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Viva La Revolucion!

It is probably a common affliction borne by the no-longer-youthful: we are often left wondering where time has gone.
When a friend pointed out that <a href="http://25.lesmis.com/">Les Mis put together a 25th anniversary concert</a>, I was a little dumbstruck. It didn't seem that long ago when I first watched Les Mis, became so absolutely smitten with Eponine and subsequently developed an unhealthy obsession with Broadway, and particulary Frank Wildhorn's musicals Jekyll and Hyde as well as the amazing, amazing Scarlet Pimpernel.
To think it was the NBA All-Star halftime show at Madison Square Garden that started it all. Oh my, it was the <strong>1998</strong> NBA All-Star Game.
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I consider myself a lifelong Les Mis fan, having purchased the original cast recording, the complete symphonic recording, the 10th year anniversary concert CD, and 2 copies of the concert DVD. As such, I am heavily invested in the Les Mis story, and like any fan worth their salt, we guard the telling of the story very jealously, scrutinising the new cast members chosen for the 25th anniversary milestone concert.
Let's put it this way: we start off with the premise that there is no one who can ever replace the original cast. No one is going to come close to Colm Wilkinson as JVJ and to suggest Lea Salonga's Eponine as substitutable is borderline heresy. You'll often hear us old fogeys bemoaning the fact that there'll never be another ___, but it is important not to mistake our nostalgia for disrespect.
We accept that time truly waits for no man, and it is essential that the new generation of actors take over the esteemed mantle of perpetuating the story for their peers. The story should outlive one generation's interpretation of it; the younger generation, having come of age, ought to own its telling, embracing it and improving upon it.
But that said, please send your very best – voices and talent worthy of the high bar laid down by an illustrious cast such as Michael Ball, Ruthie Henshall (oh I swoon), Anthony Warlow and Philip Quast. Apart from Lea, whom even time has touched, I do not know any of the cast of the 25th anniversary concert. I only hope they understand their role in all this and uphold the tradition proudly, not viewing it as just another show or a feather in their cap. To be the bearer of the story is not something anyone should take on frivolously or carelessly, for truly, as Yeats so succinctly put it, "[we] have spread my dreams under your feet, Tread softly because you tread on my dreams".
While there is only one original cast, the Les Mis faithful often spend time considering over the what-could-have-beens: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm5wxKaniU8">Warlow would have made a different Valjean</a>. We could argue over who is the greater, but frankly, the story of Les Mis is greater than her actors.
The story of Les Mis is our story. It resonates within us because at some point in our lives, in some fashion, we are Les Miserabl&eacute;s, and we are searching for inspiration to rise above our circumstance and achieve something greater than ourselves.

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