NKU Professor to Star as 'Jean Valjean' in LES MISERABLES, 2/19-3/1
Jason Vest, Northern Kentucky University Professor, will play the role of Jean Valjean in the Department of Theatre and Dance's upcoming production of the smash-hit musical, LES MISERABLES, directed by Department Chair, Ken Jones. Vest, an accomplished tenor, is on faculty in the Department of Music as an Assistant Professor of Voice.
The department contracts Guest Artists as an opportunity to further student learning by working alongside seasoned professionals. Vest says it is also a learning opportunity for him: "not unlike every performance I give... I'm learning so much from each and every experience. I think if that stops then I have nothing left to give on the stage."
No stranger to the music of LES MISERABLES, Vest first encountered the unforgettable score at age 10 when he traveled to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall. "...Not long after that I had the cassette tapes. I bought the music and used to sing and play from it fairly often. By high school, I would sing Bring Him Home for little performances and it was at that age that I actually saw the show for the first time, a touring production that came through Indianapolis."
Vest says Valjean is now a bucket-list role, but that wasn't always the case. "When I was growing up, it was actually Marius that I liked the most... However, I think now as a father, having lived a little bit, I can finally connect to Valjean. His music is also so difficult that I don't know if I could have done it justice earlier in my life."
In preparation for the role, Vest has been reading the original novel in French and watching some of the film adaptations of the book. "I speak fluent French and lived in French-speaking countries for two years... I do feel a strong connection to not only the musical but also the places and themes in it... We find the story of Valjean so touching because it is a very human experience that we all live in [our own] way... I just hope to bring whatever of myself that I can to his character."
Very few tickets remain, but a Wait List will begin 1 hour before each sold-out performance.
Jason Vest appeared on the stage of Carnegie Hall at the age of 10 and since then has sung in England, Austria, Madagascar, and throughout the United States. In the summer of 2014, Jason was the soloist for the European premiere of Bradley Ellingboe's "Star Song." The performances at St. John's Smith Square in London and beautiful Bath Abbey were received with enthusiasm. Jason joined the Vocal Arts Ensemble in Cincinnati for their 2014-2015 season, led by renowned conductor Craig Hella Johnson. With VAE, Jason will be performing as part of the 2015 May Festival in Music Hall, under the direction of James Conlon. Jason has recently sung with Amarillo Opera, Polyphony Voices of New Mexico, and the Figueroa Project, as well as a recording project of the music of Benjamin Britten with Air Force Academy principal horn, Gerald Welker. Jason has performed in the operas of Mozart, Menotti, Rossini, Verdi, and Strauss, as well as new works. He will be featured as a guest artist in April 2015 for the Vocal Artistry Art Song Competition in Albuquerque, where he will give a recital of the music of Benjamin Britten. Jason is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Northern Kentucky University after six years as Assistant Professor at Eastern New Mexico University. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Kentucky after earning a Bachelor of Music from Butler University and a Master of Music from Brigham Young University.
Northern Kentucky University | Department of Theatre and Dance
Directed by Ken Jones | Music Direction by Jamey Strawn
February 19 - March 1, 2015
Wednesday - Saturday: 8pm | Sunday: 3pm | Saturday, March 28th at 2pm
NKU | Corbett Theatre | 100 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41099
General Admission: $14 | Senior (60+): $11 | Student (with a valid ID): $8
For more information call the NKU Fine Arts Box Office at 859.572.5464 or go to theatre.nku.edu.