Victor Hugo's tragic yet beautifully spun story Les Misérables is considered to be one of the greatest novels in literature. However, this complex tale is equally beloved for its musical version—lovingly known as Les Mis—which has been running in London since 1985. While there are many standout songs in the adaptation's lineup, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” might be the most emotional. Even so, a 13-year-old from Lancashire stepped up to the plate and performed a stunning rendition of the solo that has gone viral.
The talented youth, named Cormac Thompson, released a video of himself singing the iconic piece to help raise money for a charity called Acting for Others, which provides financial and emotional support to theater workers in need. In the video, we see the British chorister vocalizing into a microphone, his melodic voice gliding into high notes with ease as a gentle piano accompanies the lyrics. Interspersed in the short film are haunting clips of coffins, solitary figures, and scenes of medical staff, all of which allude to the traumas brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The song “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” occurs towards the end of Les Mis and is performed by the young character, Marius, who is mourning the death of the many people killed at the barricade. For this reason, the somber undertones of the solo match the grim portrait of the previous two years. Thompson was only 11 when he had to endure the pandemic lockdowns, during which time he released his first famous video of a rendition of “Danny Boy,” which was intended for his grandparents in Ireland.
The emotions of that experience surely carried over into his recent performance, which is partly what makes the song so meaningful to listeners. In fact, after the video was shared on The Music Man Facebook page on May 13, it quickly took the internet by storm, accumulating more than 2.8 million views in a week.
Scroll down to watch the viral video of Thompson singing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” and subscribe to the singer's YouTube channel to hear more amazing musical renditions.
A video of a 13-year-old named Cormac Thompson singing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Misérables has gone viral. It has already gotten over 2.9 million views on Facebook.
The British singer made the song to help raise money for a charity called Acting for Others.
New charity single out 28th Jan. supporting @ActingforOthers 🎶🎭Empty Chairs At Empty Tables by Cormac – DistroKid https://t.co/1Rgcdu50Vs ⬅️ click the link ⬆️ so you don’t forget ✅ 🙃😉All help to share info gratefully received @danielletarento @JessicaRonane @JoHawes1 pic.twitter.com/jICopcSIpV
— Cormac.ThompsonMusic (@CormacThompson6) January 17, 2022