ST. GEORGE — There are very few experiences in musical theatre that create the emotional impact of an on-stage performance of Les Misérables. It is the world’s longest running musical and has won over 76 international awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score. Now, 10 years after its high school premiere in Southern Utah, local audiences can experience a fresh breath of that emotion when Pine View High School performs the world-renowned masterpiece Nov. 6, 7, 8 and 10.
Les Mis is an unforgettable story about the strength and resilience of the human spirit. Set in the backdrop of 19th-century France, the show conveys the influence of living your core values and of doing something truly worthwhile.
“The fundamental nature in all humans is to seek out the light,” Pine View senior Shandon Lews said. “That is the essence of this story and that’s why I think it resonates with so many people.”
Lewis portrays several characters in the show including the role of the bishop, a character who opens the path of hope for the principle character Jean Valjean.
“The magnificence of this story is that a simple act of kindness can heal a wounded heart and open opportunities that change many lives,” Lewis said.
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, the musical tells the story of French peasant Jean Valjean and his search for redemption. Valjean served 19 years as a convict for stealing a loaf of bread to help feed his sister’s starving child. Upon release from prison, a hardened Valjean breaks his parole but then vows to start a new life after a kindly bishop inspires him through an act of mercy. Though he becomes a changed man, he is relentlessly tracked by a police inspector named Javert. The story takes the characters through a revolutionary period where a group of young idealists fight for freedom and make their stand at a street barricade.
“I find a part of me in so many characters of this show,” actor Josh Farneman, who plays Thenardier, said. “Their actions give me courage to keep fighting to make my own world a little better.”
Landon Clayton, 12, plays Gavroche, a young boy who fights alongside the revolutionaries.
“It’s a story of sacrifice,” Clayton said, “a tale of people who are willing to give everything in the fight for a higher cause.”
Clayton said he looks up to a lot of the cast members, but he’s found a new role model in the character he plays.
“I want to live with the same brave loyalty for my friends that I see in Gavroche. He’s never afraid to sacrifice for the people he loves,” Clayton said.
The show has been extremely rewarding for Director Ani Rogers.
“When I performed in the southern Utah High School premiere, I never imagined that 10 years later I’d have the opportunity to direct the show here in St. George. This is an incredibly fulfilling experience for me,” Rogers said. “It’s a story of the universal human spirit and our determination to conquer what others say can’t be done. It defies so many of the can’ts. The deeper we get into production, the more I feel that there is someone out there who needs to see this show, and that it will change their life like it has changed mine. It’s exciting to work on something that can have that kind of an effect.”
The show is directed by Rogers, with vocal music by Robert Reimer, and orchestration conducted by Ed Candland.
Event details and resources
- What: Les Miserables
- When: Nov. 6, 7, 8, and 10 at 7:30 p.m.
- Where: Pine View auditorium, Pine View High School, 2850 East 750 North, St. George, Utah.
- Tickets can be purchased online
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