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Do You Hear the People Sing? Reston Community Players Present 'Les Miserables"

Classic musical part of Reston Community Players' 47th season.

Javert (played by Ward Ferguson) is captured at the Barricade in the Reston Community Players' production of "Les Miserables." (Photo Courtesy of Reston Community Players)
Javert (played by Ward Ferguson) is captured at the Barricade in the Reston Community Players' production of "Les Miserables." (Photo Courtesy of Reston Community Players)
The Reston Community Players will bring one of the most successful musicals of all time to CenterStage at the Reston Community Center starting Friday, Jan. 17. "Les Miserables," tells the story of love, hate, loss, sacrifice and struggle set against the backdrop of 19th century France. 

"The music just never gets old," said Sean Bartnick, who plays Marius. "We've been working for the last four and a half months to put this show together, and we know it's going to be something people love."

The cast of 26 was whittled down from 176 people who auditioned last fall, and over that time the cast has put a lot of time and effort into picking up their characters. 

"I love the fact that Cosette is a character you have to work to get to know," said Cara Bachman, who plays the adult Cosette. "I read the book to get some more insight into her character, which was helpful, because there's a lot that's not in the play about the relationship between her and Jean Valjean, which is very co-dependent, but not in a bad way."

For Ella Schnoor, 11, who plays the young Cosette, this production is the latest in her love affair with the character. She previously played the part while living in New York, and even has a dog named Cosette. 

"I've always loved the show, and that character, because she has such a strong personality, but she has a hard time keeping it in," Schnoor said. "But even when she's acting timid and shy, I love her character so much."

To play the lead role of Valjean, Michael Reid found himself auditioning with not some of the show's well-known numbers but with a lesser-known soliloquy. 

"Valjean leaves prison, he's thinking he can't be redeemed, and then he receives kindness from the one man that he doesn't deserve it from, the priest that he stole from, and that's when he changes," Reid said. "From then on he tries to atone, and it's that instinct, combined with his survival instinct, that makes it such a great character to play."

Though most of the cast were familiar with the well-known musical, over the course of the production, cast members said they found themselves struck my specific moments of the Reston Players' version. 

"I remember during a rehearsal, I was on the side listening to Sean singing 'Empty Tables' and I just started bawling right there in the wings," said Emma Lord, who plays Eponine. 

"The second act, especially the scenes on the barricade, are overwhelmingly awesome, and my death scene is fun," said Ethan Van Slyke, 11, who plays Gavroche. "When you're acting and surrounded by the lights, the great scenery and a great cast, it really makes you feel like you're in that real-life situation."

For a play whose title translates to "The Miserable," "The Wretched," "The Miserable Ones," "The Poor Ones," "The Wretched Poor" or "The Victims," depending on who one asks, moments of levity are few and far between. 

Most of those moments fall on the shoulders of the Thenardiers, the crooked innkeepers. 

"I'm looking forward to seeing the audience reaction to us, because they say the key to being funny onstage is to not try to be funny, and I certainly don't feel funny," said Alana Sharp, who plays Madame Thenardier. "The characters can be very vulgar in certain productions, but we're not too bad. My favorite scene of ours is the wedding at the end. We're the termites of the show, we can't be gotten rid of."

The Reston Community Players' "Les Miserables" will run from Friday, Jan. 17 to Sunday, Feb. 9. Shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (Jan. 17, 18, 24, 25, 30, 31, Feb. 1, 6, 7 and 8) will start at 8 p.m.

There will be 2 p.m. showings on Sunday, Jan 26, Saturdays, Feb. 1 and 8 and Sunday, Feb. 9. 

All shows will be at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center, 2130 Colts Neck Road. Tickets can be purchased at the Reston Community Players website, and more information can also be found on Facebook


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Gilbert Coshland January 19, 2014 at 09:34 AM
I agree that the Restno Community Players have done a spectacular job on Les Miserables. I take exception to the last comment by the reviewer about what would it take in America to revolt. Political propaganda like this cheapens an otherwise fine review.

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