It's Time to 'Hear the People Sing' at Stagecrafters, Sep 6-29
Since the release of the blockbuster LES MISERABLES film, theatres face epic expectations when mounting the stage version of the same name. Stagecrafters quickly grabbed the show rights when they were released in November 2012. After nearly nine months of meticulous preparation, LES MISERABLES opens on Friday, September 6th and runs through the 29th at the Baldwin Theatre in downtown Royal Oak.
Director Rodel Salazar of Madison Heights says his passion for the show has driven him to devote more than 50 hours just in the preparation process before auditions. "I fell in love and do theatre because of shows like LES MISERABLES. Les Mis was the first musical I saw on Broadway. I'm working on my Masters degree in French at Wayne State and Victor Hugo is one of my favorite 19th century French writer. I wanted to combine my passion for the musical with my interest in the novel," says Salazar. He estimates he's devoted at least another 50 plus hours since auditions.
Set in 19th century France, Jean Valjean (Joshua Allor of Mt. Clemens) has been imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving sister's child. After years of unjust imprisonment, he is released but breaks his parole and swears to begin life anew. For years he is relentlessly hunted by police inspector Javert (Jamie Richards of Birmingham). Factory worker Fantine (Randi Hamilton of Ferndale) is forced to sell her last possessions, even herself, to help take care of her young daughter and pay doctor's bills. On death's door she surrenders her daughter's care to Valjean who adopts little Cosette (Jaclyn Holmes of Oakland, Grace Seyferth of Rochester, Emma LaBarre of Beverly Hills). Valjean and Cosette escape Javert's capture and hide from him for years. During the Paris student uprising of 1832, the character's stories intersect at the barricade one fateful day. Valjean spares Javert's life and saves that of the student revolutionary, Marius (Bradley Ellison of Southfield), who has captured the heart of now grown Cosette (Bethany Rydzewski of Livonia). Cosette and Marius marry, and Valjean reveals his past.
The show's virtues include outstanding costumes, choreography, voices and an impressive set. Master Carpenter Craig Morgan of Orchard Lake estimates that more than 3,000 man hours have been spent on the set design, construction, painting and dress.
The stage musical LES MISERABLES was a collaborative effort with the book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and is based on the Victor Hugo novel of the same name. The original musical was written in French. The first stage presentation was presented at a Paris sports arena in 1980. Producer Cameron Mackintosh assembled a team to adapt the French musical for a British audience and after the show opened in London in 1985, it has run continuously to date. This longevity has made it the second longest-running musical in the world. The leader is The Fantasticks which Stagecrafters is also presenting this season on Stagecrafters' 2nd Stage. LES MISERABLES opened on Broadway in March 1987 and ran until May 2003. It is the fourth longest-running Broadway show in history. The Broadway production won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The film version, directed by Tom Hooper, was release at the end of 2013 and garnered three Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway.
Advance tickets for performances are $20 on Thursdays, $22 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Patrons attending the opening night performance, September 6th, are invited to a 7 pm pre-glow of complimentary light hors d'oeuvres and beverages hosted by Holiday Catering. Student, military and senior discounts are available for specific performances. Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 per ticket. The Baldwin Theatre is located at 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak.