… Les Misérables was the first musical production I ever saw. I remember it like it was yesterday, right down to the puffy, royal blue sequined dress I wore. My mom curled my hair for our big night out; she even let me wear a tinted lip gloss. Before our grown up girls night we went to a waterfront restaurant in Norfolk and I drank a Shirley Temple. Tres chic for a six year old.
The musical itself; I remember weeping and gaping open mouthed. My tiny little mind went through a tumult of raging emotions as the play, sights and sounds and all, engulfed me completely. It is one of my most vivid and grandest of childhood memories.
That Christmas my mom bought me the soundtrack and I sang songs of love, forgiveness and redemption at the top of my little girl lungs. I sang myself hoarse, I sang till my lungs felt like they’d burst. Les Misérables is an experience that is totally mine. I listen to the soundtrack with no one around. I share the emotions it stirs in my with no one else. Even though it was a moment in my youth I shared with my mom, I honestly cannot recall her sitting beside me. There was no audience. In my memory there is just me and Jean Valjean, Bishop Myriel, Cosette, and the relentless Javert. I remember even having nightmares about being chased through dark alleys and under bridges by Javert and asking God to make me French, and beautiful.
After Les Mis I was hooked. While other kids begged their parents to take them to Disney Land I was determine to see every play, opera and musical that came to town. For the bigger milestone birthdays we traveled to NYC to see performances. Unfortunately my son doesn’t share my same enthusiasm. I guess that’s what happens when you take a boy to the ballet.
I can now add this movie to the list of things I get to look forward to… one of those things being Season 3 of Downton Abbey.