Les Miserables with international flavor

I love when musicals do something unique and different, which is why I loved this performance from the 10th anniversary concert of Les Miserables. They took the men who played the lead character, Valjean, all over the world and had them all sing the show’s banner song, Do You Hear the People Sing, in their native languages. The result is an amazing performance. Enjoy.

It all started with a Phantom…

For anyone who knows me, it is no secret that I love musicals. I can’t help it. There’s something about the way music interacts with stories that I just can’t get enough of. I remember the exact musical that started it, too.

The Phantom of the Opera.

The funny thing is, I didn’t fall in love with Phantom because of my experience seeing it. No, I fell in love because of what I heard. See, when I was really young, my dad took my mom to Toronto for their anniversary to see the production. They came back with the soundtrack. For weeks and months after that, I would listen to that soundtrack during the hour-long drive to gymnastics practice three to four days a week. I sang like I was an opera singer (or tried to) and memorized all the words. I loved the fact that I could create the storyline in my mind and picture the scenes, simply by hearing the music and piecing together the lyrics from different songs. There was kind of a pact between my dad and I that, when I was old enough, we would go see Phantom of the Opera on stage.

Phantom of the Opera was the first Broadway musical I ever saw. Today, my favorite is Wicked, but there's something in me that just lights up when I hear the notes of any song from Phantom.

Finally, when I was in the eighth grade, I got to go see it when it was on tour in Detroit. I remember we were in the very back row, right in front of the air conditioner so I was freezing. It didn’t matter, though. I was enthralled with the voices and the story. If I wasn’t hooked on musical theater before then, I was now. Could there be any more perfect world than that of a musical? Wouldn’t life be more wonderful if people just burst into song to show their feelings? I thought it would and continue to believe that to this day.

Since that night at the Fox Theater in Detroit, I’ve found a love for many more musicals. Rent, Wicked, The Lion King, Hairspray, Chicago – some of them I’ve seen, while others I’ve just become familiar with through song, much as I did with Phantom. No matter which show it is, though, it never fails that I am taken into that world, where everything can be explained in a song.

Are you a fellow musical theater fan? Is there one show that started it all for you? I’d love to hear about it!