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Review

Les Miserables
by Fallbrook Players
 
The Show:

Victor Hugoís classic tale set in 19th-century France became one of the most successful musicals ever written Ė a sweeping epic with music as grand as the story. Itís the tale of Jean Valjean, a man who has spent twenty years in a prison chain gang after stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sisterís child. Life on parole is nearly as difficult, but when a kindly bishop gives him a second chance, Jean breaks his parole and becomes determined to make the most of his new life. Itís a life complicated when he inadvertently causes the young girl Cosette to be orphaned, and finds himself chased relentlessly by Inspector Javert who becomes obsessed with finding parole violator Jean Valjean.

The Production:

Director Stephen Knoll-Gentry has put together a brilliant production of this musical with careful attention paid to each movement by each cast member, a show that is never rushed through the dramatic and comedic moments, and actors who donít just sing the songs but feel free be controlled more by their emotions than by the notes of music, all to excellent effect.

Heís put together a strong cast of some top youth talent from San Diego to Murrieta who meet together here in Fallbrook. Colin Arnold delivers a good, heartfelt, and reflective performance as Valjean. Sarah Slaven is a spirited Fantine, the mother of Cosette, who angrily spits in Valjeanís face when she blames him for looking the other way when she was fired from her job, and who touchingly captures the tragedy of her death. As an adult Cosette, Alexis Young is a compassionate hopeless romantic with a lovely voice, joined by the genuinely sincere Austin Wright as Marius. Their romance breaks the heart of Eponine, featuring Heather Banks completely smitten by Marius and devastated when she feels sheís On My Own, driving herself into a despairing frenzy before recovering, coming to terms with her fate.

Delivering the lighter notes are a terrific duo Ė Marshall Elstad and Caitlin Vecchione as sleazy but hilarious innkeepers Thenardier and his good lady. They milk Fantineís death for all itís worth when Valjean comes to take Young Cosette (Salima Gangani), with Caitlin crying to the music and massaging Valjeanís shoulders for more money, and they rock the house when joined by the ensemble for Master of the House. As the more somber villain Javert, Matthew Malecki lays down the law with stern self-righteousness and delivers a profound final soliloquy to the stars. Young Gavroche, played by talented Reed Lievers, is Javertís foil, an eager young revolutionary with youthful confidence in his street smarts.

The ensemble makes the most of each scene, from the Lovely Ladies to the sad Turning by the townswomen picking up after the battle. And the young students led by a charismatic and devoted Enjolras (Quinton Walker) who leads his fellow students to the barricade, including his drunken friend who begins the final battle in safety below but comes out as the battle reaches fever pitch and he realizes that Enjolras will soon die for his cause, waving the red flag more for his friend than for the cause. One of the many great nuances added to this powerful production.

Performed September 17 - October 3, 2010

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~

 

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Chain Gang:
Marshall Elstad
Tyler Lemire
Scott Greenstone
Josh Morrow
James Bowen
Austin Wright
Benjamin Kindel
Quinton Walker
Jean Valjean: Colin Arnold
Javert: Matthew Malecki
Farmer: Emil Lundqvist
Labourer: Josh Morrow
The Bishop of Digne: Colin McNamara
Constables: James Bowen, Marshall Briggs
Fantine: Sarah Slaven
Foreman: Tyler Lemire
Workers: Emily Lundqvist, Josh Morrow
Women Workers:
Meg Lievers
Sydney Skidmore
Caitlin Vecchione
Factor Girl: Brenna Briggs
Sailors:
James Bowen
Colin McNamara
Josh Morrow
Whores:
Mary Evert
Anzy McWha
Sydney Skidmore
Abby Davis
Breanna Briggs
Heather Banks
Alexis Young
Audrey Fortuin
Pimp: Marshall Briggs
Old Woman: Meg Lievers
Bamatabois: Scott Greenstone
Fauchelevent: Marshall Briggs
Young Cosette: Salima Gangani
Madame Thenardier: Caitlin Vecchione
Young Eponine: Imogen Isaac
Thenardier: Marshall Elstad
Gavroche: Reed Lievers
Eponine: Heather Banks
Montparnasse: Marshall Briggs
Babet: Emil Lindqvist
Brujon: Tyler Lemire
Claquesous: James Bowen
Marius: Austin Wright
Cosette: Alexis Young
Enjolras: Quinton Walker
Lesgles: Colin McNamara
Grantaire: Scott Grennstone
Combeferre: Tyler Lemire
Courfeyrac: Emil Lundqvist
Feuilly: James Bowen
Joly: Josh Morrow
Jean Prouvaire: Marshall Briggs
Women:
Audrey Fortuin
Breanna Briggs
Sydney Skidmore
Anzy McWha
Abby Davis
Meg Lievers
Mary Evert
Servant: Mary Evert
Chorus of Poor, Beggars, etc.:
Michaela Bowen
Alyssa De La Rosa
Nick Fortuin
Alexa Harris
Emily Himes
Hayden Kerzie
Milan Lambert-Magana
Emily Majewski
Maddix McWha
Sophia Rising
Karissa Shoquist
Chaz Skidmore
Sarah Wikler
Amara Young
Arianna Young
Cecilia Shattuck

Director: Stephen Knoll-Gentry
Musical Director: Leigh Sutherlin
Producer: Jane Stimmel
Stage Manager: Dana Carr
Light Design: Curtis Mueller
Dance/Movement Captain: Anzy McWha
Costume Coordinators: Kristin Lundqvist and Annette Lievers
Sets: Terry Davis, Carl McWha, and Ken Slavin
Props: Maggie Skidmore
Light Board Operator: Gwyn Evert
Spots: Michael Evert and Steven Evert
Sound Designer: Jane Stimmel
Assistant Stage Manager: Maddix McWha
Backstage Crew: Madison Britton, Ben Mann and Seata Sengaloune
Keyboard: Leigh Sutherlin
Percussion: Stacy Seever
Bass Guitar: Chuck Kahla
Reeds: Thomas Harker
Show Photos: Becky Gemmell

   

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