A lovely weekend in the Big Apple + Thoughts on 2014 Les Miz on Broadway

Hi everyone! I’m back. Well, s-l-0-w-l-y. I was blissfully *disconnected* for about 5 days, other than checking news on my iPhone occasionally, I didn’t write or visit any blogs at all. It felt pretty good actually, I guess I was feeling a bit burned out so that was a much-needed break.

Well, I didn’t see any movies at all this weekend. I don’t usually go to the cinema when I’m out of town. Not sure why I just prefer spending my time seeing the place I’m visiting, but of course I made time to see a show since we stayed near the Theatre District.

Imperial_LesMizMarquee

Can you believe it I never actually saw Les Misérables until this weekend? I almost didn’t make it as TKTS ran out of tickets (only singles were available), but glad I persisted and went directly to the Imperial Theater directly. We ended up with one of the best seats ever, four rows from stage right in the center!

This play a re-imagining by the same producer who revamped The Phantom of the Opera, Cameron Mackintosh. I knew I had to see it the fact that Phantom himself is playing Jean Valjean! 😉 Ramin Karimloo played The Phantom in both the West End’s POTO and its sequel Love Never Dies (which I reviewed a few years back). I LOVE his booming tenor as Phantom, and boy did he impress me once again as Valjean.

LesMiz_2014ImperialTheater
Photos from Broadway.com – clockwise from bottom left: Ramin singing ‘Bring Him Home,’ Ramin as prisoner 24601, Building the Barricade scene, Marius & Eponine & Javert’s singing ‘Stars’

Ramin was a brilliant Phantom but I’d say his performance is even more electrifying as Valjean. His voice is just incredible from start to finish, but the ballad Bring Him Home is particularly moving. He’s definitely got stage charisma as well as the physicality and emotional gravitas to mesmerize an audience. Now I’m actually curious to see the film version and see how Hugh Jackman fares in the role of Valjean. Yep I haven’t seen the film either, believe it or not. From the trailer though, I definitely prefer Anne Hathaway’s performance to Caissie Levy as Fantine. I mean, I almost always cry whenever I hear her sing the iconic I Dreamed a Dream, but the stage rendition didn’t get me all emotional. My hubby joked that instead of Les Miserables, the way Fantine was portrayed here was less miserable 😀

I like Earl Carpenter‘s voice and performance as Javert as well. Interestingly he had played Phantom before in the London production with Ramin as Raoul. I especially love the technique used when Javert threw himself into the Seine river. Overall, the male cast fared much better than the female ones. I’m not that impressed by all three main female characters (Fantine, Éponine, Cosette), both in terms of vocal and acting performance. The love triangle of sort between Marius, Éponine and Cosette fell rather flat, but I guess I wasn’t expecting high romance the way of Phantom & Christine in POTO.

So what’s the verdict? Well, despite some of the *flaws*, I enjoyed it tremendously. I certainly don’t mind seeing it again but only with Ramin as Valjean. He truly made the show for me and was always the highlight every time he appeared on screen. When he sang Bring Him Home, which is a prayer to heaven to save Marius, it’s as if he lifted the entire production to a whole new heights with his soulful and rich rendition that gave me goose bumps!! I’d think that any other production I’d see without him would be slightly less epic.

Check out the trailer below:

A Fab Weekend in the Big Apple

Well, the rest of the time we just did the tourist-y thing as we’ve got the NYC Pass. But of course we had to make a stop at Dominique Ansel bakery for their famous Cronuts [croissant donut in case you didn’t know)! We got there at 9 right as they opened but still had to wait an hour as they only allowed 20 ppl in at a time and there were about 3 times the number of people in line by that time! It was well worth it though, YUM! Thank the Lord for the fantabulously sunny weather. It only rained on Saturday which wasn’t a total wash-out, and the rest of the time we’re treated to a gorgeous & warm weather!

Ok folks, that’s it from the NYC trip. I’ll return to my regular blogging schedule later this week, starting with posting my interview with a cast member from Starz’s Black Sails, South African-based actor Sean Cameron Michael. So stay tuned! 😀


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30 thoughts on “A lovely weekend in the Big Apple + Thoughts on 2014 Les Miz on Broadway

    1. Hi Cindy! Yeah I’m surprised that I haven’t seen Les Miz sooner. Well it sure won’t be the last, I just wish I could see every production w/ Ramin in it.

  1. Ruth is this now “broadwaychatter.net”? 🙂

    Great pics. I haven’t been there since the 90’s. Just never got back after going like 5-6 years in a row. I have so many crazy stories from there. There’s no other city like it.

    You know I’ve been to NYC several times but I’ve never seen anything on Broadway. Maybe someday. I did however get to CBGB’s before it closed its doors. As a musician getting to see the place that Blondie, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Patti Smith and The Talking Heads called their home was pretty cool.

    So the cronut was really worth the wait. Hmmm… I just don’t believe it.

    1. Ha..ha.. well not exactly Dave. I’ve only reviewed a few plays here, I don’t think I see enough to do a regular stage review.

      There’s no other city like NYC that’s very true. Oh wow you went to CBGB? That’s cool! There’s a movie starring Alan Rickman but it was panned by critics. Did you see it?

      As for the Cronuts, I’m actually more into their lesser-known delicacy called the DKA, which is super yummy. Next time I’m there I’d just bypass the line and go straight for those 🙂

  2. Looks like you had a fantastic time. Switching off from the Internet and everything it holds can feel SO GOOD sometimes. Well, all the time actually.

    I’ve never seen Les Mis either. For all the years I lived in London, I never saw it!

    1. Hi Jaina! It does feel nice not to have to worry about what to blog about or read other people’s for a while, ahah. I don’t think I can switch off for too long tho, I miss blogging/tumblring/tweeting too much 🙂

      Les Miz is worth seeing, esp when you’ve got an actor like Ramin Karimloo in the cast, highly recommended!

  3. Gah, so cool! Glad you had fun in NYC! I can’t believe you haven’t seen the 2012 Les Mis. I have to say, the Marius-Cossette-Éponine triangle in that film is pretty flat as well but Hugh Jackman is SUPERB as Valjean.

    1. Hello Fernando! Yeah it’s nuts isn’t it that I haven’t seen the 2012 Les Mis but now I want to after seeing the play. I saw the rendition of Bring Him Home of Hugh but I still prefer Ramin’s voice. I’m curious to see his performance overall though.

  4. Love your post Ruth! You are so adorable, I love seeing our fellow bloggers in action. Sounds like you had a great time. I have never seen Les Mis, how cool to see that in action in NYC. And so glad you took a selfie woo hoo! Looking forward to your interview with Mr. Guthrie. 🙂

    1. Hello dahling! It’s fun to do a personal post once in a while. I forgot to do one from my Europe trip in June but now it’s been too long already that I don’t feel like it, ahah. I think you’d enjoy seeing Les Miz and Ramin is quite crush-worthy 😉 Of course nobody is gonna take Toby’s place, in fact I was googling his photos as I miss him so much!!

      How’s South Beach? Bummer that you lost your phone, ay caramba!

  5. Jealous… YES! New York is THE city I really want to visit! Sounds like you’ve had a fabulous time Ruth – I love your photos! I don’t think you’d get me smiling on any of the skyscraper photos – my fear of heights would probably bring about more of a grimace! 🙂

    1. Hi Dan! It is THE city to visit before you die, that’s for sure. Hope you get to visit there soon Dan, there’s so much to see. Ha..ha.. I didn’t know you have fear of heights, but hey I think you can handle it, just don’t stand too close to the glass barricades 😉 The view is well worth it!!

    1. Hi Niels! Ha..ha.. a bit of vacation is not just nice, it’s essential for one’s well being. Hope you get to take one soon. A broadway show is a great one to put on one’s bucket list!

  6. Ah!! No wonder you’ve gone missing for a while 😉

    It sounds like you enjoy NYC so much. I would love to see a play again. The last time I saw a play was more than 5 years ago and it was a small play where the actors played in the middle of a small group of audience…but it was fun.

    1. Oh I was only been missing for less than a week, but seems that most people stop commenting 😦

      I do love NYC for sight-seeing, it’s such a great city you can enjoy time and time again. Which play did you see Nov? Sometimes a smaller play is great as it feels more intimate, hope one day you get to see Cillian on stage 😉

      1. Hahaha count me out there. I even stop blogging for a week due to my job.

        It’s a Japan-Indonesia play by Japan Foundation. I really wish that will come true one day.

    1. Hi Chris! Nice to see an old blog friend stop by, you’ve been missed 😉 Oh you’ve seen Les Miz at West End? Very cool! I saw Phantom of the Opera there at Adelphi Theater. Where was Les Miz at?

      1. I’ve missed being around! Always love popping by everyone’s sites when I get the chance 🙂 I saw Les Mis at the Queen’s Theatre, a wonderful theatre. I really want to see Phantom, it’s one of my favourite musicals but have never actually seen it live on stage.

  7. Glad you had a good time, Ruth. I’d like to see a stage production of Les Miserables, though I’m not sure how it will compare with the film. I’m a little biased, since I’ve seen the film six or seven times. 😉

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