Behind The Scenes Of Broadway's 'Les Miserables'

By: Caroline Vandergriff Email
By: Caroline Vandergriff Email

The world's longest running musical has come to Mid-Michigan. The 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables opened last night at the Wharton Center in East Lansing.

The touring Broadway production travels in nine semi-trucks, and it takes about 18 hours to get set up in each venue. Crews worked overtime to get the show ready for it's week-long run in East Lansing.

"As far as the local staff, there's about 80 people who will work on the show to get it up and running," said Trinity Wheeler, the production's stage manager.

Up and running with a cast of almost 40 actors, Les Miserables is quite a production behind the scenes.

"A lot of pre-planned work goes into it," said Bob Hoffman, the public relations manager for the Wharton Center. "From making sure the cast has a hotel to stay in, making sure there are doctors on hand, the dressing rooms are appropriate, the wig people have their place, and the costume people have their place - there's a lot that goes into a Broadway musical that you don't see."

What you do see is a new twist on an old classic.

"It's not the Les Mis you grew up with," Wheeler said. "The orchestration is modernized, the show is grittier, the storytelling clearer."

With the use of video imagery on stage, the 25th anniversary production reinvents itself.

"With that sweeping cinematography, it really opens it up to a new generation," said Wheeler. "It's modern storytelling, the way we define time and place. It's a thrill ride through the title character's journey."

It's a journey set in early 19th century France, and it's a story that has stood the test of time.

"Sixty-five million people have seen this show and it continually sells out, day after day," Hoffman said. "In fact, the tour is mostly sold out everywhere it goes, so we're lucky it has come to the Wharton Center.

There are still tickets available. If you're interested in seeing Les Miserables, call 1-800-WHARTON.


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