Last Friday night we saw the Utah Shakespeare Festival production of Les Miserables, an audience favorite around the world for thirty years or more. Other than seeing a concert performance on PBS and hearing some of the solos independently, I have not seen a full stage production before. This one was simply produced, putting the emphasis on the music, the story, and the themes of forgiveness and redemption, and not on the razzle dazzle of fancy production values.
And the play-going experience was all the better for that choice. Not one voice disappointed. All the versatile actors in the company took multiple minor parts, and the orchestra provided the necessary solid underpinnings.
However, the most moving moment among many in the play was the performance of "Bring Him Home," a simple prayer with an unforgettable melody. Other performances I've heard of this song were technically correct and spectacularly executed. This one was different, however, because the singer of this prayer sang it in a way that made it clear to me that he was personally acquainted with prayer and its consequences. These are moments an audience member can cherish because they go deep into the soul and linger.
We love the Shakespeare Festival and try to see two or three plays every season. Moments like this one from Les Miserables keep us coming back.