Entertainment

North Shore Music Theatre takes on epic Les Miserables

BEVERLY ? French author Victor Hugo suffered no shortage of words when he penned the classic novel “Les Miserables” in 1862.At more than 1,000 pages, the story spans more than two decades and follows the lives of its central characters through the Napoleonic wars and afterward. Mostly it focuses on Jean Valjean, an ex-convict with a good heart, whose life is forever tainted by his past. Valjean’s sweeping story ranks among the most popular in the world and serves as social commentary on law, the justice system, and perhaps more so, the nature of good and evil.Hugo’s masterpiece takes to the stage at the North Shore Music Theatre from Oct. 23 through Nov. 18. The 8-time Tony Award-winning musical, sponsored by DanversBank, concludes the theater’s 2007 season.Translated from the French as The Miserable Ones or The Wretched, Les Miserables is a crowning achievement for the regional theater.”I’m thrilled to bring this musical theater masterpiece to the North Shore Music Theatre stage,” said Jon Kimbell, the theater’s artistic director and executive producer. “With direction and choreography by incoming artistic director and executive producer Barry Ivan, audiences will experience Les Misérables as they never have before.”Kimbell promises a unique production created solely for North Shore Music Theatre’s signature theater-in-the-round. The plot, for those who haven’t plodded through Hugo’s thousands of pages, is based on Valjean’s attempts to start a new life as he is pursued relentlessly by policeman Javert over decades through the tumult of revolutionary France.This blockbuster musical also showcases a Tony Award-winning score with such songs as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “A Little Fall of Rain,” “Master of the House,” and “On My Own.”Les Miserables features a book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, and music by Claude-Michel Schönberg.According to Ivan, the director and choreographer, intimate space plays a key role in this production. “At North Shore Music Theatre the audience becomes part of the production and part of the story telling,” he said. “It’s a very freeing experience for the actors and the audience will feel closer to the acting company here than they would in any other theater.”Les Miserables will feature Fred Inkley in the role of Valjean. Inkley portrayed Valjean on Broadway during its initial run and recently was seen as Coach Bolton in North Shore Music Theatre’s record-breaking production of Disney’s High School Musical. The show also features Inga Ballard as Madame Thénardier, Charlie Brady as Enjolras, Renée Brna as Cosette, Jacquelyn Piro Donovan as Fantine, Charles Hagerty as Marius, Joanne Javien as Eponine, Devin Richards as Javert, and Ron Wisniski as Thénardier.The 30-member cast also includes Allison Blackwell, Michael Busillo, Jameson Cooper, Martin Giannini, Lauren Hauser, Todd A. Horman, Devin Ilaw, Jason Kraack, Lindsey Lake, Ryan Mark Malyar, Mara Newbery, Weston Wells Olson, Amanda Paulson, Danny Rothman, Adam Sansiveri, Ashley Catherine Schmitt, Matt Stokes and Natalie Weiss.Three North Shore children are also among the performers ? Lowell resident Sebastian Hoffman as Gavroche, Isabelle Miller of Melrose as Young Eponine, and Joanna Rosen of Marblehead as Young Cosette.In addition to Ivan’s directing and choreography, the production’s creative team includes musical director Anne Shuttlesworth, scenic designer Michael Anania, costume designer Susan E. Picinich, lighting designer David Neville, sound designer John A. Stone, and wig and hair designer Gerard Kelly. Other members of the creative team include production stage manager Bethany Ford, assistant director Dale Rieling, assistant stage manager Alicia D. Reese, assistant musical director Eric Johnston, and casting director Alison Franck.Ticket are $40-$75. Senior and youth discounts and rush tickets are available. The performance

More Stories In Entertainment