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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Cast of ‘Les Misérables’ exceeds audience’s expectations

Students and teachers alike filed into the McAfee Center, eagerly anticipating the long-awaited “Les Misérables” opening performance on April 25.  On May 3, the cast performed for the last time.  All five performances resulted in enthusiastic applause, and some even received standing ovations.

This year was the first year that a musical has been performed over the course of two weekends, and the sets did not change the entire musical, which is different than previous shows.

The show ran for about one hour and 50 minutes, and consisted of around 60 cast members.

Those who participated in “Les Mis” expressed both their pride and sorrow of making it to the finale.

“I think the shows went very well, and I’m going to miss performing,” said junior Natalie Miller, who played the role of Eponine. “The ticket sales were amazing, and having a big audience definitely encouraged the cast to have high energy while performing.”

Junior Matt Nobles, who played the part of Marius Pontmercy, said audience turnout was “empowering” and really helped to keep the energy of the actors at a maximum.

The plot of ‘Les Mis’ revolves around a man named Jean Valjean, who commits a petty crime and is imprisoned for it.  Set in the early 18th century, the story follows French peasant Jean Valjean, who serves 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread. After breaking his parole to start a new, honest life, he is relentlessly tracked down by Inspector Javert. Along the way, Valjean encounters characters who stage a revolt at a street barricade.

Sophomore Michelle Cen, who didn’t know anything about ‘Les Mis’ until the night she watched the performance, said she was “pleasantly surprised by how quickly [she] was immersed into the plot.”

“The singing was fantastic and the actors were spot on with their emotions,” Cen said. “It was an excellent musical and I loved every minute of it.  It was definitely worth all of the applause and praise it got.”

Sophomore Sanam Mohan felt that the dedication each actor and actress had to their character was evident, whether he or she was a major or minor character.

Junior Jessica Uong, was amazed at the talent each cast member brought to the musical.  She felt that Miller spectacularly captured the emotions of Eponine in her solo “On My Own,” Uong’s favorite song from the show. However, there was one scene in the show that Uong found slightly odd.

“The only thing that bugged me was the death of Javert,” Uong said. “I know it's hard to portray a suicide in the sense of jumping off a bridge but it was kind of awkward. But other than that, I loved it.”

In order to execute such a successful show, months of hard work and coordination went into the performances, and the actors began to feel the strain on their voices after the first two shows.

Nobles found that by the third show of opening weekend, his voice was feeling the impact of the overuse.

“I woke up the morning of the third show and realized that I could hardly speak,” Nobles said. “I was able to recover throughout the day, but my voice was still pretty unstable during the show. I pretty much just had to hunker down, sing more quietly, and drink a ton of tea and honey.  It was horrifying every time my voice cracked on stage.”

Sophomore Claire Leung, who participated in her first high school musical, said that although the show did well, it was much more complicated than shows she had been in before.

“This show had a lot more costumes, which made it a little bit hectic,” she said. “The set and show altogether was also extremely professional, and the cast was so much bigger than I’m used to.”

Overall, however, Leung said the show was fun to do, and that she’ll miss being able to collaborate with all of the new people she has met.

Director Sarah Thermond believes that the cast did an amazing job, and is sad to see the show come to a close.

“I always get sad when a show ends,” she said. “I’m going to miss a lot of the little moments and background action that we worked really hard on.  I’m also going to miss the cast because of how fun they were to work with.”

Thermond said what made the show so successful was the sincere dedication that the cast put into their work.

“A lot of times if you pick a less popular or more challenging show to put on, there are a couple students who aren’t necessarily as motivated,” Thermond said. “This cast was full of students who loved the show and who felt it was a new challenge for them. Because of that, they approached it earnestly every rehearsal, which helped us accomplish so much more.”

Thermond also said that she was amazed at how well some students could sing.  Some who claimed they couldn’t sing had “officially proven themselves wrong in front of about a thousand people.”

“The cast was full of talent,” Thermond said. “You never get the exact group of people together to perform again, and that’s what makes each show so unique.”

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