For years, staff at the Seagle Music Colony has wanted to present Schoenberg & Kretzmer’s “Les Miserables.” In celebration of the Colony’s 100th anniversary, they decided it was time and the show opened on Wednesday night. It was worth the wait.
Besides the uniformly excellent singing from the huge cast, which included all 31 young artists, it was the singular use of the small stage and everything that went into creating the 18th century world they sang in that impressed. These aspects were in the hands of Richard Kagey, the show’s director and set designer, whose middle name must be clever; the exceptional lighting choices of Sean Jeffries; and the picture perfect period costumes under Pat Seyller’s supervision.
Kagey created two sets of high steps with a few other props that crew manipulated through the eleven scenes of Act I and eight scenes of Act II to simulate everything from a prison or barricade to a café, private home or hospital. To allow the changes, a black curtain was pulled and the action continued in front of it. And it was all done without a hitch.
Despite the limited amount of space, the singers were as agile as mountain goats running up and down the steps to form groups and even dance. And they never missed a beat. There were tons of songs, many of them familiar to the capacity crowd, such as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Who Am I,” “One Day More,” and “On My Own.” These were sung expertly by soprano Margaret Newcomb as Fantine, tenor Michael Vlach as Jean Valjean, and mezzo-soprano Raphaella Medina as Eponine. Equally terrific were those less known, such as the evocative “Bring Him Home” (Vlach), “Master of the House” sung with great style and wit by tenor Paul Kroeger as Thenardier, and the patriotic “Do You Hear the People Sing” sung with gusto by the chorus. Also strong were bass Nathaniel Mattingly as Javert, tenor Thomas Mulder as Marius, and Gage Morris, who was the little boy Gavroche.
Everyone’s diction was terrific. The male and female choruses were immaculate. Acting was at a high level. Many moments were created that brought a sigh or a thrill.
Able support came from the two pianists, R. Jason Smith and Matthew Stephens.
Although the show continues with performances through Sunday, they are all sold out.