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?