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A Captivating Performance of LES MISÉRABLES, Ignites SLC at the Eccles Theater

As the curtains rose on Tuesday night, a palpable sense of anticipation filled the theater, signaling the highly anticipated opening night of the Broadway Across America touring production of LES MISÉRABLES, at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City. With a talented cast, skillful direction, and the beloved music and lyrics of this timeless musical, the evening proved to be a resounding success.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

The world’s most popular musical, LES MISÉRABLES, captured the essence of Cameron Mackintosh’s masterpiece, showcasing the enduring themes of love, sacrifice, and redemption against the backdrop of France in the 19th century. The careful attention to detail and ability to balance the epic scale of the story with intimate character moments were evident throughout the performance.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

The cast was a true ensemble of exceptional performers who breathed life into their respective characters. In the pivotal role of Jean Valjean, Nick Cartell delivered a powerful and nuanced portrayal, filling the character with both strength and vulnerability. His renditions of “Bring Him Home” and “Who Am I?” were met with thunderous applause, showcasing his vocal prowess and emotional depth. Following “Bring Him Home” I wasn’t sure that the audience would stop clapping to allow the production to continue, everyone was all but on their feet showing their awe at Cartell’s performance.

Opposite Johnson, Haley Dortch delivered a mesmerizing performance as the ill-fated Fantine. Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” was nothing short of breathtaking, eliciting tears from many in the audience. Dortch’s poignant portrayal showcased her impressive vocal range and her ability to convey raw emotion, leaving an indelible mark on the audience’s hearts.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Supporting the lead actors were a host of talented performers who brought their characters to life with conviction. Matt Crowle’s charismatic portrayal of the charming scoundrel Thenardier injected moments of dark humor and comedy into the production, while Christine Heesun Hwang’s portrayal of the young and resilient Eponine left a lasting impression. Hwang’s vocals were a spotlight throughout the performance as she flawlessly executed each number with incredible power and beauty.

Having seen and directed LES MISÉRABLES, I have many favorite characters and moments in the show, but somehow the role of Enjolras has always had my heart. Devon Archer as Enjolras lived up to everything I loved about the character and more. During “Red and Black” his strong and determined portrayal was inspiring as his voice soared above the other students.

This production had many differences from the original staging of LES MISÉRABLES and when I first noticed the missing turntable I was a little disappointed. In a pivotal moment during the battle between Archer and Henry Kirk as Gavroche, all was forgiven as the staging captured (I won’t spoil it here) a gut wrenching moment so beautifully.

Of course, LES MISÉRABLES, would not be complete without the iconic music and lyrics of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. The staging wasn’t the only change seen in this production from the last time I saw LES MISÉRABLES. The music had a subtle but more modern feel and sound. From the hauntingly beautiful melodies of “On My Own” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” to the rousing anthems of revolution such as “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and “One Day More,” the musical numbers were unforgettable. This production showcased a more speak sing quality throughout some numbers that brought the raw emotion from the characters to the surface of the songs. That emotion was met with vocalizations that soared, showing off the incredible powerhouse performers within this cast. The live orchestra, brought the score to life, emphasizing its emotional impact and sweeping grandeur.

The set design and technical aspects of the production were commendable, seamlessly transporting the audience from the grimy streets of France to the barricades of revolution. The lighting design, in particular, created a visually striking atmosphere, heightening the dramatic tension of each scene. There were two digital projections (again, no spoilers) that brought harder to stage moments to absolute perfection.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Tuesday night’s production of LES MISÉRABLES, at the Eccles Theater was a triumph. With a talented cast, meticulous direction, and the enduring beauty of Schönberg and Boublil’s music, the performance captivated the audience from start to finish. The combination of powerful vocals, compelling storytelling, and the timeless themes explored in LES MISÉRABLES, made for an unforgettable opening night, leaving the audience eagerly awaiting the next Broadway Across America touring production in Salt Lake City.

Tickets for LES MISÉRABLES, running at Salt Lake City’s Eccles Theater, June 20 – July 2, 2023 are available online at, at the Eccles Box Office (Mon.-Fri. 10am-6pm; Sat. 10am-2pm) or by calling ArtTix at 801.355.ARTS (2787). For more information, please visit

June 22, 2023

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