Several years ago, I first saw the musical Les Misérables with friends at a Broadway in Chicago presentation. I was so excited to be seeing the show live for the first time and it lived up to my expectations in every way, and in one way it far exceeded them. That moment of shifting perspective is still so clear: During the seminal song I Dreamed a Dream sung by the tormented character Fantine, there is a line: “But the tigers come at night/With their voices soft as thunder…” Wait a minute…tigers with voices soft as thunder…a simile right there in middle of Les Misérables. And more than that, the word choice of “softest” when the librettist could have easily chosen to write “loud as thunder” or “roaring thunder,” but he didn’t.
Right there in the theater I felt down to my toes: this was written by a poet, and from that moment on I viewed the libretto for Les Misérables in a different, more exalted, way. After the show I bought the CD and listened to it countless times, eventually adding it to all of my mobile devices so that I could hear it anywhere.~ read more ~