Do we fight for the right to a night at the opera now?

Went to the new staging of Les Mis at the 5th Avenue Theater on Saturday! So freaking good!

Barricade scene from Les Mis.  Enjolras stands in the center in a bright red and gold vest.

Enjolras was my favorite as always! SUCH a crush on that guy. So I was in luck as he was played by Jeremy Hays, a fellow who 1) was very talented and 2) has REALLY GOOD HAIR. He has in fact been in Hair previously. For obvious reasons. Look at him in the center of that promo shot. Those are the flowing golden locks of a born leader.

I really loved him in this staging. Awesome acting choices–he actually reminded me of some of the activists I knew in college. Plus, he was wearing a normal vest in his first couple of scenes, but when it was time for revolution, he put on his special red-and-gold revolution vest! Then he put on his special barricade tricolor sash! He was really really good at brandishing a rifle! All the other guys fell backwards off the barricade, but he fell forwards! Like a leader! ♥

ENJOLRAS: [singing] Is this simply a game for rich young boys to play?
ME AND THE BFF: Um….look around you at your friends, sweetie. They don’t seem to be taking this very seriously. That one guy has done nothing but pretend a wine bottle is his penis ALL SHOW LONG.

ENJOLRAS: Hey all my rich-kid friends from school, you want to be in the revolution with me?
ENJOLRAS’S FRIENDS: Will there be beer?
ENJOLRAS:…
ENJOLRAS’S FRIENDS: Wine’s okay too.
ENJOLRAS: Okay we can have the meetings at that nice little wine bar we like.
ENJOLRAS’S FRIENDS: We’re in!

ENJOLRAS: [to Marius, singing] Who cares about your lonely soul? We strive towards a larger goal! Our little lives don’t count at all.
ENJOLRAS’S FRIENDS: No wait we want to hear about Marius’s new girlfriend! Is she hot?
MARIUS: She’s totally hot you guys but I don’t know if she’s technically my girlfriend yet. I mean what happened was…
ENJOLRAS’S FRIENDS: [listen raptly]
ENJOLRAS: [facepalm]

Sometimes Enjolras thinks he should try to expand the movement. Maybe bring in some actual poor people. But he tried! He handed out pamphlets! No one showed up for the meetings. He thought about trying to go out and talk to some poor people in person, but it would be so awkward. And besides, they probably wouldn’t understand political science and stuff.

Poor kid. I really do love him. He just needs a hug! And maybe a consciousness-raising group. And someone to give him a nice scalp massage. Running a revolution is stressful! I volunteer. What can I say, I’m a giver.

The one thing that really, really made me angry about the staging [SPOILER COMING] was that Eponine was shot offstage while climbing the barricade to bring Marius news of Cosette. I can’t actually say if this was a change from the previous staging because I saw it in high school and don’t remember, but I know it was a change from the book.

In the book, Eponine takes a bullet for Marius. She gets to make a choice, even if it’s a choice to lay down her life for someone who hasn’t actually treated her with that much respect. She gets to be a hero.

In this version, she went from having agency to being a passive victim who immediately becomes nothing but a symbol of the enemy’s cruelty (women in refrigerators, anyone?), and her story became even more about Marius and his man-feelings than it already was. Once again, I’m so glad I read and write romance where women’s lives and choices are in the spotlight.

That said, I love this show so much! Glad I brought tissues with me.

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