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Musical ‘Les Misérables’ opens at Bowe Theater Nov. 1

After thrilling audiences in Paris, London, New York, and 70 other cities around the world, the epic musical “Les Misérables” is coming to Hood River. The show opens Friday, Nov. 1, and runs for 10 performances, Nov. 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16.

A production of the Hood River Valley High School Performing Arts Department, the show employs more than 75 actors and musicians and, according to director Mark Steighner, it is by far the most lavish and expensive musical ever to be mounted at HRVHS.

“Les Mis” is based on the novel by Victor Hugo and centers on the story of Jean Valjean, who, after spending 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family, is released and attempts to form a new and morally righteous life. His struggles, and those of the poor and oppressed people of Paris, are at the heart of the story. The book was made into a musical in 1985 and has been playing in London and New York ever since, winning dozens of awards.

Steighner notes that the cast will be performing the “school edition” of the musical, currently the only legally licensed version available. The school edition trims a few minutes from the three-hour plus show, but leaves all characters, songs, and scenes intact.

The cast, which includes HRVHS students as well as middle school, home school, and private school students, has been rehearsing since late summer. Lately the focus has been on preparing the technical aspects of the production such as costumes and the massive moving barricade that the revolutionary students of Paris build.

A limited number of tickets for the show are being sold in advance at Waucoma Bookstore; the remainder will be sold at the door. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and children. In the spirit of the show’s theme, the cast is donating the proceeds beyond expenses for the Tuesday night shows to the Oregon Food Bank and to Dignity Village.

Curtain for all shows is 7:30 p.m. The box office at the Bowe Theatre opens at 6:45.

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