Pictured (L-R) from the cast of the SVTC production of Les Misérables, are Jimmy Malyon, as Jean Valjean; Erin Richie as Fantine; and Ray Nevill, as Javert.
CORNWALL, Ontario - The Seaway Valley Theatre Company will be throwing up the curtain on what promises to be one of the grandest productions in the group’s history, when the iconic, Les Misérables opens early next month.
“This is a unique presentation,” said director, Dave Barnes, who alongside his cast of 56 performers, ranging from ages 10 to 70, have been assembling the masterpiece, since September. “(We’ve) taken pieces from the original stage show, back in the late 80, pieces from the modern presentation, in Toronto, and something from the movie.”
Barnes, a veteran of our community theatre has even taken artistic licence, as well, adding his own interpretation in certain areas.
As most of us know, by now, with the great success of years of stage performances and the most recent award-winning movie version, the musical follows 20 years of the life of a man called Jean Valjean, from prison, to becoming a benevolent mayor and a wealthy business man, constantly pursued by an overzealous policeman.
“It’s very similar to Oliver in actual fact,” said Barnes. “In one sense, looking at the 1800s, showing the life of the wretched poor compared to the privileged wealthy and the double standard of the law at that time. In the end, like Oliver, the good guys win.”
Barnes says that this is the most difficult production he has ever taken on, not only because of the size of the cast and the intricate music, but because it is “sung through” (meaning no spoken words).
As the director, working alongside another local veteran of the theatre, Brian McCartney, directing the music, Barnes says that he doesn’t have the control over the production that he’s is accustomed to – the written music setting the pace over many of the staging choices that he might have envisioned.
“As intricate and technical as (the music) is, when you hear it coming out, it’s sung well,” said Barnes. “I will maintain that we have the best choir in Cornwall right now. When you hear them singing the choral numbers and even the solo numbers, they really are beautiful, the hairs come up on the back of your neck at times.”
The very popular show has attracted many newcomers to the company, from around the region - “a nice split between men and women, very unusual for community theatre.”
“They’ve brought some wonderful voices,” boasts Barnes. Among those, Jimmy Malyon, who plays Jean Valjen. “Everybody in Cornwall should know him by now, coming right off Chicago’s success and doing beautifully.”
Also, among the principles, are Ray Nevill as Javert; Marius Michael De Wolfe, Erin Richie as Fantine; Graham Greer as the Bishop (Friar); Hannah Lord as young Cosette; Felicity Brown as Cosette; Kelsey Lee as Eponine, Jean Guy Quesnel and Lacie Petrynka are Thénardiers and Chad Cole as Enjolras.
Les Misérables run February 7, 8, 13, 13, 14, 15, (evening performances 7:30), with a matinee on February 9, at 1:30, at Aultsville Theatre.
Tickets are $18 (children under 12); $20 (seniors and students); $22 (adults) and can be purchased at the Civic Complex box office or at admission.com. Visit www.svtc.ca for further details.