This is why you should get tickets for TOROS' Les MiserableSaturday, August 04, 2012 by: Kate Adams
In less than a week 80 plus students of the Near North District School Board’s Theatre Outreach On Stage (TOROS) will hit the boards at the Capitol Centre with their highly anticipated interpretation of the musical "Les Miserables".
The score, adapted from the 1862 French novel by author Victor Hugo, can be a herculean task to master for even the most seasoned professional troupe that has months to rehearse, but TOROS decided they were up for a challenge and have mastered the school production in two short months.
“This is the kind of show where when people hear that we’re doing it they go really?” says Assistant Director Jesse Beam.
“I mean it’s singing all the way through, which is difficult to pull off because Mary our band leader has been coming to us saying okay you can’t stop us we’re playing all the time. And it can be madcap at times because there is no time to sort of stop and collect your thoughts you’re singing constantly.”
“Which can also be difficult to block, you know it’s a challenge that Shane and I sort of have to overcome because you always need a piano player in the room and you always need to make sure people are warming up and singing. It’s kind of difficult to just sort of run off and do a scene you need a lot of preparation in order to block. And so it can be difficult some times to separate at what point are they singing and preforming as singers and at what point are they preforming more as actors.”
“It can be difficult to sort of put all of these pieces together and I think the staff that we have is … I mean we’re all really trained well at our jobs we’ve been doing it for so long we have this cohesive ability and I think that is a very good quality to have in a staff and it is making this process easier than some thought it would be,” he adds.
For Josh Pride who plays Jean Valjean it is the role of a lifetime, but he too agrees it is a challenge.
“I have kind of been waiting to do Les Mis my whole life it’s my favourite show beyond all others it’s just the story, I read the book, I love the story, I love the music, all the characters are just so profound. Victor Hugo is an amazing writer just … good god why not does Les Mis!”
“It is a Broadway mega hit and so apart from coming to rehearsals every night it takes a lot for all of us, and not just the lead characters, but even chorus members and even the dancers to learn their lyrics, to learn all the music beforehand even before they get here so we can get straight to work because it is such a big and such a heavy show they really need to come here with a lot of knowledge already, a lot of preparation that you’ve already done at home, so it’s quite demanding,” explains Pride.
Beam says part of the challenge for the entire team is directing and choreographing without stopping the process.
So why take on a show that is this demanding some might ask, well Beam says all the stars aligned with Shane Southcott returning to the director’s chair and a great talent pool NOW was the time.
“We’d thrown this idea of this show around for a few months waiting for recognition from MTI and that sort of thing but he and I (Southcott) meet sometimes and the two of us go over our intentions for blocking of scenes but I think that because of the connection we have, we think very similarly when it comes to theatre, I think a lot of our planning seems to happen on the snap.”
“I think the shows that TOROS has been doing have been getting more and more difficult as the years go on and one of the arguments that I put out talking about the show is we last did it 10 years ago we have a completely new crop of kids but we also have a very talented crop of kids, we’ve had to say no to a lot of people because we simply don’t have the singing roles available in years past and I mean this show has 63 singing parts so it requires a lot of talent and we all sort of looked around ourselves and said you know what we’ve got that talent this year we’ve got to do this show while we can because it’s the kind of show you know a lot of these people need to do cause it’s one of those classic shows.”
Both Beam and Pride are excited for the curtain to rise on Wednesday, August 8th and promise something for all audience members to enjoy.
“What the audience can expect I don’t know, it’s the performance I’ve been waiting to give since I don’t know (since I was) eight – when my parents bought me the soundtrack,” states Pride.
“Expect to have your mind blown we are pulling out all the stops with this one,” says Beam.
“We’ve got a stage … we’ve got a set that covers the entire stage at the Capitol Centre, we’ve got an enormous barricade that is being built through the entire show we have got giant buildings we’ve got flying gates, flying bridges … we’ve got people falling off said flying bridges it’s going to be crazy.”
Tickets are $17.00 each and available at the Capitol Centre.
Show runs August 8th to the 12th.
Cutain time is 7:30pm sharp.