Don't Miss Monomoy Drama's 'Les Misérables'

By: Kat Szmit

The cast and crew of “Les Misérables” take a break from dress rehearsal for a photo op. The show opens March 18 at Monomoy Regional High School.

KAT SZMIT PHOTO

HARWICH – The spring productions of Monomoy Regional High School drama are always a big deal, but their 2020 show might be one of their biggest yet. In less than a week (March 18) a talented cast of singing thespians will bring to life Victor Hugo's timeless tale “Les Misérables.”

Fans of the show are well versed in the story of convict Jean Valjean, imprisoned for thieving a loaf of bread, who finds himself cast out of society upon his release, until he raps on the door of a kindly bishop. When it becomes clear that Valjean's time served did little to alter his criminal mindset, the bishop is determined to help him change his ways. Eventually, Valjean meets Fantine, a woman with some serious problems of her own, the least of which is the poverty she dwells in. A heart wrenching drama ensues through dialog that is entirely musical, making the show unique in that aspect.

Deb Donvan, Monomoy Art teacher and co-director of the show with music teacher Rose Richard, said the show was chosen for its popularity, its large cast, and that it includes a powerful tale.

“I love 'Les Mis' and have always wanted to do it,” said Donovan. “It's one of the few big shows Rose and I haven't done. We always look for shows that have large company numbers and tell a good story. 'Les Mis' first that criteria. It's a show with many solos, small roles, and huge full company numbers.”

Donovan noted that the Monomoy show will differ from the Broadway production, and subsequent film, offering more of a PG version, thanks to the careful removal of an adult scene and the musical key rewritten to accommodate student voices. Other than that, said Donovan, “It's the 'Les Misérables' everyone knows and loves.”

While it might seem daunting to produce a show in which all lines of dialog are sung, Donovan said the Monomoy cast, which includes many of the school's top vocalists, is doing a stellar job, as is the nearly all-student pit band and the behind-the-scenes tech crew responsible for lighting, set decoration, costumes, and props.

“The kids are absolutely amazing and have brought it to life with such passion,” Donovan said. “The actors, musicians, and tech crew have truly created the world of 'Les Mis.'”

Donovan, who has seen the original show and a revival, said the Monomoy show is a must-see.

“It is incredible,” she said. “This company has worked so hard and created a professional show that people will love. 'Les Misérables' is a classical show that has everything—beautiful music, great acting, and wonderful special effects. No one should miss this!”

“Les Misérables” opens March 18 at Monomoy Regional High School, with performances at 7 p.m. on March 18, 19, 20 and 21, with a 1 p.m. matinee on March 21. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students. There is a $5 admission for senior citizens only at the March 21 matinee.