One Day More until Les Mis

Convent of the Sacred Heart students are storming the barricades at the Lennie de Csepel Theater for the Upper School spring musical production of Les Misérables Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

The cast of Les Miserables performs “One Day More,” with Enjolras, played by Sacred Heart senior Lydia Currie, leading the charge. Elisabeth Hall ’18

Les Misérables, based on the titular novel by Victor Hugo, is set over the course of 17 years in early nineteenth-century France. The musical follows the life of former prisoner Jean Valjean after he breaks parole. He reinvents his life while hiding from police inspector and prison officer Javert, according to The show features music from Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics from Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel, and Herbert Kretzmer.

Sacred Heart senior Tess Driscoll plays the lead role of Jean Valjean, and likes the emotional complexity of the role.

“I get to play a variety of different emotions,” Tess said.  “I get to be angry, I get to be sad and emotional. I get to play a bunch of parts that I normally wouldn’t be able to play.”
Middle and Upper School Drama Teacher and Director of Upper School Theater Productions Miss Michaela Gorman ’05 chose Les Misérables because of its appeal to a broad audience.

Middle School Drama Teacher and Director of Upper School Theater Productions Miss Michaela Gorman ’05 instructs the cast before rehearsal. Izzy Sio ’16

“I chose Les Misérables knowing that it was a challenging show because I have so much faith in the students in the drama department,” Miss Gorman said.  “I know they are up to the challenge and I want to give them the chance to be a part of this experience.”

This is the second Sacred Heart Upper School musical production that Miss Gorman has directed.  She directed Oliver!, last year.

“In some ways, I’m definitely more used to the way things work,” Miss Gorman said.  “The basics are a lot easier, but it’s a different kind of show this year, so it’s also still a new and fresh experience.”

Miss Gorman is working on Les Misérables with music director Mr. Benjamin McCormack. It is Mr. McCormack’s first production at Sacred Heart and he has many high hopes for the show. Mr. McCormack attends Western Connecticut State University where he is studying audio production, piano, and voice.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s lots of fun, and I like the challenge of adapting Les Misérables for an all female cast,” Mr. McCormack said.  “It’s a really well-directed, well-produced show in general and I think it’s going to come out great.”

Sacred Heart graduate and New York University Tisch School of the Arts freshman Gabby Giacomo ’15 also joined the musical’s staff this year as a production intern.

Les Misérables is my all-time favorite show, and I would never miss the opportunity to help out with the show especially with my favorite theater company ever,” Gabby said. 

As a production intern, Gabby helps behind the scenes of the musical, choreographing and blocking scenes.

In addition to Mr. McCormack and Gabby, costume designer and Bell Choir Director Ms. Danielle Gennaro and choreographer and Middle School Spanish Teacher Miss Christine Parente are also helping Miss Gorman with the production.

Miss Gorman and the cast had less time than usual to rehearse the production. The musical’s performances, February 27 and 28, are a week earlier than last year’s production of Oliver!. During the last two weeks, rehearsals lasted from 1:30 until 9 p.m. each night to accommodate these performance dates. 

“We’re squeezing as much as we can into every rehearsal,” Miss Gorman said. “There have been a lot of new people in the cast across the grades, and the upper classmen have been welcoming,” Miss Gorman said.  “This is super important for building a drama program, and I’m really proud how cast has come together.  Everyone being tight-knit can only help the show.”

Two Sacred Heart middle school students will also be in the production.  Sixth graders Zoe Young and Mary-Kate Blum will play Gavroche and young Cosette respectively.  The two were chosen from 15 middle school students who auditioned.
Senior Victoria Becker, who plays Fantine, hopes that the audience can connect with the musical and hopes to bring the audience into the world of 19th-century France. 

“I want them to feel like they are there with the characters, and feel like they are also part of the scene and that they are involved,” Victoria said.

The production highlights the global appeal of the musical and the cast’s talent in performing complex characters. 

“It’s the biggest show we’ve done in the shortest amount of time,” Tess said.  “A lot of people are planning on coming because they know the show, so that’s exciting.”

Watch this trail produced by Gabby Giacomo ’15