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Through Nov. 24, Beef & Boards is offering a sincere, satisfying, terrifically sung, intimate-yet-still-epic production "Les Miserables" complete with a very strong Valjean in Greg Goodbrod, who has played the part elsewhere. He gives the early scenes a feral quality that feeds his performance throughout. He knows—and subtly shows—that the prisoner still exists inside the model citizen that Valjean later becomes. And that everything he has could be taken from him at any moment.
For “Les Miserables” to work best, it needs a compelling Javert to match its Valjean. And B&B has one with Joe Tokarz (whose credits include being among the singers of “One Day More” at last years Oscars). The default for actors is to play Javert as single-minded as The Terminator. But Tokarz’s nearly showstopping rendition of “Stars” is less about an automaton declaring his obsession and more about man locked into a world view while trying to wipe away some nagging doubts that his fanaticism is may not represent the true path.
Kudos, too, to Dominic Sheahan-Stahl, perfectly fine as the love-smitten Marius but who bringsi a deeply moving truth to the character later, when confronted with the fatal reality of his pals’ protest. And to Douglas E. Stark and Annie Edgerton who, by minimizing the grotesque, keep the Thenardiers from being the annoyances I’ve always previously found them to be.
See full review in the Oct. 14 IBJ.