Michael John Dunaway Lifestream

September 27, 2008

My interview with Broadway star Rob Evan (for Paste)

Rob Evan's Valjean is a sight to behold

Rob Evan's Jean Valjean is not to be missed.

Unabridged version of an article I wrote for Paste Magazine’s website.

Rob Evan Comes Back Home Again

By Michael Dunaway

The production of Les Miserables currently playing at the Fabulous Fox through this weekend has a special resonance for Broadway star Rob Evan, who once again plays Jean Valjean. In a way, this is where everything began. “I grew up in Decatur,” he explains, “and I was a football player at UGA, and that’s the first time I saw Les Mis — twenty years ago here at the Fox. It just made me go, holy crap, I want to do this for a living. I was just a business major, I had wanted to go to law school, but this show lit the fire.”

Law school’s loss was musical theater’s gain, as Evan had been bitten by the bug. But everything didn’t come together quite like he naively expected. “I ended up auditioning at a Les Mis open call a la American Idol two years later. I waited ten hours to sing sixteen bars of Stars.” He walked out with the proverbial gold ticket. “I thought it was going to be instant stardom and cash, not knowing any better.”

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My Les Miserables review (for Paste)

Edward Watts' Enjolras, as strong in body as in voice

Edward Watts' Enjolras rallies the students once more

Unabridged version of a review posted I wrote for Paste…see the published version here.

At 23, Les Mis is the New Kid in Town Again

Michael Dunaway

When I heard that after 23 years uber-producer Cameron Mackintosh had retooled his great Les Miserables (and was premiering the changes in Atlanta), I was simultaneously excited and horrified. Of all the musicals of our generation, Les Mis is not only easily the greatest and most enduring, but also the most unlikely – a three hour plus show of all original music, based on a French novel over a hundred years old and over fourteen hundred pages long, entitled (loosely translated) “The Wretched,” and which when not concerning itself with the plight of the urban poor dwells largely on the fundamental theological conflict between justice and mercy. Not exactly “Oklahoma!” material, that.

So despite my faith in Mackintosh, I was worried for my favorite show — worried especially that the profundity and moral heft of the show (far exceeding that of any musical I’ve ever seen) would be compromised, “updated” into submission. And just from an aesthetic standpoint, I was awfully worried at the news that the famous turntable from the original production was gone as well – no more dramatic spins of the barricade to see what’s happening on the other side. For goodness’ sake, would I even recognize this Les Mis? (more…)

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