A challenging musical even for seasoned actors, Stillwater Area High School (SAHS) Theatre Department will open “Les Misérables” Friday.

This year’s spring musical involves more than 100 students in the cast, crew and pit, said SAHS Theatre director Grif Sadow.

The SAHS Theatre Department will perform Les Misérables this weekend on Friday and Saturday, April 5-6 at 7 p.m. as well as Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m. at SAHS, 5701 Stillwater Blvd. N. in Oak Park Heights. The spring musical extends to April 11-13 at 7 p.m.

Les Misérables, based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name, follows a French peasant Jean Valjean, played by Benjamin Valerius, as he seeks redemption after serving 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread. In an effort to start anew, Valjean breaks his parole and adopts an orphan, Cosette.

However, police inspector Javert, played by Jake Olson, has not forgotten Valjean and he relentlessly pursues him. While Valjean tries to lead a quiet life hidden from Javert, he is thrust into a revolution in France.

Sadow said the musical is challenging vocally, theatrically and technically but the high school students are taking on the challenge “masterfully.”

“I’m really, extremely proud. It’s a really challenging piece and they’re rising to the occasion,” Sadow said.

More than 60 students make up the cast alone, he said, with one actor playing about ten different characters. The various scenery, fight scenes, lighting needs and a fog machine put the 25-student technician crew to work, Sadow said. Additionally, since Les Misérables is more like an opera than a musical, with very few spoken lines, the 30 musicians in the pit play almost the whole performance.

“The pit never really gets a break,” he added.

SAHS will perform the traditional school cut version of the musical, which is about 2.5 hours long. Sadow said unless you’re a Les Misérables super fan, you probably won’t notice the difference.

“It’s basically cut for time,” he said.

Les Misérables tickets are selling fast, Sadow said, with adult tickets for $10, $6 for senior citizens and $5 for students. Order online at www.showtix4u.com/events/sahs.

In addition to performing the spring musical, SAHS Theatre Department will head to Scotland this summer. They are not only fundraising for that trip, but they are also hosting a Stuff the Truck drive for their special project as a Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Education School. Les Misérables show attendees can bring clothing, accessories, toys and smaller household items to help stuff the truck, which will benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.

Sadow added SAHS Theatre Department’s next show is “Hamluke,” a Star Wars version of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

Contact Kim Schneider at kim.schneider@ecm-inc.com

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