Epic production comes to StageDoor

-A A +A
By Sara Miller

“Les Miserables” is an epic theatrical production. A grand story that recounts a struggle against adversity in 19th-century France, it has a soaring musical score with some of the most famous songs to come from the stage in the last 30 years. It has an astounding history — the national tour was one of the longest-running musicals of all time. How is it possible to capture all of this epic-ness in the intimate setting of a mountain theater? StageDoor Theatre in Aspen Park is about to show the theater community how.

“We originally had a different show slated for this spot in the season. However, we found that we had the right combination of students auditioning, and felt that we could pull off ‘Les Mis,’ ” says director Nelson Conway. “We thought it would be a shame to deny these kids a chance to take on this show. If you’re talking about high school kids, and you have this type of potential, you just have to go for it.”

The talent of which Conway speaks is a group of students from Conifer and Evergreen high schools. Jean Valjean, the recently released inmate who stole a loaf of bread, is played by Colton Schavietello. Valjean’s nemesis, Javert, is played by Stephen Blaskowski. Valjean’s adopted daughter, Cosette, is played by Kelly Cox, and Cosette’s mother, Fantine, is played by Savannah Mack. Madame Thénardier, the wife of the unscrupulous innkeeper, is played by Jennifer Colby. Eponine, the ragtag daughter of the innkeepers, is played by Katie Holz. In a cast of 31, it is hard to name everyone, but Conway is duly impressed with every actor in the show.

“These kids are really digging into the story behind their characters as well as the incredibly challenging musical aspects of the show,” says Conway.

Conway attributes much of the enthusiasm for this historical research to his co-director, Belinda Parker. “Belinda has been working carrying around Victor Hugo’s novel and working with the actors to capture the backstory of their characters. What are the lives of these middle-class workers really like? How did Valjean become the way that he is?”

Many of these subtleties of character are conveyed through song in “Les Mis.” With close to 50 musical numbers, the libretto of “Les Mis” depicts the political revolution of France as it unfolds in the personal revolutions of its characters.

“ ‘Les Mis’ can be so big that it can get overwhelming. That’s what will make this production so unique. The important things to remember when attempting this show are the small stories and personal moments that are captured within the music and through artistic lighting and timing,” says Conway.

StageDoor’s loyal cadre of volunteers has created sets and costumes that are brimming with historic references. The cast will be accompanied by a five-piece orchestra of local musicians.

In the immortal words of the show’s revolutionaries, “The beating of your heart will match the beating of the drums.” There is a life about to start when “Les Mis” comes to Aspen Park.

“Les Miserables”

Presented by StageDoor Theatre, 25797 Conifer Road (in the Aspen Park Village shopping center)

Oct. 30 through Nov. 8: Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

Nov. 12-14, 2009: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $16 adult; $13 student; $13 senior (60-plus)

Tickets may be reserved at www.stagedoortheatre.org. Call 303-886-2819 for more details.