By Dr. Anton Anderssen
Evalino Productions entertained patrons with the student edition of Les Misérables during Thanksgiving weekend 2021 at Village Theater at Cherry Hill, Canton Michigan. Despite the epidemic, the 400-seat auditorium was amply filled. Directed by John Sartor, produced by Becky Turza, the musical was a great success.
Thirty-nine children, all age 18 and younger, comprised the cast. The musical starred Ian Harnish as Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables. The story depicts the character’s life-long struggle to lead a normal life after serving a prison sentence for stealing bread to feed his sister’s children during a time of economic depression.
The musical differs from the novel in many ways. The novel places a large emphasis on how many times Valjean escapes capture, which is probably too many times to be believable. Valjean raises the ire and spleen of the Thénardiers, after gifting a doll to Cosette, but not Éponine and Azelma. Valjean does not turn himself in to the jury when they falsely accuse an innocent man of being escapee Jean Valjean.
There is enough to the musical to give it sufficient meat. The omitted parts are the ones that really don’t matter so much anyway. As an opus, there are incredible expectations on the cast’s talent. The children are able to not only meet, but exceed these demands for talent.
Katie Temple triumphed in her role as Fantine, the tritagonist in Les Misérables. This role won Anne Hathaway the Oscar in the 2012 film, and the featured song “I dreamed a dream” won Susan Boyle worldwide fame on Britain’s Got Talent.
The production requied a massive effort for the wardrobe department. The costuming experts went out of their way to present an astonishing spectacle of peasant life in the late 1700s. The animated backgrounds were superb, adding credence to the various locations which are represented in the storyline.
Evan Sartor gave a magical rendition of Monsier Thénardier, the trickster who lives on the edge of acceptable behavior.
Tickets to Evalino Productions’ Les Mis can be purchased online at https://www.canton-mi.org/439/Upcoming-Performances.
Les Misérables Student Edition Cast
Jean Valjean…..Ian Harnish
Fantine…. (Wed & Sat) Veronica Bonanni & (Fri & Sun) Katie Temple
Bishop….. Reed Koesel
The Foreman….Logan Larocque
Little Cosette….(Wed & Sat) Kaylee Brackney & (Fri & Sun) Mary Smith
Madame Thénardier….E’Leena Bullock Young Eponine…. (Wed & Sat) Kaeya Skekhawat & (Fri & Sun) Emsley Paul
Eponine….(Wed & Sat) Sophia Mijat &
(Fri & Sun) Autumn Paul
Cosette…. (Wed & Sat) Aubrey McCurdy & (Fri & Sun) Riley Barbee
Featured Ensemble Members….
Lydia Cuthbert Polina Rabinovich Mia Kelleher Erin Owens Emma Crossman Layla Furnas Antoinette Yalo Nora Smith Paige Jurecko Piper Ryan Eva Mangan Anastasia Mangan Catherine LaPointe Maddy Gorczyca Samanjas Atre Anagha Vatul Nymisha Kondur Aashi Shekhawat Colin Mersino