Radnor High School Presents: Les Misérables “Vive la Révolution”

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Anjali Engstrom

Les Misérables first took to Broadway’s stage in 1986, giving the theater world one of its most iconic shows to date. The plot, while very confusing, boils down to these main points: Escaped prisoner Jean Val Jean (Ryan Oliver, Gabe Escobar) seeks a better life after ripping up his parole ticket. The Bishop of Digne (Max Curello, Michael McNicholas) offers Val Jean compassion, leading Val John to become a changed man. Policeman Javert (Peter Vitale, Aidan Moore) dedicates his life to finding Val Jean in order to imprison him once more. Val Jean eventually adopts a young girl named Cosette (Mehek Thapar, Sophia Twohig; Guinevere Dunn, Anjali Engstrom), the daughter of a poor prostitute named Fantine (Shreya Rupesh, Meredith Foreman), rescuing her from the abusive Thénardiers (Ben Adams, Tim Holtman; Barb Civitella, Anna Maria Iaramboykov). As Cosette grows old, she meets a young man named Marius (Dylan Roche, Aidan Giacomucci), and the two fall in love, creating a love triangle between Cosette, Marius, and Marius’ best friend, Eponine (Cassidy Else, Amia Korman). On top of all of that, the students of Paris, led by Enjolras (Jason Tey, Patrick Lovenguth) and Gavroche (Anne Lacroix, Jacob Braunfeld), seek government reform through protesting the French army by creating a barricade and fighting epic battles for freedom.

Nobody can really quite describe the true essence of Les Misérables. Not even the cast of Radnor’s production—when I asked my fellow cast members to describe Les Mis in one word, they each sat there for a minute, thinking about their possible options. Some called it “riveting” or “complex,” while others took a more comical approach, describing it as “raunchy” or “depressing.” All of these answers, while very different, are accurate in their own way. There are many special things about this show. But I think the thing that sets Les Mis apart from all other musicals is the fact that there is an indescribable nature to it. The plot, for example, can barely be explained in a minute. That is how complex it is. But the story alone is not why Les Mis is so incredibly iconic. The intricacies in the music create a moving production, one that cannot be forgotten. 

The show itself is extremely important in its own right. The cast and crew of Radnor High School’s production make this show truly special. Many people do not realize how much work each and every student puts into the musical. The rehearsals dominate most of the winter for every cast member – lead or not. The hours are long, the work is sometimes tedious, but in the end it’s all worth it. There is no greater satisfaction than watching your fellow castmates get up on stage and absolutely kill a scene that’s been months in the making. It is even more impressive watching the technical crew come in and transform simple blocking into a full production with lights and incredible, handmade set pieces. There are a lot of bumps in the road, which is inevitable. Les Mis also puts forth new challenges—there is no dialogue in this show, meaning that everything is sung. This was a new change for the cast and crew. This aspect of the show gave many people the opportunity to have singing solos. Through the work ethic and dedication from each and every cast and crew member, Radnor High School’s musical program was able to pull everything together on-time while surpassing everyone’s expectations. 

As a sophomore and a small lead, playing young Cosette, I’ve been able to experience something very special. I get to watch as our very talented seniors soak in every moment of the show because they know that this is their last run. The freshman, on the other hand, watch the upperclassman with wide eyes as they partake in their very first high school musical. Les Mis has been an extremely rewarding and unique experience, not just for me, but for every cast member. But what makes the musical special, in my opinion, is the people who do it. There is no way I, or anyone else, would be able to get through nine – hour rehearsals without one another. Every single person in this show has the kindest, most supportive spirit. And at the end of the day, all we want is to see one another thrive. This sense of community propels the musical program, as it fosters a family of encouraging and hardworking students. Not to mention the fact that every single person has a fantastic time dancing around on stage. So even if you don’t like the French revolution or dramatic love triangles or an epic cat and mouse chase between two men searching for their sense of morality, you should come and see Les Mis for at least one reason: the wonderful cast and crew. 

 

Showtimes:

Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Friday, March 6, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 7:30 pm

 

Tickets can be bought at the door for $15.00 apiece.

 

RADTV asked the cast to explain the plot of Les Misérables in 1 minute. Here are the results: