Some of Broadway’s brightest stars took the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall Monday night to honor Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, the songwriting legends behind the smash musicals “Les Misérables” and “Miss Saigon.”
Patti LuPone, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jeremy Jordan and Norm Lewis were just a few of the bold-faced names on hand for “Do You Hear The People Sing,” a musical tribute to Boublil and Schönberg which also marked the 33rd birthday of the New York Pops orchestra.
Performed by the Pops, beloved songs from “Les Misérables” and “Miss Saigon” sounded better than ever. Jordan offered a soaring take on “Why God Why?” from the latter, while Steven Pasquale, currently seen in Broadway’s “The Robber Bridegroom,” brought the audience to its feet with “Bui Doi,” unquestionably the evening’s standout number.
Material from the French songwriting team’s lesser-known shows, “Martin Guerre” and “The Pirate Queen,” blended into the set seamlessly. Fans also had the chance to witness some rare, possibly even once-in-a-lifetime duos, like original “Miss Saigon” star Lea Salonga singing with Eva Noblezada, who will star in the highly anticipated Broadway revival of the musical next year.
Later in the show, Salonga and LuPone were both on hand to sing the “Les Mis” ballad, “I Dreamed a Dream,” with Stephanie J. Block. Hearing the three voices blend seamlessly, one couldn’t help but wish the three stars would team up for a Fantine girl group.
That number was followed by an impeccable rendition of “Bring Him Home,” sung by four actors – Eric Kunze, Robert Marien, John Owen-Jones and Hugh Panaro – who have all played Jean Valijean over the years.
Boublil told The Huffington Post that he and Schönberg could never have imagined such a massive tribute when they began writing music together in the 1970s.
As they were rehearsing with the younger performers before the Carnegie Hall show, Boublil said, “Some of [them] came up to me and Claude-Michel, and told us they discovered musical theater through ‘Les Misérables.’ In a country that produced ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘West Side Story,’ that makes us proud.”
He went on to note, “When someone the age of your own children says, ‘You know I’m doing this because of you,’ that’s the most heartwarming thing to hear.”
CORRECTION: The original version of this article reported that Eric Kunze, Robert Marien, John Owen-Jones and Hugh Panaro performed "One Day More." They actually performed "Bring Him Home."