Stellar Les Miserables at OSTC

lesmisOcean State Theatre Company (OSTC) has launched their 2013-14 season with a top-flight production of Les Misérables, which opened in previews on October 2 and runs until October 27.

This Les Misérables has a lot of spirit and soul and takes audiences on an emotional and worthwhile journey through life and death, hope and despair, and enslavement and liberation.

Les Misérables takes place in 19th century France as Jean Valjean is released from 19 years of unjust imprisonment, but finds nothing in store for him but mistrust and mistreatment. He breaks his parole in hopes of starting a new life, initiating a life-long struggle for redemption as he is relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert, who refuses to believe Valjean can change his ways.

Fredric S. Scheff plays Valjean magnificently, with a passionate and engaging stage presence. Scheff brings a lot of poignancy to Valjean’s solos, “Who Am I?” and especially Act Two’s achingly poignant “Bring Him Home.”  Valjean suffers for the good deeds he performs for others and is eventually redeemed. Kevin B McGlynn shines in the role of Valjean’s nemesis, Javert, who undergoes a dramatic awakening when he realizes Valjean has saved his life. McGlynn is electrifying in his solos, “Stars” and “Soliloquy.”

The key supporting roles of Eponine and Fantine are portrayed by Alyssa Gorgone and Lindsie VanWinkle. Gorgone is a hugely appealing and likable performer and dazzles in the Act Two opener, “On My Own.”

VanWinkle has a showstopper in Act One with the truly moving ballad “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Other standout performers were Meagan McNulty as Fantine’s daughter Cosette, Scott Guthrie as Enjolras the revolutionary, and Tommy Labanaris as Marius, the love of Cosette’s life.

The Thenardiers, portrayed by real-life newlywed couple JP Sarro and Nicole Paloma Sarro, provide much needed comic relief from the often dark turns of the plot.

Under the direction of Amiee Turner, the production moves along at a swift pace and is tightly focused.

Clifton Chadick’s scene design is minimalist, with lots of dark backgrounds. This has the effect of bringing more attention to the characters and the emotions they experience.

Les Misérables will be presented at Ocean State Theatre from October 2 – 27. Performances will be held Wednesday (except October 9 & 23) through Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm, with matinees on Thursdays (except October 17 & 24), Saturdays at 2:00 pm (except October 19 & 26) and Sundays at 2:00 pm.

The theater is located at 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. Tickets are $39-$54. Discount rates for groups of 20 or more are available by calling 401-921-1777 x112.

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