So, I had a great time last night. I went and watched Les Miserables, the 25th Anniversary live concert in the O2 theatre in London, with Sunny Jane. It is my favorite musical and itmakes it even better when you watch it with a friend! Its such an amazing, powerful story, and then the music makes it even better! Here is a rundown of the story for those of you who haven't read and/or watched the movie and musicals.
This is Jean Valjean, prisoner 24601.
He is a convict who just served 19 years hard labor. He broke a window and stole a loaf of bread because his nephew was starving. He was captured and sentenced to 5 years. The rest were added because he tried to escape. When he was finally released on parole, no one would hire him, and he was starving yet again. A bishop takes him in for the evening, feeds him, and provides him a bed for the night. Valjean woke in the night and stole all the silver from the priest and fled.
He didnt get far. Soldiers stopped him and found the stolen silver, which Valjean claimed had been a gift. They took him back to the bishop where, to Valjean's surprise, the bishop agreed with him. Not only that, but he gave Valjean his silver candlesticks, worth even more than the silverware. He dismisses the soldiers and tells Valjean "Use this silver to become a new man." Valjean is so shocked by the kindness and mercy of this man that he swears never to steal again.
OK, so now, a few years pass, and Valjean becomes a respectable citizen and then the mayor of a small town. He owns a factory where poor people in the community can work. He is unaware that one woman, Fantine, was fired from his factory because it was discovered she had an illegitimate child. Her daughter, Cosette, was living in another town and the family,the Thenardiers, treats her very poorly. They continue to up the amount needed to care for Cosette. Now jobless, Fantine sinks into despair, selling first her furniture, then her hair, even her teeth to a denture maker. Finally, she hits bottom and sells herself as a prostitute and still the Thenardiers demand more money.
Then, she is attacked but the inspector sides with the man at fault. She is taken to the jail, so ill she can hardly walk. Valjean was witness to the attack and intervenes, taking he to the hospital instead.
An older man has an accident and a wagon falls on him, pinning him to theground. Valjean steps in and is able to lift the cart enough for the man to be saved. The inspector, Javert, was witness to the event and was shocked by Valjeans strength. Javert had been a prison guard during Valjean's imprisonment and was reminded of prisoner 24601. When he speaks to Valjean, he tells him that it must just be a coincidence since "Valjean" hadalready been rearrested and was going to court that very day. Knowing that this man must be innocent, the real Valjean is torn. If he speaks out, he will be returned to prison for breaking his parole. If he says nothing, an innocent man will be condemned to prison.
After taking measures to protect the workers of his factory, Valjean goes to the court and confesses his identity.
He returns to Fantine, who is dying. He promises to take care of Cosette and raise her. Javert confronts him and Valjean pleads for the time he needs to fetch Cosette away from the Thenardiers but Javert is merciless. Valjean knocks him out and flees.
The Thenardiers are wretched, despicable people who only care about one thing: money. They lie and act as if they cant bear to give up Cosette in order to get more money from Valjean. He pays them and flees to Paris with Cosette, determined to keep his promise to Fantine.
And that's part one of Les Miserables, which, by the way, is French for "the miserable ones". Charming title isn't it? Parts 2 and 3 to come!!!
All pictures and video are from Les Miserables the 1998 film with Liam Neeson and Geoffry Rush, or Les Miserables the 25th Anniversary concert.