Les Miserables is known for having no dialogue and the characters sing the entire show. Performances are March 9, 11, 17 and 18.
Eastern Regional High School is bringing the fifth longest-running show on Broadway to its stage for its spring musical — “Les Miserables.” The musical was created by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, and the school edition is specially adapted and licensed by Music Theatre International and Cameron Mackintosh.
In 1823, Jean Valjean gets out of prison by breaking his parole and becomes successful. He pledges to adopt a little girl, Cosette, of a dying woman, but also has to escape being recaptured by Javert, the officer who hunts him the rest of the show. The show also jumps ahead to 1832 where everyone gets caught up in the events of the 1832 rebellion against the government of France.
Junior Kayla Kantakusin, who plays Eponine, said performing in “Les Miserables” is “surreal.”
“This is such an important show,” she said. “Just to be performing a show like this is unreal.”
Director Gregg Molotsky said “Les Miserables” is a show he’s wanted to direct for a long time, but couldn’t put a show like this into production without the right cast and crew.
“I’ve been waiting for the right group of students, not only acting and singing wise, but the musicians and stage crew as well,” he said. “It’s a very demanding show for all involved.”
“Les Miserables” is known for having no dialogue, meaning the characters sing throughout the entire show.
“The students must rely on their ability to convey their characters through song and movement,” Molotsky said. “The continuous rehearsals over the past three months have helped the students build up the vocal stamina to embrace the material over the course of show. “
Junior Robert Sundstorm, who plays Javert, said it’s completely different from “Hairspray,” a show they performed two years ago filled with dialogue and happy go-lucky songs.
“I think what makes it very difficult is the music,” he said. “It’s really difficult music and difficult signatures. I feel like we’re learning a lot about music theory while we’re learning the songs because it’s so different from anything we’ve done before.”
“It’s very challenging because you have to jump two octaves and it really makes you have to push yourself in order to get these notes,” said junior Vince Melara, who plays Marius.
Sundstorm said the excitement and energy from the cast, along with the difficulty of the entire production, has made everyone work harder.
“It’s like a different work ethic I’ve seen this year from everyone because every rehearsal from the beginning has been intense, including rehearsing hours with the (orchestra) pit,” he said. “Everybody knows how hard it is, so they are pushing to get to that extra level.”
“I think the kids are excited to get the chance to perform this iconic piece of musical theater,” Molotsky said. “I also think the award-winning movie version that was out a few years ago helped as well.”
Even the stage crew has challenged themselves and is taking “Les Miserable” to a different level. One of the biggest pieces they made is a rotating platform. It’s set in the middle of the stage with a blockade to portray the iconic scene of Gavroche being killed and thrown over the barricade.
“This by far has been my favorite set, and it’s not even done yet,” said Chris Childs, production manager. “This year we did something different and decided it would be completely student run. This is like my baby, kind of, with my production team.”
Performances are March 9 at 7 p.m., March 11, 17 at 7:30 p.m., and March 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Eastern Regional High School auditorium, located at 1401 Laurel Oak Road. A special autism and special needs friendly performance will take place Wednesday, March 15 at 4:30 p.m. House lights will be left on dim for the performance, and there will be a reduction of disturbing sound and lighting effects. Sign language interpreters will also be on hand. Tickets for this performance are $6. Regular performance tickets are $11 in advance and $13 at the door and can be purchased at www.eccrsd.booktix.com.