Longest-running musical coming to Sid

The production recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and audiences are still crazy about it.

MONTANA WALTON

MONTANA WALTON

Les Misérables is the most popular and longest-running musical in the world.

It has been translated into 21 languages and performed in 43 countries. The production recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and audiences are still crazy about it.

Les Misérables – School Edition will be at the Sid Williams Theatre July 24 to 28. The mega-scale production is this year’s Comox Valley Music Centre’s musical theatre offering.

More than 40 students, ranging in age from 12 to 18 are taking part in the show. Many participants who “eat, breath and live theatre” are from the Comox Valley. And some are from other locales — one lives in California and another, who attends school at Shawnigan Lake, postponed his return home to South Africa to attend CYMC.

Written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Mis is a story about love and betrayal, redemption and revolution and the indomitable strength of the spirit. It is an incredibly challenging production involving a large cast, an exceptional number of songs and dances, complex sets and a slew of costumes to make — all within 23 days.

The students are in good hands, however. Director Lori Mazey has been teaching drama, first at Lake Trail and then Vanier since 1993. She has directed many award-winning productions and is the author of Torn Rainbow, Sticks & Stones & Names May Break Me, a play that explores homophobia, racism and hate speech in schools. Mazey directed CYMC’s A Chorus Line last year.

“Putting together a show in the amount of time you have with CYMC is always a challenge,” she acknowledges. “And I’ve learned through all the musicals I’ve directed that the moment you think, ‘This one will be easy’ is the moment you are in big trouble.

“And Les Mis has many challenges. There are hundreds of period props and period specific costumes which couldn’t be made or finished until we cast the show on July 1, which means Molly Hilliar and her team only have three weeks to complete hundreds of costumes.”

“There’s lots of choreography, which our director of dance and choreography, Lindsay Sterk. takes care of,” Mazy continues. “And the whole show is sung so that means more work for everyone as learning music tends to take longer than the spoken word. But the bulk of the work is the responsibility of our musical director, Heather Burns. She has to cover two and a half hours of music with both the singers and the orchestra. On top of all that, the acting and roles are exceptionally challenging and require a great deal of maturity for this young cast to share an incredible story.”

Mazey notes that everyone that signs up for CYMC’s musical theatre is prepared to work long hours every day and to give it their all. She admits that occasionally a student finds it overwhelming; the staff pays attention to how everyone is doing and makes adjustments as necessary.

“It’s a lot of 12 hour days for the instructors, too,” Mazey says. “Challenges can arise as the personalities work together but it can often – as with this team – lead to increased creativity and fantastic teamwork. And there is a huge advantage to having an artistic team rather than just one director as you can spell each other off. It can be exhausting but is definitely worth it!”

Mazey got the theatre bug early.

“I started dancing when I was 3 but I didn’t really know what theatre was until Grade 4 when my class from Glacier View attended a performance of Peter Pan at Puntledge Elementary,” she says. “After that I was so excited to go to Puntledge the next year and take part in their shows.”

Attending the musical theatre program at CYMC was a natural progression.

As for her chosen path in theatre she says, “I find directing much more rewarding than acting. I love working with a fantastic team to realize a vision and bring stories to the incredible Comox Valley audiences. I love musicals and Les Mis is my favourite.”

CYMC’s Les Mis runs at the Sid from July 24 to 28 at 7:30 p.m. with a bonus 2 p.m. matinee on the 28th. Tickets, at $23 for evening shows and $21 for the matinee, are available at the theatre box office.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read