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SOTM, Barter team up on larger-than-life ‘Les Mis’

Leigh Ann Laube • Aug 9, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Audiences at “Les Misérables” on Aug. 16 and 17 at the Toy Reid Eastman Employee Center will see the epic show grow to larger-than-life proportions with the addition of the Symphony of the Mountains to the production.

“Doing the show with the symphony is truly about the music,” said Richard Rose, Barter’s producing artistic director. “This collaboration is much more about the musical experience — both orchestra and vocals — than it is about staging, special effects or spectacle.”

For the collaboration between Barter and SOTM, the staging will be simplified to accommodate the larger orchestra, with just enough production elements, like props and costumes, to tell the story clearly. The 26 professional Barter actors will share the stage with 30 professional musicians, led by Cornelia Laemmli Orth.

The story is set in early 19th-century France and opens with Jean Valjean (Pat McRoberts) serving 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to save his sister’s starving child. When he breaks parole, prison guard Javert (Rick McVey) vows to pursue him. Eventually, Valjean turns from a life of crime to one of grace and forgiveness.

Music is a core piece of “Les Mis” and moving the production to a larger venue that can accommodate a full orchestra will take the show to another level. Since Barter Theatre does not have the room to host a full orchestra, productions on Barter’s main stage in Abingdon feature a six-piece orchestra in the pit.

All the songs from the show will be included in this production, including “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Who Am I?” and “One Day More.”

The first collaboration between the two arts powerhouses came in 2011 when they produced “Cabaret.”

Rounding out the “Les Mis” cast are Hannah Ingram as Fantine, Holly Williams as Cosette, Michael Poisson as Monsieur Thenardier, Erin Parker as Madame Thenardier, Stephen Scott Wormley as Marius, Abbey C. Elliott as Eponine and Justin Tyler Lewis as Enjolras.

Virginia Pillion, Ginny Osborne and Haley Keene will share the role of Young Cosette; while Keene and Ginny Osborne will share the role of Young Eponine. Caedmon Oakes and Cooper Woodard will share the role of Gavroche.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m., both nights. Tickets are $40.

Barter and the symphony will host two special events associated with the production — a cocktail reception at the Toy F. Reid Center following the Aug. 16 performance and a dinner with key “Les Mis” cast members and musicians beginning with cocktails at 4:30 p.m., Aug. 17, at MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center. Tickets for the cocktail reception are $15. Tickets for the pre-performance dinner are $40.

For tickets or more information, visit www.SymphonyoftheMountains.org or call (423) 392-8423.

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