Sunday, April 06, 2008

Les Miserables


Staged!
March 28 - April 6, 2008

Review by Followspot

Its no exaggeration - this show is magnificent. Not magnificent "for a bunch of kids," just plain magnificent. Spare technical elements allow for focus on tremendous singing and acting talents. If you're not moved, you're not alive. Top five production in Portland so far this year. Oh - not related to cast.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that this is the school edition of the show, right? Other than in that too-tiny-to-read graphic, will Staged! be placing that info anywhere? Or is this like when Blue Monkey did "Aladdin Jr." and suspiciously left off the "Jr." part on every single bit of press and program information?

Anonymous said...

Well, at least they're using the official school edition logo . . .

Anonymous said...

Anon-3/26/08

First off why should you care? Second the image has the chick in a HIGHSCHOOL varsity jacket. Pretty obvious. The folks on this site and in this town need to stop "worrying" about what everyone else is doing and focus on their own work then maybe the work in this town will reach its potential.

Anonymous said...

"First off why should you care?"

Because it IS an important distinction. And frankly, I'm a little shocked to hear anyone think otherwise. Sure, _I_ recognize the image as being from the official school edition, but that's hardly what I'd call an accurate label. To know the show is to know that the two editions ARE different, and I'm sorry, but there's no reasonable argument for not providing full and accurate information regarding the product that you are selling to an audience.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, the show has not been "changed," just cut a bit. A verse or two has been taken out of a few songs to shorten the length of the show a bit...

They have their final dress tonight, and I'm going. My husband saw a rehearsal this week, and told me that it is absolutely fabulous.

Anonymous said...

There's also the fact that their contract with Music Theatre International explicity states:

- All advertising and programs must clearly state that Les Misérables School Edition is being performed entirely by students.

- All advertising must utilize the official Les Misérables School Edition logo provided to you as part of the director's script.

- Press releases must state that this is a special school edition of Les Misérables performed entirely by students.

These can be found at www.lesmizschooledition.com

Chambu said...

Dear anonymous(es):
Yes, this is the Student Edition, and all of our press/media materials make it clear that it is performed entirely by (unpaid, still in school) students. We signed a contract with MTI, and we are very aware of all the stipulations. Thanks for your interest--I hope you get to see the show and see what amazing work these *students* are doing.
Thanks!
-Chanda Hall, Artistic Director

Anonymous said...

All you have to do is go to Staged's website where it clearly stats that it is a school addition. Do your research first.

Anonymous said...

Wow is all I can say. I was just at their final dress rehersal, and just as my husband said, they were amazing.

They got a standing O before the lights went down at the end.

I got these names from the program they handed out tonight...hope no mistakes here:

As Staged! promised, no huge fancy sets, just awesome performances. Morgan Mallory, who played Valjean, is somebody to keep an eye on in the future; he is fantastic. "Bring him Home" is a show highlight, and his death made me cry.

I was also impressed with Gregory Talbott who played Javert, especially his suicide. I liked Jordan Parkyn who played Enjolras (pronounciation?), and Courtney Watson's "On My Own" was beautiful.

From what I saw tonight, it is more than worth the price of admission.

Anonymous said...

Well, now that we've got that out of our system -- I hope -- why don't we talk about the production? I saw the preview show tonight, and while not "absolutely" fabulous, it was pretty darn good. Some really strong principals, good solid ensemble work, and a plucky orchestra bravely led by Andrew Bray. Problems were mainly technical: miking inconsistent, sometimes too soft, occasionally overblown; lighting cues slow to pick up . . . but there's a lot of fine young talent at work in this show. Kudos to Mr. Angelo for harnessing this massive undertaking.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree about the technical problems. Sometimes it felt as if Mallory's mike was too soft ("Who am I?").

The lighting was too slow tonight, I think.

I guess I forgot to mention the pit. Not great in the first act, but they really stepped it up in the second. Hopefully they'll have it ready for tomorrow. And yes, Bray did a nice job (trying to) control them.

Nice job, kids! Great show!

Anonymous said...

Anons who are policing the theatre world thank god you are here... There is actually no significant difference in the "student" version of Les Mis it is simply 20 minutes shorter. (which some folks might consider an improvement) It has been cut in places for time. I also witnessed the rehearsal of these talented young people last evening and I will reserve comments until after opening. Every "issue" I saw last evening is something I have experienced in rehearsals of my own. As has every actor in the field. Staged! and the cast of Les Mis are to be thanked and commended for bravely allowing some of us a sneak peak into their process. (Which I didn't pay for nor did anyone else as far as I could tell) I wish you all the best as you open this weekend. I will return next weekend and then I will comment on a finished show.

Not a musical scholar said...

it is simply 20 minutes shorter

If that's the case, why is there even a student version? This makes no sense to me. I could understand if it was made more "palatable" for younger eyes and ears, or was an hour shorter, but is 20 minutes such a premium they have to package it as a separate show?

Chambu said...

Dear Not a Musical Scholar,
Having just spoken to our MTI guy about this---they wanted to find a way to license the show, since it is currently unavailable to license. Only a small handful of theatres are allowed to do the full version, and they are handpicked by the original producers (which is why it is such a big deal that our neighbors-to-the-south Broadway Rose got the rights to do the full show!) This student version was put together to allow young people to have the experience of performing "Les Mis" while the producers/publishers maintain control (essentially quality control) over who gets to do the FULL show. It's just a choice that the orig. producers made---and a smart marketing move by MTI, in my opinion. The student show is a bit shorter, but none of the language or themes were changed or "sanitized" to make it more kid-friendly; it's still the "Les Mis" we know.
Come see the show when we open. Which is tonight.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Opening night, sound problems continue.

Anonymous said...

Easily the best *student* production EVER seen on a Portland stage. By the end of "look DowN" you will forget you are supposed to watching *students* This show was, to state the obvious, amazing...better than most adult *professionals* in town. The *sound* problems these anons are talking about do not exist-- no more sound issues than any show I have seen at any other theatre in town. Do not miss this show, honestly, the best show of the season so far from any company and the most professional production I have seen in a year coming out of Portland theatre companies.

Anonymous said...

Easily the best cast in all of Portland. Every lead role was fantastic, and the whole ensemble was great.

Not a single weak link.

I saw Saturday night's show...I've never seen a Portland cast have to bow three times before the audience finally calmed down.

Somebody mentioned during intermission that they're almost sold out for next weekend. Are they going to do any more shows?

Anonymous said...

So they had a couple of mike issues...big deal.

Most teenagers that I know wouldn't be able to do that musical. Being in high school, I know. It was a wonderful show from beginning to end. Morgan Mallory was a great Jean Valjean. He made the character real. As for Greg Talbott he also made a lasting impression. His baritone range was outstanding and he embodied the character. That's hard to do. Everyone should see it!

Anonymous said...

Give me a break! There are some great voices, Mallory is terrific, but this is a STUDENT show with all the drawbacks of a high school production. Stop with the juvenile hype already.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely incredible! To be honest, I expected a "kids play", but this was professional. We are definitely going to see some of these kids on Broadway very soon. Staged! was somehow able to find lots really talented young people and pulled off a very difficult play! Well done.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back on planet earth...

This show was a lot of fun. It was by no means bad or awful.

However, it is not going to transfer to the RSC. There were definitely sound issues. And a LOT of the music (instruments and voice) was just slightly off key. This got to me after a while.

Seeing all the kids up there was awesome. No doubt if one of them was yours you were having a great night. If you did not have a direct connection to the performance, your impression was likely less messianic.

Cosette was very strong. Gavroche instantly connected with the audience. Valjean also good.

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments here are more dramatic and funnier (whether intentionally so or not) than anything you will see in the show.

Anonymous said...

It is dis-heartining how quickly PDX turns on its own. When I see good theatre it inspires me it doesn't spur me to knock it down so that I will feel bigger...

This show was superb plain and simple. It definitely does not have any of the HIGHSCHOOL things you would expect and for those of you out there eager to tear down anything because it somehow means you're bad if something you're not involved in is exceptional (as this show clearly is)I pity you- it is this attitude that holds back all of the work in our town. To quote Ayn Rand- "the only true sin is to know something is exceptional and deny it is so." I seriously doubt many of these posters have even seen the show bc if they had they would know what they are saying is not true. I have already seen it twice and I will be returning again this weekend with more friends and family.

Anonymous said...

First of all, quoting Ayn "Let's go hunt Commies with McCarthy" Rand doesn't score any points. Secondly, it was a good show, but it was very much a high school-level production. A lot of heart, but hardly a professional polish. If you want to see kids do their best and pour their hearts into it, then by all means, you will not be disappointed. But don't fool yourself into thinking that you're going to see something amazing.

Anonymous said...

What show were you at? Because the one I was at, every single body in the theater was standing up, clapping and cheering at the end...

Anonymous said...

I attended opening night and thought it was great! I love Portland and I love the Theater and this was a prime example of both! Raves to the cast, the orchestra and whoever must have directed--BRAVO!!!

Anonymous said...

Of course everyone was standing up cheering and clapping! The audience members were all either related to or friends of the cast. This happens at all high school shows. This was a great effort by these students, but I am not sure why some feel the need to over praise this show. I will simply leave it at: "Great job, kids. Keep up the good work!"

Anonymous said...

I saw the show Sunday afternoon and had a great time. Standouts: Jean Valjean was incredible, Cosette, Eponine, and Fantine were flawless; the Thenardiers had great chemistry; all the group numbers were just as believable and heartfelt as any professional production; the orchestra was right on. Of course there were some actors and singers who were more developed than others, but given the passion and dedication shown by all members, as well as the outstanding talents of several key players (Valjean and Fantine brought many of my party to embarrassed tears), it was more than worthwhile. Great job, everyone.
--Not a mother of an actor

Disgruntled Ned said...

Not having seen the show, I have read all the Followspot comments. I vowed not to respond but--come on! The blog started off bashing the show to begin with, stating that the show's not handling the MTI licensing right because it doesn't say it's the school edition, just like Blue Monkey did with ALADDIN. Which is rediculous, Blue Monkey is a far cry from Staged, and really doesn't need mentioning, because it's irrelovent. Also, can't you look past the fact that it's a teen show? It's not a high school show anyways, some cast members are in fact in college some in elementry school (I never got to be in a show with prostitutes when I was in elementry school, I'm kind of jealous). I'm happy to hear that the cast gets a standing "o" every-night. And what show doesn't have minor sound glimpses? I really don't know what point I'm trying to make here. All this over-dramatic anonymous posting makes me itchy, and makes me believe that some of this defensive commenting is from some cast member mama's? Maybe? Anyways, Followspot isn't posted to nark on shows it's to have a civilized discussion. So, look past the fact that it's teenagers for one. Two, there's great theater all over Portland including teens who might be just as good as thes Les Miz kids. So let's drop the arguments of "well what show were you at" nonsence. And support the PDX theater scene. Do you know of any reviews in local papers on the show? Or is it being looked past because it's a "high school" show?

Anonymous said...

Just to remind everyone...this is not a "high school show". It is put on by a professional company, which decided to do an all-student version to highlight some of the great kids they work with throughout the year. And I was at both shows on Saturday. Yes, there were relatives there but many I spoke to in the lobby simply came because they like and know the show. "Les Mis" (even the student version) attracts its own crowd. I think these kids can hold their own against any musical I've seen in town. It's neat to see a company approaching musicals in a different way, and it is a shame that some anon. posters can't discuss the actual production civilly. I was very impressed by the storytelling and the vocal talent, which is why I came back for a 2nd show. I wanted to see it again.

--NOT related to cast or crew

Anonymous said...

Was it as good as some musicals produced at Stumptown or Lakewood? No.

The cast did a very good job with the material, but the drawback is that they are kids fer cryin' out loud. My suspension of disbelief is negatively affected by a 17 year old Javert (granted, the young man who played him did a fine job.)

Maybe they could be "the best cast in Portland." In 30 years.

Anonymous said...

I'd be willing to bet money that the people on here who are saying that it's "just another high school show" havn't seen it. If you had seen it, you'd know that it's one of the best shows running in Portland.

But that's the way followspot works most of the time anyway, right?...

Anonymous said...

They are the age they are and they make no apologies and I respect them all the more for that. This is some of the best Portland theatre I have seen in my fifteen years living here. I am sorry that so many are so biased simply because the actors are younger than them that they refuse to give them the praise they deserve. I believe this group of kids could take on many of the *professionals* in town and that this should be a reason to applaud this young talent not jealously knock it down.

talia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Great job guys. Totally awesome show! I'm coming again!

Anonymous said...

They oversold a 300 seat house tonight...people had to get kicked out and given tickets to a different show.

Please STAGED!, do MORE SHOWS! Add some to next weekend!

Anonymous said...

WOW is all I have to say about this show!!!!!!! I had a wonderful time and can not believe what I saw. I had a pre consieved notion of what I was going to watch up on that stage yesterday and you all blew me away!!!!! That was better then most of the professional theaters that have been around in Portland for a long time! Watch out Portland Center Stage you have alot of competition!!!!!!!! Can't wait for the next show, I hope to be in it!!!!!!!! Keep up the great work Staged PDX!!!!!!

Jordan You Rocked my world!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Could I be the only one wondering why there hasn't been a review in the Oregonian? Given the kids remarkable performances, I think they deserve it, don't you? And curious how they will sell the tickets to the benefit next week without the publicity that a review would have generated?

Anonymous said...

Saw the show this past weekend. Unbelievable, stunning and heartwrenching. I am still in awe of what I witnessed It's so hard for me to believe--- The discussion shouldn't be
"look at these kids"
it's 'Hey, they dressed up pros like kids and are trying to snow us!"
I have been watching theatre in PDX for five years now and this is one of the finest pieces of theatre I have seen in all that time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It took until 40 posts before someone finally started picking on some of the kids. I knew it would happen. Please, let's leave the personal and downright mean comments of high-schoolers and younger kids out of it, shall we?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post. The leading 3 ladies were fantastic as were Jean Valjean and Javert who were both excellent. Thenardiers were most amusing and provided light relief in this sad tale. Gavroche was fantastic. That girl nailed the part.
Unfortunately Marius was not the greated. I found it hard to get past his nasaly pitchy voice. It was unfortunate that he was in so many of the 'big' numbers with the girls and Valjean.
Overall I thought it was a wonderful production. I thought the ensemble songs were good especially the last song.
For anyone who is familiar with Les Mis and enjoys the music, its one to go and see. Also keep an eye out in the future for some of these young people who are bound to go far.

Anonymous said...

To the blind-deaf anon poster:

Didn't your mother teach you manners young lady?

You seem to be pretty much the only person here who didn't thoroughly enjoy the show. All the leads were outstanding, and the ensemble was very strong. I also enjoyed the staging...quite creative on the director's part.

Having read this blog for a long time, I'd guess that you either:
A: Auditioned and weren't cast
B: Didn't audition and wish you had
C: Hate somebody in this show
D: Are a disgruntled member of an adult theatre company, and are scared that these kids will soon take a part from you (no doubt they will)

Your show was amazing. I've already gotten tickets for the benefit next week...everybody: ignore that anon poster (trust me, I know who you are)... you can't miss this one!

Lissie said...

Ok, I will admit that I am a cast member. Maybe this isn't my place to say so, but for those of you who were bothered by The Docks... everyone in that scene was AT LEAST 16. It was an unbendable rule in the show. Paul Angelo hardly even directed that scene, it was left up to our judgment as actors. If you insist on harping on our performance there, don't blame Paul. I'm sorry if you don't like how we interpret the sad life of a prostitute.

Anonymous said...

While I do not approve or agree with some of the recent harsh comments about some of the members of this fine cast, I also do not approve of people defending the cast members by saying "well, they're kids. Don't pick on them". If the cast and the show wants to be seen as professional (which it should be), it should be critiqued as a professional show, not just praised as a professional show. But again, I don't approve or agree with the comments.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 4/07/2008 03:09 ~

Everybody is entitled to their own opinions on this show. I'm glad you loved it, but you also have to accept that some people may not have. And their lack of enthusiasm doesn't have to be from your 4 narrow reasons.

And if these performers are as exceptionally-excellently-knock your-socks-off-oh-my-god-best performers-I've-ever-seen-in-my whole-life-ever- good, then they should be able to stand a bit of criticism. Everybody in this line of work must learn to accept the good with the bad.

And for clarification, I'm not related to the cast, I didn't audition and wish I had, and I don't hate anybody in the cast. I thought the show was good. I don't necessarily agree that it's the best thing to come out of Portland EVER, but it was good. And the majority of the kids did very well.

Anonymous said...

He may not have been perfect, but Marius made me cry nearly every time he was on stage.

So that has to mean something, right?

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see the lengthy post that picked apart the kids' performances in such an unkind manner was deleted. I come down in the middle of all these controversies -- enjoyed the show a lot but didn't think it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (and no, I didn't audition for it; quite frankly, I had never seen a "Les Miz" in any way, shape, or form before); agree the actors were good enough to merit professional criticism (that is, not to get cut a lot of slack "because they're just kids") but strongly disagreed with the manner in which some of them were pinioned on this thread. I wouldn't say such things about grown-up professionals in a public forum, so I certainly wouldn't do it with young and learning ones. Such remarks only point up the crassness and poorly exercised writing skills of the author, and should be avoided if for no other reason than that similar comments have destroyed much of the life of and interest in Followspot in the past. I've talked with some of the best actors in this town, far more experienced and talented folks than you or I, who simply do not read Followspot because they dislike the carping and pettiness. We would all like to grow as actors, I presume? Learning to give and take considerate, responsible criticism is part of that journey.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to give my 2 cents and say that ripping on an 8 year old girl is over the top and flat out rude. What is your problem?

Danibanani said...

I am also a member of the cast, and have been following this blog since our exciting opening night. While i understand how people who are big Les Mis fans like myself are disappointed by the cut in some of the music, I don't think it is fair to blame us.
I also don't think it should be argued that since we are kids, we are therefore "unprofessional". Although we are unpaid, we still give it our all, and have a blast.
Isn't it inspiring that kids today still have interest in musical theatre?
Second, we can take the critisism. Please don't be rude, but nicely state what you did not like so that we can improve for future performances.

Thanks for coming to the show!

Anonymous said...

You show up on stage and you will be criticized, fairly and unfairly. That is the sad truth. Be ready for it, or try something else. You want fun, sing in your living room, not much career-wise, but you will be loved.

Jackietastic said...

To the anon on 4/9 at 12:05:

For one thing, I think it's very possible to have fun both onstage in front of an audience, criticism or no. Don't go banishing kids to their bedrooms because they're enjoying themselves.

And secondly, none of the self-confessing cast members have responded badly to the criticism; one defended her director and took the blame herself, another said 'bring it on.'

By the same token, followspot is infamous for needless bashing (one obvious example has already been deleted by an admin). Please don't say they can't take criticism because they defended themselves and their director.

As a cast member myself, I am very proud of the work that my fellow castmates have put into this production and am very pleased with the end result. I'm also appreciative of the gracious reception we've received from the audience after each and every show, and only wish we could extend the run.

Anonymous said...

Please don't say they can't take criticism because they defended themselves and their director.

Sorry, but why? This is the point exactly. You will always, always receive some negative criticism. Theater is subjective and not everyone will appreciate your efforts, no matter how hard you work or how united your production.

I didn't banish kids to the bedroom for enjoying themselves. The suggestion they play their living rooms is if they need/want universal acclaim and appreciation. You wont find it in the theater.

Check out a book, "No turn unstoned" by Lauren Bacall. A collection of terrible reviews of the best actors of all time.

Anonymous said...

For the cast members:
You say that you can take criticism. Fine, then do it, but don't come on here defending yourselves and saying that we're wrong. Be OK with the fact that you can take it. It makes you all look childish when you come on and defend your show.

Musicofth3night said...

PLEASE try to understand where i am coming from. I have loved being in this production and seeing the comments about it. However, there is a huge difference between constructive critisism, and being down right rude.
That line has been crossed, and not in a funny Simon Cowel way! The actors job is to express the story, the audiences job is to enjoy it. We work hard for YOU, so please try to be respectful.
P.S. no one said you were wrong!

Anonymous said...

It's not the job of the audience to be entertained. That is what they are there to get. If they are not, it's not their fault. The only one expected to give you constructive criticism is the director. Should you wear a pair of pants that you think are ugly and don't fit well? Even if the people who made them for you loved making them and put a tremendous amount of effort into sewing them?
No.
Stop complaining. Some people don't care for your work. Again, the ugly truth. If your director and producer are happy, that's what counts. No one ever lost a role due to bad reviews. If you want to be a professional, learn that now.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could come to Followspot to see whether a show was worth seeing rather than having to sift through a bunch of petty arguing between cast and critic. I'm not saying that anyone is more wrong than anyone else, but let's try to get followspot back to what it was intended for: information on the overll quality of shows. Maybe someone could make a separate blog where people can take their arguments about whether kids can take the heat.

Anonymous said...

Just a general observation: (by the way I believe with all that you are saying--if you're in a show you're going to be critisised weather you like it or not). Looking through Followspot is seems that theaters that use a sufficant number of kids are always being bashed.Blue Monkey used to take the bruises of the beatings. And now Staged is. And I question. Why is it that the population is so critical of shows that involve a strong ammount of kids? I have no problem with discussing a show. Nor do I think it's okay to be leniant toward child actors because they are kids. (And there are by the way college kids in this show). But do any of you have any explanation? Is it just that we expect more out of the young Portland actors? Or...what is it?

Anonymous said...

Hello all followspotters. Alright, I'm apart of this cast and I'm glad to be apart of it.

I've been reading this...and half of the page is people saying pretty much the same thing over and over again. I am young, but I think there's a time where we need to stop debating whether we can take/give positive or negative feedback. Cause, yeah, I've come to find saying the same thing doesn't get anybody anywhere.

Yeah. Cast members should take any kind of feedback, even rude ones, cause honestly it'll happen to all of us. It's just your decision how you take it or not. But if someone starts using curse words or saying really ridiculous things...You can just shake your head and laugh, cause that person is no better then you. Let's not debate whether or not we can take feedback...do we want to remember Les Mis for only the show and the wonderful people that we were around OR Les Mis for only the show, the wonderful people around, AND the small fueds on follow spot?

People giving feedback, we can take feedback. The peeps above me proved that as far as I know. We love getting feedback, negative and positive. Negative feedback lets us know what we have to work on. Positive feedback makes us smile and feel fuzzy inside all day.

Don't know why I just said all that...you guys probably already know all that.

Well, just thought I'd say I love you all (audience and cast) regaurdless of whats been said on here.

Cole

Anonymous said...

In total agreement. I think these "kids" did a truly fabulous job on the show.

They only have one more show on Monday...I can't go again :(

Anonymous said...

Cast members:

Do you see other professionals coming onto followspot and defending the negative criticisms here? No. (Perhaps excluding the thread about the content of Columbinus. But again, those are young performers too.)

The reason is because as a professional, you shouldn't care what is said in this thread. You followed the director's lead and put on a pretty good show. While I agree that some of the previous posts are guilty of over-praise, I also think it is obvious they are from the teenage friends of the cast members. Guess you can't really blame a teenage girl for essentially screaming, "Jordan, you Rocked my world!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Because I somehow doubt that came from a 37 year old woman or man. But, eh, you know I could be wrong...)

But constantly defending your show really undercuts that level of professionalism that I think all of you will one day enjoy. You are talented kids. Accept the fact that some people liked your show, and others didn't like it as much, and move on. Negative criticism is never going to go away, and the sooner that is learned, the more confident and grounded you will be as performers and professionals.

Anonymous said...

to Anon 4/11/2008 11:37:00,
after looking at the threads for both shows, i see only one difference between the comments from cast members- Les Mis cast members seem to be defending their performances and the production, while the Columbinus ones are defending the script/play itself more.
Just an interesting thing to note.

But yes, I agree that in general cast members should refrain from posting on their own show.

Anonymous said...

"(And there are by the way college kids in this show)"

Isn't this a violation of the contract with MTI? I thought student versions were only licensed for performers under the age of 18.

And I totally agree with the previous poster about why this show and Blue Monkey productions generate so much response. The more posts there are "arguing" with criticisms, the more the amount and negative tone of the criticisms will increase. If you must read the opinions about your work (or the work of your friends and children), exercise some restraint and do not respond. (. . . and respond, and respond . . .)

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for that. Really. What you speak of is true.

Now, I say we put this subject of criticism aside. No more of this back and forth stuff, please. That would be great. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I believe their contract requires the actors to be younger than 21.

Can someone associated with the show speak to this?

Anonymous said...

In case anyone might look for it, No Turn Unstoned was written by Diana Rigg, not Lauren Bacall

Anonymous said...

I don't believe arguing about whether or not the kids can take criticism has anything to do with how good the show was. And the ones that keep reminding the kids to be "professionals" be not responding, you are a hypocrite yourself. Don't be unprofessional by attempting to undercut the show by saying that by trying to get you to stop talking nonsense. Honestly, your facade is see through, you don't want to help the kids you want to find reasons to insult them. If you wanted to help them, you would offer an ACTUAL review. Don't blame the kids for this- this is an actual 'professional" who thinks you need to stop.

Back to what really matters- the show. I am a high school director myself, and I heard about this show through another high school director I keep in contact with. So I would like to say from the start- I am not related or know any individual in this show. I am sorry to say I went with low expectations. When I saw the stage, I thought to myself "just as I thought." Then the music started and that all changed. The show was good on Friday, by no means fantastic. I was impressed and though to myself "wow that was cool." But nothing else. When I reached the lobby I saw the kids faces- it seemed to me as they knew this wasn't their best. When I ran into a young girl I congratulated her and couldn't help asking her how she thought she did. Forgive me , I do not know her name though if my memory serves me it started with an L. She was a pretty young girl, an ensemble member. She looked at me and said "We were good, but not our best. Tonight was merely a high school performance, instead of our usual professional performances. I wish my parents had come on a different night."
After that I formed a theory. I have a theory in any show that is unpaid, the actors are going to have a couple of off nights, especially when it comes to kids. Actors can start to focus on doing good instead of character that they lose motivations and inspiration in the moment. The show was still amazing, but not anything like the reviewers had hyped it to be. I tried to account for the difference in reviews and decided to go to the Saturday show. This time the characters connected with the audience. I felt like I was seeing it for the first time. I got chills, at the end I got tears. There was no doubt in my mind that these kids were professionals. It was truly one of the best shows I have seen, Broadway included. People keep talking about age as a hindering quality, but these kids had a special magic because of their age. Morgan Mallory- both nights was incredible. The voice on that kid will take him places. He carried the show on his back. Stephanie Leppert was heartwarming. She played the part of Cosette to a T and when she hit any note- she hit it spot on. Courtney Watson has an amazing voice, i just wish she had a little more acting experience. Her notes were beautiful, and A Little Fall of Rain made me cry, and if she takes some acting classes- she will be a force to be reckoned with. Jordan Parkyns, was flat on Friday but had such spunk. When I saw him spot on Saturday I was amazed. He has a pure voice, and a vocal range to take him places. He plays the part as if he was born for it. Marius, a sweet young boy played Marius. On Friday he was very pitchy. But come Saturday he relaxed his voice and it was much better. He gave an amazing Empty Chair at Empty Tables that made me tear up, but when he tensed up his voice came from his throat instead of his diaphragm. He is a skilled actor, and has the potential to be an amazing singer. I wish he wouldn't push it, and instead let his notes glide and take away all friction. He is very good. The Thenardiers were a perfect match. I constantly found myself trying to suppress giggles. Master of the House was one of my favorite numbers. Little Gavroche had the cutest accent and was a perfect Gavroche. When she died, I felt sick inside. I haven't ever felt so sick I wanted to throw up, but her death was so tangible I felt myself getting nauseous.
Fantine had a beautiful expressive voice, sometimes I felt like her acting was over the top but he voice was absolutely beautiful. Her death was so touching and she played the part of an older mother beautifully. My only advice would be, during the song I Dreamed A Dream, don't talk the words so much as sing them. The more you sing and keep from talking them, the more emotional it is because it seems like you are attempting NOT to lose your cool. But wonderful performance.
Javert was an amazing actor. He left a lasting impression.
The ensemble was one of my favorite things about the show, whenever they came on they were crisp and gave it their all. I don't, in either performance, remember being distracted by their presence on stage. Each member of the cast has a solo, and props to the directors for choosing those so perfectly. There were lots of times where I found myself getting chills from an ensemble member and that to me was one of the biggest differences from a high school production. In a high school production you have enough talent in the leads, but every single person in this show had talent. I was amazed by the talent. The Ensemble wowed me, and was one the of the strongest points of this show. The outfits were okay, some seemed out of the time period. But Staged! never claims to have amazing sets or outfits. I liked the choreography. And all in all it was a fantastic show. I give props to these kids for showing up any adult professional actor, and I give props to the directors for putting this all together. I tip my hat to you.

Anonymous said...

Quoted from the MTI website, under licensing guidelines for this show:

"1. The entire cast must be 19 years of age or under.

2. The entire cast must all be full-time High, Middle or Elementary School students"

The link for this is:
http://www.lesmizschooledition.com/default_HOME.asp

At the very least, they are in violation of #2.

Anonymous said...

The actors in the show are required to be 20 years old or younger. Therefore, some of the cast members are college-aged.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on.

Everyone is commenting on their own shows. It's just the kids that have the balls (or innocence) to be honest and admit it.

The rest of you are all just posting great things about your shows anonymously.

Anonymous said...

this cast includes college students.

also, the MTI website says they may not advertise online on any website other than a SCHOOL website.

oops.

Anonymous said...

anon theatre teacher-
I agree with your post.

I do, however, have to say that I enjoyed certain cast members who talked through some lines (I liked how Javert talked through the first part of the suicide...kind of like he's trying to figure out what happened?).

When you're doing an opera like this, you have to know why you're making a choice to vary from the script. I actually prefer it when a performer will make a strong choice in phrasing, rather than singing exactly what's written in the music. Phrasing is one of the top priorities in this show, because if you just sing straight, the audience could easily lose the plot. Got to keep them interested, yes?

Quite impressive.

Chambu said...

Dear Anonymous:
If anyone has a question about the legalities of our show, please contact me directly. Speculating about whether we have "violated our contract" creates unnecessary and potentially harmful rumors. You can contact me at info@stagedpdx.org . No one knows the specifics of OUR contract with MTI except for me,our production manager and our legal advisor. We take our contracts very seriously. Feel free to discuss the show. Thanks.
-Chanda H.

followspot said...

Posts on this site are not advertisement.

Anonymous said...

What about postings on the PATA website? That posting is especially confusing since the description of the show says:

"This is not a "student" production; we are simply featuring young people with this production as it keeps with our company's educational mission."

A show that uses the school edition but is not a student production? Huh?

Anonymous said...

I saw this production on opening night and the technical problems (feedback or whatever)took away from what was otherwise a wonderful production. I enjoyed the show enough to attend again on Sunday and the technical problems were fixed for the most part. The leads were very good and the ensemble sang like a seasoned choir. Anyone who spent some time in the lobby after the show could tell that the audience was absolutely amazed by what they had witnessed. Not being an expert critic, what I can comment on is how I felt inside after the play. Very emotional, very amazed, I got my moneys worth. The actors touched the audience in a very intimate way. Local theatre at its best!

Anonymous said...

Posts on this site are not advertisements in the conventional sense like newspaper ads, radio spots, television commercials, etc. But press release material is submitted to this site and its reviewers are "paid" with complimentary tickets to the show in the hopes of generating publicity that will translate into ticket sales. So, it's not hard to conclude that the postings actually are advertisements. It's not a bad thing, unless you have a contract stipulation forbidding you to do so.

followspot said...

Actually, this show did not send us a press release. Many shows don't. Often, the summaries are gleaned from websites or from the PATA calendar.

Also, this show was not asked to provide reviewer comps.

We thought it was worth reviewing anyway.

Anonymous said...

Travis said...
Why do people have to nock down anything that is acctually good in this city? I saw this show and it was far better then most adult professional theater here in Portland. Who cares if you think they violated their contract, have you personally read it?
Again an amazing show full of talent that Portland needs to keep its eyes on!
I was not paid to see the show or given a free ticket, and I was not part of the cast, crew, or production team.
Its sad that people just can't seem to sit back and enjoy something with out tearing it apart. How sad that is!

Anonymous said...

I agree followspot. This was the best show of the season.