Les Misérables – Orpheum Theater Minneapolis, MN 12/7/2022
Review by Amie Hansen
Haunting, heartbreaking and yet “at the end of the day” hopeful, Les Misérables continues to draw
audiences in as it has for over nearly 40 years. The longest running musical of all-time and based off the
1862 novel by Victor Hugo “Les Mis”, as it is affectionately nicknamed, has been seen by millions of
people world-wide and yet remains to be one of the most beloved theater productions still running. And
in this reviewer’s opinion, for very good reason!
Set in 19 th century France the tale of Les Mis is one of good vs. evil, justice, greed, freedom, and
ultimately love. The tale follows the life of Jean Valjean, the main protagonist, from his 19 years in
prison for stealing a loaf of bread through his life trials as he escapes parole and spends the remainder
of his days avoiding capture by Javert, the justice seeking policeman and ex jailer, who is determined to
put him back behind bars. We see Jean running a factory and becoming mayor of a town, and then
taking in Cosette the daughter of Fantine, a dying factory girl, to raise as his own. Along the way
characters come into the story adding depth and humor and fear across the 20-40 post-prison years of
Jean Valjean’s life.
As always, I advise to read up on the story just a bit before seeing the show. The action moves fast and
the years speed by in the 3 production hours. Details can be missed if the premise of the story is not
The cast of this production was seamless, and performances were exceptional. An obvious stand out
was by Matt Crowle playing the devious Innkeeper and opportunist, Thenardier. He played the already
offensive, but widely applauded, character with an extra dose of crass and vulgar which just added to
the overall humor of his scenes. Christine Heesun Hwang as Eponine was brilliant in her depth and
bringing forth the agony of unrequited love. Her performance of “On My Own” was tear-jerking. The
only flaw in performance was not due to the actors themselves but due to a small technical issue during
a scene with Fantine, Haley Dortch, and Jean Valjean, Nick Cartell, when her microphone appeared to
malfunction. None of the actors waivered a bit during the blip and thankfully it was only during an
ensemble song where it could be quickly fixed before her next big solo and duet performance.
The set was dark and haunting as usual. This time around it felt larger in stature and deeper in view.
Moving graphic additions to both the foreground and background gave the set a whole new dimension
and made the scenes feel very realistic. The lighting is intense, be prepared for loud gunshots and
flashing bombs throughout the climatic battle scenes.
In final, I continue to love this show for everything that it brings. The epic songs, the unforgettable
characters, and a story of finding love and freedom and redemption. This tour met up to all my previous
viewings and proves that there is a reason it has been the longest running musical of all time.
For showtimes and tickets click HERE