INDIANAPOLIS — For a brief moment during the riveting production of Broadway's smash "Les Miserables," the villainous Javert seemed like he could be the real heart of the musical.

As an unwavering police officer during the French Revolution, Javert (or should we say the actor Josh Davis) takes command of the song "Stars," a pledge to continue seeking the fugitive Jean Valjean who, by committing a crime, has kept the universe in disarray. But there's a hint that the stars in the sky could shift toward those who have no status in society.

But, of course, that's not the case.

Valjean is the heart of this nearly three-hour touring production running through Sunday at Old National Centre in Indianapolis.

It's apparent in every move made by performer Nick Cartell. He performs two knock-out numbers, "Who Am I?" and "Bring Him Home" straight from the soul. His hands float around him, emphasizing emotion that flows from the heart through the fingertips.

Now, back to the basics of "Les Mis" (or "Miz"), a tragedy that lyrically inspires freedom and redemption.

Valjean is first seen in prisoner garb in 1815 after a years-long sentence for stealing a loaf of bread. He is released, skips parole and takes refuge in a church where he steals again. But a priest also willingly gives him two candlesticks to be used to become an honest man. Eight years later, he is mayor of a French town.

Along the journey, he encounters Fantine, a single, impoverished mother who dies, leaving Valjean to raise her daughter, Cosette.

All the while, Javert is trying to find Valjean. And as a young woman Cosette falls for lovestruck Marius, who is also a fighter in the French Revolution.

With so many characters, it is labor intensive that the musical can showcase each one. But of particular note, Talia Simone Robinson as Eponine is s standout.

The two female leads have lovely, operatic-based voices (think Amanda Seyfried in the movie adaptation.) But Robinson's voice is emotive, sensitive and street-sharp — more easy to connect with the audience. As she sings of an unrequited love with Marius, Robinson's "On My Own" is impeccable.

For this production, the stage is often dimly lit. As we learn during the rebellion scene, though, the low lighting has been not only reflecting the darkness of the era but is a way to emphasize the explosive gunfire during a street battle. Bright lights move like bullets.

If you've not seen "Les Miserables," consider looking up the lyrics — there's a lot of them — to mold characters and, particularly, to help understand the fast-paced humor of the comedic relief "Master of the House."

While in the theater, look for the performances of Cartell (who has also been in a national tour of "Phantom of the Opera"), Davis and Robinson. They make a three-hour trip extremely entertaining.

If you go

What: The musical "Les Miserables"

When: Through Sunday

Where: Murat Theatre at Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis

Tickets: or or 1-800-982-2787

The Broadway in Indianapolis series announced the 2018-19 season, which opens with Disney’s "The Lion King," set for Sept. 12-29. Also joining the series: "Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" (Nov. 27-Dec. 2); "School of Rock (Jan. 29-Feb. 3, 2019); Rogers and Hammerstein’s "The King and I" (March 5-10, 2019), and "Waitress" (April 23-28, 2019). A season option is "The Book of Mormon" (Dec. 18-23, 2018). Season tickets are on sale through

Also, the national tour of "Hamilton" will play Indianapolis as part of the 2019-20 season. The best way to guarantee tickets to "Hamilton" is to purchase a season subscription for the 2018-19 season, organizers said. Subscribers who renew for the 2019-20 season will be able to guarantee their tickets for the premiere Indianapolis engagement of "Hamilton" before tickets become available to the general public. Information regarding "Hamilton" dates and how to purchase groups and single tickets will be announced at a later time.

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