Columbia, SC — Everyone connected with Columbia’s production of “Les Miserables” must be delighted with the performances and the turnout. The music and lyrics have a strong emotional impact, and audiences find it easy to identify with Victor Hugo’s theme of redemption or second chances.
However, I wonder how many of us came away from the theater or book with an uneasy conscience, knowing that Jean Valjean would not have become a good citizen without the kindness of a man willing to pardon and help an ex-convict. Valjean himself later earns our admiration because of his compassion for the downtrodden and his extreme display of forgiveness toward his tormentor.
Columbia has plenty of souls who have been degraded through the circumstances of their lives and bad personal decisions, like Hugo’s characters, and who need a savior to give them a hand up. If anyone left the theater feeling some responsibility for being a party to the redemption of a fellow citizen or any employer left with a determination to hire someone with a criminal past, then the production was a true success.