Nick Cartell, who plays Jean Valjean in the new tour of the bread-stealing musical "Les Miserables," respects all those great talents who fashioned this mammoth work into the classic it is now.
That includes Victor Hugo, who wrote the 1862 novel on which the musical is based. Cartell consulted the book to help nail his character, whom he says "fights so much injustice. He's looking for redemption, but he also has a struggle within his soul."
The actor says the tour differs from "Les Mis" as you might remember it.
"We don't have a turntable stage, but many people won't miss it. The orchestrations are different. One major difference is that we discovered that Victor Hugo was also a brilliant artist, so there are projections of his drawings as part of the set."
"Les Mis," known for its bombastic anthems of revolution, hopefulness and drunkeness, is still a grand spectacle. "We have 38 people onstage," Cartell says.
The tour, which began last week at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island and is at The Bushnell Oct. 3 through 8, is co-directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell. Connor also directed the current national tours of "School of Rock" (coming to The Bushnell Oct. 24 to 29) and "Phantom of the Opera" (coming to the Waterbury Palace in November). Cartell was on an earlier leg of that "Phantom" tour.
The London production of "Les Miserables" has been running since 1985, the original Broadway production ran for 16 years, and there was a Broadway revival just last year. "The great thing about this revival," the actor says, "is bringing it to a new generation."
LES MISERABLES — music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, original French lyrics by Alan Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer — is at The Bushnell Oct. 3 through 8. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.50-$112.50. 860-987-5900, bushnell.org.