The first two times I saw it, I was in my early 20s. I identified with Cosette's and Eponine's feelings of love for Marius as well as the students' idealism. But yesterday, I ached for Fantine and her motherless child. And Javert seemed so much more human to me--still obsessed with Valjean and the law but truly baffled by Valjean's act of mercy toward him.
Even more, though, I found myself caught up in Jean Valjean--a sinner given a second chance to make a life for himself beyond his circumstances. To be honest and honorable, even when it cost him dearly. To live the life of a man and not a number. Would I have been so brave and true? I hope so.
This cast had strong, powerful voices that soared with the music one moment, then faded to exquisite harmonies the next. If the words were in another language and I could not understand them, I would still be moved to tears--and cheers.
Les Miserables has given me much to consider and remember. That's what good theater does.