I saw Les Mis on Sunday with my special lady, Jen. It was playing at the U of I Assembly Hall as part of their Broadway Series. The show was top notch. Most of the cast has experience on Broadway and they were all great (especially the guy who played Jean Valjean). I know the music pretty well (I sang many of the songs when I took voice lessons in high school), so it's especially enjoyable to me.
The first downside was the venue. Assembly Hall is a stadium. They partitioned off about half of the stadium with a giant curtain to give it a slightly more intimate feeling, but it's still the same place I watch Illini Basketball. During intermission, people came back to their seats with all sorts of "stadium food:" tubs of popcorn, soft pretzels with cheese, nachos, hot dogs, you name it. That just screams "high class." I reminded Jen that if we were in a real theater in Chicago (or another big city), we could have cocktails during intermission instead of a footlong hot dog.
The second downside was that this is Champaign, IL. Most people wore t-shirts and jeans. One guy a few rows in front of us was wearing his blue-collar work shirt—it even had his name embroidered on the breast! Jen wore a nice dress; I wore a shirt and tie. We were the most dressed-up people that we saw. Again: if we were in Chicago, we would have blended in (or even been under dressed).
Oh, well. One week from now I'll be living in Chicago. Great show! Not-so-great venue.