"Do you hear the people sing?" Hatboro-Horsham High School's troupe of talented actors sang the "song of angry men" in its stirring rendition of the epic musical of revolutionary France,
. "When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drum," you know there is a night of great theater to come!
Based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables was first brought to the stage in 1980. Since then, it has earned world renown for its intricate plot and spectacular score. Set against the dramatic backdrop of an uprising of a people yearning for equality, the musical chronicles the life of the saintly Jean Valjean, pursued by the fiendishly self-righteous policeman Javert, for stealing a loaf of bread.
Written entirely in song, Les Misérables is an exceptionally difficult show for a high school to tackle, and requires a large group of actors with strong voices. Hatboro-Horsham's production was graced with plenty of performers who were up to the task.
Anthony Viscounte excelled as Valjean, especially in the powerful solo "Bring Him Home." Ian Vosseler delivered a stunning portrayal of Javert, making "Javert's Suicide" one of the most gripping scenes of the show. In the role of the unnoticed lover Eponine, Nicole Falgoust showcased her beautiful voice in the song "On My Own," while Jeff Walton and Melissa Colelli harmonized well as the amorous duo of Marius and Cosette. As Enjolras, the leader of the student revolutionaries, Ron Kolla displayed superior vocal abilities.
In such a dark show, there is still a place for comic relief. This was provided in the lighthearted number "Master of the House," featuring the uproarious Monsieur and Madame Thénardier, played by outstanding comedic actors Jimmy Knowles and Anna Larouche.
Several younger actors added charm to the production. Spirited fifth-grader Phil Torresani was captivating as the urchin Gavroche, and second-grader Claire O'Neill sang an endearing "Castle on a Cloud" as Young Cosette.
Though the ensemble sometimes lacked vivacity, such rousing full cast songs as "One Day More" and "Red and Black" were truly memorable.
The technical aspects of the show helped create the world of 19th century Paris onstage. A massive revolving barricade constructed by the student building crew was a functional and visually arresting set piece. In addition, the actors and crew recovered from a sound lapse with remarkable versatility.
The cast and crew of Hatboro-Horsham successfully conveyed the haunting beauty and turbulence of this monumental musical. When the curtain closed on the final performance, this reviewer's only wish was that it would run "One Day More"!