May 5, 2014

Les Misérables


Les Misérables has seen a resurgence in the past couple years. The popular musical, which tells the story of a convict who finds redemption, has been everywhere from Broadway to the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre and is now on stage at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. Yet despite being around for decades, there are still audience members at each performance seeing the show for the first time. It is with those individuals in mind that I recommend this production. Anyone who has seen the show many times will inevitably compare it, which makes it easy to pick out the flaws, but those seeing it for the first time will be swept away by the huge cast and the sheer scope of the story.

The production’s minimalist set makes use of lighting over set pieces. The lighting design, by Ryan Koharchik, balances some tricky moments when one cast member is performing at the front of the stage and the set is being shuffled for the next scene in the back. The result is relatively smooth transitions in a technically difficult show.
 
 
Each time I see this show I’m moved by the story and the music in a new way. This particular production shines in numbers like “Bring Him Home” performed by Matt Branic as Valjean. Branic seem to struggle with a few notes in the early moments of the show, but he hits his stride quickly and proves his prowess in the demanding role. He is matched by Paul D. Nicely's fervent Javert, the intense inspector who hounds Valjean's every step. 

It lacks the huge scale of some Broadway productions of the musical, but provides and intimacy that holds with the heart of the story. As with any large, community theatre cast, there are a few weak links, but on the whole our core actors rise to the occasion. Their heartfelt performances are enough to rouse a cry of “One Day More” from any audience.


Don't Miss the Show
Performances: The show runs until Saturday, May 10 Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is located at 3 Center Green, Carmel, IN 46032 at the Center for the Performing Arts.
Tickets: Ticket prices range from $36.50 to $46.50 and can be purchased by calling (317) 843-3800 or visiting www.civictheatre.org
Photos courtesy of Zach Rosing

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