It’s All Heart: Les Miserable Plays this Week

The performers are excellent and the roles are double and triple cast for this show.

Les Miserable, which explores themes from abuse to poverty to revolution, seems like an unlikely choice for a youth theater show.

But, Theatre Palisades Youth and Teen Director Lara Ganz, takes this musical and her 53 actors, and makes it a show of love, joy and hope. The show is about dreaming of a new time and a better world.

Bravo to Ganz and to the young actors, many of whom are on the stage for the first time, for this very successful production.

The kids, ages 8 to 18, sing and dance with true passion. Audience members are swept up with the strong emotions.

Some of the kids have exceptional voices. Others, such as the youngest, have their first solo on stage. The sweetness and earnestness of their singing is lovely.

This reviewer would like to single some of the cast out because of the beauty of their performances, but each role is double/triple cast. The young actors I saw might not be the same that a different audience sees – and different audiences might be treated to an even more exceptional vocalist, than this reviewer.

Although it is more difficult for Director Ganz to cast several people for a major role, it ensures that each performer has their chance in the spotlight—it also means there is an understudy in case of sickness.

This reviewer looks forward to seeing several of these very talented youth in future productions—to be honest, I was captivated by some of the performances.

Les Misérables, school edition is based on the musical with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, and original French lyrics by Alain Boubill and Jean-Marc Natel. The English lyrics and libretto were written by Herbet Kretzmer. The School Edition is specially adapted and licensed by Music Theatre International and Cameron Mackintosh.

The story follows Jean Valjean, a peasant who was sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment; five years initially for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew, and a further 14 for escape attempts.

After breaking his parole, he reinvents himself as a factory owner and mayor and is then swept up into a revolutionary movement, where a group of young people attempt to overthrow the government. Meanwhile, a police inspector called Javert has vowed to track him down.

In the program, Director Ganz shares Victor Hugo’s words to his book publisher.

“I don’t know whether it will be read by everyone, but it is meant for everyone. It addresses England as well as Spain, Italy as well as France, Germany as well as Ireland, the republics that harbour slaves as well as empires that have serfs.

“Social problems go beyond frontiers. Humankind’s wounds, those huge sores that litter the world, do not stop at the blue and red lines drawn on maps. Wherever men go in ignorance or despair, wherever women sell themselves for bread, wherever children lack a book to learn from or a warm hearth, Les Misérables knocks at the door and says, ‘Open up, I am here for you.”

Show producers are Susan Jackman and Monica Moore. This show usually sells out, so people are advised to purchase tickets early for the musical at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday, February 29 and Friday, March 1. Saturday matinees are March 2 at 1 and 5:30 p.m. A Sunday matinee is 1 p.m. on March 3.

Tickets are general admission $22 and students/seniors $17 and may be purchased at the box office (310) 454-1970 or online click here.

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One Response to It’s All Heart: Les Miserable Plays this Week

  1. Michael says:

    Those kids have worked very hard and the reason the kid’s voices sound so good is that Heather Lyle of Bluecat Music Voice Studio is the Vocal Coach for the show. She’s been working tirelessly with them for a few months.

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