Last week, I took a long weekend in New York for a little solo vacation. Aside from forgetting my phone charger and having to buy another one, it was a very successful trip. No hurricanes and I didn’t forget my pants! I also went to Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where the waitstaff sings to you while you eat, went to Coney Island on Saturday and rode the Cyclone, had some awesome pizza and garlic knots, and went to Central Park, where I went to the zoo and found the sea lions. (Ten years ago, on my pre-GPS first trip to NYC, Christiana Krump and I wandered around the park forever trying to find the zoo, specifically the sea lions, and never did. Mission finally accomplished!)
But none of that is the reason why I went there.
If you know me or have been reading this blog for awhile, you know of my love for and obsession with Les Miserables (and if you’re new, here’s my 3,500-word explanation of why I love it so much), so of course I had to go see it when I heard it was going back on Broadway. And I got even more excited when I heard how amazing Ramin Karimloo, who plays Jean Valjean, is. Listen to him here, singing “Bring Him Home” on Katie Couric’s show.
So on Friday (the 20th), I took the bus down and went to see the show. And Oh. My. God.
I’ve seen Les Mis in Boston a few times, but this was the first time I’d seen it on Broadway. I can say definitively that this was the best production I’ve ever seen, and unquestionably the best portrayal of Valjean. Ramin’s rendition of “Bring Him Home” brought me to tears—and that’s not even my favorite song from Les Mis! I thought that performance on Katie was good, but multiply that times a zillion awesomes and that’s how he sounded in person. I’ve never heard an audience applaud that long after a song not at the end of an act. And of course I was crying again a bit later during the finale. The cast was just wonderful—Caissie Levy, who played Fantine, was particularly impressive. Immediately, I went into my “Les Mis high,” a phenomenon affecting…well, just me, that will put me into an incredibly good mood for about a week after seeing Les Mis onstage. I talked about this a bit in this post, but while I don’t really like concerts and have never gotten the high from live music that so many people seem to, I do get that from musical theater, and that high is much stronger from Les Mis than from any other show.
I wanted to meet the cast at the stage door afterwards, but I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t until Sunday that I read online that at this theater, the entrance is on 45th street but the stage door is on 46thstreet. So on Sunday, I grabbed my program and went back to the stage door after the matinee show. I met most of the cast and got their autographs and it was AWESOME! I also got a teeny glimpse of Idina Menzel, aka the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem, since the If/Then stage door was right next door.
Then came the moment I’d been waiting for—Ramin came out and signed my autograph and I told him how incredible he was. Then I asked if I could take a picture with him and he took this one of us.
HOT VALJEAN HAS TOUCHED MY PHONE, YOU GUYS.
The whole trip was fun, but man…this musical.
Sometimes it’s nice to have things to obsess over. It makes me feel alive to have so much passion about something, and my love for this show is now over ten years old. I love it even more now than I did back then, and I hope that never changes.