Octber 24, 2006
Cowley Music and Theatre departments shine in production of “Les Miserables” school edition
The rave reviews keep on coming as Cowley College’s performance of “Les Miserables” school edition sold over 2,000 tickets for the four shows held Thursday through Sunday at the Robert Brown Theatre.
The show was performed by Cowley students and conducted by Cowley College director of vocal music Connie Donatelli. Cowley College director of theatre and theatrical services Scott MacLaughlin directed the show, while Cowley’s Jamison Rhoads served as the technical director.
Jennifer Blatchford handled the choreography of the show, and Brittany Richerson served as the stage manager.
“I would like to commend the people that worked so hard on “Les Miserables”,” Cowley College Board member Donna Avery said. “It was a wonderful, professional production.”
The musical takes place in early to mid-19th century France and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The musical is operatic in style where everything is sung.
“The show had the finest vocals, acting, directing, stage design of any show ever seen at Cowley,” Cowley College creative director Denise Irwin said.
Winfield Daily Courier Lifestyles Editor Judith Zaccaria claimed Cowley’s performance of Les Miserables was not to be missed.
“Les Miserables," hits you in the solar plexus and never lets up,” Zaccaria said. “It is a powerful story of injustice redeemed by mercy, hate undone by love. This show enables director Scott McLaughlin, music director Connie Donatelli and technical director Jamison Rhoads to show off the wonders of the Brown Theatre to great effect.”
Les Misérables is based on Jean Valjean, who is paroled from prison after serving 19 years on a chain gang for stealing food. A Bishop, whose silverware he steals on his departure, takes him in for the night. When he is caught with the silverware, the bishop not only does not press charges, he also gives Valjean his silver candlesticks. Valjean then reforms himself and becomes the mayor and head businessman in a small town. But when former prison guard Javert is transferred to become police captain and recognizes Valjean, his past life comes back to haunt him. Meanwhile, Fantine, one of Valjean's employees, has had a baby (Cosette) out of wedlock and is dismissed from her job while Valjean is away; when he finds this out (far too late), he takes responsibility for them.
Janice Neagle, Cowley College director of employee services since 1997, was blown away by the performance.
“It was the best one I have seen since I started working at the College, it was fantastic,” Neagle said.
Photo provided by Donita Claasen of the Arkansas City Traveler.