My husband begged, bribed, and cajoled. While this may sound like a typical ending to our weekly date night, :), it was actually an event that happened many years ago.
We were in full dating, pre-marriage, mode at the time, and heâ€™d asked me to accompany him to see Les Miserables.Â I was iffy about going. Not because I donâ€™t like musicals–I do–I was resistant because heâ€™d seen Les Miserables with his ex-wife and it remained a powerful memory. Blah. Why would I want to stir that bit of his history?
Curiosity got the best of me, however, and I went. Within a few notes of the opening music, I was not only hooked, I was transported. The following year we went again, but this time my daughter–then a teenager–came along too. I wanted her to love it as much as I did. Alas, she was young and far more interested in the woman sitting in front of us who had the misfortune of getting a creaky theater seat. Every time the woman moved in her chair, a fart/squeak emanated, and my daughter was in tears with silent laughter. Iâ€™m glad she was having a great time, but it was not quite the music I was hoping to inspire in her.
The pianist, Lori Line, came out with a CD shortly afterwards containing several numbers from Les Miserables.Â Because I loved the soundtrack, I played the CD fairly often. The thing is, that music sticks in your head like Super Glue sticks to skin. Itâ€™s seriously addictive.
My daughter became so mentally â€œstuckâ€ on the musical pieces Master of the House and Castle on a Cloud that she glared death holes in my soul if I was innocently caught humming one or the other. Of course, once I knew that she was vulnerable I innocently hummed those songs a lot. Around her. By accident. Eventually her boy toy Nick found out about her weakness and got his inner-hum on too.
On Christmas day, 2012, the latest film version of Les Miserables came out. I was nervous that Hollywood would badly mess with my beloved musical, but came away emotionally buffeted, impressed, and pleased.
Itâ€™s funny, but the movie caught me blinking back tears in different spots than when I attend the stage production. Iâ€™m assuming it is the acting, as well as the fact that a theater production does not allow the viewer to see the full range of facial emoting… unless you are lucky enough to be sitting right by the stage.
Today as I hummed Castle on a Cloud, I thought about what I would have missed had I stubbornly refused to attend Les Miserables with my husband in our dating period. How foolish to fear relationship ghosts I have no control over.
I now own the Â film with Liam Neeson (1998)(Meh), the PBS 25th anniversary edition DVD (which is excellent), Lori Lineâ€™s CD, and have seen the production on stage three times (loved them all).
Each note sends me soaring–how can a person not get goose bumps when listening to Do you Hear the People Sing, or One Day More?– and sends me crashing into the jagged depths of loss with songs like I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, or Empty Chairs at Empty Tables?
Iâ€™m sorry, Sasha, but after this recent exposure Iâ€™ll be humming happily for days to come. Be warned, or better yet, join me. After all, Les Miserables loves company.