I’ve seen “Les Miserables” countless times on Broadway since its opening back in 1987, with various actors playing Jean Valjean. I saw the brilliant Colm Wilkison twice during his original run, and his replacement, the great Gary Morris – yes the Country singer – who was outstanding in a complete 180 of his usual metier. I sat (slept?) through the 2006 revival, saved only by the performances (with Alexander Gemignani as Vlajean and Norm Green as Javert) – and, of course, Hugh Jackman in the sadly disappointing movie version. (Oh, and, I used to kill this song at karaoke.)
But it wasn’t until I saw Ramin Karimloo late last year that I witnessed the greatest “Bring Him Home” in the history of my Les Miz-experiencing life, and the most emotionally startling portrayal of Valjean. This video, while breathtaking, doesn’t even do justice to just how transcendent Karimloo was, as absolutely tremendous as his voice is here. To see him was to see Les Miz – and Jean Valjean – as a rebirth, rather than merely a renaissance.
I only wish that I had gone back to see him again, as I promised myself I would, but unfortunately, tonight is his last performance after a year and a half in the role. I’m not usually a proponent of “bootlegs” but I have to admit to being thankful that someone flipped out their iPhone to capture this genius performance.
Bravo for a monumental run, Karimloo. Can’t wait to see you on stage again.