How do you improve on what is, arguably, the greatest of all musicals? In the case of "Les Miserables," now in residence at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the process is not so much improvement as enhancement.
This touring 25th anniversary production of the landmark epic may challenge familiar assumptions (the circular, rotating stage is gone, for instance), but the additions — particularly the gigantic rear-screen projections that add cinematic depth — bring an overwhelming sense of immediacy to a show marked by some magnificent voices and visceral presentation.
Directors Laurence Connor and James Powell have produced a heart-wrenching spectacle, amplifying the familiar Victor Hugo concept of a street uprising in 19th century Paris and deepening its attendant love story. This is a show that only improves with age.
At its core — as the paroled convict Jean Valjean, who rises to become a wealthy town mayor and adoptive father to the orphaned girl whose mother he shunned — Peter Lockyer is a soaring physical and vocal force. His determination and strength of character — particularly in his plaintive solo "Bring Him Home" — lift the entire show to greater heights.