Recently, I attended one of the many rehearsals for the new production of Les Miserables at Jamestown Community College. As the performances will soon be coming in November, I’ve been massively curious. I’ve only ever seen the movie, which came out a couple years ago in 2012. The actual stage production should be something worth looking forward to as the production, first on Broadway in 1987, has accumulated many awards and much praise from international audiences. Les Miserables is a complex show with an extensive plot and a substantial number of sets and characters.
Les Mis is not, it should be stressed, an easy show to put on. It is the live theater version of a summer blockbuster extravaganza. So ever since I first saw the poster at JCC, I’ve been wondering: how? How is a college going to be able to pull off such a massive undertaking?
After watching part of a rehearsal, I’ve seen how everything will come together. The director, Bob Schlick, has such a clear vision of how he wants every detail to appear and sound, that it can only lead to a successful show. Not only this, but in the short time I was at the rehearsal, I had the pleasure of listening to a few of the leads and a few chorus songs. Honestly, I can’t even begin to explain how pleasantly surprised I was after listening to the actors and actresses sing. I guess I hadn’t necessarily put much thought into whether or not the singing would be good or even great, but like I said, I was pleasantly surprised. Even in normal clothes and with parts of the set still incomplete, the actors were able to sing and convey the right moods for their scenes. Les Miserables doesn’t have any spoken section. Like an opera, it is entirely sung, so it is an absolute necessity that the actors be able to express emotion through their singing as well, if not better, than they would through spoken dialogue.
This is my prediction, but I believe that anyone who is able to see Les Miserables will feel completely satisfied. Personally, I can’t wait for the shows to begin in November. To see all aspects of the show together — the cast, costumes, and sets — could mark this show as one of the best productions JCC has ever done. Taking on a world-famous production is a task, yet the rehearsal alone showed that the finished product should be nothing short of phenomenal.