ADRIAN – Pupils from 10 regional secondary schools, plus three primary school pupils for the younger roles, took to the stage at Croswell Opera House this weekend and next for ‘Les Miserables (School Edition)’ , this year’s high school musical.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28. Further performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 29; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, January 30; 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 4; 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 5; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 6.
Tickets range from $12-$25 for adults, $12 for students and can be ordered online at croswell.org or by calling 517-264-7469.
Masks or face shields are required of all members of the public.
Additionally, the Croswell will be livestreaming the Sunday, January 30 performance and the 7:30 p.m. performance on Saturday, February 5. Tickets are $25 per device and are available through a link on Croswell’s website.
For Donna Andre, the production manager, the 39 students in her cast are “exactly the 39 good people”. When these particular youngsters auditioned, she explained, it was easy to decide who should be in which role and “they can all sing so well.”
Jeremy Szymanski of St. Francis de Sales School in Toledo plays Jean Valjean, Oden Berthelsen of Tecumseh High School is Javert, and Matthew Antalek of Adrian High School and Chance Adkins of Madison High School are revolutionary students Marius and Enjolras.
Tecumseh High School’s Luke Barden plays the Bishop of Digne, who shelters Valjean after he is released from prison. Clinton High School’s Emily Haselschwerdt plays Cosette, Valjean’s adopted daughter, and Lenawee Christian School’s Lila Brighton plays Fantine, her birth mother. JCC/LISD Academy’s Gabriel Ebeling and Lenawee Christian’s Hope Green play the Thenardiers, a pair of conniving innkeepers, and Notre Dame de Toledo Academy’s Elise Brown plays Eponine, their daughter, who grows up to join the revolutionaries.
Rounding out the cast are Ella Andre, Madelyn Bowman, Cheyenne Ely, Jenna Ferguson, Isabela Guerrero, Lauren Howard, Aiden Ketola, Elliott Powers and Hallie Yuen, all from Adrian High School; Madeline Bough of Hudson High School; Elliot Cheng, Wesley Miner, Alex Pizana, Sage Pizana, Noah Tarsha, Ivory Thiessen, Astrid Thomas and Jamari Williams, all of Madison High School; Isaac Bermudez of Perrysburg High School; and Jonathan Dahn, Zara Garrison, Julia Jones, Abby Knight, Genevieve Lucas, Wynter Osstifin and Abigail VanCamp-Blaska, all from Tecumseh High School.
The younger roles are played by Mason Brogan and Ava Snyder, both from Onsted Elementary School, as young Cosette and young Eponine, and Sophia Bernard from Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo as than a Gavroche street urchin.
Mandy Kruse and Chloe Whiting Stevenson provide vocal direction and movement coaching, respectively, while Adam P. Miller conducts the 14-piece pit orchestra.
This student edition of Les Misérables differs only slightly from the full production. Essentially, the changes involve cutting down the songs, which shortens the show – around two hours and 10 minutes, as opposed to the full production’s three hour runtime. But “it’s not easier,” said André.
In fact, she thinks the toppings actually help the show. “It keeps moving and moving,” she said.
In the more than 40 years since Victor Hugo’s classic novel was turned into a musical and won every major theatrical award, ‘Les Mis’ has been a favorite with audiences around the world. .
One of the reasons for this, Andre says, is that the characters are relatable – and she’s sure Croswell’s production will connect with viewers for the same reason.
She cited three characters as examples: Valjean, the ex-con in search of redemption, struggles to take care of those who rely on him; the sweet and naive Cosette is a young woman in love; Javert, the police inspector and sworn enemy of Valjean, is determined that everything goes well.
“So everyone in the audience can say, ‘I see that person in me,'” Andre said.
Many young people on the show, although they may have done many school productions, are new to Croswell. And, André said, they get a real education from the professionals who work in the historic theater.
“They learn a lot here,” she says. “It’s so much bigger than what they can get on their high school stage, and they’re going for it.”
Andre has extensive directing and other experience working on student theater productions both locally and while teaching in Germany. But “Les Miserables” marks her directorial debut when it comes to a Croswell-produced show.
Between having the opportunity to direct this particular musical and working with this cast, Andre is having a lot of fun for his first time leading a Croswell show.
“What we have here is so special and so well cut,” she said. “…I was good with those 39 kids. How else can you say it?
If you are going to
WHAT: “Les Miserables (student version)”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 29; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, January 30; 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 4; 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 5; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 6. The January 30 show and the February 5 evening show will also be broadcast live.
WHERE: Croswell Opera House, 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian
TICKETS: $12 to $25 for adults, $12 for students. Live streamed performances cost $25 per device.
HOW TO ORDER: Online at croswell.org or by calling 517-264-7469. Live stream tickets are available via a link at croswell.org.
NOTE: Masks or face shields are mandatory for all members of the public.