One day more

Happy Birthday, Jean Valjean.

Not the character in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables — the Jean Valjean that I have most often seen on stage, actor Colm Wilkinson.

He turns 67 today.

Colm originated the role of Jean Valjean in London’s West End and again on Broadway.

When the show transferred to New York City in 1987, Actors’ Equity wouldn’t allow Wilkinson to play the role because he wasn’t American.  So producer Cameron Mackintosh refused to open the show.

Luckily for all of us, Actors’ Equity quickly changed their minds.

Les Mis is one of the reasons I love Broadway today. I’ve seen the show an unprecedented 13 times, most recently a couple of years ago at an anniversary performance here in New York City.

The theatre was smaller, and the show scaled down from its original glory.  But the story was just as moving, the music still thrilled.  And as I sang each word, albeit under my breath…

I could hear Colm Wilkinson singing.

God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there

He is young
He’s afraid
Let him rest
Heaven blessed.
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

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