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BWW Blog: Kelly McCormick of PTC's LES MISERABLES

Hey! Hello from Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, where we're deep in rehearsals for Les Miserables. This ever-popular musical is making a comeback - literally - and, no, I don't mean an uptick in ticket sales since the movie was released last December. PTC was the first regional theatre to produce Les Mis, in 2007, where it played for 10 sold-out weeks. So it's no surprise that we're here again, just six years later, bringing this amazing story to life.

You might think that it's the same production all over again, and while it's true that some of the elements remain the same - the costumes, the sets (partially - more on that, below), the creative team and some of the cast members (including yours truly, reprising the role of Fantine), much is different.

For starters, the version of Les Mis that is currently licensed is not the same version that was used in the original Broadway production or the 2006 revival, the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd National Tours, or the 2007 Pioneer production. On a nightly basis, most of those shows came dangerously close to the 3-hour mark, after which point overtime would need to be paid to the orchestra. One need not be a savvy producer to figure out that is a budget-buster! The current version has made a number of cuts - a verse of a song here and there, a few beats out of randomly scattered measures throughout the show. A first-time listener might not know the difference, but to those of us who grew up singing along with the cast recording, it's a toughie to get out of the muscle memory!

I will say I breathed a sigh of relief when, at my first costume fitting, the dresses that were built for me six years ago still fit. Whew! For my money, there is no better wardrobe department than PTC's, but, still, you don't want to make people work any harder than they have to on a show with thousands of costume pieces for 36 actors.

Aside from the score, the biggest change for PTC was the Barricade, the major set piece used in Les Mis. It wasn't a simple matter of getting the 2007 Barricade out of storage, dusting it off and using a little WD-40. Nooooo. It turns out that Barricade was made out of all of the leftover furniture from the 2006-07 season and dissembled when Les Mis closed . . . and that season had furniture that was particularly well-suited to building a Barricade. 2012-13? Not so much. Lots of flowery sofas and Restoration pieces. So our shop had their work cut out for them!

Alright, enough facts, figures and trivia . . . I'll leave you with some behind-the-scenes images. More to come in the weeks ahead!

Young actors Zoe Heiden (Young Cosette), Abigail Scott (Young Eponine), Maggie Scott (Young Cosette), Zachary Brown (Gavroche) and Brigham Inkley (Gavroche) lead a tournament of Spot It in the Green Room

Josh Davis (Javert) and Joe Cassidy (Jean Valjean) work their fight over who Fantine loves more. Isn't that what that fight is about?

Jeffrey Scott Stevens (Ensemble) in a rare moment of hamming it up for the camera.

Sarah Killough (Ensemble) and Perry Sherman (Marius) puzzle through the changes in the score.

Jeff Williams (PSM) shows Eric Agle (Ensemble), Billy Hagee (Ensemble) and Chad Coudriet (Ensemble) where they'll go to be punished if they're late for 1/2 hour. Just kidding. Just the trap, folks.

Manna Nichols (Eponine) models her new Lulu hoodie. This cast is OBSESSED with Lulu.

Kevin Vortmann (Enjolras) can finally wave the giant flag without worrying about smashing the ceiling lights or setting off sprinklers in the rehearsal studio!

Josh Davis (Javert) thanks Zachary Brown (Gavroche) for his acting tips

The Boys of the Barricade

The gorgeous Roy & Elizabeth Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre with our signage out front

Josh Davis (Javert) is bored in 1832 . . . where's the txting?

The Happy Couple: Melissa Mitchell (Cosette) and Perry Sherman (Marius)

Costume Designer Kevin Alberts fixes Perry Sherman's (Marius) cravat for publicity photos.

The Happy Thenardier Family: Manna Nichols (Eponine), Dale Hensley (Thenardier) and Christianne Tisdale (Mme. Thenardier)

Whores -- I mean Lovely Ladies -- Ginger Bess, Dara Hartman, and Sarah Killough with their Pimp, Justin Ivie at the Publicity Shoot.

The Boys climb their Barricade for the first time in the PTC shop.

Charles Morey (Director) and Karen Azenberg (PTC Artistic Director & Les Mis Choreographer) test the Barricade for safety

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From This Author Guest Blogger: Kelly McCormick

Kelly McCormick is currently reprising the role of Fantine in Pioneer Theatre Company’s Les Misérables, which she played not only in PTC’s 2007 production, but (read more...)