Skip to main content

Triangle Downtowner Magazine

No misery for Les Misérables

Mar 12, 2020 12:51PM ● By Lamarr Fowlkes

The company of LES MISÉRABLES performs “One Day More." (Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy)

French novelist Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables has long been a Broadway staple. Making its return to the Durham Performing Arts Center, this production of Les Mis is based on the revival that opened on Broadway in 2014 and ran for two and a half years. The story of former criminal Jean Valjean (Patrick Dunn) who after having served 19 years in prison, decides to transform his life after a random act of kindness is bestowed upon him. Doing so however means breaking his parole whilst being pursued by ruthless inspector Javert (Preston Truman Boyd)

The current cast boasts a collection of talented principles. Patrick Dunn's Valjean stamina is fantastic in both performance physicality and vocal ability and Boyd's Javert is a stern disciplinarian and worthy match for him. Fantine (played by Understudy Olivia Dei Cicchi on Tuesday night), the impoverished young mother fallen into a life of prostitution, tugs at the audiences heart strings with her moving words. Joshua Grosso's Marius is awkwardly charming in his attempts to win the affections of Jillian Butler's Cosette who lends a sweet personality to the role.  Local Elon University graduate Matt Shingledecker's leader of the students Enjolras, Parker Dzuba's precocious Gavroch, and Michelle Dowdy's bawdy Madame Thénardier rounds out this tour de force ensemble.  

Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, this iteration of the show includes sets designed by Matt Kinley who was inspired by Victor Hugo’s paintings. Kinley redesigned Les Mis in 2009 for its 25th anniversary and has now updated it for the current U.S. tour. The many created settings, moving set pieces, and shifting scene projections are utilized in a manner that never takes the focus from the performers but backgrounds enough to enhance the overall experience. Complimented by a lush score and bombastic tunes, showcases why the play has been going strong some 30 years now.

Les Misérables is running on stage through Sunday, March 15th at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Ticket Center at DPAC and