New Castle News

Local News

November 16, 2012

Video, Photo Gallery, Story: Lincoln High raising curtain on ‘Les Miserables’

NEW CASTLE — Lincoln High School is ready to continue its annual tradition of presenting its “spring” musical in the fall.

The challenging Broadway classic “Les Miserables” will open at 7 p.m. tomorrow and continue with performances at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

“ ‘Les Miserables’ is the story of Jean Valjean, and his journey through the 1800s, during the time of the French Revolution,” explained Felicia Greco, one of four staff members directing the show.

In this bleak and turbulent era for the French people, Jean Valjean finds himself released from prison after serving 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. As a convict, he can’t find work and knows that the law always be watching him.

Jean Valjean is given some silver by a benevolent bishop, then decides that he must shed his former identity in order to start a new life. He breaks parole, and moves to a new city. After several years, he owns a factory, becomes the mayor of his town and raises a motherless child.

Valjean now lives a life of integrity, but feels as though his jailers are at his heels.

“Ultimately, this is a story of grace and redemption,” Greco said.

For students, work on this difficult show actually began last June. They participated in a two-week workshop during which directors and students debatged whether they could and would do this show. Back-ups were planned in case they decided they could not, but back-ups became unnecessary when they chose “Les Miserables” for their production.

Senior Matt Barnes landed the coveted role of Jean Valjean. Barnes’ previous roles include Frank Butler in last year’s “Annie Get Your Gun” and Charlie Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

“The amount of dedication that has gone into this show is unparalleled,” Barnes said. “We go all out to put on the best show we can.

“I love this show because it is all sung, but you must incorporate acting through the song. Valjean starts the show as a convict, is saved by a bishop and turns his life around. It’s wonderful to play such an iconic role.”

Senior Francesca Nardone, also 17, plays Eponine. Like Barnes, she is a veteran of Lincoln’s stage, having played Annie Oakley and Lucy as well as various ensemble parts.

“I was not looking forward to this show at all,” Nardone said. “I was disappointed this was to be my senior show.” Her attitude changed, though, as she learned more about the show and really began to work on it. She admits that now she has become a big fan.

 Junior Ian McCormick plays Inspector Javert. He is excited because the role is different from the characters he played in his previous on-stage turns as Charlie Davenport in “Annie Get Your Gun” and Schroeder in “Charlie Brown.”

“It’s nice to have my first dramatic role,” he said. “I’m not just there for comic relief. It’s great to stretch my wings dramatically.”

For sophomore Alena Kucan, “Les Mis” represents her first lead at Lincoln, although she has played several significant roles at the Red Barn Theatre. She plays Madame Thenardier.

“I am so excited for how her personality is, and how I have to come into that personality, and make her come alive,” Kucan noted.

Greco hopes people will really come out to see this show.

“The kids have put their heart and soul into this show,” she said. “Yes, it is sad, but there is also lots of hope. It is a good redemptive story performed by good young people.”

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