The curtain will go up on the musical Les Miserables next weekend at WHS, but the production of this classic work will be unlike what the audience may remember from the book or movie.
Senior Elizabeth Cuzzzupoli plays Fantine, a young French, working woman who endures a tragic loss of innocence in the musical. Cuzzupoli said Theater Company intends to give their audience a fresh experience through their focus on character development.
“We’ve done a lot of talking about characters’ motivations, and about what they are really trying to convey with the songs,” senior Camille Tulloss said.
“Since it is such a long show (and is set over the course of many years), we’ve also tracked how characters grow and change as they and their circumstances change.” Tulloss plays Madame Thenardier, the secondary antagonist who represents the brutal survival behavior of difficult social times.
Les Miserables was originally a French historical novel written by novelist Victor Hugo and published in 1862. The book later turned into a hit musical which first premiered in Paris in 1980. The classic story is set during the lead up to the French Revolution and the script and musical score is [are] beloved for its powerful emotion.
“For anyone who’s never seen the show, it’s a rich story of how people survive and [learn] to love during the time of the French Revolution [student uprising]. It can be hard to watch at times, but I think that the ultimate message is one of hope and empowerment,” Tulloss said.
The musical performance will be key in conveying thematic meaning for this experienced cast.
“Many of the songs are so densely packed with emotion and feeling and I’m really excited to convey that to an audience,” Tulloss said.
The cast has been passionate in rehearsals as they have tackled the script, musical numbers, and choreography with enthusiasm. Trying to sing, act, and dance all at once has it challenges, but T.Co has proven their abilities in recent years with exceptional work in staging Working (2016), The Addams Family (2015), and Ragtime (2014).
Theater Company Director John Minigan reports that he has been impressed by the cast and their work ethic.
“Most of the leads came in to the first rehearsal having learned all of their music, so we’ve been able to build on what they know and focus on the immense amount of ensemble work required.”
“It’s difficult that the whole show is sung through because the entire time you have to remember your words, harmonies, choreography, and interactions,” Cuzzupoli said.
“It’s easy to teach somebody a song or a dance, but putting the two together can be really difficult because it’s hard to remember everything at once.”
However, there will be some relief in the production as the cast anticipates the audience will smile as well as weep.
“Some of the numbers that I’m a part of are more comedic…. I think that will be really fun [for the audience],” Tulloss said.
Les Miserables will hit the WHS auditorium stage on May 4 at 7:00 pm, and May 5, and 6 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at www.westonschools.org. Tickets will be sold outside the high school cafeteria from 10:15 am to noon, beginning May 1. Tickets will also be sold at the door, if available. Tickets cost $5 for students/military/seniors and $15 for the general public.
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