Posted on Jul 22, 2013
5 out of 5
Yardley Hall hosted the first production of the full length version of "Les Miserables" this past weekend (July 19-21). The cast of 94 was loaded with professional vocal/dance/theatrical arts instructors as well as experienced local, non equity actors.
Taking their cue from the magnificent Matt Fowler (Jean Valjean) and Brent Sander (Javert), this show was riveting from the beginning, opening with the gruesomely powerful "Look Down" and continuing through "End of the Day" and Act I Finale "One Day More". The "Master of the House" scene was riotously comical as was the bawdy "Lovely Ladies" featuring some of the most alluring "prostitutes" to grace Kansas City stages in years.
Powerfully emotional solos from Mandy Nousain (Eponine), Molly Frank (Fantine), Arthur Clifford Jr. (Marius) and Joe Bellinger (Enjolras) complimented the continual excellence from Valjean & Javert, who took "Stars" and "Bring Him Home" to new heights.
The revolutionaries were magnificent (mainly high school/college age young men), and they displayed high energy and emotionally raw anger & sorrow, coupled with strong vocals in "Red & Black" and "Do You Hear the
The staging was marvelous with the huge, rotating barricade, immense side town walls and dropping scrim depicting time & place for the audience. Yardley Hall is a gorgeous theater for both audience and cast, and provided a spectacular venue for this timeless classic.
A wonderful side note: The Culture House made
a significant donation to the local "Veronica's
Voice" organization which aids women in abused, sex-traffic situations, in honor of a theme of the show which Fantine undergoes prior to her death.
It's unfortunate that this run was one weekend only, but what an incredibly powerful rendition of "Les Mis" which had audiences leaving the theater in tears of joy, sadness, grief and hope.
Bravo to the over 220 members of The Culture House cast/crew/orchestra, artistic and technical staff!