I fell in love with the music of Les Miserables just out of high school, fell in love with the book after my oldest child was born, and was the proud mother of three before I actually saw it on the stage. That was a red-letter day for me, and I thought nothing would ever compare with the joy of experiencing my favorite play at the Pioneer Theater Company. I had low expectations last year when I went to see the film--after all, they had opted for big-name actors over experienced musicians. I was joyfully surprised, however. The cast of the film version not only did full justice to the grandeur of the story, but to humanity itself.
It was with some reticence that I attended Hurricane Valley Community Theater's production of the play last night, but since TJ had a student in the production it was a labor of love. I knew that our friend Brodie Perry, who was playing Jean Valjean, would be amazing. He was singing with the Utah Opera while he was still in high school with me, and he hasn't wasted his time since then. I think he could perform on Broadway if he wanted to, and as proud as we all are that he is here instead, I did not know that St. George boasted more than one or two on his professional level. I was dead wrong. All the leads were phenomenal, and all the chorus were extremely strong singers and actors.
"Community theater" has always brought to my mind subpar productions funded and attended by those of us who want to "support the arts." I have never thought of this venue being one that could hold intrinsic entertainment value. But the professionalism HVCT showed in this production filled me with joy and hope. St. George has a great theater company! And why not? It was the last thing, in my opinion, that we needed to make this town quite perfect.
But the true joy of the evening was the fact that the cast brought more to the performance than sparkling talent and hard-earned skills. They understood the meaning of the play and cared passionately about it. Their hearts shone through every scene of the performance. Brodie's performance was technically impeccable to start with--his voice was flawless, powerful, and tender; his acting was consistent, heartfelt, and masterful--but most of all he put every ounce of energy into his character. I had tears running down my cheeks as the cast took their bows, and so did they. I had a wonderful feeling that I was watching history in the making.