After we finished our meals my non-smoking husband sat back in his chair and said, “I’m going to need a cigar.” We were enjoying the tastes, sights, and sounds of the New Orleans-style restaurant Ouisi Bistro since it came highly recommended by the good folks I follow on Twitter. Located just two blocks from The Stanley theatre (and with no lineups in sight) it was the perfect pre-show meal.
John went for the classic Jambalaya (simmered with tomatoes, the trinity, smoked ham, andouille sausage, chorizo sausage & served with green rice) while I tried their Pepper Crusted Chicken Breast (which is served under fresh spinach, roasted garlic & brie with red beans, green rice and sauteed vegetables). The artwork of jazz greats is beautiful and the entire place has a laid back feel. We sat inside, although they have a patio, and enjoyed some profiteroles before heading down to catch the Arts Club Theatre Companyâ€™s production of Les Miserables.
I’ve seen Les Miserables before but never in such an intimate setting. The Arts Club truly has a knack for creating functional and dynamic set design – able to pack a modest stage with resounding voices, heart-wrenching emotions and perfectly choreographed movement.
What stood out for me with this production was not only the power of the ensemble, but the performances of Rejean Cournoyer (as Javert) and Kieran Martin Murphy (Jean Valjean).
I recognized Jonathan Winsby who was Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, as he delivered a powerful and uprising performance as Enjorlas. The costuming was fantastic (as it has been with most Arts Club shows I’ve seen this year) and the children in the production deserve some kudos as well, in particular Joshua Ballard (Gavroche). Energetic and perfectly creepy crowd-pleasing performances by Nicole Lipman and John Mann (the Thenardiers) are also worth noting.
Les Miserables runs until July 19th although there is limited availability between now and June 7th due to popular demand. You can pick up tickets online (about $65 for great seats).
The Arts Club also launched a blog this season and have been providing an inside look at the making of Les Mis – including videos, cast interviews, and behind the scenes photos.