For Drama Club nerds of a certain age, Les Misérables -- which premiered in London in 1985 and Broadway the year after that -- was likely a formative theatergoing experience, a mega-musical that married soaring anthems with elaborate stagecraft, giving it a grand sense of scale that blew the roof off the theater. You didn't just watch Les Miz... you became part of its world. In retrospect, it's easy to slam the musical for helping to launch the still-ongoing era of Blockbuster Theater, where budget-swollen shows frequently put more effort into the spectacle than the songs and story (looking at you, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark). But almost three decades on, Les Misérables, adapted from Victor Hugo's sprawling 19th-century tome, remains a case where all of the elements are in harmony with each other. On their own, songs like "Who Am I?", "Stars" and "One Day More" are stirring; when paired with the revolving turntable set, the intricate lighting design and the building of the barricade, they become transcendent.
Hey guys, wait for me! We forgot to sing "On the Road Again!"