Victor Hugo's novel-turned-musical has been popular for production by high schools and youth theatre companies for many years.  There is a good reason for this--Les Miserables is one of the most dynamic, powerful and beautiful musicals ever conceived.  For the past six years, the School Edition version has given young performers the world over the opportunity to experience this musical in ways heretofore enjoyed only by a lucky few professionals.  Many young performers have cut their teeth and shown their mettle with commanding performances of Les Miz, School Edition, and the impressive young performers of the Broadway Theatre Arts Academy are no exception. 

Staged at the cozy outdoor amphitheatre in Kit Carson park, this musical retained the expansive feel of Les Miserables, in spite of the venue's relatively small playing space.  The scenic design by Yvonne Sabo, Scott Kolod and Scott Heidemann was quite clever in that it made the most of the limited square footage and lack of vertical flying space.  At first glance, the small turn-table (revolve) was completely unnoticed, so when the barricade 'came to life' during Gavroche's death scene, it was a delightful surprise.  Sam O'Brien's lighting design also made handy use of a very limited array of lighting instruments, but could have used a little more spot-lighting on the actors.  It was occasionally difficult to follow the story-telling on the actors' faces, but given the considerable limitations of the venue, the lighting job was quite commendable. 

Young performers will usually rise to the bar set for them by their director.  Sean Tamburrino obviously understands this.  His work with these young performers reflects his own extensive experience in professional performing arts.  His direction was simple and effective, and he was able to extract brave and honest portrayals from even the most young and inexperienced performers.   

Among the many excellent performances, some of the stand-outs were Zach Crocker (Marius) with his lovely voice and believable acting; Jackie Foster (Eponine) gave an admirable performance and sang her songs with a heartfelt and mature voice that left the audience clapping long after the songs were over; Emmanuel Young (Enjolras) was truly a pleasure to watch and brought a voice and a flair to his role that rivaled several of the Enjolrae I've seen in Les Miz's national tours.  Riley Sanderson (Valjean) definitely has a bright future ahead of him if singing is in his plans.  While his costuming and makeup could have been more effectively crafted to sell him as an aged convict, his golden pipes were enough to overcome those and any other setbacks that might have otherwise hindered his performance of his very difficult role.  Among the ensemble players, Anthony Cirillo and Mitchell McCollum stood out as committed and believable players in their various roles.  Finally, Jacob Rollins was easily the strongest performer in the show and truly owned the stage whenever he was on it.  His portrayal was genuine and moving, and never pandered to the all-too-prevalent caricature of "Javert" seen in many youth productions of Les Miz.   

BTAA's production of Les Miserables--School Edition was an admirably put-together and worthy staging of this musical with an abundance of earnest and talented young performers who brought this magnificent story to life. 

Performs September 3- 12, 2009.

Shaun T. Evans
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Valjean: Riley Sanderson
Javert: Jacob Rollins
Chain Gang:
Kurt Heidemann
Colin McNamara
Matt Andrews

Constables: Anthony Cirillo and Ben
Laborer: Marshall Briggs
Farmer: Ian Schraeder
Bishop: Rhett Jaramillo
Fantine: Summer Blinco
Foreman: Colin McNamara
Girl 5: Theresa Kesser
Sailors: Kurt Heidemann, Logan Nelson
Bamatabois: Haden Jaramillo
Old Woman: Bella Trillizio
Pimp: Mitchell McCollum
Fauchelevant: Drew Bradford
Young Cosette: Merinda Gillette
Madame Thenardier: Cassie Dibbins
Thenardier: Jon White
Young Eponine: Megan Kolod
Gavroche: Christian Winter
Eponine: Jackie Foster
Enjolras: Emmanuel Young
Marius: Zack Crocker
Cosette: Karina Gillette
Brujon: Ben
Babet: Drew Bradford
Claquesous: Kurt Heidemann
Montparnasse: Rhett Jaramillo
Feuilly: Marshall Briggs
Courfeyrac: Mitchell McCollum
Joly: Anthony Whitson-Martini
Prouvaire: Ian Schraeder
Lesgles: Haden Jaramillo
Grantaire: Matt Andrews

Breanna Briggs
Nicolette Burton
Samantha Belgum
Savannah Boyle
Claire Davis
Marly Davis
Katherine Da Silva
Lirenza Gillette
Megan Goyette
Shelby Grasser
Katherine Hansen
Charity Monroe
Kimberly Monroe
Carly Mentz
Morgan Muat
Courtney Peck
Natasha Rivas
Carly Sabo
Renee Swanberg
Dezzia Trinidad
Elizabeth Wallace
Lisa O’Brien


Home   |   Awards   |   Reviews   |   News   |   Actors   |   Headshots   |   Theatres   |   Calendars   |   Newsletters   |   Membership
Auditions   |   Workshops   |   Drama Instruction   |   Playwrights/Scripts   |   Vendors   |   Links   |   Advertising   |   About Us