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REVIEW: Company Theatre of Norwell's epic musical, 'Les Miserables' is a gem

Les Miserables

Rating:
Star5
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A proud moment gripped the Company Theatre of Norwell when it was announced that the rights will be released off-Broadway for the epic musical, ‘Les Miserables.’ They could hardly wait to bring it to the stage, a fulfillment of an adult dream for them all.

'Les Miserables' continues through August 17!
'Les Miserables' continues through August 17!
Courtesy of Michelle McGrath and the Company Theatre of Norwell

‘Les Miserables’ is the nugget,’ said co-founder Zoe Bradford proudly. ‘It is such a masterpiece you could easily just go in there with good singers and everybody would love it, but because I’ve waited literally, my whole adult life to do it, I want it to be greatness up there.’

‘Les Miserables’ is more like a gem.

Bringing this heroic work to the stage in an innovative and often magnificent way, The Company Theatre of Norwell has every reason to be proud of this masterful achievement.

Without a less than stellar voice in the entire production, the ensemble is as powerful and passionate as the main cast. Leading the way is a monumental performance by Michael Warner as Jean Valjean. Wagner does not miss a beat, evoking nervousness, anger, and beautiful compassion through a pained glance, shifting eyes, and deep, powerful, lingering vocals. It is no wonder he excels at portraying such vivid characters as George Bailey from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Scrooge’ from ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Right from the first notes of ‘Soliloquy,’ it was clear that ‘Les Miserables’ would stand out as one of Company Theatre of Norwell’s best.

Andrew Giordano delivered a staggering performance as Officer Javert. With dark features, a rich, smooth vibrato, and bold stature, Giordano depicts Javert with a staunch and dangerous air, gliding through each scene effortlessly. Jean Valjean and Javert’s scenes are extraordinary to watch and are depicted with creative and surprising staging.

With a tiny frame, a powerful voice and earnest appeal, Jennifer Glick delivers an impressive Eponine. Endearing blocking emphasize the sweet chemistry she has with Marius, played likably by Brendan Pine. Glick’s voice soars into one of the best renditions of ‘On My Own’ I have ever heard.

James Fernardes is also commanding as Enjolas, his performance wrought with passion and charisma. The song, ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’ is a thrill.

Maryann Zschau as Madame Thenardier and Christopher J. Hagberg as Thernardier are wickedly funny together and with every sleight of hand and veiled glance, they only become more enthralling to watch as the show progresses.

Touching moments such as Jean Valjean’s interaction with Fantine, portrayed ardently by Jessica Golden, Jean Valjean meeting Young Cosette, played with sweet sincerity by Catherine Oliviere are only a piece of the heart that went into this wondrous show. The action sequences and special effects are riveting and done in a tasteful, stylish way.

Music Director Michael Joseph conducted a seamless, concise orchestra, ebbing and flowing through harrowing, booming numbers such as ‘Look Down’ and ‘Red and Black’ to the soft whisper of ballads such as ‘A Heart Full of Love.’ The number, ‘One Day More’ is breathtaking.

The Company Theatre of Norwell’s production of ‘Les Miserables’ displays spinning sets that transform eloquently. Company Theatre also makes wonderful use of film as a subtle backdrop, tracing the progression of time passing in each sequence. Among the many staging highlights is a gorgeous star filled background adorned with a picturesque candle stand with stained glass sitting center stage. Sets are heavily detailed to add wear and tear in the wrought iron balconies and rustic walls are flanked with tattered windows. Strewn with chairs, windows, and more, the barricade was welcomed with the audience cheering!

‘Les Miserables’ continues Wednesdays through Sundays through August 17 at the Company Theatre, 30 Accord Park Drive in Norwell, Massachusetts. See the slideshow for a closer look into Company Theatre of Norwell's production of 'Les Miserables!' Visit companytheatre.com for more information and for upcoming events!