‘Les Miserables’ Review: The Most Powerful & Best Rendition I’ve Seen… Ever.

Les Miserables Review 2024

I’ve always been a bit of a musical theater nerd, and Les Misérables has always been at the core of that love. I first fell in love with the stage show back in middle school when I heard the multi-disc soundtrack of the 10th Anniversary performance. After that, I read Victor Hugo’s brilliant novel and became borderline obsessed with seeing the stage show – which I wouldn’t see for several more years.

The first time I saw it was at Atlanta’s Fox Theater – and I cried through the whole thing because I was so happy to see it finally. Fast forward 25 years, and I saw it again at Atlanta’s Fox Theater on Tuesday night. This time marked my 14th time seeing the production over the last few decades. I’ve seen high school productions, traveling productions, and seen it Broadway twice – and I’ve watched both of the more recent versions of the movie countless times – and gotten into debates even more about Éponine’s absence from the 1998 film… but I digress.

I love this musical, the story, and the music. So when I say this was the best version of the show I’ve seen to date, that’s a big statement coming from me.

The Music & Performances

Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean is the star of the show. And he is, without question, the best actor I’ve ever seen in this role. His performance was sheer perfection and his voice was not only the ideal fit for Valjean – it’s also one of the best voices I’ve heard on stage in any musical – ever.

But it’s not just Cartell that shines here. Preston Truman Boyd is flawless as Javert, Haley Dortch was immaculate, Matt Crowle as Thenardier was the best I’ve ever seen in the role – as was Victoria Huston-Elem as Madame Thenardier, Mya Rena Hunter floored me with her performance (especially the way she tackled the note “Pretending” in “On My Own,” Delaney Guyer and Jake David Smith as Cosette and Marius – chef’s kiss, and I could literally copy and paste the entire cast into this because the ensemble was that masterful.

Add all these performances in with a live orchestra… it’s just a jaw-dropping show.

Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables
“Prologue” – Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables / Photo: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

The Set Design & Costume

Over the years, Les Misérables has considerably evolved its set design and costumes – even pulling some clear inspiration from the 2012 film. It feels like you’re watching a moving painting from the early 1800’s. And, as a fan, it’s been really cool to see that evolution. With an infusion of tech that flawlessly integrates into the backdrops, scenes like “One Day More” and “Javert’s Suicide” just hit differently – and somehow even more powerfully than before.

And the lighting… there’s so much I could say… But I’ll keep it short. The lighting was exceptional – and ever so potent during scenes such as the fight at the barricades, making you feel the loss of life with a new gravity compared to previous versions of the show.

Les Miserables: Master of the House
“Master of the House” from Les Misérables / Photo: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

The History of Les Misérables

Les Misérables is no stranger to the stage. After starting in London, the stage show made its way to New York in March 1987. And even today, it remains the sixth longest-running show in Broadway history. It has won countless awards, including eight Tony Awards out of the 12 it was nominated for.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel by the same name. It is set in early 19th-century France and follows Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who seeks redemption. Released in 1815 after 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread, Valjean breaks his parole to start over, inspired by a bishop’s kindness. However, Inspector Javert is determined to catch him. And, as the story unfolds, Valjean and other characters become involved in a revolution where young idealists in Paris try to topple the government.

Mya Rene Hunter as Eponine in Les Miserables
“On My Own” – Mya Rene Hunter as Éponine in Les Misérables / Photo: Matthew Murphy

Les Misérables in Atlanta

Be sure to check out Les Misérables at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta! Performances are happening June 4 – 9, 2024, as part of the Regions Bank Broadway in Atlanta 2023/24 season. Prices start at $34, with a select number of premium tickets available.

Tickets will be available at the Fox Theatre box office at 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308, by visiting Fox Theatre’s website, or by calling (855)-285-8499. Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling the Fox Theatre at (855)-285-8499.


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