Entertainment

Marblehead Little Theatre production opens tonight

MARBLEHEAD – Marblehead Little Theatre?s production of Les Misérables opens tonight at Marblehead High School, directed by former Salem High School drama teacher Steve Black and with Lynn resident and Arts After Hours founder Corey Jackson in the lead role of Jean Valjean.Black told The Item on Thursday that Les Misérables, the epic story of a 19th-century French peasant?s quest for redemption after his wrongful imprisonment for two decades and against the backdrop of a nation in the grip of recession, has long been among his favorite musicals.?I directed the show a few years ago at Salem High School when I was teaching there and it was one of my favorite experiences,” Black said, adding the show with its massive set and with a full orchestra, allows the Marblehead Little Theatre Company to leave its smaller home stage to take on this bigger production in the Marblehead High Theatre.Black said the Marblehead High Theatre?s “thrust stage,” where the audience is seated on three sides, is ideal for this show, “to immerse the audience in the world of the show and find themselves very close to the actors.”Black, originally from the Worcester area and a graduate of NYU, said he had long known of Corey Jackson and Jackson?s work with Arts After Hours in Lynn and in regional theater in general, but had never before worked with him.?Corey is absolutely dedicated to depicting perfectly the person of Jean Valjean,” Black said. “He?s tremendous, and the entire cast has gone to an extreme, willing to pitch in with support on and off the stage, to make this transition to the Marblehead High stage.”Black said the timing is perfect to present Les Misérables, because its score is mainstream and the 2012 movie version by Universal Pictures has generated generations of new fans of the stage musical.?There?s something in this story that everyone can sort of relate to in terms of accessibility,” Black said.The show?s massive set relied on local designers and builders, with Pater Colao of Wooden Kiwi Productions of Somerville heading the construction.Jackson on Thursday commented via email that rehearsals have gone perfectly and that he?s eager for tonight?s opening.?Steve is incredibly talented and Les Mis definitely showcases his skill as a director,” Jackson said. “Marblehead Little Theatre is very lucky to have someone like him to drive a high-quality end product.Other cast members include David Fougere (Javert); Bob Russell (The Bishop of Digne); Meghan Ashley (Fantine); Penelope Walker, Paige Martino (Little Cosette and Young Eponine); Steve Faria (Thenardier); Sarah Sendlbeck Ernst (Madam Thenardier); Aidan Merriam (Gavroche); Amy Strong (Eponine); and Annie Dillon and Sara Rhuda (Cosette).Other production team members include Lianne Goodwin, music director; Lisa Finn, choreographer; Colao as set designer; Elvira Schoenthal, costume design; and Greg Dana, sound design.

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