Les Mis the Musical

How many times have I seen/listened to the musical Les Miserable? I can’t even count. And yet when my husband and I stumbled on the 25th anniversary concert version last night on TV, we watched with rapt attention, as if it were the first time.
Why is that? I think it equal combinations of story and character and music. Story, because the themes of redemption and grace are so powerfully illustrated. Character, because Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Eponine are complicated people with feelings and actions with which we can relate. And music because it adds an extra emotional element that makes the story even more unforgettable. I’ve read the book—abridged and unabridged—but it’s the musical version I go back to over and over again.
What about you? Have you experienced Les Mis on stage or on CD? Read the book (either version)? Or are you one of the uninitiated to this amazing story of grace and love?