The Nordonia High School Drama Club will present "Les Misérables School Edition." It is an abridged version of the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schnberg, based on the epic novel by Victor Hugo.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables School Edition is a story of heartbreak, passion, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Trimmed to a little over two hours, the school edition still maintains the integrity of the original with all storylines intact.
"It's definitely PG13," said Chris Simmons, Nordonia director of drama. "There is some language and we kept it because it fits the production. There is also adult content with one of the characters becoming a lady of the night."
The musical features a timeless score and such songs as "I Dreamed A Dream," "On My Own," and "One Day More."
Leading this year's cast are junior Brad Zinn and senior Dakota Pugh as Jean Valjean and Javert. The cast also includes Sam Fujikawa as Marius, Rachel Kidd as Eponine, Rachel Hayes as Fantine, Abby Posar as Cosette, Nolan Tater and Lexi Majoros as the Thnardiers, and Hunter Daniachew as Enjolras. Another 30 actors make up the ensemble of townspeople, factory workers, sailors, "lovely ladies," prisoners, and students. Simmons said around 100 students are involved with the production in various roles including tech support, orchestra, makeup and crew members.
In addition to the high school cast, the Drama Club also welcomes three young actors this year. Jacob Filisky, of Nordonia Middle School, takes on the role of street smart Gavroche, while Solon Elementary's Ellie Amorino and St. Barnabas' Sally Kress share the roles of Young Cosette and ponine. Simmons said the drama club advertised the roles on its Facebook page and young theater students came out to audition.
The musical will be Fujikawa's last performance for the high school, though he has been involved with drama since the second grade and this is his eighth musical for the district. His older brothers, Chris and Travis, who have both graduated, were involved in the drama club throughout their high school careers as well.
"It is bittersweet because it's my last show. It feels like my show, I kind of have more pride in this show than I have had in others," Fujikawa said. "There is something special about having your senior year show."
Majoros, a senior, who plays a innkeepers wife in the show, said her character is kind of "crazy and abusive" to her husband. She said while she has enjoyed playing comic relief roles in productions, she also enjoys the variety of abilities she can use as well as her fellow club members.
"Drama club is probably my best memories in high school," she said. "I like to dance, sing and act so it's all in there for me. I just feel like its a huge family and I wouldn't probably talk to half these people if I didn't know them through this."
Simmons said this year's production is by far the largest show the drama club has performed.
"It's massive, the set itself is two stories, there are over 400 costume pieces, the ensemble has to have like six different costumes," Simmons said. "There is a 20-piece orchestra, tech, lighting, guns and it's just absolutely huge."
Also new this year, the production is being considered for the Playhouse Square Dazzle Awards. He said the play's leads have been in Cleveland auditioning for the awards and during the run of the production judges from Playhouse Square will attend the show and possibly nominate the production for various categories of awards such as best costume, best technical execution best actor/actress and best musical. This is Nordonia's first time participating in the Dazzle awards.
Simmons said Les Misérables is a very different story from last year's fairytale Cinderella production. He said one of the biggest challenges was getting the actors in a different mindset to portray the tragic story.
"Our cast has really risen to the occasion," Simmons said. "It's definitely a whole new set of challenges compared to what we've done the past couple of years."
Majoros said the show is a must-see.
"It's one you have to see for yourself, having somebody tell you about it isn't enough, the sets the costume the singing everything combined, it's going to be incredible," she said.
Performances will be April 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. and April 23 at 3 p.m. There will also be a free preview performance for senior citizens April 20 at 4 p.m. See www.nordoniadrama.com for more information on the show and to reserve tickets. Les Misrables is rated PG13 for language, adult themes, and simulated violence. Any questions on the show can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432