Love, Tears, Revolution: Why You Need To See Les Misérables

Lillie Forteau's picture

There are very few moments of joy in this musical, but you leave the theatre wanting more, after seeing such beauty onstage.

Such is the power of the musical, Les Misérables. Playing this week at Western Michigan' University's Miller Auditorium as part of the Zhang Financial Broadway series, this is one show you won't want to miss.

Here's what to pay attention to (besides the story, and the singing):



My mom saw Les Miz in 1990 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit (!). She could not stop remarking, as one does, on the changes that technology has wrought on life, including, most importantly for this discussion, staging. The background lighting was quite notable, ranging from extraordinary Turner-esque paintings (and colors, especially the oranges and reds) to splashing waves, and, impressively, the moving subterranean tunnels where Javert chases Valjean. 


The gliding set piceces set the scenes with such impact. The atmosphere? So dark, shadowed, forbidding, epitomizing a difficult, unfair life. The paintings in the back were barely visible, but still definitely there, lending such an air of Paris. Everything about the set added to the arching story. You truly felt like you were there in France, suffering along with the starved.


The costumes were not only historically accurate, but stunning in their own ways. One interesting aspect of the costuming was how they were always reflecting onto the characters' lives, whether as poverty-stricken Parisians, middle-class/student revolutionaries, or wealthy socialites. 


Let's be honest: such a brutal story calls for harsh, real acting.

Every moment of this musical is gut-wrenching.

It's hard to catch your breath...even after you've seen this show a few times over your lifetime. That's the beauty of the musical—that much is demanded of the actors, as well as the audience. Even the funny parts are full of pathos!

Master of the House. From Love, Tears, Revolution: Why You Need To See Les Misérables
Master of the House

Of special note to watch is Joshua Grosso, who, as Marius, stunned us with his performance of Empty Chairs, Empty Tables; Phoenix Best as Eponine (especially during Little Fall of Rain), and Javert, who truly conveyed more emotion than is usually expected of a villain in a story. Bravo!

Patrick Dunn

Patrick Dunn was cast as the lead, Jean Valjean. He has a beautifully soaring voice, stunning acting skills, and did we mention his, frankly, heavenly voice? We couldn't imagine anyone else in this role. Every moment he was on stage, his aura took over, capturing the hearts of all. Take a look. Actually, make a cup of tea, and get ready to cry tears of joy:

Ok, Kalamazoo, there is no excuse to not see Le Miz at Miller. Breathtaking and tear-filled, this is a ride you will never forget.

One Day More - Photo Matthew Murphy. From Love, Tears, Revolution: Why You Need To See Les Misérables
One Day More - Photo Matthew Murphy

More information on Les Miz performances at Miller Auditorium:

Don't live here? Never fear! Les Miz is on tour. Learn more:



Lillie Forteau is the Arts and Culture Editor, and Sustainable Travel Editor, for Wandering Educators. Find her art online at



All photos courtesy and copyright Les Miserables, used with permission