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NCT’s ‘Les Mis’ is 5-star production

Published: Friday, March 14, 2014 11:15 a.m. CDT

Stars figure prominently in “Les Miserables,” the sung-through musical that opens on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Newton Community Theatre.

Characters sing about them and swear by them. Other characters acknowledge their absence. 

Those are the literal stars, however.  The “stars” are 90 people or so from Newton and surrounding communities.  They shine — brightly — even in the somewhat dark story based on the 1862 novel of the same title by Frenchman Victor Hugo.

“Les Miserables” follows the life of former prisoner Jean Valjean as he strives to make a new life for himself and to escape the clutches of Police Inspector Javert. 

This production showcases brilliantly the tremendous amount of theatrical and musical talent in Jasper and surrounding counties. 

Director Wanda Blount and Music Director Rachel Faidley orchestrate a five-star collection of singers who can act and crews who costume and light them effectively and provide sets that put the audience smack in an early 19th century struggle for social justice.

Lonnie Appleby meets the challenge of the dramatic tenor role of Valjean. Shawn Pavlik, baritone, as Javert, skillfully voices the antagonist who is the personification of the law in its cold, unbending power. 

Sara Collins appears as Fantine, mother of Cosette, victim of social injustice, and lamenter of broken dreams. Annie Foskett shines in the role of grown-up Cosette. (Abby Ambrosen and Aliza Blair play her as a child.) 

Will Edgar is convincing as love-struck Marius, a protesting student who cannot concentrate on his cause, for his heart is too full of love for Cosette. Meredith McKay is outstanding as Eponine, whose unrequited love for Marius draws her into the fight.

Larry Mahlstedt and Stephanie Moran provide comic relief in the roles of M. and Mme. Thenardier, the opportunist innkeepers.

These solo voices are supported by those in the powerful ensemble, whose songs provide smooth transitions between scenes. 

The non-human “stars” of this production are Marvin Campbell’s recreation of the slums of Saint Michel in Paris, complete with laundry hanging on clotheslines, and Harvey Olsthoorn and Company’s bridge, and barricade, featuring any objects that will provide a barrier.  

A “marble” bench and a bed still with its mattress and linens can provide protection for students as they fight for the people’s right to be free. Other sets are minimal, but effective, allowing for quick and smooth transitions between scenes in one of NCT’s best productions ever.

Stellar sets, make-up, costumes and props, stellar crews, orchestra, cast, and directors.

See “Les Mis”! 

You will thank your lucky stars for the display of talent you get to enjoy!

• • •

Production dates and times are March 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 16, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for youth and can be purchased by calling the box office at (641) 792-1230.

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