“Les Miserables” coming to Cinnaminson High School stage

Cinnaminson drama club’s opening night is March 23 at 8 p.m.

In the 19 years Larry Biren has directed plays for Cinnaminson High School, he has never attempted to put on a production of “Les Miserables.” But on March 23, students will finally showcase their efforts to pull off Victor Hugo’s magnum opus.

Cinnaminson High School is unique in that it does not have a designated theater arts program. Instead, students of all ages participate in drama club as an extracurricular activity. This, according to junior and “Les Mis” cast member Nick Hite, makes this year’s undertaking even more special.

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“It’s just been such an amazing experience. Never before have I joined a community of kids from my school like this,” he said. “We all have the same goal: to strive to put on a great show. That common interest is what ties us all together, and it’s a great opportunity.”

There are 50 students involved in drama club this school year, which presents its own challenges, but Biren said their energy has been high and memorized their lines sooner than expected. The cast and crew rehearse three nights a week, and will spend the remaining time before opening night blocking and preparing their costumes.

“We don’t cut anybody, we give everybody who wants to be on stage an opportunity to be on stage. They may have a minuscule part, but we as a governing unit, (we) like to give everybody a chance to perform,” Biren added.

Senior and assistant director Madelynn Thompson, who has been involved in drama at Cinnaminson since seventh grade, said she couldn’t think of a better way to close out her tenure in the club. The new auditorium at CHS, which has improved seating, lighting and acoustics, has allowed her and the other cast members to make the most of their performances. The production will also utilize a rotating stage built by the crew, which will spin around the actors in certain scenes.

“A lot of high schools don’t do that. I spin on stage a few times, so I’m really excited for that,” Thompson said. “This is also the first year we double casted, which is nice because you get to see different people doing the same role, and everyone has a different spin on it. It’s all singing, so your voice gets really tired, but the music is so enjoyable.”

Cinnaminson drama club’s opening night is March 23 at 8 p.m. in the CHS auditorium with additional performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 24th and 2 p.m. on the 25th . Tickets are available at the door and are $12 for general admission, $8 for students and free for senior citizens.

“This is probably the toughest show we’ve ever done. It demands a lot of the cast and crew, and especially the directors. I think this challenge is what’s making it so enjoyable right now because we know that everyone is putting in so much work, and we’re so excited to see it cultivate on stage,” Hite said.

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