Do you hear the people sing? You will – but it’s this weekend only. Les Miserables is getting a fresh staging and a BIG sound with a collaboration between Dayton Playhouse and Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra at the Masonic Center for an orchestral and vocal production. The team of Brian Sharp (Director), Erik Strope (Vocal Director), and Ron Kindell (Orchestra Conductor) is working together to bring this show to Dayton. I recently talked to Brian Sharp for some insights into how the production came together and what audiences can expect.
Is Les Mis a personal favorite of yours? Do you remember when you first saw it and how you felt?
I saw Les Mis the first time on Broadway…and loved the music…but was not fond of the original staging, etc. I always found the music thrilling and emotional.
As far as why is this right now…and still appropriate? There is really no way for a community theatre to mount a production this large. The idea of a partnership was perfect. It would allow a full symphony and the opportunity to fill the cast with voices from all over the Miami Valley area. The music is timeless…and is much loved!
This is a pretty huge show to tackle. Did you have any concerns with such a big endeavor?
Just the sheer magnitude of the auditions was an undertaking. We had over 200 people audition and had them scheduled every ten minutes…we auditioned over the course of a week…and then had a follow up chorus audition. There were concerns with rehearsal space because of the size of the cast and orchestra. Once the auditions were complete…I had no concerns with the voices…these really are the best of the best!
Is this adaptation different than the shows come of our readers may have seen traveling? All the same songs, setting, staging?
This adaptation will be similar to what was seen on the 10th and 25th anniversary shows. However, there is a twist. My big concern with this type of version is how do we keep the story clear to the audience. We have worked with a Broadway projection company to use projections that have never been seen anywhere in the Midwest. It will truly be sensory overload…the visual piece of the costumed actors/singers, the magnificent symphony orchestra and then this visual element is sure to add another amazing element.
Can you tell me about the collaboration between the Playhouse and the MVSO?
The collaboration was just kind of a natural fit. Many of their musicians have played in the pit orchestras for our musicals. This is an opportunity for us to give back.
Does the setting of the Masonic Center add to the drama of the show?
The Masonic Center is grand, and allows us to sell up to 1500 seats per performance, so there are plenty of tickets available. It will definitely add to the performance and they have been fantastic to work with.
I simply hope the community realizes what an opportunity this is for them…we have positioned the orchestra in such a way that the audience will feel up close and personal with the musicians. This is a production that should not be missed. Tickets are only $20/$18 and that is a bargain for what you will be receiving.
Tickets are available now for the performances Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25 (both at 8 p.m.) and Sunday, October 26 at 2 p.m. They can be purchased online at wordpress.thedaytonplayhouse.com. However, a lucky Dayton Most Metro reader will have the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the show! Just fill out this form below and tell us in the comments why you should win! [form 55 “DMM Contest Entry – Generic”]