BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Music fills the Clarkston High School Performing Arts Center as the drama club brings Les Misérables to life for audiences, Feb. 16-19.
“It is a favorite for many people,” said Sam Carter. “It will mean a lot to a lot of people. It’s a show that’s going to move people to tears because it’s really real. It means something. It’s touching.”
To many in the cast, it has special meaning because it’s their final winter musical as seniors.
“It’s a little bit fitting to end it on show that is bittersweet because it is a very sad time and a very realistic story,” said Alyssa Harbaugh. “It’s not as light-hearted as ones we have done in the past. Yet, there are so many themes of hope and the future and what will come. It is very implacable to who we are as seniors and who we are as actors. That symbolism is something very important going into show.”
Les Misérables centers around Jean Valjean, played by Micah Blanks, a former convict who spends his life seeking redemption in 19th century France.
“Valjean is a symbol of hope throughout the entire story,” Blanks. “He stole some bread when he was young for his sister’s son. He was arrested and spent five years in jail and spent 19 more because he escaped. Then, he was released. He gets a glimpse of how life is outside of the prison. He realizes the struggles of being an ex-convict.”
During his journey he is saved by the bishop and because of it, spends the rest of his life trying to make things right.
Harbaugh plays Cosette, who Valjean saves from the Thenardier family after making a promise to Cosette’s mother, Fantine.
“She grew up in a very bad home. She was abused and neglected,” Harbaugh explained. “When she is found by Valjean and taken away into her new life she grows up in a very privileged life. Cosette is also very sheltered. She becomes a beacon of hope for the people around her. She is a constant pillar of what is good. The people around her make choices in order to protect her. She influences other people around her.”
“Cosette is the first wrong Valjean tries to right,” said Blanks.
Throughout the story he is hunted by Javert, played by Evan Maconochie, an officer of the law.
“At the beginning, Valjean tests him. I spend my life trying to find him and believing the law is the law of God,” Maconochie added.
“There’s so many plotlines intertwined,” said Carter, who plays Madame Thenardier, the innkeeper’s wife.
“Basically I am just this drunk lady who steals things and is really horrible to her children, which is kind of fun to play, but also deep down she is sort of a scumbag,” she said, adding it was fun to get into the role.
Another plotline is Marius, played by Mitchell Page, who joins a group of revolutionary students after leaving his privileged life.
“I meet Eponine, played by Georgia Zelinsky, who is very in love with me but I am oblivious to it and instead I fall head over heels for Cosette.”
The cast invites the community to come enjoy the show including the music and the sets the students working backstage have created to bring France to life in Clarkston.
“Most people can relate to it in some shape or form because of how dynamic each character is in the story line,” said Page.
Showtimes for Les Misérables are 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, 17 and 18. There are 2 p.m. matinee shows on Feb. 18 and 19.
Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. They are available at www.centerstageticketing.com/sites/clarkstonhigh, can be purchased in person Monday through Friday at the high school, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., or calling the box office at 248-623-4024.