ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University Theater’s final production of the season – as well as the final theater production in the soon-to-be-renovated Johnson Fine Arts Center – will be the international blockbuster musical sensation, “Les Misérables.”
The acclaimed musical will play for four performances April 9-12 at 7:30 p.m. each night.
The winner of over 70 major theater awards including an Olivier, Tony and Grammy, “Les Misérables” has been translated into 21 different languages including Flemish, Estonian and Castilian. Last year’s film adaptation also received three Academy Awards. The musical was the first collaboration between Frenchmen Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, who would go on to write the equally successful “Miss Saigon.”
“Les Misérables” is based on the novel of the same name by French poet and playwright Victor Hugo and is considered by many to be one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Jean Valjean is released from 19 years of unjust imprisonment, but finds nothing in store for him but mistrust and mistreatment. He breaks his parole in hopes of starting a new life, initiating a lifelong struggle for redemption as he is relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert, who refuses to believe Valjean can change his ways. Filled with classic songs including “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Bring Him Home,” “Les Misérables” will be an event to remember.
“Les Misérables” began its musical life in Paris at the Palais des Sports in 1980 for a run of over 100 performances. That production caught the attention of British producer Cameron Macintosh, who engaged Herbert Kretzmer and James Fenton to adapt the French musical into English. The Anglicized version opened on Oct. 8, 1985, at the Barbican Arts Centre in London. “Les Misérables” received its Broadway premiere two years later on March 12, 1987, at The Broadway Theatre.
NSU Theater’s production will feature Anthony Rohr (Dickinson, N.D.) as Jean Valjean and Paul Hoselton (Moorhead, Minn.) as his nemesis, Javert.
Fantine will be taken on by Natalie Allcock (Britton) while her daughter, young Cosette, will be played by 8-year-old Carly Comstock (Aberdeen).
Treacherous innkeeper M. and his wife Mme. Thénardier are covered by Sal Scavo (Hightstown, N.J.) and Heather Kelsey (South St. Paul, Minn.). Rebellious students Marius and Enjolras will be performed by Eli Corbett (Deadwood) and Nate Wilson (Kimball).
Adult Cosette, who falls in love with Marius, is Yvonne Freese (Lanesboro, Minn.); and Eponine, who is also in love with Marius, will be Larissa Buchholz (Tripp). Young Eponine will be Madeline Comstock (Aberdeen).
The soldiers at the barricade are: John Cassens (Faulkton), Max Chamberlain (Huron), Phil Coghlan (Aberdeen), Tyler Lanam (Rapid City), Jon Miller (Kimball), Adam Rye (Sioux Falls) and Joseph Weseloh (Watertown).
The ladies of the ensemble are: McKenzie Betting (Ellendale, N.D.), Kaitlin Buchholz (Tripp), Emily Davis (Aberdeen), Haley Hubbard (De Smet), Jillian Jensen (Lennox), Ashleigh Kost (Aberdeen), Miranda Letcher (Parkston), Jin-Ah Park (South Korea), April Rogness (Astoria), Carrie Wegleitner (Lake City) and Katie Wegleitner (Lake City).
Young Gavroche, who assists the soldiers, will be played by eighth-grader Chris Cassens (Faulkton). The cast of children at the barricades include Jackson and Ava Rott (Aberdeen), Madeleine Comstock and Michael Garafalo (Aberdeen).
“Les Misérables” will be directed by NSU Director of Theater Daniel Yurgaitis, with vocal direction by vocal faculty member Michael Skyles and musical direction by NSU symphony conductor Robert Vodnoy. Eighteenth century France will be created by scenic design faculty member Joshua John Frachiseur, and costume designer Nicole Frachiseur. The production is stage managed by Ryan Puffer (Aberdeen) assisted by Kate Jarland (Jamestown, N.D.) and Shelby Bauer (Aberdeen).
Tickets are on sale now for the general public at the NSU Wolf Shoppe in the Student Center. Tickets are priced at $14 for adults and $12 for seniors and non-NSU students. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Cash and checks only, please. All seats are reserved, and there are no refunds or exchanges. Tickets increase $2 at the door.
For more information, call 605-626-2563. To reach the Wolf Shoppe, call 605-626-2655.
Photo (from left): Eli Corbett as Marius, Yvonne Freese as Cosette, Anthony Rohr as Jean Valjean, Paul Hoselton as Javert, Natalie Allcock as Fantine and Larissa Buchholz as Eponine.