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An Epic Les Mis Adventure is Underway!

There is a trembling off in the distance, a vibration that has been getting stronger since Keyano Theatre Company (KTC) announced it was going to produce Les Misérables as part of its 2013-2014 TELUS 4-Play Drama Series.

All summer long, my sons and I immersed ourselves in the music, and eventually, the film, in advance of auditions that took place early in the fall. The Thomas boys were all offered parts in the production. It will be Dylan and Ben’s first performance opportunity and my first chance to do a show with them. We are very excited. My wife is terrified.

Having weathered my participation in numerous productions over the years, Heather knows that she won’t see much of us in January and February. And while she is looking forward to catching up on some studying, our family routine will be upended for a time. Thankfully, she is very supportive and honours the value of the process, especially for Dylan and Ben.

Looking back on the new audition process, I was astounded at the sound we managed to generate during our first sweep through a number of the songs in the show: “At the End of the Day”, “Look Down” and “Do You Hear The People Sing”.

I was particularly emboldened by the number of men who came out, a group of 24 made a huge semicircle in the choral ensemble room during callbacks as we belted out the opening grunts in the show, channeling the frustration, desperation and anger of the chain gang. It sounded (and felt) amazing.

In the weeks that followed, roles were both offered and accepted. The cast, led by Tim Heggie as Jean Valjean, Jenny Price as Fantine, Kimerica Parr as older Cosette, Grace Lima and Amrita Mosale sharing the role of young Cosette, Misty Oakes as Eponine, Sheldon Dahl as Javert, and Kyle Beeson as Marius, has been pouring over the librettos in anticipation of the start of singing rehearsals which happened in the weeks that preceded the holidays.

By the time this article is published we will be through our first six weeks of rehearsals, about to hit the Keyano Theatre deck for the first time. The songs will have settled in our bones, along with the blocking and the emotional undercurrent of the story.

Les Misérables is a musical written by Boublil and Schönberg, based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Set in 19th-century France, it is the sweeping story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant with incredible physical strength and a propensity for violence. A tale of rebirth and redemption, Les Misérables takes place over several decades as Valjean attempts to reinvent himself and make amends after serving 19 years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister’s child.

Directed by Claude Giroux, the Keyano Theatre Company production of Les Misérables will feature a cast of over 50 local performers.

Twitter: rvthomas67


Russell is a 19 year resident of Wood Buffalo, a community builder, facilitator, social media practitioner, actor, director and artist. He began his Middle Age Bulge blog as a way of capturing his journey to wellness. It has morphed into a daily journal about all aspects of life in the north. Russell works with The United Way of Fort McMurray and co-owns Birdsong Connections with his wife Heather.