Victor Hugo’s classic nineteenth-century novel was turned into a groundbreaking musical that enjoyed one of the longest runs in Broadway history beginning in the mid-1980s. The powerful story has a soaring musical score that enhances the moods and emotions like few achieve. It’s also one of the more difficult productions to mount, making it all the more impressive when performed by school student actors. The Director used an interesting concept where some of the roles were double cast.

The epic tale is that of Jean Valjean, he is released from a French prison chain gang where he suffered twenty years after stealing a loaf of bread. Upon his release, he gets a second chance after stealing silver from a kindly bishop, the bishop telling the authorities that he gave the silver to Valjean, then telling Valjean to use that silver to do good. But Valjean’s past, and the tenacious, stonehearted Inspector Javert, haunt Valjean as he creates his new life.

Dirk Stenger shines as Jean Valjean, especially with the difficult vocals. He generates strong emotions as we see his character struggling with his conscience and his soul – from his life-changing choice to fulfill the bishop’s wish, to turning himself in rather than have an innocent man condemned in his place, to his decision on the fate of Javert, to him saving the young man who loves the girl he raises as a daughter. Robbie Freidman gives a great performance as the rigidly self-righteous Inspector Javert who sees everything as either good or evil. He has a very proper and disdainful air about him as he doggedly pursues Jean Valjean.

The cast is full of fantastic voices that make the sublime, haunting music all the more effective. Danielle Van Orden is Eponine whose unrequited love for young university student Marius drives her songs and her courage. Her death scene is movingly performed by her and Marius. Austin Myers as Marius is charming and beams in the presence of his true love Cosette, the talented Rebecca Myers who has been raised by Valjean. The three of them combine for some terrific ballads. Another great singing performance came from Miranda Nuevo as Cosette’s mother Fantine

Marisa Acosta and Joshua Pinkowski inject some over-the-top humor into the show as the “Masters of the House” – greedy, grimy innkeepers who sell young Cosette to Valjean but later decide their asking price was too low. The impressive group of students seemed seriously impassioned in their cause and the ensemble mixed their vocals together marvelously. As Gavroche, Alexis Rae Tenney’s “Little People” was exceptional.

Overall, the show boasts great production values with a wonderful set, especially the barricade. The lighting effects were excellent and particularly striking in the battle scenes with smoke generated by a fog machine illuminated.

Performed February 14 - March 1, 2009

Sylvia Bendelstein
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Jean Valjean: Dirk Stenger
Javert: Robbie Freidman, Morgan Hollingsworth
Joshua Pinowski
Miranda Nuevo
Daniel Myers/ Benjamin Munsan
Fantine: Miranda Nuevo
: Joshua Pinowski
Adam Burnier/Austin DeBeikes/Daniel Myers
Pimp, Fluchelevant:
Joshua Pinowski
Samy Achour
Kinsley Riley
Convict’s Wife:
Meeshi Malachowski
Young Cosette:
Ashleigh Craig, Brielle Mussomeli, Sophia Williams
Madame Thenardier:
Marisa Acosta, Samantha Vesco
Young Eponine:
Ana Garett
Thenardier: Joshua Pinkowski
Alexis Rae Tenney, Aaron Acosta, Reed Lievers
Danielle Van Orden, SaraCarr, Gabrielle Gutierrez, Chelsea Huntly-Payle
Adam Burnier
Austin Myers, Austin DeBeikes, Daniel Myers
Rebecca Myers,Marisa Novak
Marisa Acosta, Adam Burnier, Josh Guicherit, Richie Hicks, Benjamin Munson, Miranda Nuvo, Rob Simsiman:
Sammy Achour, Richie Hicks, Benjamin Munson, Rob Simsiman
Major Dom
o: Benjamin Munson
Chain Gang, Workers, Beggars, Lovely Ladies, Bar Patrons, Students, Urchins, Wedding Guests:
Aaron Acosta, Marisa Acosta, Samy Achour, Rachael Baum, Marita Bos, Adam Burnier, Blair Cannon, Sara Carr, Ashleigh Craig, Trevor Craig, Rachael Cunningham, Austin DeBeikes, Robbie Friedman, Josh Guicherit, Ana Garrett, Gabrielle Gutierrez, Brianna Hansen, Richard Hicks, Chelsea Huntley-Playle, Thomas Jenson, Taylor Kamps, Reed Lievers, Meeshi Malachowski, Jonas McMullen, Benjamin Munson, Brielle Mussomeli, Daniel Myers, Rebecca Myers, Marisa Novak, Mirenda Nuevo, Richie  O’Connell, Joshua Pinkowski, Kinsey Riley, Rob Simsiman, Alexis Rae Tenney, Claire Tipler, Danielle Van Orden, Nicholas Van Orden, Samantha Vesco, Logan Welsh and Sopia Williams



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