Lucky for us, the team at the Majestic, the 60-plus member cast, a full orchestra, and the even larger production crew, have put together an adaptation worthy of standing alongside any of its siblings.
In a life-changing moment, the bishop lets him go. From then on, Valjean swears to make something of his life. From there, the story picks up steam: Valjean becomes mayor of a town, tragic mother Fantine (Katie Smith) grows ill and resorts to prostitution to provide for her daughter Cosette (Aimee Valencia), Javert reunites with his old love… I mean, his old prisoner, and Valjean takes custody of Fantine’s daughter. It’s all interesting, well-sung, and incredibly moving.
From there, the story explodes outwards and tackles the June Rebellion in France, headed by love-stricken Marius (Joshua Lounsbury) and fiery Enjolras (Brad Strickler). By the end, audience members will have risen to their feet as the full cast takes the stage, joined by the choir tucked away above the audience, and belts out their song of revolution.
The indisputable quality of the ensemble in its entirety allow this show to defy all preconceived notions of the “community theater” label. When you are handling such a large group of people, there will usually be a few weak links hidden within the crowd. While arguments could be made about this particular cast, I’ll take the bold route and say that from end to end, this cast is stellar. Battrick’s Valjean is just as conflicted and powerful as you would hope and he has an excellent Javert to bounce off of in Allen. The two leaders of the revolution, Marius and Enjolras, are portrayed brilliantly by Joshua Lounsbury and Brad Strickler respectively, and they steal the stage as soon as they enter the story.
And damn, do they all sing well.
Beyond that, the physical aspects, lighting, stage design, and even the costume design are all fantastic. It all feels like something big, something important. And director Mary Jeanne Reynales names her need for professionalism as the reason why.