Tuesday, 3 February 2015

2014: The Year of Les Miz

One of the first shows I ever saw on Broadway was Les Misérables, and ever since then, it was my dream to play Valjean. What a blessing it was last year, then, to not only play the role, but to play it in two different productions. It couldn't have come at a better time for me personally and professionally, and it's been great to reflect on the changes that have come from filling those shoes, even for a short time.

In the dressing room at the
California Theatre with Javert
(Quentin Garzon)
My first run, we played at the California Theatre in San Bernardino and the Gardiner Auditorium in Ontario. It was two short weekends after only two weeks of rehearsal, and we played for well over 5,000 people. An agent came out of the deal, and I have been blessed to be working with Todd Eskin at Across the Board since then, such a great supporter and advocate.

The opportunity then arose for me to go to Anchorage, Alaska, to reprise my role. What a beautiful city, and such great people! We played at the Atwood Concert Hall, a behemoth 2,000-seat theatre in downtown Anchorage, for thirteen public performances over two weeks. In addition, we went on radio shows, performed at benefit concerts, and held talkbacks with high school and college students.

Setting up in Anchorage, at the Atwood Concert Hall.
All in all, finding Valjean and bringing that story to life has been, for me, life changing. Here is a man who nothing is working for. He steals some bread to stave off his family's hunger, only to be imprisoned for twenty years, then assumes a new identity to create a new, enlightened life. He becomes a light for his world, all the while still running from his past. The story is inspiring, and it's no wonder that it has endured all these years, and that the musical version of it has touched so many lives. What an awesome thing to be a part of, and I hope to be a part of it again throughout my life.