PLYMOUTH — Students in the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University will present a musical theatre version of Victor Hugo's famous story Les Miserables, October 24–27 in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts.
The Tony Award-winning musical is the ultimate romantic story of oppression, justice, freedom, duty and longing. The Broadway production of Les Miserables premiered in 1987 and remains the fourth longest-running Broadway show of all time.
After spending years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread, Jean Valjean is released and discovers that despite his best attempts to live a good life, it is impossible to leave his past behind. No one will hire the former convict. Against a backdrop of the revolution brewing in France, Valjean finds himself pursued by his former jailor, Inspector Javert. Honor, love and humanity are celebrated in the heart-wrenching finale of this mega-musical with a popular score of beautiful melodies and stirring anthems that includes I Dreamed a Dream, Master of the House and On My Own.
PSU faculty member Sharon Paquette is directing the production, which she says poses a range of challenges, from meeting patrons' preconceived expectations for this familiar show, to getting all 37 cast members on stage for ensemble numbers, to guiding students as they learn the intricacies of blending the music and stage movement. The show is sung all the way through—there is no spoken dialog.
Paquette says that along with music director Professor Kathleen Arecchi and choreographer Lisa Travis, she is pushing the actors to find the grittiness of the story. "We are not sugar coating it at all. Each day we realize how many of the themes in the play and novel are still plaguing our country, and we work with the students to think about that and include those thoughts process in their creation process." She says the students are working diligently, have wonderful ideas and are courageous. "It's their passion," Paquette says.
Principal players in the cast include:
Mike Dodge, a senior music major from Northwood as Jean Valjean; Brad Fernald, a senior communication studies major from Hudson as Inspector Javert; Eben Brown, a senior music education major from Dorchester as Thenardier; and Sam St. Jean, a junior theatre arts major from Goffstown as Enjolras. Also Alyssa Dumas, a senior theatre arts major from Manchester as Fantine; Georgia Noonan, a sophomore music education major from Raymond as Cosette; Olivia Opal, a sophomore theatre arts major from Hampden, Mass., as Eponine and Danielle Aucoin, a junior theatre arts major from Hudson, Mass., as Mme. Thenardier. Nineteen other students depict multiple ensemble roles.
Area children in the cast are Ainsley Towers of Thornton as Gavroche, Mackenzie Jolli of Bridgewater as Young Cosette and Kayla Sassan of Meredith as Young Eponine.
Performances are October 24 and 26 at 8 p.m., October 25 at 7 p.m. and October 26 and 27 at 2 p.m.
Tickets for Lis Miserables are $21 for adults, $17 for seniors and $15 for youth at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.