While I was in London in October 2015, I was unbelievably fortunate to win a lottery ticket to the Les Miserables 30th Anniversary Gala. It was the best theater experience I have ever had, and a night that I will never forget.
When we walked into the theater, we were greeted with a gorgeous program detailing the history, development, cast, and future of Les Mis. The program is currently framed above my desk.
We were seated, and the performance begin. The current cast of Les Mis performed a beautiful show. As soon as performance ended, the stage went black, and we were all handed bottles of champagne. A screen came down and a movie played showing the worldwide impact of the musical. They showed everything from The Simpsons to protestors singing. When the movie ended, the current cast returned to the stage.
They were joined by the original cast. Together, both companies sang. It was surreal. I listen to the original cast recording daily and tears filled my eyes as I watched my heroes, Patti LuPone and Colm Wilkinson, sing the songs I know so well.
The original producers, writers, and lyricist joined the stage. We sang “Happy Birthday” to Herbert Kretzmer, who had just turned 90. The producers announced how many times Les Mis had been translated and how it had been just been translated into Welsh. Instantly, members of the National Youth Choir of Wales lined the aisles and sang “One Day More” in Welsh. It was beautiful. As soon as they concluded, the stage was showered in confetti.
It’s been nearly three years, and I still play the entire night over and over in my head. Cheers, Les Mis. I hope to be there for the 35th.
What’s your favorite theater experience?