Sunday, November 29, 2015 • 06:11

VCHS Musical Theater pulls out all the stops for Les Miserables

January 08, 2014
Between a state-of-the-art sound system, a brand new light display, and a dedicated cast that has spent months rehearsing one of the most beloved musicals of all time, Valley Center High School's production of Les Miserables is shaping up to be a knockout show.

"Bottom line, this is arguably the greatest musical ever written," said Marc Wasserman, director of the production. "When you're dealing with the education of students, why not go with the best?"

From Jan. 10–12 there will be four presentations of Les Miserables at the Maxine Theater, which has never been performed in Valley Center before.

Les Miserables, known to fans simply as "Les Mis," follows the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-con in revolutionary-era France who goes on a long and arduous journey of redemption. To make up for his criminal past, Valjean transforms himself into a factory-owner and mayor, but he is haunted by Javert, the chief of police who doggedly pursues Valjean in the hope of bringing him to justice. As he makes his way through the turbulent political scene around him, Valjean also looks after Cosette, the daughter of one of his factory workers.

The story is certainly compelling, but Les Mis is celebrated most of all for its rousing songs, which are both inspirational and heartbreaking. VCHS Musical Theater's presentation of the musical will be no small feat, but Wasserman is entirely confident that his crew can pull it off.

"It's going to be a great show and I'm sure everyone's going to be impressed, especially with the youth talent here in Valley Center," he said. The cast is made up of about 30 student students who have spent a total of 3,000 hours preparing for the production since Sept. What's even more remarkable is the fact that many of the leading roles will be played by lowerclassmen.

Kyle Stroud will be in the starring role of Jean Valjean, Maggie Ryan will play Fantine, Jeffrey Yarush will be Javert, Violet Myers will play Eponine, and Bradley Petite will be Marius. The role of Cosette has been double cast, with Alexandria Baum and Isabella Oraha alternating as the crucial character for the four performances.

The high school rendition of the musical has been slightly cut down from the Broadway version, with about 30 minutes of additional verses and some of the racier scenes shaved off. Wasserman estimates the entire performance, including intermission, will run for about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. There will also be concessions in the lobby, including snacks, drinks, and candygrams.

Les Mis will also feature some groundbreaking new equipment at the Maxine Theater. The new LED lighting display is sure to dazzle the audience, especially when it shines on the detailed sets constructed by Carey Soghomonian and Tim Pennell.

This will also be the theater department's first production with OrchExtra, an electronic MIDI sound program that allows Wasserman to carefully adjust the soundtrack to match the performers. There will be no live orchestra for the performance, but Wasserman has already tried the new system through the Maxine's sound system and is absolutely convinced that it's the way to go.

"I guarantee the music for this show is going to be powerful, sound great, and be everything this show deserves," he said.

Wasserman has been involved in theater for 20 years, but this will be his first time directing a show at VCHS. He is taking the reins from Laralee Beck, who stepped down this year for personal reasons.

"I have big shoes to fill and I'm just hoping to make her proud," said Wasserman.

Les Mis will run at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10 and 11, and at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 and 12. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children under the age of 10, seniors, and military.

For more information on the performance, visit or call 760-749-7390.

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