Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Les Mis

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.


Travis said...

[Imported comment* originally authored by Sara.] I completly agree with your review of the hall. we saw Rent there a few years ago, and we all dressed up,but many people thought they were off to see a sporting event.
Krannert is much different, and if you ever see a play there (in your time remaining) the people dress up for the occasion. and the food is deli style. and they can't eat in the theatre.
I am all for bringing the classics to the masses, and the more people that are educated about the fine arts the better. but for godsakes, but a nice shirt on. This isn't the blue collar comedy tour.

Travis said...

[Imported comment* originally authored by aaron.] "...we could have cocktails during intermission instead of a footlong hot dog."
And spent crazy amounts on those cocktails ;)

Travis said...

[Imported comment* originally authored by Charlie.] My wife and I went to the Saturday Matinee showing, and everyone around as were as dressed up as we were. I wore a sports jacket - no tie, and my wife wore a dress. We were sitting in section A, center. I noticed some in the other sections were very casual.
It was an outstanding production, the performers were amazing. Randall Keith (Jean Valjean) was absolute, his eyes were even tearing up during some of the numbers - amazing since he's been singing those songs for almost 20 years (he was the understudy to Colm Wilkinson the original Jean Valjean). I've seen the show 3 times before this at the Chicago Auditorium (which I wore suits to, but I digress) and this performance was on par with those.

Travis said...

[Imported comment* originally authored by Charlie.] ...About the venue, though - it did feel odd seeing something of this caliber at the Assembly Hall. The most annoying part was each time someone left the hall, ungodly beams of sunlight would flood the stage. I noticed before intermission, they were only allowing people to enter/exit the hall between scenes, after intermission, it became a free for all.