The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Les Misérables
Organization Del Oro High School
Date(s) of show May 3, 2014
Reviewer Letha Dawson
Review Les Misérables, a cultural phenomenon, has been exciting and thrilling audiences since 1980 when Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg adapted Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables, for the stage in France. In 1985 the English language version of “Les Mis” opened in London, and since then more than 500 million theater-goes have thrilled to the music and spectacle of courageous men, women, and children rising up in revolution, standing tall in conviction to bring an end to their oppression. May 3, 2014, at Del Oro High School, les misérables sang again of their misery and determination to change the world. Under the baton of Margie Hartung, the Placer County Youth Orchestra played superbly. Les Mis was brought to life under the direction of "Sir" Jeffery Johnson and Shere Freedman. Authentic costume creations by Gina Musilli and Noelle Young transported the audience to France. And Shere Freedmen, wearing a second directorial hat, guided and brought the voices of the students to heights even they didn’t know they could reach. Therefore, Les Mis thrilled another several hundred people. It’s no easy task to bring a musical of this size and complication to the stage, but the artistic directors at Del Oro accomplished the feat with flying colors.

Each of the thirty-nine actors, singers, and dancers, and all ten of the junior cast carried us away to the streets, brothels, and drinking houses of France in the 1800’s with sincerity and heart, singing their parts well and genuinely looking like prisoners, prostitutes, and street urchins. The choreography, lighting, and music from the talented orchestra members, particularly Keegan McLean’s trumpet, Breanna Daley’s flute, and the ethereal string section, all came together to create a nimble, yet intense musical experience.

Seth Beam as Valjean sang and moved with emotion. He adapted to each role, whether the prisoner, the mayor, or the father with power and kindness. Mason Beseler looked and sang the part of of Javert. David Reyes, with his smooth voice, certainly fit the role of Marius, the young man in love. Hannah Massagli brought spunk with jabbing elbows and personality to the role of Madam Thenardier. Keirsten Hammond, Alec Irwin, Camerion Riggs, and Amberley Sewell, as well as all the other vocalists, sang the complex score with skill.

Special mention is demanded for the mobs. The choruses of singers were outstanding in their crowd movement, their cohesion, and their sound. The Company chanting the prologue, the unemployed, children and factory workers singing “At the End of the Day” and “Look Down” and “Little People” and “One Day More” -- these numbers were fantastic. The costumes again set the mood. The choreography of the group as a whole moved and surged. The stand-out came in the character of Gavroche, sung by Ethan Freedman. This child was the very bright star in this production. Ethan Freedman, a half-pint urchin, marched out on stage, and punched every line, swinging his arms, stamping his feet, and holding his ground as he sang like the tough little man the streets had made him. The audience loved him, shouting their delight every time he appeared. Hopefully, audiences will be seeing a lot more of this talented boy, for he’s only in first grade at Live Oak Waldorf School.

All in all, a standing ovation for the cast, Placer County Youth Orchestra, and all the artistic and production staff for bringing theatre lovers a great production of Les Mis.

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