I saw a version of Les Mis last night that I’d never thought I’d be able to appreciate – “in the round” at Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre here in suburban Chicago. It was breathtaking. We sat in the third row (there isn’t a bad seat in the theatre), wondering how the barricade scene and the sense of spectacle we had appreciated in the Broadway versions could possibly be pulled off. The staging was truly brilliant, and the voices, for the most part, superb. What a magnificent story of grace! In so many ways, the intimacy of the experience augmented the power of the story, and once again reminded me of the beauty of the music, now more than a couple decades old. I was drawn into the experience in a far deeper way than in the past when I sat at such a distance.
It makes me wonder how many times we hold back telling certain stories because of our space limitations, lower budgets, or limited scenic options. Not every story can be told in every setting. But with more imagination, I’m certain all of us could break out of what we perceive to be rigid limitations, and create something fresh and powerful told in a more intimate form…It sure worked for me and the rest of the audience last night.