Since being invited to see Pirates of Penzance (staring Simon Gallaher and Jon English no less) with family friends when I was 10 years old I have had an undying love for musicals. The mix of music and story is completely captivating.
Then I saw Les Miserables Normie Rowe. Instantly it became my standard of a good musical. Songs like “Empty Chairs at Empty tables”, “On my own”, “Stars”, “I Dreamed a Dream” are so finely crafted that they cut to the heart while songs like “Red and Black”, “Do you hear the people sing” are stirring enough to make you leap out of your seat to cheer on the revolution. The musical has its romantic moments in “A heart full of love” and even comedy with “Master of the House” and “Little People”.
But I have to pick one for the countdown and so I picked “Bring him home” sung by the character Jean Valjean when he sees his foster daughter’s love is in mortal danger he finds that he once again needs God’s help.
For Jean Valjean, Les Miserables has been a very long journey from that of an angry young man who feels that the world and God have cheated him to an old man who near the end of his life who has found the strength to rely on God. From a life of as a thief, stealing from others to a man willing to sacrifice his life for a boy he hardly knows. This one song encapsulates Valjeans whole life as he realises that his boy is the son he never had.
Personally, I find Valjean’s reliance on God humbling. When things get hard it’s easy to run away, Valjean had run his entire life, but in this song his makes the decision to face whatever is coming knowing that God has come through for him in the past.
This prayer is not the weak complaints of someone who tried and failed, but a prayer of someone who tries and tries and tries again with a conviction that he is never alone in his struggles.
Other songs in the Counting the beat countdown: