Guest Post by David Thomas
This past week saw the 30th Anniversary Gala performance of Les Misérables, the world’s best loved and longest running Musical, at The Queens Theatre London.
For me, as for many, the most magical moment of this most magical of evenings was when four phenomenally gifted performers gathered to sing the breathtakingly beautiful Bring Him Home together (Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean, Peter Lockyer, who currently stars in the London production, and two distinguished predecessors, Geronimo Rauch and John Owen-Jones. At least it looked as if they were going to perform together, but after two rounds of each of three Valjeans singing in turn, John Owen-Jones had still not sung a note.
And then he sang.
With long running shows you will often find that everyone has a particular favourite in a role, and this may owe as much to the occasion on which they first saw that performer as the actual quality of the performance itself. For me, personally, in thirty years I have never seen a finer Jean Valjean than John Owen-Jones.
And for me, as for many, seeing John perform Bring Him Home on Thursday brought flooding back the memories of what he brought to the role; his ability to hit the sweet-spot of each individual emotional note, as well as every musical note, and thereby drive the full sense and power of the songs through the feelings of the character he is portraying.
As a footnote, the day after the Les Misérables Thirtieth Anniversary Gala, The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its twenty-ninth anniversary and, speaking purely personally once again, in twenty-nine years I have also never seen a finer Phantom than John’s. Respect!
Planning to see Les Misérables this year? Fan of the show? Tell us about it in the comments section below!