The gray brick buildings, leaning slightly with boarded up windows shut like weary eyes, look just as tired and dirty as many of the beggars, prostitutes and workers who walk the streets. The brightly colored clothes of the rich stand in stark contrast to the drab skies that peek out between the farthest peaked roofs.
Welcome to the streets of early 19th century France, where unrest is still bubbling deep beneath the surface as a man is cut from the chains that were slapped on his wrists for stealing bread. Now on parole, Jean Valjean, played by Jerrod Phelps, looks for a place to start a new life. His life connects in some way to every other character in this story of revenge, love, loss and revolt that is “Les Misérables.”
The desperate Fantine, played by Kerry Tadique, the strict Javert, played by Dan Jackson, the greedy Madame and Master of the House, played by Lisa Newhouse and Gary Morean, their overlooked daughter Eponine, played by Emma Jensen and then Cora Foss, and the innocent Cosette, played by young Isabelle Dyer and then Keola Holt, all shape one another’s lives to their triumphant or tragic ends.
Brad Duffy, the director and Grays Harbor College instructor, said this show was tricky from the beginning with casting decisions.
“We had over 100 people audition for this show, a lot of them extremely talented,” he said. “We have extremely talented people that are playing supportive roles in the show and a lot of new faces who have not been on the Bishop Center stage before.”
This musical stands apart from the college’s last two large productions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Phantom of the Opera” with the addition of a revolving stage. It is used throughout “Les Mis” to give the illusion of walking great distances, the progression of time or to change the audiences perspective without actors moving. A computer controls the stage, which has taken time for both actors and crew to get used to, but Duffy said it makes this a must-see musical.
“If there was ever a time, if you’ve never been to the theater, this is the absolutely best time to visit the Bishop Center,” he said. “This is an absolutely once-in-a-lifetime experience, what we’ve been able to achieve with this production this year.”
Those who may have read the book or seen the movie with the same name as the musical will know the story or the songs but may be missing a special part of theater.
“What’s unique about theater is that every performance is unique in itself,” Duffy said. “That connection between the audience and the actors doesn’t happen on film, only in theater. That’s what makes every performance a unique and wonderful experience for everyone there.”
*Due to demand, the Bishop Center announced on Friday it has added a Wednesday, March 12, performance at 7:30 p.m.*
Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, $12 for students and $8 for children.
Available at www.ghc.edu/bishop or by calling (360) 538-4066.
Friday, March 7 and 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday March 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 8 and 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 9 and 16 at 2 p.m.