Fresno Grand Opera announced its 2013-14 lineup to season ticket holders this week. It doesn’t feature any traditional opera. But it does promise a big local production of “Les Miserables.”
“Les Miserables” opens Jan. 17 and will play four performances at the Saroyan Theatre. This will be a local production, not the revamped national tour that has been traveling the country for a few years and is currently in Sacramento. The revamped version, which tightens the storyline and eliminates the trademark turntable, is slated to open on Broadway in March, marking a return to New York after an absence of many years.
National tours of “Les Miserables” played at the Saroyan Theatre in 1993, 1996 and 2000, but this is the first time an original production of the musical will take the stage there.
The opera’s general director, Ronald D. Eichman, said the principal members in the Fresno production have all either performed in the national tour or on Broadway, adding:
Additionally, some ensemble roles are cast with artists who have national experience, and we fully anticipate that the balance of the locally and regionally cast ensemble will deliver on a national caliber level.
Eichman calls the upcoming “Les Miserables” the largest scale production in the company’s history, financially and otherwise. “We have been anticipating this production for three years, when we were notified of the release date for the licensing to produce it,” he said.
Single-ticket prices for “Les Miserables” range from $55-$130.
There are always a lot of predictions floating around at Oscar time. Everyone always thinks they have some super insight that will allow they to clearly see which films will be honored and which will be ignored.
Those kind of predictions are too common. The following are predictions that you won’t see anywhere else when the awards are handed out Sunday night.
I predict ….
… Quvenzhané Wallis will have her named pronounced at least three different ways including Quiznos.
… Seth MacFarlane will say — or do — something so outlandish it will overshadow the rest of his hosting work. It will probably have something to do with a pound of butter, three roses and a young German woman named Helga.
… the tribute to Bond will overlook the suggestive names given to Bond women. Rumors are the name of the main female Bond character in the next 007 movie will be Ima Estelle Zera. Ima E.Z. will be played by Kim Kardashian.
… there will be more Oscar winners who thank their agents than thank God.
When adapting Broadway musicals into movies, you expect Hollywood to muck things up a little by insisting on big movie or music stars in leading roles. That’s certainly been the case with the casting of the big-screen musical version of “Les Miserables,” which finally starts shooting in March after years of talk. Fans of the show over the past months have been debating such choices as Hugh Jackman as Valjean (he’s loved on Broadway, which seems to trump most misgivings about him not having the vocal chops the role demands), Russell Crowe as Javert (more grumbles) and Anne Hathaway as Fantine (lots more grumbles).
But with the news yesterday that Taylor Swift has been cast as Eponine — beating out Lea Michele of “Glee,” who many perceived to be the front-runner for the role — lots of theater-minded folks on Facebook are expressing extreme displeasure. Sample comment:
Now I absolutely love Taylor Swift. I saw her in concert this year and have all of her albums that I bought on the day of release. But if she was cast over Lea Michele, its an obvious casting stunt. Lea was born to play Eponine. She would have blown the part out of the park. Taylor is great, but against Lea? Come on! The part should have been Lea’s hands down.
Leanna Whittney Mobley of Fresno was more succinct:
Taylor Swift, word vomit.
I’m semi-appalled about the choice of Swift, although I’ve never actually seen her act. (I missed “Valentine’s Day,” imagine that.) I think she’ll do an OK job belting out “On My Own,” but it’s hard to imagine her shining in the role’s emotional arc. I’m much happier with reports that Amanda Seyfried (who is opera-trained) has nabbed the role of Cosette. Overall, I’m extremely wary of this all-star cast lineup. The big names will get butts in the seats, but I’m worried this “Les Miserables” will turn out to be a missed opportunity.
People are gushing about Children’s Musical Theaterworks’ new production of “Les Miserables,” and rightly so. It’s an accomplished, smart looking, well sung and hard-working show. Director Skyler Gray delivers a gritty interpretation of the classic musical that tries some sparkling things visually while retaining many of the iconic moments that fans have come to know and love.
But during intermission on opening night, I heard a man being just a little critical of the show. The voices were really nice, he said, but they were just a little too young.
It’s an interesting observation, and I thought I’d address it right off.