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Monday, April 22, 2013

Living "Les Miz"

Ultimately, I'm going to blame it on a book.  This book, in fact:

Les Miserables
written by Victor Hugo, 1862

This French historical novel -- considered "one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century" -- follows the lives of several different characters between the years of 1815 and 1832, particularly the life of ex-convict, Jean Valjean.  Major themes of the novel include justice, grace, and love.

I started reading this book when I was in college, but I'm pretty sure I never finished it.  I'm planning to give it another try, though.  My 17-year-old daughter recently read it from beginning to end, and absolutely loved it!  (She had read -- and enjoyed -- a highly abridged version of the book for a class in middle school.  My parents gave her the copy shown above this past Christmas, which is also abridged, but much less so, and she liked this version even more.)

In 1985,  Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Jean-Marc Natel turned the story of Les Miserables into a musical, known affectionately as Les Mis or Les Miz.  Just a few years later,  I attended the Broadway production of Les Miz as part of a theater package for college students.  I immediately fell in love with it.  I bought the soundtrack to the musical and listened to it ALL the time.  (I'm sure if you asked my housemates from that time, they would concur.)

Earlier this month, students at my daughter's high school performed seven shows of Les Miz.  They were amazing.  I'm not saying that just because my daughter played five different characters in it:
Emmalie as a constable, April 2013

Emm as a female Montparnasse, April 2013
She also played a factory worker,
a townsperson,and a serving girl.

or because my seven-year-old played a street urchin in it:
Ben, April 2013

or even because I helped paint 90% of the set.  The cast and crew were all SO talented and they worked SO hard to create a show that audience members will never forget.  Amazing, I tell you.

You may be wondering why I'm mentioning all this on a blog about children's books.  Well, it has to do with the lapse between this post and my last, over a month and a half ago. (And also the smaller gap before that, which lasted for two weeks.)  Ever since the auditions in November -- and especially for the last two months -- our family has been living and breathing Les Miz, from morning till night. Between set builds and rehearsals (and school, work, and daily life), we've had NO free time.  Blame it on the book. ;)

For me, no free time meant not having any time to read (gasp!) or write, among other things.  At first, I thought surely I would at least be able to keep up with this blog.  I was wrong.  I've really missed it, though, and I'm glad to be back.  I'm still getting back into the swing of things now that Les Miz is all over, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to find the time to make (mostly) daily posts once again.  And I'm hoping that my readers will return to join me on this blog journey....

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