Building bridges for Les Mis

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From the TAS stage to the world stage: While in London, Mr Abernathy, Mr Edwards, Mr Franklin, and Mr Held met up with Rosie Hyland, a TAS Alumni, who has a leading role in the West End musical “Urinetown.” -Photo courtesy of Mr Edwards

From the well-worn book to movie screen to the brightly lit stage, the beloved story of Les Miserables has been told multiple times around the world. Next fall, the TAS drama, dance, and music departments will take on the challenge of creating their own interpretation of the well-known musical.
Les Miserables tells the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean, who turns his life around after a priest shows him kindness. However, eight years later, Javert, a hard-hearted policeman, begins a never-ending hunt for Valjean, forcing Valjean to start a new life on the run. Valjean lives his life in fear, but takes in and raises a young girl named Cosette after her mother Fantine dies. As an uprising in France begins, a young revolutionary named Marius falls in love with Cosette, leaving Marius’s best friend Éponine heartbroken. The musical ends with Valjean peacefully dying as the spirits of the dead sing of the revolution raging on.
“Our vision is to do it more interpretively,” says Mr Edwards, a director of the production. “We really want to push the boundaries of how creative we can be with the movement on stage and have it flow more artistically and interestingly.”
As opposed to a typical Broadway show in New York, where a solo spotlight shines on the leading singer, next year’s musical will incorporate more physical expression through dance numbers and will involve more people.
While the leading roles call for skilled actors with strong vocal range, the directors plan to include as many people as possible. “We don’t envision cuts. Come one come all!” says Mr Edwards.
Les Miserables is a classic that families know, so according to the directors, the challenges are to “create a new feel and a new look for it.” Mr Edwards, Mr Franklin, Mr Held, and Mr Abernathy have even traveled to London to see the show at a professional level. “We found where we could change it and make it better connect to TAS,” says Mr Edwards.
Les Miserables is a story about forgiveness, hope, and second chances. “We all make mistakes and just a little bit of love changes everything,” says Mr Edwards. “It will be an exciting, explosive production!”
The audition dates will be from August 18-22 and the musical will be performed October 29-31 of next school year.