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Les Miserables
a Musical
CATEGORY : DRAMA MUSICAL
by Boubil/Schonberg; based on the novel by Victor Hugo

COMPANY : Brookwood High School [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Brookwood High School [WEBSITE]
ID# 868

SHOWING : January 30, 2004 - January 31, 2004

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

The longest running show on Broadway returns to Brookwood High School for a two night only Encore presentation of our wildly successful December production. Join in our crusade, and become part classic tale of love, duty, honor, and courage that has delighted audiences worldwide for years.


CAST & CREW LIST
Cinderella's Prince Matt Clickner
Eponine Rebecca Galen Crawley
Rapunzel's Prince Scott D'Alfonso
Jean Valjean Neal Echols
Mme. Thernardier Gretchen Rebecca Gordon
Gavroche Melissa Manning
Fantine Julia McDaris
Ensamble Rory Schussler
M. Thenardier Rico Sisney
Bishop, Grantaire, Ensamble Michael Wright
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

hello
by SinginSnoopy
Monday, February 2, 2004
3.0
Hey jlinton you are Rebecca kuck its obvious!!!!!!!! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
by SinginSnoopy
I liked the production, it was pretty good the Thenardies in my opinion have great comedic timing. Eponine and Jean Valjean had magnificint voices, but I agree that it would have sounded better with an orchestra. There was also quite a bit of mugging onstage.
Actually by onstagediva211
I'm not sure who you are but you are mistaken, I'm Rebecca Kuck, I played Cosette in Les Miserables at North Springs High School. I did however view the show at Brookwood and thought it was very well done. I especially liked the staging for the barricades. I'm sorry you think this SinginSnoopy but just because someone likes something I've done in the past does not mean that it is me. Come on Grow up.
by SinginSnoopy
I'm sorry Rebecca I knew it wasn't you I was just jealous because I didn't get the same publicity You did I know you have higher integrity thatn that and once again I am sorry.
An different point of view
by TKDude013
Sunday, February 1, 2004
5.0
Ok. Here's the deal. I am not a professional or even amatuer critic. I don't know that much about Theater or Musicals or anything. But I know what I like. And I know that I liked the Brookwood Production of Les MisÚrables enough to see it three times. And I am not a relative or boyfriend of anyone in the cast.
Who would have thought that high schoolers could sing so well?! Ok my top three singers: 1. Eponine (Galen Crawley) 2. Jean Valjean (Neal Echols) 3. Fantine (Julie McDaris).
So yeah. Where did Galen come from because... Wow. Seriously that girl has some serious talent. There are pretty much no words to explain how highly I think of her after this play.
Neal. Man oh Man. He is awesome. I saw the play twice in December and he wasnt my favorite singer because I didn't like him in Bring Him Home very much. But this time when I saw it in January. Man he is sooo good. Bring him Home became one of my new favorite songs. He is seriously going places. I should have voted him most likely to appear on Broadway.
Ok. Julie. I know her personally. I've never liked her much. In fact one could say that I've hated her a good bit. But after I saw her in this play, I found a new respect for her. She has got a serious voice man. Haha, when I first heard she was going to be Fantine.. I thought to myself - HAHA YES!! You're the girl who has to turn to prostitution and die. But man after I saw her in it I got goosebumps.
The rest of the cast was really good too. I mean Andrew Neisler (Marius) and Jennifer Stephan (Cossett)We're both really really good. Oh my god Jennifer - How the heck can you sing so high!!!? That was amazing! Enjolras (Matt Clickner) is not quite up to par with some of the cast as far as singing, but He more than made up for it in stage presence. Goosebumps once again. Galvroche is the coolest. Thenardier was really really a good cast because he was hilarious. OH AND MME. THENARDIER - great. Maybe better than some professionals.
Now I will say it again. I don't know a lot about theater, but I know what I like and I definatly liked this play. I don't think that any otherhigh school in the nation could have done it better. Well maybe some high schools, but not a lot of them. Good Job Guys! If you did another encore presentation I would see it again. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Julie by TKDude013
Oh BTW ~ I might have made Julie (Fantine) come off as kind of a.. well.. a bitch in person. She's not. I guess she just takes some time to get used to? I don't know. She's cool. She is a great singer too.
They need an orchestra!
by jlinton
Sunday, February 1, 2004
3.0
I saw Brookwood's production of Les Miserables last night and thought it was done well enough. While I think this show actually deserves a 2, I'm boosting up the score because the actor's were so fantastic and it was only the orchestra that really kept them down. Had they had an orchestra (and a few better stage pictures) it would have been alot better.

Some standouts for me would be Val Jean (Neal Echols). He has one of the best baritone voices I have heard on or off broadway, and the way that he switched in and out of falsetto, though at times a bit shaky, was incredible! I was however a little dissapointed with his performance of "Bring Him Home". I believe in the power of stillness, and he just moved around too much and it distracted from this beautiful song, which was incredibly sung. If he had stood still for it I believe that I would have been moved to tears. Other than that, his portrayal was fantastic and heart-wrenching - I really enjoyed seeing him transform from a convict into this incredible man.

Another standout would have to be the incredibly talented Galen Crawley as Eponine. She had a beautiful voice, and I loved her portrayal of her character. She was perfect for the part. As a SOPHOMORE, she has much to come ahead of her. I can't wait to see her in more roles. The only thing I didn't like about what she sung was the fact that it was obviously with a CD, making it impossible to give the correct emotional effects. She did incredibly with what she had to work with however. She's an incredible actress and she will go very very far in life. I give her performance a 5.

Standout #3 comes from Madame Thenardier (Gretchen Gordon). It was obvious this girl has done more than high school shows and has had stage training, a thing I couldn't really tell from a lot of the actors. She was incredibly funny and her comedic timing was perfect. She had a very strong voice and was a thrill to watch on stage. She's going far, she just needs to keep doing stage so that she doesn't lose this magnificent ability that she has been given.

Some scenes I especially liked were the Final Battle and how they turned the bariccades to show the deaths of Gavroche and Enjolras. I also liked how the sewers was done, with the spotlight coming up. It gave a real sense of time.

I enjoyed Javert's (Travis Hockswender) death a ton and thought it was done very well. While through most of the show I felt that Javert lacked enough anger I thought his portrayal of stars was done well, and showed that he was not really the antagonist of the show.

I thought Fantine (Julie McDaris) was a bit of an overactor and wish that she could have kept the character a bit more "normal". SHe did have good presence however and had a beautiful voice. However, for being an overactor, her song "I Dreamed a Dream" didn't provide the angst that I associate with the character.

Something I didn't like was when the actor's turned there back to the audience. For example, when Cosette (Jennifer Stephan) was singing to the gate at the beginning. It didn't do anything to enhance the character. She was a pretty girl but I felt she lacked the vocal ability(she got very shrilly when she went high) or stage presence to play Cosette. "One Day More" Was a mess, but this was no fault of the actor's, but was obviously a director's choice. Cosette and Marius had an invisible wall it seemed between them but then they broke it - It just didn't make any sense to me. And with the Thenardier's in apparent view of Val Jean, and the Val Jean left the stage! It was very bizarre and was very poorly done.

Another complaint, and probably my biggest, is the fact that their needed to be an Orchestra. There was also a TON of mugging from the actors, especially the ensemble, and it was horrible and apparently obvious. Other than that great show, those of you that did well did VERY VERY well, and well, that's that.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
by TotalEclipse595
Just fyi, the group was not singing with a CD. It was a machine called the Orch-Extra that simulates a real orchestra. A real orchestra was not only an impossibility for this production, but it simply would have been a bad idea. I saw two other productions that did perform with an orchestra, and all I can say is that I quickly reached the conclusion that high school orchestras are simply not qualified to play this show. There were so many sour notes and weak points with both of these other shows that I spent more time cringing than being moved by the power the music generally inspires. Additionally, Brookwood's theatre is not built for an orchestra - there is no pit or any room for them. Despite a few small gliches in the machine, I think it was an excellent substitute and - with my experience of high school orchestras and this show - a much better alternative to a live orchestra.

As for the "overacting", anyone who has seen the show professionally knows that Brookwood's cast (who went to see the show in September at the Fox) borrowed heavily from the pros. For instance, Julia's performance as Fantine was no more overacted or overdramatic than Tonya Dixon's breathtaking performance at the Fox. And the blocking for One Day More, which was not at ALL messy in my opinion, was almost identical to the professional blocking. After all, if anyone knows how to do this show correctly and successfully, it's the pros. Also, Dale Rieling - the musical supervisor and "big man" in charge of casting for all professional productions of Les Miserables for more than ten years now - came to the school and did a seminar with the cast. Most of the directing and acting decisions were made based on these two factors -based on people who knew the show better than we ever could hope to. Perhaps it is your personal opinion that the show was overacted, but it IS a musical after all. Musical acting is more exaggerated and over the top than the nonmusical variety. While the emotion is real, the actions are not always meant to be. How many times have you seen a group of people spontaneously break into song and dance when they were especially moved.

Perhaps you are more accustomed to straight acting, which is a completely different (though equally challenging) style. Personally, I thought the acting in the show was superb by nearly all the leads.
You say you want critique... by jlinton
And I gave you some! Take it for what it's worth. I have one comment about your saying you borrowed from the professionals. First off, think about how big Fox Theater is and how big your theater is. You have to adapt acting styles to fit your space. I was sitting in the very back row (the blue seat) and I thought it was overdone. Perhaps if I was in the fox it would have been different. Another thing about the fantine doing it just like the fantine in the touring production, is you really should give something of your own, not copy someone you saw. Third off, this is not considered a Musical, and if you've noticed in the Broadway production, it has very little speech at all and is considered an operetta. I didn't think that most of the characters overacted, I just thought Julie McDaris was a bit over the top that's all. You said under North Springs section that you wanted positive and negative critique, which I gave you with a detailed analysis of why! Unfortunately I didn't get to see North Springs production of it, but I checked out the reviews of it because one of my favorite high school performers, Rebecca Kuck, played Cosette in thier production (she mentioned her performance in her bio from A Christmas Carol). She got great reviews and I feel like I gave many of your crew a great review. I thought the little machine you used really wasn't good because there seemed to be a lot of excess dialogue put in by the actors to compensate for the timing of the little machine, making me think that an orchestra, or at least a pianist should have been used. Overall I think it was a well done show, The costumes were excellent. But please don't ask for good or bad critique if you can't take it without commenting and trying to compensate in areas that your production lacked. Take it with a grain of salt.


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