Jewish Family Theatre lets teenagers loose in the French Revolution musical ‘Les Miserables’ (School Edition)
Theatre in Richmond is so wide and varied, you can literally see a new production every week. This upcoming week is no exception. RTP opens a short run of Glory Days and The Jewish Family Theatre opens Les Miserables (School Version).
The Jewish Family Theatre, which is usually housed at the Richmond Jewish Community Center, opens their production of Les Miserables at The Firehouse Theatre, a sign that the company should be taken seriously. They’ve produced plays and musicals open to the public for many years and have steadily risen in quality and respectability under the excellent and dedicated Artistic Direction of Debra Clinton.
In many of her musical productions, such as this one, Ms. Clinton is aided by the musical direction of the multi-talented wunderkind Jason Marks.
For the second summer in a row, Clinton and Marks produce for JFT a summer musical experience for teenagers focusing on one large scale musical production. Last year it was Jason Robert Brown’s (Parade) age appropriate musical Thirteen.
This year the task is much more complicated. The teenagers will embody the soldiers and citizens of Revolutionary War torn France of the 1830’s.
Les Miserables, as any Francophile or Broadway sycophant knows, is a sung-through musical based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. Premiering in Paris in 1980, it has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and original French-language lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, alongside an English-language libretto with accompanying English-language lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer.
The original Broadway production opened 12 March 1987 and ran until 18 May 2003, closing after 6,680 performances. Only three years after the original run closed, Les Misérables began a return to Broadway and has been revived as late as 2016. A successful but controversial 2012 film was also made and starred Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.
This legendary musical has been specially adapted to meet the needs of young performers. This author-approved edition has been abridged to a running time of just over two hours, while carefully maintaining the integrity of one the greatest musicals ever written.
This epic story recounts the struggle against adversity in 19th century France. Imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, petty thief Jean Valjean is released from his 19-year term and not only becomes and honest man, but the mayor of a prosperous town and a loving adoptive father – violating his parole in the process. The relentless Inspector Javert, who makes a decent life for Valjean impossible, consequently pursues him.
One of Valjean’s factory workers, Fantine, blames him for her being cast into a life of prostitution. When she dies, he feels responsible and agrees to take care of her illegitimate daughter Cosette — though he must first escape Javert. Later, when Cosette is grown, they are swept up in the political turmoil in Paris, which culminates in the Paris Uprising of 1832.
Valjean proves his mettle during a bloody student uprising and saves the life of a young man hopelessly in love with Cosette and only then does the ex-convict finally feel fully redeemed.
The production features actors who have a history with Clinton and Marks. Both leads, Levi Meerovich as Jean Valjean and Steven Martella as Inspector Javert appeared in Damn Yankees last year. Meerovich was recently featured in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Firehouse Theatre and Martella has also starred for Clinton in Urinetown, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Addams Family Musical.
As of this writing all shows are SOLD OUT but there will be a waiting list for last minute seating and no-shows the day of each performance.
Tuesday, 8/23 at 8 PM
Wednesday, 8/24 at 8 PM
Thursday, 8/25 at 8 PM
Saturday, 8/27 at 8:30 PM
Sunday, 8/28 at 2 PM
Thursday, 9/1 at 8 PM
Saturday, 9/3 at 8:30 PM
Sunday, 9/4 at 2 PM
Tickets $10 for JCC Members, $12 for non-members.
All Performances will be held at the Firehouse Theatre: 1609 W. Broad St.
Purchase tickets at: https://weinsteinjcc.org/events/jft-second-stage-presents-les-miserables-school-edition/
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