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A musical grander than any revolution: Les Miserables

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Around the state, Hillcrest is known for their theatrical productions. This is due to a history of sold out shows and amazing performances. The tradition of stunning shows did not stop with this years production of “Les Miserables.”

The beginning of the school year marked, for many, the beginning of the musical season as auditions were held near the end of August. From there, the instant chaos of a musical exploded all over Hillcrest as they prepared after school and throughout late nights rehearsing or building the sets. But on November 17, it all came to fruition at their opening night of the musical.

Pit member, senior Jacob Lloyd, laughed at the thought of the musical. “They told me two weeks before production they needed a white blanket for the last scene with Jean Valjean, where he is dying, you know? Well, here I am knitting it for them. It’s fine, nothing rushed,” he said.

Despite the last minute changes, the production came together and the show went on. For four nights they preformed, November, 17, 18, 19 and their last showing was the following Monday, November 20. By the time they reached the final performance, they had successfully sold out three shows. There were a handful of scenes that stuck out to everyone, including Gavroche’s death, Eponine’s death, and Javert’s death, to name a few.

One of the best parts for audience members was the musical number, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” and it probably was the cast favorite as well. The scene in the musical is where Marius is sitting in the old inn where his friends all met and he’s realizing that they all died for the revolution they wanted.

Most musical numbers for musicals tend to have the ensemble and just general cast in the aisles but this scene had only dance company, productions company, and vocal ensemble members.

With productions company on stage there was the feeling of emptiness in the room, but unlike in the film production of the musical, they had the fallen friends standing by their chairs with a straight cold face to the crowd while a dancer was paired up with them. The entire scene was beautiful and left many of audience members in tears. 

Although most the songs would put a strain on an actors voice, specially not having the musical background of a concert choir member, Aina never faltered in his singing. Every note rang through the auditorium perfectly in tune and clear.

High schools in the valley, such as Davis and Copper Hills, all did their “Les Miserables” productions a couple years back and have turned their focus to other shows; however, Mr. Long waited years for the right cast on the production, and anyone in the audience could see the cast was almost born for their parts. The chemistry between Bennet Chew and Nathaniel Abbot in their parts of Jean Valjean and Javert was beautifully played out.

“What is the difference between a play and a musical?” questions Henry Nahalewski rhetorically. To most, the music isn’t a big portion of the production, but nothing is wasted or looked over for a Hillcrest production. Just as the cast members, the pit had to audition for their part and practice every day with them. The music lead the actors in their emotions on stage that could be felt by audience members throughout.

“You never realize how much your school’s production is lacking until you see a Hillcrest musical,” states Davis High School student, Hailee Green, who drove all the way just to see it. “As someone on the stage crew for Davis, I think it was really nice to see the extra effort that went into it. The overall set and moving features were just… breathtaking, it makes my heart happy. Not only that, but my goodness, them cutting Fantine’s hair! I was scared they had actually cut some poor girl’s hair!” Green exclaimed wide-eyed.

“Les Miserables” is a story about the French Revolution, but, in the mix of all the confusion, there is a love triangle. Eponine loves Marius, but Marius and Cosette are in love. In the end, Eponine dies in order to see Marius during all the fighting. In the production, she climbs the barricade in order to tell Marius that Cosette will get his letter, he is talking to her and realizes she has been shot.

In this scene, Marius, played by Gabe Aina and Eponine, played by Grace Zito, are in the very front of the stage, however in the background, you can see the rebels running around trying to get ready, but using lighting and the distance they are the audiences sole focus. Marius sings to Eponine and she dies right in his arms.

The way Aina performed this was yet another scene that left the audience in tears. The audience could physically feel the pain in his voice as he sang, marking the first of many deaths.

Overall, the musical was beautiful, the stage looked just like a real French street, costumes were perfectly laid out, the music was played perfectly, and as anyone could tell, the actors fit into their role like a glove. “Les Miserables” gets a five out of five paws.

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1 Comment

One Response to “A musical grander than any revolution: Les Miserables”

  1. Henry Nahalewski on December 7th, 2017 9:22 pm

    I just wanna know

    [Reply]

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A musical grander than any revolution: Les Miserables