Fox Chapel tackles challenging ‘Les Miserables’
Fox Chapel Area High School presents “Les Miserables School Edition,” on March 14-17.
This adaptation of the classic musical by Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schoneberg, based on the French novel by Victor Hugo, is the world’s longest running sung-through musical and the third longest running musical in Broadway history.
Winner of more than 100 international awards and seen by more than 70 million, this musical is an epic tale of passion and redemption in the turmoil of the French Revolution. With universal themes of poverty, justice and grueling conditions in 19th century France, “Les Miserables” contains mature themes, even with the modified school version.
More than 150 students are involved in this year’s musical, and director Ben Murray says the cast is handling the demanding elements of this production well.
“Our students are working incredibly hard to tackle the mature themes and demanding elements of this production,” he said. “The audience will be overwhelmed by their emotional maturity. We chose “Les Miserables” because of the memorable musical score and powerful message that tells the story of passionate and young people standing up for what they believe.”
Senior Oscar Izenson plays paroled prisoner Jean Valjean, a Frenchman imprisoned for decades for stealing a lone loaf of bread for a starving child.
“I wanted this role,” said Izenson, who plans to study theater after graduation. “It’s a really enthralling show— you never really get bored and it keeps you wrapped in.”
Seasoned performer Alyssa Melani plays street-smart Eponine and says she is sad to bid farewell to her musical memories as she plans for her theater studies in college.
“This final performance is bittersweet because throughout the years I found my group of friends here and discovered my love for the performing arts,” Melani said. “It’s really helped me to figure out who I am and where I feel most comfortable.
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.