“This version is a little grittier and moves faster. It takes sort of a different angle on things. Because of that, certain aspects of show play a little differently. I think that proves that a new production can be just as successful as an older one.”
For revivals and touring productions of long-running musicals, producers like to employ any technological advances that could be incorporated. This version features projections that complement the narrative playing out on stage. Many are drawings by Hugo, who suppressed his artistic leanings for fear they might overshadow his literary work.
“This production has been completely redesigned,” Lockyer said. “The projections alone make it cinematic. It's just another tool the set designer can use for his vision of how the show will look. It's kind of a morphing of cinema and theater genres.” Much of the success of “Les Miserables” depends on the chemistry between Valjean and Javert. Lockyer said he and Andrew Varela (the actor who plays Javert) have been friends since they appeared in the Broadway production together.
“We had a blast with each other onstage,” Lockyer recalled. “I think because of that relationship, we trust each other's professionalism. We have a freedom within the structure of our scenes together.
“I feel like we can do anything with each other. Our director encouraged us to find little things to play with. It doesn't take a big change to make a scene feel new. It's a way for us to keep the show alive for every performance.”
“Les Miserables” purists need not worry about the show's familiar narrative. It's one aspect of the musical that hasn't been tampered with. The Boublil/Schonberg score, one of the musical theater's finest, is also intact.
“When I first came to see this new production I was a little nervous because I loved the original version so much and even felt like I had some ownership over it,” Lockyer explained. “But I've had such a blast with this production. I found myself laughing at moments that took me by surprise.
“I've talked to people who have come to the stage door who said they were also a little skeptical at first. But after seeing this production, they love the changes that have been made. By taking a step back, we realize we are creating new memories.”