Photo Flash: SCERA Presents Utah Valley Premiere of LES MISERABLES, 7/3-19
Jeremy Showgren might be a popular SCERA director and music director today, but his ties to SCERA and "Les Mis" go back 17 years ago when SCERA got permission to perform the concert version of the epic drama - it was Showgren''s very first SCERA show and he played keyboard in the pit orchestra.
Check below for production photos!
He loved the experience, and is even more pleased that he will be directing the Utah Valley premiere of the full, current version of the show, which will play July 3-19 at 8 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre in Orem (699 South State, in middle of SCERA Park). There will be no performance on July 4th.
General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children (age 3-11), students (w/ID), and seniors (age 65+). Reserved sections may be available and range from $14-16 for adults and $12-$14 for children, students and seniors. They are available at www.scera.org, by calling (801) 225-ARTS, in person at the main office at SCERA Center, 745 South State, Orem, open 10am-6pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12Noon-6pm, or at the Shell gate 90 minutes prior to each performance.
Victor Hugo''s "Les Miserables" is now the world''s longest running and most beloved musical, and has been seen by more than 65 million people in 42 countries. It''s an epic tale of salvation, revenge and passion placed in revolution-ridden 19th century France. Its key characters, convict Jean Valjean, and Javert, the policeman who dedicates his life to relentlessly hunting him down for a parole breach, represent redemption versus the law in an extraordinary masterpiece by Boublil and Schönberg.
This version, which toured the United Kingdom in 2010, features the same script as the original but with orchestrations that are new.
"The whole show is peppier, and the new tempos and orchestrations help it to move along a little better and keep it to under three hours," Showgren says.
As expected, he says, "people came out of the woodwork for auditions. We have incredible talent who have been on the SCERA stage before, but we also have new stellar performers who have come from throughout Utah and Salt Lake counties."
Starring as Valjean and Javert are Matt Krantz and Jeff Smith. Other major roles will be played by Kelsey Thacker as Fantine, Christian Jones as Marius, Morgan Flandro as Cosette, and Kira Knorr as Eponine and Laura Randall as young Cosette.
Additionally, Sam Kelson will be Gavroche, the Thenardiers are Allison Books and BJ Oldroyd, Bryan Thacker is Enjolras, and Michael Young is the Bishop of Digne.
In designing the set, Nat Reed and the production team took ideas from Grand Opera, an art form in France at the time the story unfolds. "We also researched the actual locations from Victor Hugo''s novel and used them for a starting point for the overall look," Showgren says.
Showgren first heard of "LES MISERABLES" when his seventh grade choir sang a medley from the show. "I was quickly hooked," he says. "I convinced my mom to buy me the original cast album as a reward for good grades one term."
He was captivated by the variety of characters and circumstances. "The characters are all deeply flawed, but so many of them are trying to do the best with what they have been given, and that''s something to which everyone can relate."
He also likes the layers that reveal themselves with repeated viewings.
"The overall message of love, whether love for self, love for family, romantic love or love for God, is quite powerful," he adds. "I think people will connect to this show not only with their brain but also with their heart."
He believes audiences will identify with the theme of redemption, adding that everyone has made mistakes and have had to try to make things right. "We''ve all had times where we can relate to Javert, when we relate to Valjean, and I think some of us relate to the Thenardiers more than we care to admit. . . . "the music is beautiful, the actors are top notch...and I hope that everyone can leave the show feeling that no matter our circumstances, we can strive to make the best of them by focusing on others instead of ourselves."
Assisting Showgren are Nat Reed, set design; Kelsey Seaver, Deborah Bowman and Danielle Berry, costume design; Elizabeth Griffiths, light design; Shawn Mortensen, choreographer; Christy Norton, props; and Crysta Powell, stage manager.
SCERA President & CEO Adam J. Robertson knows the power and message of "Les Mis" will bring the crowds. "We even added shows on Tuesdays to give more opportunities for patrons to enjoy the show."
Photo Credit: Mark A. Philbrick