One of the most elaborate musical productions the Hillsboro City Schools have ever attempted will unfold this weekend when “Les Miserables” is presented Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“This play is all music, all singing, there are no lines. So it’s more like an opera than a musical play,” said Jenna Horick, who is directing the acting with her husband, Jeff, while David White, the Hillsboro High School director of choruses, directs the music. “The message is about different types of love – love of country, love of a daughter, love of a father, love of a friend – which is kind of neat because it’s not just one love.
“But the biggest thing is how the community has come together to make it work. It would have been very hard to do without them.”
Community businesses and individuals have donated lunches during rehearsal, sewed costumes and other items, built a carriage, donated stage pieces, helped financially, and more, according to Jenna Horick.
There are approximately 70 cast and crew members. They are made up of students from fourth grade to seniors. The orchestra is made up of students, community members and professionals hired from the Cincinnati area.
“This is probably one of the biggest challenges we’ve taken on theatrically,” Hillsboro Superintendent Jim Smith told the school board earlier this month.
The played is based on the 1862 book “Les Miserables” by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. It was turned into a play in 1980 and has been running on Broadway pretty much ever since, Jeff Horick said. It is set in early 19th-century France and is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his quest for redemption after serving 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child.
There are battle scenes, lots of music, and it cost approximately $6,000 to produce the show, according to the HHS Musical Theatre Department.
The cast has been rehearsing since January.
The biggest roles in the play include senior Daniel Jacky as Javert; senior Eli Long as Valjean, the main character; senior Caity Wilson as Fantine; senior Christopher Ford as Marius; junior Emma Horick as Eponine; eighth-grader Clara White as Cosette; and the innkeepers, Mr. and Mrs. Thenardier, portrayed by senior Cheyra Harparee and freshman Gideon Pickering-Polstra.
The musical starts at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday in the high school cafetorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and students and children will be admitted free. Some reserve tickets, with seating near the stage, are still available for all three shows. They can be purchased at the high school office during school hours or during Thursday’s rehearsal.
Hillsboro has probably not tried the play before, Jenna Horick said, because it requires so much talent.
“I think it’s probably because mainly the caliber of singing it takes to pull it off, and even though we probably had the talent last year, this year the voices are more mature,” she said. “It’s a huge production, the set is magnificent, and the kids are doing a great job. They sound wonderful.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.