Lucus brings humor as Thenardier. Jenny Galloway reprises her role from the 10th Anniversary Concert and I think gives a better performance in this version. It is hard to limit discussion, as everyone was brilliant right from Jean Valjean to Jarvert to Cossette (Collette?).

I cannot recommend this enough.
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10/10
Cause for Celebration
gradyharp6 February 2011
Les Misérables has been around for a long time, pleasing audiences around the world - its songs are recorded by an vast array of singers and its impact on audiences is justifiably powerful. Though this filming of the concert production of the musical as performed at London's O2 Arena in January 2010 is hailed as the 25th anniversary of the musical, it is too frequently forgotten that the show, based on the Victor Hugo novel, was originally written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boubil with Herbert Kretzmer and Jean-Marc Natel and produced in Paris, France in 1980 (it closed after 3 months). This English Adaptation is by Trevor Nunn and John Caird (with additional material by James Fenton) was brought to England and the world through the efforts of Cameron Mitchell in 1985.

The concert version is performed with orchestra and chorus in the top of the platforms in O2 Arena and the characters in the musical are in costume standing before microphones at the edge of the performing structure. The light crew performs spectacular effects with the enormous facilities at this 23,000 seat arena. Some action is projected on screens above the performers (the lifting of the cart by Valjean, the barricade, etc) and at other times the screens offer the audience huge close-up view of the performers. It works well under the direction of Nick Morris. The celebration of the birthday of the show is accompanied by prolonged appearances by past members of casts of the show, a light show, and much confetti and self congratulation speeches.

As for the production itself it is populate by a generally strong cast. Alfie Boe, a 37 year old British tenor who studied opera but now sings the big demanding musicals, is a very fine Jean Valjean. Norm Lewis, and American actor/baritone is one of the strongest Jauverts on record: he is a talent to watch. Lea Salonga brings years of experience to her interpretation of Fantine, Samantha Banks is a very strong Eponine, the Iranian-born Canadian musical theater singing actor Ramin Karimloo makes a striking impression in the role of Enjolras (he has been playing the role of Phantom in the 'Phantom of the Opera' in England for years), but the performance of Katie Hall as Cosette sounds strained, the Monsieur Thénardier of Matt Lucas is completely unfocused (Jenny Galloway fares better as Madame Thénardier), and it is obvious the producers elected to play to the young audience by miscasting pop star Nick Jonas as Marius: he tries very hard but is out of his league here.

In all this is an entertaining memento of a birthday celebration - heavy on audience screaming and special party effects - and rewards the creators of this lasting fine musical with due respect.

Grady Harp
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10/10
This was an excellent concert!
latriciasaucier13 April 2011
When I first heard of LesMiserables it was in high school. My chorus class performed the songs at a concert. I absolutely fell in love with the songs. Never saw the play, I always wanted to. This concert was the first time I saw the 1985 cast and the performances. I was blown away. The cast was amazing. I actually disagree with some of the comments, however it is their opinions. In my opinion Nick Jonas was fantastic. I was so used to seeing him sing with his brothers and used to hearing him sing pop songs. When I heard him sing, I was really impressed. He put me to tears when he sang Empty Chairs Empty table and when he sang " A Little Fall of Rain with Samantha Barks. The cast was brilliant and if they were to ever do a movie musical of Les Miserables, I would not change anyone from the cast. I would keep the cast as they had in the concert. I thought they were all phenomenal. Alfie Boe put tears in my eyes as well, he was amazing.
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10/10
In defense of Nick Jonas...
hughman5520 March 2012
I saw this concert on KERA and it was breathtaking. And, not that Nick Jonas needs any help from me, but I think his work here is underrated. For the record I'm not a Jonas Brothers fan. I don't like or dislike them. I only know of their name. I couldn't name one song they've ever performed if you offered me a million dollars. And I don't know if Nick is the short one, the cute one, the fat one, the sexy one, the smart one, the bad boy, etc. BUT, I thought his rendition of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" was haunting and very effective. There were plenty of vocal chops in this concert. His didn't need to be one more. When Marius Pontmercy sings "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" he is a BOY who has survived war and is racked with survivors guilt His mind is stained with blood and death. Young death. Nick Jonas sings this song with a youth and frailty that fits perfectly with who the character is and the horrors he can't forget.

When I read a couple of the less than glowing reviews of his performance I found them at odds with the justice I thought he did for the song. So, I went to Youtube and checked out a few others, and yes, there are much bigger voices doing this piece. Some of them I thought to be very affected and over-sung. I thought Nick Jonas struck a good balance between the vocal demands of the piece and dramatic necessities of a young man forever scarred by death and war. It was very moving and the heavy lifting was done just fine later by Jean ValJean. The contrast was stark and proper. Worked for me!
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10/10
A Glorious Birthday Show!
Wikingking26 July 2013
First of all I have to say that I have seen the movie before I dig into Les Mis on the internet, so somehow the movie could catch my attention back then, and I am so grateful for it that I won't compare it with this masterpiece. Secondly, this is my first ever review on IMDb so hurray! :)

What we've got here is a monumental show of pure talent and epicness, which is a must for all 'Les Mis' fans and for everyone who likes to listen to a musical masterpiece, and likes to get goosebumps all the time. The show took place at the O2 arena with hundreds of people participating. The setting is great, the lights and all technical stuff are excellent, the show sounds great, the mixing is very well made. The show has been conducted by the same conductor, who did the 10th anniversary concert back in 1995 (David Charles Abell), and he did one hell of a job, not a single flaw in the play of the orchestra. The cast is a brilliant one - well you could guess that something big is happening when musical giants like Earl Carpenter, or Hadley Fraser only get minor roles... There's a really large choir behind the orchestra, and they really make a punch when it is time for extra amount of epicness (like One Day More). The backing vocalist are also great (in numbers as well), everyone in minor roles (prostitutes, workers, the students) are great, this cast was chosen really carefully, that's for sure. I give a solid 10 for the supporting section of the cast.

Earl Carpenter plays the bishop, and he delivers a fine performance, worthy of his reputation. He's really gentle but powerful at the same time. 10/10

Hadley Fraser plays Grantaire and he makes the new standard for the role with his performance. His baritone is a joy to listen to and they have a unique chemistry with Ramin. 10/10

Katie Hall plays Cosette and she's excellent as well. I think that the role of Cosette has few moments to shine or to stand out, but Katie gives a fine performance, so no worries here. 8,5/10

Lea Salonga is Fantine, and 15 years after she played Eponine during the 10th anniversary show, she delivers this role incredibly well. Her "I Dreamed a Dream" earns her a big applause and some standing ovation as well. Her low harmonics makes her voice quite unique, and that's something I really like. 9/10

Matt Lucas plays Thenardier and he enjoys his role very much. It is fun to see that Matt's dream comes true on-stage, so be ready for a benefit performance. I found him good. 8/10. Madame Thenardier is played by the veteran Jenny Galloway, so no surprises here :) 8/10

Now one controversial choice of singer: the role of Marius is played by Nick Jonas, member of the (in)famous Jonas Brothers. While Nick tries hard, his acting suffers from many wounds, and his voice is at least one or two leagues weaker than the rest of the cast's. He is not good, not for this role at least. The only possible explanation (other than making steps towards his younger fan-base) is that his weaker voice and young looks help creating the impression that his character is innocent and needs guidance from the more mature characters he hangs out with. 4/10

The tragic role of Eponine is played by Sam Barks, and boy, she is awesome. She is a real beauty, that her looks can only be compared her wonderful singing. Her 'On my own' earns her the show's biggest applause till then. 10/10

Enjorlas is played by musical prodigy Ramin Karimloo. He is absolutely incredible and for me, he is the best Enjorlas ever. His commanding performance and seemingly limitless range of voice is a joy to watch and listen to over and over again! 10/10

Norm Lewis is Javert, and the great afro-American singer gives an excellent performance. The role of Javert is possibly the best role in the musical and definitely has the most depth, so it is common that singers make their own interpretation and Norm is no exception. His enunciation is somewhat controversial, but I love his Javert anyway. He is not as good as Quast (and I found EC's Javert better as well), but he gives a commanding presence and a great 'Stars' and soliloquy with full of emotion. 8,5/10

As you can see, the cast is superb, but the real deal is Alfie Boe as JVJ. Now Alfie sets new standards for the singing part of the role, and he is in his own league. He makes you feel that there are absolutely no limits to his wonderful voice as he makes those high Bs and Cs come out so clear and loud like no JVJ did before. His acting is a little stiff here and there, but maybe because his operatic-style of singing and acting, but he compensates it with facial emotions. Stunning. World Class. His 'Bring him home' earned him a standing ovation for minutes. The whole show stopped because of him! 10/10

After the show ends, there are two extra songs involving the original and then-current casts from London. Bring Him Home is presented by the 4 Valjeans and One Day More by the original 1985 cast. Good extras!

One more thing I really like in this concert: you can clearly feel the love between the cast members, and how the story and the incredible talent of Alfie Boe touch them. For me, these scenes are almost as important as good performances.

Well, what can you say? This show made me love Les Mis, and I'm seriously in love with the show itself as well. Brilliant masterpiece which has to be listened to over and over again!
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Fantastic
Neil Welch29 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I have avoided Les Mis over the years, under the impression that it held nothing which would appeal to me. I noticed that this 25th anniversary concert presentation was being broadcast live from the O2 to our local cinema and, knowing that my wife was a big fan, I booked tickets. I got into trouble for various reasons: a) why are you wasting money on that, b) you know I like the show, not a concert performance, c) I get a headache at the cinema.... boy, these women can give you a hard time, can't they?

I was blown away. With the exception of Nick Jonas' thin, weedy, nasal Marius, I thought all the performers were first rate. But I have to single out Samantha Barks' heart-breaking Eponine, Matt Lucas' assured, hilarious, and wholly unexpected Thenardier, and Alfie Boe's astonishing Valjean. The ovation at the end of Bring Him Home has been cut down for the DVD: it went on so long during the live performance that he finally had to break character to smile and acknowledge it. I am pleased to say that I have now seen him on stage as Valjean, and it is every bit as hair-raising live in the show.

This is a remarkable record of a remarkable event.
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Moment of a lifetime
Red_Identity9 January 2013
More than anything, as far as entertainment goes, 2012 will be the year I discovered Les Miserables. Anne Hathaway impressed me in Rachel Getting Married, so I found out about Les Mis through hearing she would be in it. So I gathered more and more interest for it as the months went. I then read the novel to prepare myself for the film adaptation of 2012. By the time I saw the film, I was in love with the music, and so this was the first real musical version I saw besides the new film. Yes, I saw it on Youtube, but what a beautiful, magical event. I feel like it's so much a part of me now. It's such an emotional experience that nothing I say can describe what it is to watch it for the first time.
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10/10
Alfie Boe
pamgardner6 April 2011
I am not a fan of opera, but I am of specific opera singers. What a privilege it is to listen to Alfie Boe, weather in musical theater or opera. I got a hint of his talent when I stumbled upon him during a PBS broadcast. I immediately ordered the DVD of the 25th anniversary concert at the O2. I searched the web to compare singers who have taken on the role of Val Jean. None of them could come close to the talent of Alfie Boe. His range, his clarity his passion is beyond compare. A day without watching it is like a day without sunshine. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will be chosen for the movie version of "Les Mis". I certainly will be first in line to buy a ticket.
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8/10
Spectacular
tonycarr1 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Santa very kindly brought the DVD round and it is spectacular. This is much longer than the tenth anniversary concert (TAC), with much more of the secondary action being included. As a result, this performance is much fuller and more rounded. The production values are superb, and easily surpass TAC. This is nearer the actual show itself. I especially enjoyed the use of the over stage camera angles. As to the performances themselves I am one of those who think that Colm Wilkinson is Valjean and Philip Quast is Javert. Alfie Boe and Norm Lewis came very close to changing my mind. Boe is terrific but his voice, while technically superb, just lacks that little bit of raw power that CW has and he lacks the physical presence. Valjean is supposed to be a big man and when he tells Javert that he is the stronger man by far Boe doesn't look it. Lewis brings a commanding aspect to the role. It's a bit unfair to compare Matt Lucas with Alun Armstrong since Lucas gets a lot more to do in this role and does it very well, alternating from the cuddly comic to the downright malevolent. Perhaps I can't stop seeing Brian Lane or Mr Southouse but Alun doesn't come across as evil. The rest of the cast are uniformly excellent, especially Enjolras. Except one! I have never heard of Nick Jonas and I have no idea how he got the part but he is the one weak link in whole performance. His voice and presence are weak and unsubstantial, and he looks as though he has to go and have shaving lessons after the show. I actually felt really sorry for him when Michael Ball comes out and shows him how do it properly. The appearance of the original cast at the end is a wonderful touch and CW shows that he can still do Bring Him Home wonderfully. The only other criticism is that the DVD is just that, a DVD in a case. A booklet or sleeve notes would have been nice! All in all a wonderful performance which just makes you wish you had been there.

Jane in Australia: Dog eats Dog is in there but Little People has been cut. No great loss as far as I am concerned since it doesn't have any effect on the main story
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8/10
Splendid singers, Seemingly majestic ensemble and orchestra, but lacking.
Maureen Bumanlag24 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I have been a musical theater fan ever since I had been a little kid. I was simply an outcast because of that in my school. Everyone was listening to "pop" music with "rap" and all that. I was more into musical theater.

Everyone gasped as my teacher told us that we were watching Les Miserables 25th anniversary for our Literature and Music class, I was not surprised at all, though. I had subsequently asked my teacher to host a film viewing because Victor Hugo was indeed a wonderful writer, and Claude-Michel Schonberg is a brilliant composer.

I have watched the 10th anniversary of Les Miserables featuring Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, Philip Quast as Javert, Ruthie Henshall as Fantine, and so on. I have also watched different adaptations of this musical. I have witnessed High School students put on this production, I have seen this production in different theater companies and yet, none have seemed to get me to applaud for them.

This cast seemed promising with powerful voices all around such as Alfie Boe, Ramin Karimloo and Lea Salonga. On the other hand, a few members from cast seemed a little out of place such as Nick Jonas, it was a big surprise for me to see a pop singer on stage. I have watched the Jonas Brothers and their voices seemed airy even with all three of their voices combined! What more with one lone Jonas Brother? It was simply dreadful, his voice was so weak, that I noticed he had to lean towards the mic for him to actually be heard. But, then again, Monsieur Jonas did do his best, but it was quite an embarrassment for himself as he was not ready due to his tender age, and lack of power.

His leading lady, Katie Hall (Cosette), did not seem appropriate for the role, in my opinion. Her voice was too shrill. Yes, yes, she had the looks, but what I always notice is the voice. Her high notes seemed forced and squeezed. She didn't have weak voice such as of Jonas, here, she had power, but her voice's resonance was terrible.

Samantha Barks was good, she had a powerful voice, she hit the notes flawlessly in her rendition of the beautiful tear-jerking song "On My Own". It contained such great emotion that I had to run over to my bag to grab a tissue to wipe a few stray tears. Alfie Boe, goodness, can there ever be a better Valjean? He contained everything that I was looking for in Valjean, he had some sort of aura in him that made me pity his persona while he sang. Ramin Karimloo was perfect for the role, as he presented a fearless Enjolras, he had a slight crack on his last line : "Until the earth is free!" but it definitely helped in shaping his character, he showed a hint of pain in that line, as we all know,the student revolutionaries are indeed going to die. Madame and Monsieur Thenardier were hilarious, that's what you call effective acting.

During the 10th anniversary, I saw Lea Salonga as Eponine, she was good, yes, but she did better when she played Fantine. Her low notes are round, while her high notes in her famous aria, "I dreamed a dream", were angelic.

It was my first time seeing Norm Lewis on stage, he was by-far, the best Javert I had ever seen. He simply fit the role by a loophole, a wonderful baritone, he was. Grantaire was OK. He did well, but he wasn't that memorable.

The lighting was very good, the costumes were very effective, impeccable timing, beautiful acting, but then again, it was lacking.

Compared to the 10th anniversary and the crappy High School Productions I watched, this performance gave new justice to the musical with new state-of-the-art technology and lighting, new costumes, a new cast and a majestic ensemble.

It was worth watching, yes, I am now looking forward to watching Les Miserables 2012, at least I have a basis already that I can use in submitting a review for that rendition.
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9/10
Review from a fan of musicals not particularly familiar with this one
bh_tafe324 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
For a person who grew up with musicals, went to see local productions, big Sydney and Melbourne touring productions and spent a lot of my childhood watching musical films with my father, it's a little surprising that I'd never got around to seeing Les Miserables until it was turned into a feature film. I was quite impressed with the film, but assured by people the songs could have been performed a lot better, so I saw this on sale and decided to check it out. Suffice to say I was thoroughly entertained and very impressed.

But the start is a bit shaky, the first two performers to sing solo during the "Look Down" opening had me wondering what I'd got myself into, but once Alfie Boe (Valjean) and the enjoyably hammy Norm Lewis (Javert) get on stage I knew I was in good hands. Boe's singing is magnificent, with Valjean's soliloquy and Bring Him Home two of the highlights of the show. Lewis is having the time of his life, shouting his name with gusto and giving a great rendition of Stars and a passionate soliloquy of his own. Their moments together are brilliant, but I especially love their confrontation as Fantine dies.

Speaking of Fantine, played by Miss Saigon herself, Lea Salonga, her "I Dreamed a Dream" is the absolute high point of this show. She makes you feel everything that her character is feeling during the song while belting out the tune beautifully and receives a well deserved standing ovation at song's end.

Matt Lucas makes a truly disgusting Thenadier (which I mean in a good way), his relative lack of singing ability is well and truly compensated by a great character performance and of course having stage veteran Jenny Galloway with him in most scenes.

Nick Jonas as Marius does not appear to have a strong enough voice to be part of an ensemble, though he was not awful singing Empty Chairs and Empty Tables on his own (this was aided by the very effective lighting behind him to make his dead friends look like ghosts as they stood behind him). Katie Hall is a little hamstrung as Cossette because she spends a lot of her time having to try and sing more softly than Jonas, but she appears to have a nice clean voice.

Ramin Karimloo, who I've always thought had a great voice but never really rated as a good Phantom of the Opera, is excellent as Enjolras. He sings with power and passion, and despite not being a big man, has a presence about him that is appropriate to the role and his rather large, unrestrained voice.

Samantha Barks is good as Eponine and it's impressive she was able to play the role equally well in the film version. There's a lot of power in her voice.

Overall I really loved this show and it helped give me a greater appreciation for the musical part of Les Miserables, but I think seeing the film first really helped as I knew what was happening in the story and so could just sit back and enjoy the singing, Nick Jonas aside.
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4/10
A big let down!
Solamortis6 March 2011
My first experience with the Musical Les Mis was the 10th anniversary concert in 1995 which was broadcast on PBS. I fell in love with it. I bought the CD of the concert and even went to see the US version of the show when it came to my town.

You would expect a 25th anniversary special to be huge with a great cast. I just finished watching it and a huge disappointment is how I would describe it.

First the Pros: Alfie Boe has a good voice and while not as good as Colm Wilkinson he is one of the better singers in the cast. Samantha Barks has a beautiful voice and was a credit to the roll of Eponine. Ramin Karimloo in the roll of Enjolras has a strong voice and is well suited for the part. The singers making up the supporting members of the ABC group also did well in their rolls. Jenny Galloway returned to sing the part Madame Thénardier and as before was perfect.

For the most part that's all the good I can say. Let move to the Cons: The first thing I noticed were the changes they made to the songs. While in some cases they did help the story, in many cases they made the songs seem jumpy and chaotic. Nick Jonas in the role of Marius was absolutely awful. He did not have the vocal strength or emotion for the role. Why Matt Lucas was picked to be Monsieur Thénardier I will may never know. The role calls for energy and the ability to provide comedic relief through gestures and voice. Mr. Lucas had neither and his voice was worse. Robert Madge played the role of Gavroche and his voice was OK at best. The weird looks he gave the audience while singing were ridiculous and overall he was not believable. Lastly the Part of Javert was sung by Norm Lewis. His voice again lacked strength and emotion. In some cases it was almost as if he was singing in a monotone manner or reading his lines.

As a final note, at the very end, the original cast appears and puts this new cast to shame.
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3/10
Could have been much better
Craig Muth8 January 2018
Many times I had a hard time hearing the lead over the background during the songs - sound mixing (at least on the blu-ray copy I saw) detracted from what otherwise appeared to be wonderful performances by most performers. I thought Nick Jonas was out of his league - did not have the voice to keep up with the rest of the cast. Given the fame and popularly of the show, I have no idea why they thought having him would add anything.
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7/10
Bring Him Home
karen-loethen19 November 2016
I have seen "Les Misérables" live on stage, the film, and several on stage recordings. It's impossible to see this particular film without comparing to other performances but I will comment on this film alone... The performance was quite magnificent. The cast overall was wonderful. I'll address Nick Jonas as Marius right away. His voice does not remotely compare to the professional theater performers, yet he does carry the songs well enough and he carries his scenes admirably enough. Side by side with Samantha Barks as Eponine, however, he pales in comparison to her amazing voice. So many excellent singers have brought such depth and strength to the character of Jean Valjean and Alfie Boe does an admirable job. His beautiful rendition of "Bring Him Home" really proves he has the chops to handle this role. As always Lea Salonga is fragile and strong as Fantine. Can anyone else play this role as well? Of all of the Javerts I have ever seen, none has ever been sung as masterfully as Norm Lewis; he is magnificent to watch. Ramin Karimloo as Enjolres is incredibly strong, again making Jonas pale in comparison. Karimloo is truly talented with a strong voice and perfect tone. The orchestra brought the entire performance together beautifully. Mesmerizing. I loved it.
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8/10
One character stands out from the others!
owakulukem31 December 2014
It is always risky to try something different. I have been a fan of this musical as long as I can remember, but taking a classic like Les Miserables and making it a comedy, well... That is the impression I got from this version of the musical, all because of one character who stands out from the others. Nick Jonas! You will chuckle when Nick Jonas dryly tries to act dramatically. Giggle heartily when you see Nick Jonas try to hit some of the higher notes. You will have tears running down your face from the howling laughter when you see Nick Jonas try to shake vibrato from his body. Some of the higher comedy moments are whey he falls flat, or rings sharp. But the truly magical comicality moments are when Nick Jonas runs out of air and tries to force just a little more out of his depleted lungs to lengthen out the note to it's intended duration. Oddly enough I didn't find any of the other cast humorous at all. Perhaps they didn't get the memo. OK, enough of being whimsical. I think that if not for Nick Jonas, this would have been one of the best renditions of Les Miserables I have seen. I cringed every time he opened his mouth. On the way opposite end, Alfie Boe blows everyone away with his incredible voice. I could almost feel his irritation with having to sing with such an amateur as Nick Jonas. Thankfully several times I could hear Alfie drown out Nick's voice with his powerful vocals. Giving such an important part to someone who can't sing is deplorable. Perhaps they were trying to bring in a younger crowd, but I don't think that it was necessary. This musical already carries it's weight. This is worth seeing just to see Alfie Boe and the rest of the cast sing. I can't imagine anyone remaining dry eyed after past cast members who have played Jean Valjean including Colm Wilkinson with Alfie Boe sing Bring Him Home. It is truly a highlight!
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10/10
Stunning performance of one of the world's great musicals
laureldf-127 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Like most Americans, I first saw the 25th on PBS. I had read the book and seen the road show in Chicago many years before. When it first aired, I was distracted and it barely registered. But the second time, I wandered into the room as Alfie Boe began "Who Am I?" stopped dead in my tracks and didn't move for the next three hours.

Alfie Boe is magnificent, he may be the best Valjean in Les Mis' thirty year history. (That includes the movie too). His voice is angry, vengeful, baffled, pleading, commanding, tender and loving. Boe has a bright tenor voice that snarls or rings out with all the nuance of speech. Les Mis is a tough sing that would tax any tenor, but you never worry if he'll hit a high, only wonder how stunning it will be. The four minute standing ovation (cut down to one minute on the DVD) for "Bring Him Home" was completely deserved. The song is a prayer, and you feel Boe isn't singing a prayer, he's praying on stage.

The other cast members are equally impressive. Norm Lewis' Javert is all menace and malice. He despises this peasant and thief, and will wipe out the one blot on his record. Norm's baritone can be completely chilling, and "The Confrontation" is practically a duel. Another singer might have drowned against Boe, but each meeting is tense and powerful.

Lea Salonga and Samantha Barks as Fantine and Eponine are each heart breaking, doomed by fate and love. They pour themselves into "I Dreamed a Dream" and "On My Own" and bring down the house. Ramin Karimloo is a passionate, charismatic Enjorlas. Matt Lucas and Jennie Galloway seem like comic relief until you see the sinister charm behind them, very well done.

Much has been written about Nick Jonas and Katie Hall. Nick was only 17yo for the 25th, and their voices blend well. Nick can't quite keep up with the older, more powerful singers, but he makes "Empty Chairs, Empty Tables" his own. They are sweet lovers here.

A show this big deserves big encores. They bring on the Queen's Theater cast, the 25th Anniversary Touring cast, and the original 1985 cast. And the crowd goes wild, with good reason. The rewritten "Bring Him Home" for the four Valjeans (and the key change), is almost worth the price of the DVD by itself.

A huge orchestra and choir, a massive stage, spectacular lighting and effects, three screens for a crowd of 17,000, cameras everywhere, costumes, and sensitive editing. Les Miserables as it should be done.
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The Best of the Three
Sam Hargreaves25 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I was inspired to grab myself a copy of this DVD after seeing the 2012 film starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, and, as is usually the case with stage shows, I found it more entertaining than the film.

Some will try and tell you that the 10th Anniversary Concert is superior to this one. While I agree with that comment as far as the cast is concerned I feel that overall the 25th Anniversary Concert is a superior production. I feel that the former fails to tell the story thoroughly due to important scenes being removed. This one still cuts some bits out, however it does not delete anything with major plot significance (except maybe The Death of Gavroche.) Each cast member in this production gives a stronger performance than their 2012 film counterpart (except Nick Jonas as Marius) and because of this I find this version more moving than the film.

To sum up if you are deciding which production of the musical to get, get this one. It's amazing.
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Would have given a solid 10, but for the terrible casting of Nick Jonas as Marius
LinDaFoodie5 July 2013
In my opinion, no previous Jean Valjean or since have or will ever come close to performing this role with the unparalleled dynamic, powerful and heart breaking perfection of Alfie Boe. If I had rated this production on his performance alone, out of a possible 10 I would have given it the maximum allowed by IMDb's system. I give him 1,000 stars for the look, the voice, the acting ability, everything. I'll never understand why they didn't cast him in the recent movie version, as I didn't understand the casting of Anne Hathaway and good god...Russell Crowe??? First and foremost this is a musical, and as such, calls for top notch voices, not just pretty faces and box office powerhouses.

My exception to that rule is Matt Lucas and Jenny Galloway. As the Thenardiers they were a joy to behold. So talented and witty. Their tongue in cheek portrayal of those two scoundrels was right on target. They deserved at least a 20 out of ten.

What can I possibly say about Lea Salonga as Fantine that has not already been said by just about every critic since her career began? I place her on a par with Mr. Boe in this production and always have loved her in anything she has done. As far as I'm concerned she can do no wrong.

Norm Lewis was wonderful as the always threatening antagonist Javert, hell-bent on hunting down Jean Valjean to the ends of the earth. He has a huge presence on the stage here, as he has on Broadway and television. Very talented and powerful performer.

Now, we come to why I did not give this production a solid 10 stars. First, let me say I take no pleasure in making negative comments. I prefer to accentuate the positive whenever possible, BUT the absurd choice of inserting boy band 'singer' (and I use the word singer loosely) in such a pivotal role baffles the mind. In my opinion Nick Jonas doesn't have the singing chops, the acting chops or the physical appearance this role begs for. If he didn't have his pre-teen fan base and had auditioned to be one of the hundreds of singers in the massive chorus, I don't believe they would have selected him even for that!

Every time I became immersed in the experience of watching and listening to this production, this miss-cast kid would pop up and *poof* the spell would be broken and I would think WHY would the producers of this monumental, prestigious event prostitute themselves and the integrity of this masterpiece of musical theater, a tribute to the artists who created the words and the music and those who so brilliantly participated in it over twenty-five years, by casting this role so badly? Bottom line; I would rate his performance minus 100 stars and bestow (if I could)a minus 1,000 stars for those who cast him in it.

So, there you have it. But for Nick Jonas, I would have given this production a solid 10 stars and the only reason I didn't rate it lower than 9 stars was out of respect for everyone else involved.
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9/10
Powerful, thrilling and moving, even in concert
TheLittleSongbird7 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Les Miserables for me is one of the greatest musicals, it has a story that really hits you in the guts emotionally(in a good way) and it is also one of those musicals where I don't dislike a single song. Valjean and Javert are also hugely compelling characters. The cast(and also that this is Les Miserables we are talking about) were reason enough to see this, and I also wanted to see how it would compare to the brilliant 10th-year anniversary performance. I was also hoping that even in concert form that it would bring out the emotion of the music and story. It certainly does not disappoint and it certainly has the emotion, I do give the edge to the 10th, but the previous reviewers have summed up perfectly what is so good about this performance.

But I do have to agree that it is not quite perfect, though the cons are far outweighed by the pros. Apart from a relatively good Empty Chairs and Empty Tables, Nick Jonas is miscast and very out of his depth as Marius, his voice is rather thin and gets very nasal when forced, and I found him rather dull on a dramatic front. Compared to Michael Ball, he's not even in the same league in my opinion. Katie Hall is a little better though. She is charming and likable enough as Cosette, but not much more than that, and she is not helped by the fact that Cosette is not a very interesting character at all really. Her voice is a little uneven, the middle register is silvery and lyrical but the top register has a tendency to become shrill.

Everything else ranges from very, very good to spot-on. The costumes are evocative, and the lighting especially in Empty Chairs and Empty Tables(very haunting) gives each scene atmosphere. It is staged very effectively too and it is very sympathetic to the story and the lyrics with all the emotional power and thrust needed. I found it very easy to be moved by Empty Chairs, and it was also a clever and tasteful piece of staging. One Day More is also spine-tingling. The orchestral playing made the music a feast for the ears, the textures and instrumental balances are done perfectly doing very well to accommodate the singers. The chorus are involved in the drama, sing beautifully and enunciate clearly, especially good in Do You Hear the People Sing and One Day More.

Alfie Boe's Valjean was just wonderful. He may not quite erase memories of Colm Wilkinson, who probably had a little more emotion, but Boe is certainly not devoid of that. He has a ringing tenor voice that shows no sign of being taxed by this demanding role, he commands the stage with authority as he ought and he brings out all the complexities and nuances Valjean's character has. Bring Him Home really sounds like a prayer(the right approach as that's what the song is essentially), and staged in a way that will leave Les Mis fans absolutely delighted. Norm Lewis' Javert also stands out. He is authoritative, but also conflicted and subtle. His Suicide scene really gave me the chills. He also possesses a lovely baritone sound, not quite as rich or powerful as that of Phillip Quast, but never is it one that's dry and lightweight. Like Quast, he has the harshness of Javert but also a sympathetic side.

Lea Salonga is truly moving as Fantine with a voice of an angel, and I do agree that she is more suited to Fantine than she is to Eponine. I Dreamed a Dream really brings the house down on an emotional scale. Samantha Barks is also perfectly cast, her Eponine is feisty but also heart-breaking. Her rendition of On My Own is pitch-perfect and very deeply felt. Ramin Karmimloo's Enjolras is excellent. Matt Lucas is surprisingly good as Thernadier, he hasn't got the best voice but has a very exuberant stage presence while managing to make the character as hateful as possible(even if he just lacks Alun Armstrong's sociopathic edge). Jenny Galloway's Madame Thernadier is perfect, just like in the 10th anniversary performance.

To conclude, a really well done performance of Les Mis, with almost everything perfectly first-rate. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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How magnificent
anowlin-653-7576376 April 2013
I'm not sure I can think of a more excellent performance. Every emotion I can think of was elicited by the cast. WOW! Alfie Boe was extraordinary and showed vocal range and acting ability-dare I say humility? Norm Lewis was so near his equal in both acting and singing ability. Lea Salonga shows that she can act as well as she sings and that her voice stands the test of time. What can I say about Ramin Karimloo? Vocals, acting, stage presence and so much more. I particularly liked the casting of Matt Lucas to show the comedic side to this production and Jenny Galloway was next to superb.

Heck, the whole ensemble is all so mentionable, Samantha Barks brings so much wonder to her tragic role of Eponine. This production reminded me of a line from a movie about opera, "You either love it or hate it." Well, I love "Les Miserables" and anyone who is connected with the productions through the years-is blessed. We have Victor Hugo to thank for the wonderful novel he wrote, 2 Frenchmen for adapting it and Cameron MacKintosh for bringing it all together.
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9/10
Only one was miserable
Michael Miller23 October 2012
The 25th Anniversary concert of Les Mis was put on at the 02 Centre in London in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The production was outstanding in almost every respect. The lighting was dramatic and set the mood, the costumes brilliant, the orchestra and chorus were brilliantly directed and there were some wonderful surprises at the end.

Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean and Norm Lewis as Javert were perfectly cast. Mr. Boe mastered a very difficult role requiring great range, sensitivity and feeling and he nailed the performance. American-born Norm Lewis, a Florida native, captured the tormented essence of a man obsessed with a mission that never ends, that is relentless and life-draining, with grace and style.

Katie Hall shone brilliantly as Cosette and Samantha Barks brought Eponine to life in a series of brilliant duets and arias. Their voices were clear and pure and could not have been more stellar. Matt Lucas and Jenny Galloway tried very hard to steal the show as the conniving but comical Thenardiers.

The only weak spot in the production was the casting of Nick Jonas as Marius. In a show when one is surrounded by professionally-trained and experienced West End and Broadway performers, Jonas' lack of training, experience as a garage band musician propelled to "stardom" by the "magic" of Disney was the dinosaur in the room. His voice was weak, nasal and frequently off-key. Even the young boy who played Gavroche, Robert Madge, outshone the Jonas Brother. Mr. Jonas was clearly out of his league, good intentions notwithstanding.

Overall the production was brilliant and vastly entertaining, a performance to be savored over and over. If only Mr. Jonas stuck to performing with his brothers ...
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8/10
Fantastic music, Fantastic story, (mostly) fantastic singers.
scourgexlvii21 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I had mixed feelings about this rendition, but after much thought, I think my opinion is rather favorable. Alfie Boe was definitely a strong point, and is definitely a rival to Colm Wilkinson in fitting the roll. Norm Lewis is also very good, though when compared to the 10th anniversary version, I'd have to place him below Philip Quast in his solo songs (Stars and Javert's Suicide), but otherwise, he is much better, especially in The Confrontation, and he did incredibly well in Javert's Intervention.

Jenny Galloway really is the only person I've ever seen do Mme. Thenardier as well as she does, so I'm glad they brought her back. Matt Lucas does very well as Thenardier, though I prefer Alun Armstrong for Dog eat Dog, since he seems much more slimy and sociopathic. Also, though Matt brings a better personality to the role, Alun more looks the part.

I have never really liked the Marius-Cosette-Eponine characters, in any of the times I've seen them in the musical or in the book, though I think this does better for Eponine, as this is the first time I've actually felt anything for her other than contempt. Not much to say about Cosette. She's as boring as ever, and for that I blame Victor Hugo, for making her character just so boring. Katie Hall did well in the role, but for me, it's still not enough. Nick Jonas was pretty awful in the role. I'm not going to say anything like "I hate Nick Jonas" "He's a terrible singer" or anything like that, since I just don't really care enough about him to see what else he's done, and see is he is any better, but I do think the role was wrong for him. He doesn't harmonize with any parts he is traditionally supposed to, and he is about as stiff as cardboard, but that also may be the character of Marius in general.

On to L'Amis de ABC: I don't understand the reason everyone seems to love Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras. To me, his voice didn't seem to evoke the idealism, passion and god-like strength of personality that defines his character. His voice seemed much more human and more romantic than that. In the 10th anniversary version, when ever he started his part, it felt like a call to arms, whereas here, he doesn't have nearly the charisma for that. Grantaire here was alright, though he's not all that memorable. The rest of L'Amis are decent too, but non-distinct. I don't really count Gavroche as one of L'Amis, though I know other people sometimes do, and I will include him in this paragraph: I really liked the portrayal of Gavroche in this one; The only thing that would have made it better would be Ten Little Bullets. I don't understand why they never use that song. It's not a very good song, but it is much better for the story.

But the thing that I think really sold this for me was the story. The story of Les Miserables is really incredible, and there's a thing to be said about having such a multi-faceted story work in a musical, like this. The changes they make from the 10th anniversary version are for the better, be they adding songs (the Robbery/Javert's Intervention) or fixing up lines (ie making Marius the one who asks who the "swells who run" the slums are, rather than Enjolras, since Enjolras is supposed to be leading the revolution). Most of my mixed feelings were in comparing it to the 10th anniversary version, but in a vacuum, it's well worth the 8 I gave it.
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