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The school's edition of the script shortens some of the longer musical numbers but has no significant changes.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Patrick Henry High School’s presentation of the epic musical “Les Miserables” arrives on the heels of a smash hit move version that has earned more than $400 million worldwide and landed Anne Hathaway an Oscar as best supporting actress.
Theater director Steve Rittenhouse said the timing is a lucky coincidence. “We decided to do ‘Les Miz’ last June.”
Further helping to fuel student participation, the movie opened over Christmas vacation, with auditions held the week that students returned.
As with the school’s production of the controversial Broadway hit “Rent” in 2010, the script for “Les Miz” is a school edition. In this case, it shortens some of the longer musical numbers but retains all of the major events. “There are no significant changes from the original except tightening it up.”
Starting with “Rent,” continuing with “Grease” and “West Side Story,” Rittenhouse has been tackling big-scale musicals. The addition to the faculty four years ago of choral instructor Becky Kilgus, dance instructor Wendi Wagner, music teacher and sound technician Mike Havens and lighting and set designer John Sailer made these ambitious productions possible, Rittenhouse said.
“There used to be a concern about whether the students could handle the challenging material,” he said, but the students have proved those concerns groundless. “They connect with the characters. They connect with the music. They connect with the story. When you have talented, energetic teenagers that start making these connections, there is no stopping them.”
The hit film has no influence on how the school’s show will unfold.
“These students have taken these roles and the songs that they sing, they are following their instincts, creating the characters based on their own research. It’s just amazing to see how they completely embody the roles.”
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