Theatre Palisades Youth Present “Les Miserables”

Members of the cast of “Les Miserables” pose during a rehearsal.
Photo: ASHLEY POMEROY

Theatre Palisades Youth and Theatre Palisades Teens will present Les Misérables School Edition, an adaptation of the Tony Award–winning French musical, the weekends of February 23 and March 3.

“Les Misérables is a story of love, redemption, and sacrifice,” TPY/TPTeens director Lara Ganz said. “It shares a message that we need today, more than ever — that even in the direst of circumstances, in the end, faith and hope can redeem you.”

The 54 performers, who range in age from 7 to 17, attend schools in Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Topanga, Pasadena, West Hollywood, and West Hills.

Ganz has once again assembled an amazing support staff.

“It’s basically an opera,” Ganz said about Les Mis, and added that a three-part music team was brought on for the first time at TPY to help prepare the young actors.

“Nothing brings me more joy than helping youth discover their best selves by creating something together,” said music consultant Billy Thompson said. Palisades voice teacher Heather Lyle is working as a vocal coach and “American Idol” finalist gaba is the music director.

“At the end of every rehearsal, gaba and I have the kids sing ‘One Day More,’” Ganz said. “We keep telling them it’s because they need to practice it — but really, we just want to hear it again because they sing it with such bright, strong energy.

“It’s a moment in the story where everyone is gathering their courage, feeling their fears, and deciding to take the next step, even though they don’t know what’s going to happen,” Ganz said. “This inspiring song speaks to us every time, and we know it will be a healing experience for the audience, too.”

Winner of more than 100 international awards, Les Misérables is the world’s longest running musical and the third-longest running musical on Broadway precisely because of its timeless themes.

The main theme of Les Miserables is social injustice. Many of the characters in the novel are victims of injustice who are unable to seek recompense through traditional channels. Jean Valjean, as a former convict, is scorned because of his mistakes.

Only after a bloody student uprising, when Valjean saves the life of a young man who’s in love with Valjean’s adopted daughter, does the ex-convict finally feel fully redeemed.

The show is choreographed by Rebecca Brancato Barragan, Aaron Jung and
Mark Marchillo, who also helped with stage combat.

“Les Mis is filled with magical notes that the actors sing beautifully,” Barragan said. “But this production has choreography that compliments these beautiful songs as the actors’ talents grace the stage.”

The costuming is innovative and done by Gillian Calof, David Montgomery, Zoë Poledouris-Roché and Vanessa Schacter.

Calof, the Director of Finance & Grants Management at ClimateWorks Foundation, has dedicated her career to sustainability. For this show she has repurposed, reimagined and reused materials and existing pieces wherever possible.

Multimedia artist Poledouris-Roché said “Lara’s vision of a timeless Les Misérables opens the costume doors open a bit wider than with a traditional, period-based presentation. We maintain the overarching themes of the haves and have-nots, but with a few modern and futuristic touches alongside the familiar timeless looks.”

Show producers are Susan Jackman and Monica Moore. This show will sell out, so people are advised to purchase tickets early for one of nine shows that will play at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, February 23, Thursday, February 29 and Friday, March 1. Saturday matinees are  February 24 and March 2 at 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday matinees are at 1 p.m. on February 25 and 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.

A scene from the upcoming production of “Les Miserables.”
Photo: ASHLEY POMEROY

 

 

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