Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Great Theatre on the Screen

by Maggie Sefton



Weekend before last, we Denver Broncos fans watched our team lose in the playoffs in double overtime to the Baltimore Ravens.  I definitely give the Ravens credit for playing a great game and grabbing opportunities.  But, like so many Broncos fans, I was severely disappointed.  The loss Was so sudden and unexpected that afterwards I wanted  something that totally took my mind off the disappointment.  So, I went to see my favorite theatre presentation. . .on the screen.

Les Miserables, that stirring story by Victor Hugo of France in the mid-1800s and life among the struggling poor to rebellious students in the streets and the long arm of the Law.  I first saw Les Miserables on the stage in the early 1990s.  I made a point to actually read Hugo's epic story first.  It's truly his masterpiece.  I bought the 2-disc CD set and played it enough that my younger daughters could sing the words.  It's truly a production that shows better on stage, believe it or not.  And I'm a dedicated movie lover, but I'm also a devoted theatre goer as well.  There's an intimacy to theatre that's hard to describe but very real.  Magic can happen onstage in a theatre, and because you are there and the actors/singers are right there in front of you, YOU can feel the magic.  It's special.

However, I do think the big name movie actors did a good job with this larger-than-life story.  Hugh Jackman is a talented actor and lived the part.  Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Fantine was truly moving.  And a favorite of mine, Russell Crowe was a wonderful Javert.  And Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were hilarious as the innkeeper and his wife.  The entire cast did such a good job, I was in a great mood when I left the movie theatre despite football disappointment.

Have any of you ever seen a performance or the film of Les Miserables?  How did you like it?

10 comments:

  1. I do plan to see Les Miserables at the movies, but have not made it to it yet. I love the cast though and I'm glad you liked the movie. I have not seen it in the theater yet either. My sister in law saw it in England and loved it. I'm glad you got out and got your mind off the Broncos loss. As a Chargers fan myself, disappointment is sadly a state I'm in every season.

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  2. Diane LaBrie LeversonJanuary 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    I just saw Les Mis this past Sunday. I loved it. Lot's of crying at the end..I do agree with you that a live performance is the best. My best friend and I would go to NYC a few times a year to see some musicals and there is truly magic and intimacy in those theaters.

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  3. Saw Les Miz at the Kennedy Centre, when it was first Broadway-bound, with Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean. It was ... magnificent. Beyond belief magnificent. And when Wilkinson sang "One More Day", there was not a dry eye in the house, not one. Now, almost thirty years later, when I think back on that, my eyes still tear up ... --Mario R.

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  4. My husband and I saw Les Miserable, last Wednesday night. I was afraid it would not play in our theaters. But it did. I loved it, my husband did not fall asleep!I have not seen much theater being from rural WY, so I cannot compare the stage production to the movie. If I ever get a chance that is one I will try to see.Now I want to read the book.
    We too are Bronco fans and were so disappointed in the game with the Ravens. Guess they are going to the BIG DANCE in Feb, so we will see what happens.

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  5. I haven't seen it yet but plan to go this week when my money comes in. A friend of my saw it and loved it so much she wants to go again.

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  6. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I saw the production in London last time I was there and it was marvelous.
    Ann

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  7. Linda---I think you'll enjoy it. And I sympathize with your Football Blues. :)


    Diane---Les Miserables is a powerful story for sure. Tears definitely flow.

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  8. JJM----I know what you mean. That sort of electricity only happens in the theatre. It's truly magic. There's no distance between you and the characters. They're right there, alive, in front of your eyes. And you weep. I wept for poor Eponine, too.

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  9. grammajudyb----Love your nickname. :) I understand about not being able to get to the theatre. And sometimes those productions come to Denver. As for the game, we definitely made some mistakes, which we shouldn't have. Taking a knee, well. . .I don't know. I guess I'll cheer for the Ravens because I've been really impressed with that young quarterback and how the team is playing.

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  10. ladyvyvian---Definitely go see it this weekend. You won't regret it.


    Cozy in Texas----I've seen great theatre in London over the years. I love their smaller theatres, too. I still remember seeing Derek Jacobi in Richard III in London with my daughter Melissa years ago. And when the older actress who played Queen Margaret came onstage to give her famous curse, Jacobi and every other actor on the stage just stood quietly. She was so powerful your jaw dropped watching her. :)

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