Geibel dreams the dream and takes on 'Les Miserables'
For the past two years, Geibel Catholic High School musical director Nick Bell has pushed the gauntlet with his spring productions, staging two phenomenal musical classics with last year's “Cats” and the previous year's production of “Phantom of the Opera.”
This year will be no exception as he prepares his cast of students to perform “Les Miserables.”
Bell said that he wanted to tackle the challenge of the show, because he enjoys the musical and knew he had the talent to pull it off.
“I looked into doing the show, and I thought, ‘Why not?' ” Bell said. “I figured we could try number three. I knew that I would have the talent to fill the cast.”
Bell's reference to “number three” is the fact that “Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats” are the two longest-running musicals, with “Les Miserables” taking the third spot.
“I thought he might go with number three,” Jared Beck, 17, of Masontown said of the show.
Beck will be playing lead Jean Valjean and is preparing for the challenging part by watching his health and his voice.
“It's a bit of a stretch for me with some of the higher notes, but I'm being careful not to strain my voice,” Beck said, adding that he is watching his diet and taking measures to stay healthy.
Olivia Rakas, 16, of Uniontown said that she is glad that her initial perception of the show has changed, as she believed it was a sad and depressing musical.
“I really didn't like ‘Les Mis' very much,” Rakas said. “I thought it was just a depressing show where everyone dies, but it's so much more than that. I've learned that it's about religion and love and redemption, and now I love it.”
As with every year, the students' biggest challenge is their preparations for the show, which is done in the school music room as the show itself will be staged in the State Theater in Uniontown.
“We don't get on the stage until show week, and that is always a challenge,” Bell said, adding that this year is an extra challenge as the students have yet to have the opportunity to work with the set. “We built it here, then it has to be taken down and reassembled there so the students won't get to work with it until Monday of show week.”
The haunting music, strong, vibrant characters and lasting message are just a few characteristics of the show that will draw in the crowds, but Bell is thrilled with the timing aspect of the production.
“It's now an award-winning movie, and it was just done in Pittsburgh,” Bell said. “Plus, it's coming back to Broadway in 2014. The timing for us putting this on could not be better.”
The show will feature all of the music that has made it a favorite, but the show itself is the school version, which has been trimmed by about 25 minutes.
“They are doing a great job,” Bell said of the cast, adding that he hopes to prove those who are skeptical wrong. “I hear, ‘You guys are crazy to put on “Les Mis,” ' but they said the same thing before when we did ‘Phantom' and ‘Cats,' so, hopefully, this year we will prove them wrong again.”
“Les Miserables” will be staged at the State Theater in Uniontown on Friday through March 17. Show times will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. All seats will be $10.
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Uniontown freight train derailment blamed on bad crossties
- Sex trafficking survivor to speak at Penn State Fayette
- Connellsville middle schoolers ‘Adopt a Grandparent’
- Fayette County Crime Victims Center marking milestone
- Coroner identifies body in Yough River as Carnegie man
- Presentation shines light on Dunbar’s industrial past
- Former Redstone officer indicted in civil rights case
- Fayette County prosecutors drop charges filed by indicted ex-officer
- Uniontown man accused of punching state trooper
- Incumbent coroner, underling seek Dem nod in race for Fayette coroner
- Youth will earn chance to represent Connellsville Community Center at pageant