Westfield High School takes challenge of presenting ‘Les Miserables’

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Westfield High School junior Samantha Lewis has long been a fan of “Les Miserables.”

“There is a well-worn CD of the original cast recording of ‘Les Mis’ somewhere in my room that I listened to just about every day when I was younger,” Lewis said. “I was so excited to hear that we were doing this show at Westfield, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of it.”

Lewis plays Fantine in Westfield High School’s production of “Les Miserables” at 7 p.m March 21 to 23. The musical is based on the book by Victor Hugo. Rhonda Adams is the director and Lance Grubb is the assistant director. Alison Wessel is the musical director.

“As it is my favorite musical of all time, I never thought we would do it here at WHS because it has always been so sacred and personal to me,” Adams said. “But my adult daughter Ariana, whose middle name is Cosette (a character in the musical), suggested I consider the show this year.”

The musical fits well with the students’ talents, Adams said.

“That is the reason my daughter suggested it last year during the run of ‘Legally Blonde,’” Adams said.

Adams said Wessel, a choir teacher, has done an excellent job preparing students to handle the rigors of a musical such as ‘Les Miserables.’

“We knew we had the voices to do this show,” Adams said. “These students have not ceased to impress me.”

Wessel agreed.

“’Les Miserables’ is a through-sung show, meaning there is very little spoken dialogue,” she said. “The most challenging songs are the ones with a lot of conversational singing. ‘Les Mis’ may be the most challenging show we have ever produced. The cast is rising to the challenge.”

Senior Kyle Biggerstaff, who plays Marius, said he is excited to be in the show.

“The biggest challenge I have with playing Marius is that he has a constant change of emotions,” Biggerstaff said. “For example, there is one scene where he is bawling his eyes out, and in the very next scene he’s as happy as can be and is getting married.

“There’s a lot of pressure of doing the show justice because it’s so well-known, but I have full confidence that our performances will turn out great.”

Lewis also understands the challenge of performing in the iconic musical, which debuted in 1980.

“‘Les Miserables’ is very well-known and well-loved in the theater community and beyond, meaning that there are a lot of devoted fans who want to see it done right,” Lewis said. “Those expectations, as well as the added challenge of singing such emotional songs, have certainly proven Fantine’s notoriety, but I’m so excited to take it all on.”

For tickets, visit whspa.booktix.com.

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